The thing I liked the most about my experience working at Zugata was the combination of an incredibly large by internship standards area of responsibility which involved a lot of research.
I have a lot of PhD classmates who interned at big companies with innovative R&D departments, and, while they were working on amazing technologies, these were all prototypes that didn't make it into production during the internship time. At best, these projects would serve as an inspiration for new projects which would begin again from scratch. At Zugata, I was able to get my code running in production, with a direct pipeline to requests from actual customer-facing applications. I was able to take ownership of the entire server, and push tasks into production, things that aren’t common even for full-time employees in software giants. Combined with the opportunity to see the functioning of the entire company, and technical decisions being made over the entire stack gave me a very important experience that I hope will help me to eventually grow to managerial positions in my future career, and maybe at some point starting my company.
At the same time, while these experiences are more common in startups, many internships are only working with pure software engineering, rather than any kind of research. They don't really have a lot of space for innovation in the field of computer science. Here, however, I got to actually think about algorithms and analytics, to the point of using an algorithm straight from an academic publication.
"I like working in Zugata because even as an intern I contribute to the production code of our core product, and do analytics that are demonstrated to our customers and VCs. Everyone works together, from the CEO to interns, and I can see both how the entire company functions, and how the entire product is developed, deployed, and supported. Whether my future career will be technical or entrepreneurial, this experience will certainly be helpful."
Maxim Kovalev, Data Science Summer 2015 Intern
PHD Student in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon