Employee Spotlight: Athithyaa Selvam
Who is Athithyaa Selvam?
I am a knowledge engineer working at SII with a background in computer science. What I love about software engineering is that you can iterate very quickly. After I write a script or code an application, I can put it to the test right away. If the code runs and has no errors, I can move on to the next portion of the project; if not, I then have an idea of what to change right away to try and fix it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The first thing I do is check my emails, Skype chat, and the scrum board to see if there's anything left to complete. Then I plan out my day and outline what needs to be accomplished that day. At that point, I usually start coding for around two hours before meeting with the rest of the engineering team, the scientists, or another group within the company. After that, I spend some time preparing for future meetings, reading journals or articles related to my immediate projects, or troubleshooting a bug for a fellow employee.
After work and pre-COVID-19, I would have dinner at a restaurant or get takeout. I love food and trying new places, especially if they have anything spicy! Now I have dinner at home and play some games or read some nonfiction books to unwind.
What drew you to SII?
I wanted to work for a smaller company after college and felt connected with SII's culture and mission when I did my first internship in 2018. I wanted to be on the ground floor of a company that was doing exciting work in big data. Systems imagination also enables me to do all parts of the machine learning process, from pulling in data and cleaning it to working with the mathematicians about experimental parameters.
I am also always learning new techniques and collaborating with others who have different specialties from which I can learn. I have learned so much about software engineering, math, biology, and numerous other team experts' topics.
What's your biggest takeaway from SII?
As a technology team member, you have to be accountable even when you make a mistake. Mistakes happen, and often the best lessons are learned from making them but trying to hide mistakes does no one any favors.
What advice would you give a college student?
Try out the job that you think you will enjoy the most first. Apply to be an intern for a month or two doing that job. You will learn so much more about that company's culture, processes, and the job itself by being in it than reading about it. If you enjoy the work and like the company, try to keep a relationship with them or continue working there. If not, you should try a different job or company out.
You have to follow your passions. For example, if you think that you love software development, go try it out. During that process, you might discover that you love the machine learning aspect more than the networking or vice versa. But you will only know once you have tried.
September 9, 2020