What are you doing now?
I currently work for Yelp (an online review platform) in San Francisco as an Engineering Manager. I manage the Geospatial Intelligence team which is responsible for maintaining the mission-critical geocoding infrastructure as well as mining Yelp’s location data for valuable insights. My current responsibilities include architecting scalable backend systems, helping engineers develop their careers, interviewing candidates, and ensuring the team’s projects further the mission of the company.
After graduating from St Andrews I joined Yelp as a Software Engineer where I had the opportunity to build backend tools for our user engagement teams, develop a new credit card fraud detection system, lead projects to improve Spam detection classifiers, and work abroad for a year in the Hamburg office.
What is your favourite memory from your time studying Computer Science in St Andrews?
One of my favourite memories is the friendliness and approachability of the faculty. Everyone I interacted with deeply cared about us students and I always felt listened to – be it in one of our amazingly small tutorial groups, during lectures or any other time.
What was your favorite module, and why?
I really enjoyed the Senior Honours Software Project in 4th year where I investigated ways to optimize distributed cloud workflows. It gave me the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate, regularly meet and chat with my adviser Adam Barker in a one-on-one setting and even publish a paper at a top-tier conference! The learning curve was pretty steep in the beginning but I got the opportunity to learn lots of new technologies and skills which turned out to be great conversation topics during my job interviews and beyond.
What advice would you give to current students?
Meet your professors, take the opportunity to do some novel and independent research for your Senior Honours Software Project and get familiar with scientific methodology and writing – even if you’re not planning on pursuing a career in academia. It might seem that most of your time in the industry is spent writing and pushing code however there’s an equal amount of conducting and presenting exploratory analyses. If you gain experience while at St Andrews you’ll have an immediate leg up!
Alumni Profile added: Mar 2017