Q: What do you do at Jumio?
A: My role is a Machine Learning engineer and MLT manager. The ML Engineer bit is pretty straight forward. In December I was offered a promotion to MLT manager – Machine Learning Tagging team – this is a group of more than 300 people who do the tagging jobs for machine learning engineers to help us train a model. To do any AI work you need data – the more tagged data you have the better the model will be. That’s a real benefit at Jumio – we have a big team which is well trained at tagging data to make the best models. I’ve been managing them since January this year at the same time as continuing my ML role as I want to keep developing my technical skills.
Q: What was Jumio’s selling point for you – What made you say “I wanna work there!”?
A: To be honest, I had quite a few offers and I still get approached from all over the world but the main thing that pulled me towards Jumio was Radu (Radu Rogojanu is Jumio’s Principal Research Lead in Vienna). I had a really good interaction with him – he was great at organising everything. My interactions with him as Hiring Manager were a big factor for me in joining Jumio. The way he connected with me and explained things – he really understands me and has been a big influence. He’s a great friend and a great manager.
When every morning you really want to go to work – you know you’re in the right place.
Q: How does it differ from other companies you’ve worked for in the past?
A: My previous full time role was in a big established US company – and I’ve worked with start-ups around the world – Jumio is in right in the middle so you get the best of both worlds. I call it a start-up++. You get the benefits of a start-up – innovating, researching and building, but you are also in a very competitive market and have to deliver to real deadlines and are working on things that will be used in the real world.
Q: What’s the best thing you’ve done since joining Jumio?
A: There’s no one specific thing really. I’ve always been ready to take any challenges head on – whether it’s in my role as an ML engineer (like research and modelling) or when my manager asked me to take on some engineering or QA work. I jumped at these opportunities. I didn’t have any QA knowledge at all at the time – so getting to learn new skills and do a wide variety of work is probably the best thing so far. It’s about the variety of work – rather than any one project.
Q: What do most people get wrong about the role?
A: Even a lot of ML Engineers get this wrong, they focus on the ML bit of the name – rather than the Engineering part of the role. If you want to succeed and get things into production – you have to do the engineering part of the role as well. It’s not just about the research and modelling aspects of the work.
Q: What would you say to potential employees wanting to work at Jumio? What qualities should they have?
A: My advice would be to get ready to get your hands dirty – it’s not an easy ride, things aren’t handed to you on a plate, you have to learn a lot and think outside the ML box to be really successful and you will get an opportunity to grow your career at Jumio.
Be flexible and open to taking on work outside your comfort zone – it’s the best way of learning.
Q: Can you tell us something not a lot of people know about you or the job you do?
A: It’s a start-up + + environment and is still evolving a lot. I like the direct contact we get with the Execs.
If I want to ask the CEO a question I can just Slack him and he’ll respond.
They will find time for you which you don’t find in many companies – being frank and direct with the Execs creates a very congenial atmosphere. It’s growing and evolving and we have to evolve with it.