The first month as a intern algorithm developer

I had six-year work experience before enrolling in the postgraduate course in IT industry as a marketing manager and sales. While working in the IT industry, especially when considering the field of data science, I felt that I wanted to work as an engineer instead. At that time, the phenomenon of “Internet of Things (IoT)” and “Big data” has just occurred  and was accelerating exponentially, and so I feel it would be exciting to experience this directly.

In order to switch my career from management to an engineer and obtain theoretical knowledge, I enrolled in a MSc Statistics at the University of Glasgow because, from my experience in IT industry, I felt abstract and mathematical knowledge were areas which I needed to improve in the most. After the acquisition of theoretical statistical knowledge in classes on the 1st semester and some machine-learning myself, I joined ICAN Future Star Ltd as an algorithm developer aiming to develop a good product from my expertise as well as obtain further IT skills. I quickly realised that it was very rewarding. The team members respected each other, and when I came up with innovative ideas, they were quickly accepted and adopted to the R&D roadmap. Moreover, due to the small size of the team, each member needed to cover a broad range of technologies on the project.

At this moment, I am taking responsibility to draw a proposal for investment on our project, particularly with the aspect of developing innovative machine-learning algorithms. To obtain the funding successfully, I have to justify to the funding body why I chose specific technology regarding the models of the machine-learning algorithm and the selection of a range of variables. This allows me to dive  into the technologies more deeply to demonstrate how we can develop and implement the innovative technology successfully. 

My first month in ICAN Future Star

I finished my Bachelor degree in China, 2012 and worked as a front-end web developer for two years. At that time, with the prevalence of Big Data, I became increasingly curious about this unique field, so I decided to go abroad and do a Master in Data Science at UofG. However, I never thought that I could get an internship during my study and work with a team full of talents.

In the first month, I mainly focused on developing websites and some small projects to help the marketing campaigns. Working as a team is what I like most about my job. I like doing promotional video with Joyce(see above). She always can propose some new ideas. I like working with Kaj. When we were deploying our website(, his wisdom, calm, problem-solving and decision-making skills gave me a deep impression. It has the same situation when communicating with Kazu, which is my Japanese colleague, and Olivia. I have learnt really really a lot knowledge about data analytics and business operations.

This is my first job in abroad. Obviously, it is a huge challenge for me. Another important reason is that I have never had any contact with those latest technologies and frameworks for multiple platforms like cloud hosting service, NoSQL database and Cordova, which are already applied in HelloUni. I have to learn a lot. Luckily, I met ICAN Future Star. The company gives me enough time to familiar with those technologies and it also provides a comfortable office located in the campus of the university, which enables us to use the time more efficient. Anyway, I believe I could do my best for the next task!

Being a new member of the HelloUni team

I am a junior backend developer here, at HelloUni for a reason – I want to help great people building and improving a great product while learning a lot in the process. Simple isn’t it?

My background

My web development adventure began on the hackathon computing competition organised by the University of Glasgow in 2012. The challenge was to create a web application, so I had to learn to code in JavaScript which is the language of the Web. That was exciting, because a web app is a very portable piece of software, it can run on any device having a web browser, which is great! What’s more, the support, the community and the number of tutorials available are just astonishing. The next hackathons followed the first one, every time giving me a chance to learn something new related to web technologies.

During the summer 2015 I was an intern at Physics department of University of Glasgow. My task was to develop an interactive data presentation tool, all web based. The internship gave me a foundation of responsive interface development, but also a good understanding of the backend development principles.

First thoughts on HelloUni

After only 2 weeks at HelloUni I can already feel the start-up vibe. Thanks to the small team, every member is important and treated with respect by others. Being responsible for a large part of the product has a great impact on the attitude towards work, because it feels meaningful. Also, it requires a wide range of skills and interests, because you need to know all these technologies and understand all these concepts.

First comes a learning phase. Some technologies are new to me, some sounds familiar, but I need to learn how to use them. The HelloUni’s server uses the AWS which is a widely used set of services including server instances and a scalable database system among others. The code on the server side is written in JavaScript running on Node.js. The mobile application is build using the Ionic framework, which means that it is developed with web technologies and then wrapped in a mobile app thanks to the Cordova software.

It takes practice to get the hang of it all, but I feel more and more confident about using the technologies involved in the system.