My internship experience at Zyxware by Mr. Kaushik Krishnakumar, University of British Columbia

October 04, 2018 - 15:14

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Zyxware under the mentorship of Mr. Vimal Joseph. My objective was to develop a proof of concept chatbot that demonstrates how artificial intelligence can be used to improve a user’s on-site search experience. As my first experience in a professional environment, this internship gave me valuable insights on what it takes to work as an engineer in a real world setting. The challenge I was tasked with also helped me expand my knowledge on web design and the emerging field of machine learning.

One aspect which made my experience so enriching was the freedom I was given to explore different solutions to the problem at hand. Initially my objective was to understand how Dialogflow works, and see if it’s suitable for our particular use case. My research revealed that identifying facets and keywords from a user’s natural language queries is very straightforward using Dialogflow’s built-in capabilities. This finding and the initial demonstration I prepared shaped the course of the rest of my internship. Being able to work at my own pace from home also made development much more comfortable and added to the open-ended nature of my experience.

Artificial intelligence always seemed out of the scope of what I could learn on my own. Through Dialogflow, I was introduced to AI in a simple manner and gained a solid foundation in the principles of machine learning. I feel this exposure prepared me well to work on more advanced applications of AI and I am excited to continue exploring this field in the future. I was also required to develop a full stack for demonstrating how Dialogflow can be integrated in a production environment. After learning HTML and PHP for this purpose, I became very interested in web design and have begun developing my own website for showcasing the numerous projects I have worked on. In short, the technical experience I gained in AI and web design was one of the best aspects of my internship.

My interactions with Mr. Joseph and the rest of the staff were the highlights of my time at Zyxware. Mr. Joseph was always supportive and helped me through any obstacles I encountered during development. In particular, I appreciated how he valued my thoughts on the direction we should take for the project. During my presentation, everyone was very receptive and seemed to appreciate my contribution to Zyxware. Although I was working by myself, these interactions truly made me feel like I was part of a team and making a meaningful contribution towards the project.

The experience was very exciting and enjoyable, and I am sure to use the technical experience I gained in my future endeavours. Mr. Joseph was a wonderful mentor, and the rest of the people at Zyxware were very kind to me as well. Overall, I had a fantastic time interning at Zyxware.

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