Meet the Team: Machine Learning Engineer II Jan Nováček

Petra Trubinska
Petra Trubinska
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Jan is a new member of our Engagement and Discovery Engineering team and has been with Bloomreach for just over a month now. We spent some time chatting with him about his experience with the company to give prospective candidates a chance to better understand what it’s like being part of our Engineering team.

1. When and how did you realize that you would like to work within technology/engineering?

In my second year of civil engineering studies, my cousin Michal gave me a book about the Python programming language. I was fascinated by programming, so I quit civil engineering and started with computer science. He literally changed my life! 🙂

2. You joined quite recently — how did you find out about Bloomreach and why have you decided to join?

Three years ago, I worked as an ML engineer at a company called Seznam.cz with Sebastian Poliak. I liked the people in the research team, as well as our work, but I didn’t like the culture. I left the company and started my own business, but still remained friends with Sebastian. My business wasn’t successful enough, so I started to think about a change. 

One day, Sebastian wrote me a message that he was going to a concert near my apartment. We met before the concert, and Sebastian told me about Bloomreach and I loved what I heard. The values and the whole culture really resonated with me since that is an important thing for me in a company. The next day, I wrote him a message saying I’d like to join Bloomreach.

3. What was your journey to becoming a Machine Learning Engineer II?

It started in my fourth year of studying computer science, when I applied for a machine learning internship at IBM. It was my first experience with machine learning, then I continued with my masters thesis ,which was focused on computer vision. After I finished university, I stayed in the field.

4. Walk us through a day in the life of a Machine Learning Engineer II at Bloomreach!

Simply put, it’s a research position where I’m looking for what will work in technology best, and I am constantly trying to find new ways to improve it. ML engineers usually work in a cycle: idea -> coding -> experiment -> evaluation. Every day, I’m working on some part of the cycle. The idea and evaluation usually take place as a brainstorming session with colleagues. We read many research papers and later think about what could work best for us. With the coding and experiment parts, I usually work on my own since I try to put those ideas into practice and see if they will work better.

5. What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Machine learning is a very fast growing research area so It is exciting to be part of it. I enjoy brainstorming with my colleagues a lot!

6. What do you consider the most challenging part of your role so far?

The interview process, actually. 🙂 My interview had seven rounds, which has never happened to me anywhere else. The hardest thing for my psyche was waiting to hear if I advanced to the next round. But what truly amazed me were definitely the technical rounds. They really went in depth and it just proved to me that people at Bloomreach know what they’re doing and really choose all people carefully.

7. In three words, how would you describe the first impression on the culture at Bloomreach?

This is it. I have already tried a couple of companies, but I was never completely satisfied with the culture at those places. Here at Bloomreach, I feel that it is simply a match for me.

8. What would you say is your favorite thing about working for Bloomreach so far?

There’s a lot, actually! I’m doing exactly what I expected and I have great colleagues. There are really smart people at Bloomreach and brainstorming with them is amazing. Another advantage for me is definitely that I can work from home, where I can concentrate more.

9. How do you learn new things applicable to your role?

I love great online courses (courses from Andrew Ng are my favorite). Reading research papers is also an important part of my work. ML has a great community and we share a lot of insights, so most of the material is more or less free.

10. Outside of Bloomreach,  what are you passionate about?

I love sports — I’m an active runner but I’m also currently a huge fan of Formula 1!


 

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Petra Trubinska

Employer Brand Manager at Bloomreach

Petra is the Employer Brand Manager at Bloomreach, and is focused on capturing and amplifying the experiences of Bloomreach employees around the world. A brand manager with a background in marketing, PR, and events, she believes that people are a company’s most precious commodity, and prioritizing investments into their growth can attract the highest quality of global talent. Petra is also an amateur yogi, inspiring conversations enthusiast, cute furry animals fan, and a huge food lover.

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