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A Day in the Life of a Machine Learning Software Developer at Mappedin
May 31, 2023
6 min read
What is machine learning? What does a Machine Learning Developer do and what does their typical workday look like? How do they use new technology like ChatGPT?
We interviewed Pascale, a Machine Learning Software Developer at Mappedin, to find out.
What does a Machine Learning Software Developer do?
As a Machine Learning Software Developer, my primary responsibility is to drive the research and development of machine learning solutions. In this role, I am constantly exploring techniques and technologies that can be effectively implemented within our production systems. Currently, my focus is centered on a product designed to simplify the creation and editing of maps.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning, at its core, enables algorithms to make informed decisions based on patterns and insights derived from previously encountered data. As a specialist in computer vision, my focus lies in applying machine learning techniques to images and videos. This involves working with diverse datasets to automate various tasks and enable machines to interpret visual information effectively.
What does your typical workday look like?
My workday usually begins with our daily stand-up meeting, but I prefer to start working a bit earlier to have a bit of quiet time before everyone starts signing into work.
As an acting Team Lead, my mornings are focused on staying in sync with my team. During our stand-up meeting, I check in on the progress of ongoing tasks, listen to their updates, and take note of important follow-ups I need to make throughout the day.
I also allocate some time for development work in the morning.
In the afternoon, my schedule is usually filled with meetings and follow-ups, but I try to sneak in as much development time as possible.
What’s your go-to lunch?
When I’m working from the office in Toronto, our team orders lunch, which gives me the opportunity to try a bunch of different restaurants in the area.
When I’m working from home, my go-to lunch is typically a salad. One of my favourite spots in Toronto is Mandy’s. Their salads have really inspired me to elevate my salad game by trying new things like roasted vegetables or interesting dressings.
What tools or websites do you use to help you code?
I code exclusively with Python, so I rely on a range of Python-based libraries like PyTorch. When it comes to the coding environment, Visual Studio Code is my preferred choice. I also turn to websites like Stack Overflow or Google when I get stuck.
How do you collaborate with other team members during the development process?
We primarily use Slack as our go-to platform for collaboration. I'm constantly reaching out to my colleagues, and they reach out to me as well. It's a great way to check in, share updates, and address any questions or concerns. We also frequently engage in huddles and meetings, where we come together to collaborate on specific tasks or projects.
We also use Jira to keep track of our tickets and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding priorities and timelines.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance as a software developer?
Maintaining a good work-life balance is crucial for me, especially because I'm passionate about playing sports. I have a good routine of logging off at 5:00 PM, allowing me to dedicate my evenings to various activities like rugby, ultimate frisbee, and dragon boat.
I have found that Mappedin is supportive of this balance. From the start, I was encouraged to keep my evenings free of work!
What interests you about machine learning and what made you decide to get into it?
During my undergraduate degree, I would hear about artificial intelligence and would see courses that covered it, and I found it really interesting because it was in the news and constantly evolving.
Although I didn’t study computer science, in my fourth year, I did a research assistantship program at the University of Waterloo with a professor studying AI and sports. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in it.
Since then, I’ve found my current role in machine learning, and I still really enjoy it. I like that it’s fast-paced, creative, and it’s constantly changing. Especially with emerging technology like ChatGPT, it’s exciting to evaluate its potential and how we can apply it effectively to what we’re doing.
There are so many ways to approach a problem, and it requires a lot of trial and error, experimentation, and creativity. It keeps me on my toes.
How does ChatGPT impact your role and the field of machine learning?
ChatGPT has created a greater awareness of the possibilities of AI and machine learning. There’s so much excitement around what this technology can do, and the field of AI seems limitless.
It’s so motivating in my role because it has inspired so many new ideas. I’ve been asked “can we do something like this?”, and my answer is always “yes.” At Mappedin, there’s no shortage of ideas, and it’s really exciting to push the boundaries of what’s possible in machine learning.
You've recently completed five months at Mappedin! How has your experience been so far?
I would describe my experience at Mappedin as incredibly supportive and inspiring. The people I work with, both individually and as a team, have been amazing. Transitioning into a Team Lead role, I have received so much support and encouragement from my colleagues. They’re genuinely excited about what I do, and that level of support is really nice.
I also love the transparency at Mappedin. It’s great to see what projects different departments such as Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams are working on. It’s really inspiring to see what we’re working towards—bringing indoor maps to everyone.
Any advice or tips for aspiring software engineers who are just starting out?
One piece of advice I live by is to say yes to opportunities and never be afraid to ask questions. In the early stages of my career, I used to be shy and hesitant to ask for help, and my feedback during co-op terms would be that I never asked for help. So, I made a conscious effort to change that about myself and become more transparent in asking for help when needed. Try it out, you ’ll be surprised how beneficial it is to your growth and development.
If you're interested in joining our team, be sure to check out our careers page for current opportunities.