The Internship (part 1)

Martin Nestorov
19-Sep-2017 15:50:40

Summer was approaching. I was not planning on going to a Work & Travel program so, like any other student in my position, I was looking for activities to fill my spare time. Making an internship where I could work and learn at the same time was my top priority and luckily I am here to share with you what happened to be a great experience.

It is good to mention that several months earlier I met with Dimitar Ouzounov, who was teaching a one-credit course at the university (AUBG). Back then I was only familiar with the existence of Documaster from a HackBlagoevgrad event and an organized group visit to their office. I understood that they might be looking for their first interns and I was definitely interested... one application and a course project later and I was part of the Documaster team!

The Internship lasted 3 months and it was one of the most intense, yet fun experiences I have ever encountered. We were two interns, who were given the opportunity to develop a stand-alone project, a task that we knew nothing about in the beginning. The motivation and encouragement we received, however, pushed us to overcome the difficulties and in only 3 short months we developed a Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing app!

It was only natural that Documaster wanted to expand its expertise in records management to include Machine Learning and Language processing. The cool thing was that we were the ones who were given the chance to introduce these new concepts.

At the end, we had a fully running prototype app, a news portal that automatically gave the user extracted data from collected articles from around the web. By utilizing the powers of NLP we did automatic classification and summary of the text and many more interesting things.

One of the best things about the internship, however, was that at no point were we pressured to develop something that will sell. On the contrary, we were able to concentrate on learning new skills and develop ourselves to grow as programmers. And oh boy did we! Knowing that your mentor is thinking in your best interest really puts you at ease. This unleashes an inner drive to show what you've got and really dedicate yourself to the line of work. Of course, the job itself was not easy and we had multiple bumps along the way, but our colleagues were always there to help us. I loved that my mistakes were turned into a positive learning experience. I always had the opportunity to turn to somebody with more experience and learn up-to-date professional practices used in the industry.

In addition to that, I observed everyone's contribution to a friendly and entertaining working environment. Seldom were the days when we did not crack jokes in the office or at lunch. We often had the possibility to take a little rest in between coding sessions, or to discuss current and interesting topics (ex. Data preservation or AI). It was very easy to get into the office atmosphere and settle down.

Now that I am back to my studies, I believe that this summer internship has helped me become much better in practice. Not to mention that it will definitely become a benchmark for evaluating future experiences.

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