10 years ago

10 years ago today I started working in Taykey and it was a life-changing experience. Let’s take few steps back.

Before joining Taykey I completed my master’s and worked for 2 years at a student position for a big corporation on the border between software a d hardware. I was very mediocre at my job, I could not relate to the product, to the company, or to the technology. At that point, it was clear to me that I would stay in academia and just wanted to complete two years for the CV. The experience at the corporate fed my doubts regarding my fitness to this profession.

Roughly a year later, I bumped into a colleague from the corporate (let’s call him O1) who told me that the startup he is working for is hiring a research engineer. His timing was perfect as I needed to decide whether to continue pursuing a Ph.D. or not. Tl;dr – I didn’t and I joined Taykey a few months later.

Taykey was analyzing trends on social networks and used them for optimizing advertisements. Joining Taykey was a life-changing experience for me. For the first time, I coded in Python, a higher-level language compared to C++ and Java. I worked with lambda functions when they were fresh out of the oven and packing dependencies were cumbersome (and almost impossible to add NumPy as it was bigger than 50Mb). I wrote a low-level map reduce code before Spark was everywhere and had to consider the key distribution for optimization. I took Andrew Ng’s machine learning course in Coursera in its initial version.

E was my manager when I joined Taykey he made me feel confident in my skills, was always attentive, and gave me very helpful feedback and tips. O2, who managed me for a while pushed me to try and experience new technologies and ideas and helped me stop fearing from code. I only mentioned my direct managers above but all of that couldn’t have happened without great colleagues.

Lesson learned – as Rabbi Carlebach said – “A child needs one adult that would believe in him/her”. Luckily in this context, I had a few but I needed to get an initial push.

Lesson learned 2 – sometimes exploration is required and it might be hard. Looking back I believe I needed the experience in corporate to distill what I was looking for, what environment would help me flourish.

Ever since I worked for small startups and that’s where I feel at my best. Refining it even more I prefer products with added value.

For the past 3 years+- I am part of Baot community. Boat is Israel’s largest community of senior software engineers, data scientists, and researchers that are women. Many discussions in Boat are eye-opening for me, the dilemmas that were raised there are relevant to me and I feel it is a safe place to ask for advice and share my knowledge and experience.

Lesson learned 3 – being part of a community makes a difference.

Coming a full circle (or maybe I should say ellipse) in the last year and a half O1 is my direct manager and O2 is my CEO and I keep pushing my limits and enjoying it.

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