Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Apple. Even though I didn’t find the position through USC, things I learned and skills I acquired while at USC definitely helped me through the interview process. Fresh out of a statistics course (ISE 225) that overviewed machine learning topics, as well as a databases course (ITP 487), I was well prepared to discuss topics in data science with the ML-oriented team I ended up joining.
A few things I learned on the job and took away from the internship experience:
- Engineering can be much more creative than you realize. Even when faced with a well-defined problem where you know your inputs and desired outputs, there can be so many different ways to tackle it. It’s really exciting to explore different methods of accomplishing something, and then make an informed decision on the path to take—that’s engineering!
- To tack onto that, problems are often poorly defined: you know what needs to be accomplished, or have some broad goal, but you have little else to go off of. In school, you sit in front of a problem where all the information is given to you, and it’s fairly obvious what your options are in order to solve it. In real life, there’s a lot more teamwork, communication, and investigation involved in figuring these things out.
- You will learn so much on the job! I came into my position knowing the basics of Python and statistics, but coming out of it I had amassed so much more knowledge on how work is done with it, how code is put into production, and even more. While school is still extremely valuable for developing problem-solving skills and communication ability, going out into the workforce changes everything. You aren’t nearly done learning once you’re out of school.
There’s a lot more I could talk about, but I’ll just leave it at that. I’m really looking forward to returning back to work there this summer!