We spoke with Vera Dimovska, a 2020 graduate of our MMath Mathematics programme. Vera is now working as a Machine Learning Engineer at Viapontica AI.
Where are you at the moment?
At the moment I’m, working remotely, back home in Macedonia for the summer. I work for a company called Viapontica AI, that's based in Edinburgh, but because I started during the pandemic I haven’t actually been into the office yet!
I work as a Machine Learning Engineer on different client based projects that require AI or machine learning solutions. We’re a smaller company and we’ve some connections to the university, we have offices in the Bayes Centre and some of the people who work here also studied at Edinburgh.
In terms of my workload, it depends. Sometimes I would be working in parallel on multiple projects, sometimes I focus my energy on one specific project, it all depends on the period and what needs to be done.
Everybody I work with is super enthusiastic and tries to incorporate interesting solutions and innovations into what we create. I like that we’re a smaller team, we can collaborate but also have the independence to do our own things. You kind of feed off of the energy and the enthusiasm of the people you work with.
Can you tell us a bit about your time at University?
So, I actually went to a mathematically oriented high school, I always enjoyed the subject and this had more of a focus on it than it otherwise would have. I used to go to maths competitions and stuff like that, so it was kind of just a natural progression for me. I liked doing maths and I wanted to continue with it because it's exciting, super applicable and never boring. Those are the reasons why I wanted to start studying maths, so I applied to a few places and went to the Open Days and really enjoyed them.
I got sunburned during the Edinburgh Open Day, I came in March so I consider that an achievement! Edinburgh was super, it was rainy and ugly when I went to the other Unis, I got lost as well on their campuses. Here, everything was really good, I felt like coming here was “meant to be”, probably not the most rational way of going about things, but it worked out fine.
For my undergraduate dissertation I did a project on “image processing and super resolution using general generative adversarial networks to improve the resolution of images”, so it was related to deep learning and machine learning.
I think that a big part of my time at Uni was working as a Resident Assistant in the student halls, that was great and I got to meet a lot of different people outside of my course.
I was part of First Aid Africa, which was a student led society; I got to go to Tanzania, with a teaching partner for the summer. I was also part of the Student Exchange Project, which was with the Data Lab. I was a data coach there doing some innovation projects with the students, so I was involved in different places.
I tried to keep busy and get as much experience as I could while I was at university, there's so many jobs for the students to do. For most of my time at university I was probably working part time on some projects in parallel to studying.
Can you tell me a bit about what you’ve done since leaving University?
After I finished my degree I applied for a ‘small and medium sized enterprise’ (SME) internship through the university. Viapontica AI advertised an internship for a Machine Learning Engineer, I got it and after that finished I continued to work with them.
Thankfully, COVID hasn’t really impacted my work, the pandemic was going on when I started, so I haven’t known anything different. I think the fact that I had machine learning experience and that I didn’t need to be physically present for most of the things that I could do put me in good position. Most of the opportunities that I wanted to apply for were still there, so luckily it didn’t affect me too much..
Do you have any words of wisdom for our students?
You have to do your research when you hunt for jobs, The Career Hub in the university website was super useful; that's where I found the internship. Absolutely use the resources that the university has and do your research.
I definitely picked up skills while I was at university that help me with my current job. I did courses in machine learning, those helped with the technical side of things, and I worked part time in a lot of projects at the university that got me into that habit of working as a professional.
I’d like to say, to any students or graduates, good luck and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves. It’s fine to take a breather and some time for yourself.