As you may know, at ITC we partner with over a hundred companies in the Israeli tech industry to inform the curriculum of our courses. Our partners have the opportunity to share what they’re looking for in new hires or what skills are missing in their current teams, and we do our best to incorporate those insights into our trainings. Aside from contributing to the course curriculum, partnering companies also have the opportunity to host students for 5-week projects at their companies, in order for students to put their newly-acquired skills into practice.
Roy Penn, VP Engineering at Amenity Analytics, selected two of our Data Science Fellows students for a 5-week project at Amenity Analytics. Elisa Kammer and Kevin Benassuly were tasked with a challenging project: build similarity measures and custom clustering algorithms to identify similar sentences in a financial text. They used several approaches to do so: embeddings, named entity recognition and naive methods to define sentence similarity. They also built a pipeline that enables the company to generate more labelled data for training the classification/clustering algorithms.
We met with Roy to get some actionable tips for ITC graduates and learn more the partnership between Amenity Analytics and ITC.
Elisa Kammer and Kevin Benassuly
ITC Data Science graduates – Hired by Amenity Analytics
About Roy Penn
Roy has a very rich background in the Israeli high-tech ecosystem. He is a Talpiot graduate, served 6 years in the army intelligence as a captain, worked at 3 start ups as software and algorithm development leader in various positions. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the Hebrew University, and an MBA from the Technion. When we asked him what he considered to be a defining moment in his career, he told us a story of a time he was developing a big new product. He was sure everyone was going to like it and use it, however, when he was done it was clear that the users had many more great ideas about what the product could do, and on the other hand, thought that some of the features were not required. It taught him an important lesson of defining and iterating on smaller projects or smaller steps in big projects.
We then asked Roy how people can increase their chances of getting hired in the field and what’s the advantage for companies to partner with ITC in different ways.
What Are 3 Tips You’d Give ITC Graduates?
“The next few years are crucial to building your career and should be taken very seriously. I would say that doing the following 3 things can help tremendously:
- Focus on delivering incrementally improving software – often times we put too much focus on the research aspects of our project that we forget that our users are happier if we deliver small improvements continuously rather than wait and deliver a big improvement once. We’re also likely to lose touch with the customers’ changing needs if we wait too long between deliveries.
- Stay on top of your tech – There’s nothing unique about you, aside from you. So work hard to improve yourself. In this context – you’ve chosen a career path, and now you should follow through and become the best at it.
- Find harmony in what you do – if you find work that energizes you then you’ll arrive excited to work every day and won’t experience the vicious “daily grind” of your work. Similarly with the time spent resting. Find a resting activity that energizes you, time with family, outdoor activities, playing computer games, anything goes if it’s right for you.”
Why Did You Decide to Partner with ITC?
“One of the advantages of ITC is that you can influence the curriculum and what your graduates will learn. I have collaborated with the ITC curriculums a lot, and tried doing it with other bootcamps as well, but I found they were not as conducive to what we believe the market needs. This can be translated as a big win for both ITC and its partners. We are constantly hiring both infrastructure developers and NLP developers, and would be very happy to hire again from ITC in the future.”
Why Should Companies Hire ITC Graduates?
Roy is a strong believer in the training that ITC participants go through during the track. It is intensive and challenging on one hand, as well as very adequate and fitting for the market. Amenity Analytics has access to and uses a lot of the capabilities that ITC graduates can offer, in terms of Data Science, Machine Learning, NLP and Full Stack skills. Roy is also among many partnering contributors to the ITC curriculum, offering what he believes the market needs – ultimately making it a big win for ITC, its partners and the industry.
Can You Tell Us About 3 Trends You’re Excited About?
- Server-less computing
- Fast and accurate ML/AI training
- Simpler and more efficient coding languages and IDEs
For Aspiring Data Science Readers, Which Publications Do You Recommend?
“There aren’t specific ones that I religiously follow, but here are some nice ones – The Effective Executive (Peter Drucker), Pycon, The Making Sense podcast.”
A Piece of Advice From Roy
“I think the most important thing to remember is to continue seeking x10 improvement in anything you do.”