Having done a university research intern in my second year (at George Washington University, Washington DC, USA), I wanted to do a company intern just to get an idea of how it feels like working for a company. My focus was to get a project involving Machine Learning since I was quite interested in the field and had done a few courses online, such as the ever famous Andrew Ng’s course on Coursera, but also from Udacity ( Machine Learning Fundamentals ) and EdX ( Machine Learning ).
First-week internship pressure got to me initially and I applied for non-core, non-tech companies and getting selected would have been a mistake on my part. After 2 lucky misses at getting selected for P&G and American Express, I became very selective and applied only for companies that offered a Machine Learning Profile. I let lots of lucrative JAF’s pass by, because of selectivity until Schlumberger came with their Data Science profile. Usually popular for the field engineer profile (which is a 1 month internship), they were offering a new software summer intern profile for the first time in any college across India. The JAF mentioned Cloud Computing and Data Analytics, and after the interview, I was sure that this would turn out to be a good experience since the interviewer said my profile would be Machine Learning based.
About Schlumberger (pronounced Sclum-buh-jae)
Many people don’t know what Schlumberger actually does, so let me explain it to you. It is a multi-billion dollar company offering end-to-end services in the field of drilling, geology assessment, and oil extraction. So while they don’t own the oil fields they dig in, they are responsible for providing all the technology and expertise needed to extract oil and gas efficiently. Their clients include the Big Oil Companies such as ExxonMobil, British Petroleum etc.
The software segment of the company, responsible for developing class leading software used in the Oil and Gas Industry, has many technology centers all across the world, and they recently opened Pune Technology Centre as part of their expansion plans in 2012.
About the Internship
This is the first time that the company has an internship programme for the Pune Technology Centre, and boy did they treat us well! Stay in a 4-star hotel with breakfast and dinner provided for the entire 2 months, as well as having a cab every day for office drop and pick up was way beyond my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised when I came to find out the company was providing these benefits! Add to that the very nice stipend which they offered ☺
They hired from several IIT’s and we were a total of 12 Interns in the Software Profile. All the interns were provided with beast-of-a-laptops on the first day (4K display, 32GB RAM, and Intel Xeon processor)! So far so good!
The awesome office here
Each intern was assigned to a different team, and the projects ranged from Mobile Development, Web Development, Cloud Development to Machine Learning and Scalable Programming. I was explained my project which was based on using Neural Networks in Tensorflow for predicting Lithography facies (Sand, Shale, Ash, Lime etc) based on the well-log readings. Well log readings are taken during drilling and include several parameters such as Permeability, Neutron Porosity, Resistivity etc, which are all measured simultaneously during drilling or later through wireline. Lack of domain knowledge in Geophysics meant I initially had to read up a lot of fun and sometimes boring stuff on it. After building the algorithm, I had to develop a nice clean UI for the well logs using an SDK called Geo-Toolkit developed by some guys in France, as well as interface it with a server that hosted my Machine Learning Code. Front-end, Back-end, Machine Learning, this project has it all, you name it!
The nice outdoor café
I like the working culture here. 8 hour working days and weekends off means one is never tired after work. There are no strict work timings and there is no dress code! My project being a POC, (proof-of-concept), I was given enough freedom to come up with my own solutions to the problems I faced. While the work experience may depend on who the mentor and the Project Manager is, I was lucky because my mentor was one of the best coders in the center and was a very chill guy. I never had to take any work to the hotel, so I was free after 5:30 PM! There is a TT table and a pool table for busting stress, and the cafeteria here serves pretty good food. We also had several fun intern outings!
One thing I like about this place is that the company tries to maintain as much diversity as possible, which means you have people from US, France, Denmark etc working here. The working environment is pretty nice and interns are treated at par with the employees. Working for a multinational company has its own perks and you get to learn a lot, not only through your project but through your interactions with a lot of people here. This internship experience has been a good one so far!