The Data Masters internship program is designed to provide the young generations of students a practical experience when starting out a professional career in working with data. Like many students before, our program was maximally utilized by Slavko, Georgi, and Filip, who in the three-month period as interns showed outstanding results and immense interest in upgrading their knowledge. As a result, they were offered a position at Data Masters and they are joining the data science team.
In this interview, we talked to the three of them about their first impressions of the company, the initial adjustment period, the transition from interns to working on projects, and the challenges they face when balancing University and work responsibilities.
How did you find out about the Data Masters internship program and why did you choose our company?
Slavko: After finishing the 5th semester of my studies at the Faculty of computer science and engineering (FCSE), I felt the need to face a new challenge, and that challenge was starting an internship. I’ve followed the activities of Data Masters for quite a while before applying for an internship. Everything began through networking with classmates and exchanging experiences and information about the available options for internships in our field. After several conversations and exchanging opinions with different people, I made the decision. The whole structure, flexibility, and opportunities offered were the main reason I chose Data Masters as an ideal place for me.
Filip: I found out about Data Masters through social media where I regularly followed all the posts. I learned about the internship program through the Data Masters website. I’m in the last semester of my studies at the Faculty of electrical engineering and information technologies (FEEIT) and I wanted to start a professional career in Data Science. The fact that the company is Data Science oriented, a field dedicated to gathering, processing, and data analysis, as well as building models for predicting business processes, choosing Data Masters was one of the best decisions I’ve made to acquire new knowledge.
Since this is your first working experience, can you please describe the adjustment process for each of you?
Slavko: Personally, I think that the most important factor in adjusting to the workplace is the working environment around you. We worked in an exceptionally welcoming environment and we are constantly surrounded by colleagues that are ready to help at any moment with any issue, teach us new things and selflessly share their knowledge with us.
Georgi: I am very content with how I was welcomed by all of the colleagues at Data Masters, and I think this is a great environment for new interns. This is a workplace that offers many options for strengthening your current knowledge and learning new things.
Filip: As a first job experience, I can say that the adjustment period in the company was quite easy and quick. This was thanks to the colleagues around me, who accepted me from the start and made me feel like I’m part of the team. At the beginning of the internship, I started learning about the cloud platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the most used services that AWS offers, so later I was able to apply this knowledge to the project I was working on. I must say that this was all new to me and was a real challenge, but in time thanks to the dedicated mentorship I managed to overcome all of the challenges.
Did the fact that you all started your internship at Data Masters at the same time help you in any way?
Slavko: The fact that the three of us started the internship at the same time is a really important moment and a big advantage for me. It’s always better to have someone next to you that faces the same challenges. We helped each other when solving work-related challenges.
Now that the three of you are officially part of the Data Masers team, in which way are the obligations and tasks different, compared to the time you were interns?
Slavko: During the internship, the mentors and the team we collaborated with enabled us to work on projects and adapt to this way of work. The experience we’ve gained helped us a lot in the transition period from interns to employees and the whole process felt smooth. The sense of responsibility now is much greater, but the knowledge and experience are constantly upgrading.
Georgi: Every step forward in life brings more responsibilities and this step required more commitment and effort on my part. The fact that in the last three months I’ve managed to be on that level to get a chance to work at Data Masters, earlier than I expected, creates a sense of great personal success.
Filip: The responsibilities are different, just because now we’re working with clients and we have more responsibility in making some decisions.
Slavko is a student at FCSE, while Georgi and Filip are at FEEIT. How do you maintain the balance between your obligations with your studies and your work at Data Masters?
Slavko: I must say that it’s not easy to work and study at the same time, but believe me it’s worth it. With discipline, a good schedule, and a desire for personal development, everything is easier. Part of the material we work on overlaps with our studies, so it makes it easier for us to learn it.
Georgi: I expected it to be more difficult, but that balance had a positive impact on me personally. The sense of responsibility and commitment I gained during the internship positively impacted my studies and I managed to have better success (higher average grades) than in my previous years of studying.
Filip: I can say that it was simple for me to manage the responsibilities between university and work, since I’m finishing up the last semester of my studies, and the subjects don’t require a lot of work and dedication. All of my focus was directed toward the practical use of my knowledge and skills through work in the company.
How did the internship and the work at Data Masters help your university studies and vice-versa?
Georgi: The internship at Data Masters help me to acquire work habits and a sense of responsibility, which had a positive effect on my success in overcoming the obligations from the university. Inversely, the university subject Database modeling helped and prepared me for the tasks I was delegated during this internship.
Do you have any advice to give to the students that are interested in Data Science?
Filip: First of all, they must have a basic understanding of probability and statistics, programming languages (mostly Python), working with data, and machine learning. Additionally, Data Science is a very dynamic field of study and requires a lot of research and preparedness for facing new tools and constantly staying up to date with the latest technologies. This field of study, like any other, requires hard work and dedication, but on the other hand, it’s really interesting and finds great application in everyday life.
You have a tight schedule with work and University responsibilities. What are your interests and hobbies outside of work and studies?
Slavko: I agree that we have a tight schedule and a lot of responsibilities, but I always find some free time to enjoy – spending time with my friends, listening to music, and doing sports activities. I enjoy bike rides and recreationally playing football.
Georgi: Gaming is something that I’m really passionate about and I always find time for it. Other than gaming, I really enjoy sports, especially basketball. I also like reading books, listening to music, and watching movies and TV series.
Filip: I have a lot of interests outside my professional career and education. I have been actively playing sports since my earliest years, and I was a professional handball player, so my passion for sports has remained to this day. I also like to read books, play chess, and love hiking.
What would you recommend to students at the end of their studies? What’s your advice for starting a professional career?
Slavko: Anyone that feels ready should grab the chance to start an internship as early as possible. That way, they will see the benefits of the IT professions and will get even greater motivation to work and progress in their field of interest.
Georgi: The most important thing I would recommend to students trying to start their professional careers is having patience. Searching for an internship or a job can be frustrating, but with patience and work, it will pay off. While searching, don’t stagnate and only focus on the search itself. Spend time on personal and professional development by learning things on your own and creating projects that will make your search easier.
Filip: First of all, my recommendation to all of the students is not to be afraid of the challenges ahead. The most important thing is to find their passion and what they really want to do.