As a Data Science intern at Johnson and Johnson, I've had the privilege to dive right into two full projects. By the end of the summer I'm expecting to complete a third. My experience here has been nothing short of enriching, interesting, and challenging.
At the moment, I am pair programming with another intern to tackle a machine learning problem. We are coding an algorithm that takes raw customer complaint data in the form of Excel files and assigns to each row of text a one word category that best summarizes the description. This effort involves the use of Excel to compile and clean the data, Python scripts to implement and test various machine learning algorithms, and Tableau to visualize the results and present them in a digestible format for our business users. I can definitely say that the Statistics and Computer Science courses I've taken at Columbia are proving their worth now!
What I've really enjoyed about working in my Data Science group is the level of trust and freedom that we are given to carry out their work – no one's looking over your shoulder to check on your progress or make sure you finish things on time. At the same time, there isn't complete chaos or lack of structure; we hold project meetings regularly to help align efforts and ensure that each contributor is given the resources he or she needs to deal with obstacles and problems as they arise.
What's more, we interns not only carry out projects from start to finish, but we also get to own the entire result by presenting proof-of-concept demos and updates to the business users (many of whom are J&J department directors and managers). For us, this means that beyond coding and analyzing data, we're challenged to think about the broader impact our work has and find ways to communicate very complex ideas to a non-technical audience.
As was mentioned in the previous Blind Applying post, Data Science is a relatively new concept to many people in the company, so this gives us interns a unique opportunity. By showing others in the company our capabilities and the power of Data Science to solve important business problems, we get to shape the image and future success of our department. Pretty exciting to say the least!
There's a lot more I have to say about my summer experience, but I think I'll wrap up my first post here. Stay tuned for more about my projects, where I work, and what life is like at J&J.