This week we invited Hayden from Haberdashers Adams’ for a work experience program. Throughout the week, we shared insights, collaborated on projects, and provided Hayden with valuable exposure to our day-to-day operations, fostering an enriching experience for both our team and our talented guest. We thought you’d like to hear it from him first-hand…

Take it away Hayden!

As a student eager to explore the practical side of machine learning (ML) and business intelligence, my week of work experience at Purple Frog Systems turned out to be an eye-opening experience. Here’s a look into my week of work experience, navigating the basics of ML and Power BI in a real-world setting. My first few days at Purple Frog were all about getting acquainted with the team and the projects at hand. The office environment was welcoming, and the team members were patient as they introduced me to the basics of data, specifically ML and Power BI.

I kicked off a collaborative project with Jon where we encountered the challenge of dealing with separated data on loans. Together, we undertook the task of integrating and consolidating this fragmented data, implementing various techniques such as creating and joining tables in SQL Server. This hands-on experience not only enhanced our proficiency in database management but also allowed us to harness the power of structured data for more effective analysis and decision-making.

Machine learning

Teaming up with Lewis next, we harnessed the power of PySpark to clean and preprocess data from Jon’s tables, preparing it for integration into machine learning models. Our focus shifted from classification to regression models, with rigorous testing to optimise performance. Exploring Computer Vision, we trained a model to recognize pizza images, such as pepperoni and margarita. The learning extended into Natural Language Processing, where we looked into training models to understand and respond to human language nuances. Spending time with Lewis this week provided a hands-on, comprehensive experience, showcasing the versatility and practical applications of machine learning in data processing, image recognition, and language comprehension. Exploring ‘real’  projects allowed me to practice what I learned previously at school, making the theoretical aspects more tangible.

Power BI

Simultaneously, I began exploring Power BI with Tom – a tool that simplifies data visualisation and reporting. The learning curve was gradual, but the hands-on projects helped me create interactive dashboards and reports. It was fascinating to see how data could be transformed into meaningful insights with just a few clicks. I made an interactive report on the same pizzas as earlier, showing pizza revenue over time so we were able to see things like how each pizza contributed to profit, etc. I also used tools online to help find complementary colours for making the reports visually aesthetic too.

Careers Talk

During my time, I also had the opportunity to step into the world of Microsoft Fabric with Laura, who provided an insightful introduction to this aspect of the job. Additionally, Laura shared valuable career and university advice, offering top tips that proved to be instrumental in shaping my understanding of both the industry and the academic path ahead. This approach to mentorship not only enriched my technical skills but also provided invaluable guidance for my future.

Hayden at Purple Frog Systems for Work Experience pictured with ML Developer Lewis Prince

The team at Purple Frog was always ready to help, answering my questions and providing guidance when needed. Regular meetings and discussions ensured that I felt part of a supportive group, easing the learning process. One of the most rewarding aspects of my work experience visit was witnessing how ML and Power BI directly impacted business decisions. Working on projects that had a real-world impact made the learning process more exciting and motivated me to continue doing my best.

My work experience at Purple Frog Systems was a journey of learning and practical application. It helped me bridge the gap between classroom knowledge and real-world scenarios in ML and Power BI. The experience equipped me with valuable skills and a newfound confidence in navigating the data-driven landscape. It has been a great opportunity to come into an office environment.