Experiences at Haptik

3 Haptik Internship Stories – Working with a Startup!

They say that you know a company by how they treat the interns. We’ve had the opportunity to work with several wonderful students over the years and each of them has their own unique internship story.

So, if you’re wondering what the life of a Haptik intern is like, this piece is for you!
Presenting three Haptik internship stories straight from those who have been there and done that.

Tanmay Shah - Machine Learning Internship

The Decision

The end of our 7th semester was approaching and everyone had two options. An in-house project or a semester-long internship for the 8th semester. I was always interested in chatbots, Machine Learning and AI. When I looked for an internship off-campus, the first name that popped up on Google was Haptik, India’s No. 1 conversation bot making company. Working at the country’s best company in your domain is a dream everyone has.
So, getting an Internship at Haptik and in the Machine Learning department was quite literally a dream come true.

The First Day

And so the big joining day arrived. I was nervous at first as I had no idea how to be a professional engineer.

After my first interaction with my Machine Learning Team Lead, I was assigned a project. The objective of this project to build a retrieval model for casual messages, i.e., Haptik’s own Smalltalk. The best part of this project was that it needed to be built from scratch with a lot of research work. I had about a month to play around with different Machine Learning models and read a lot of research papers. I have never worked keeping the ‘performance’ of my code in mind as a big factor. Working at Haptik made me realized how important performance is to every aspect of the product.

I realized that it’s not just about knowing how to ‘code’. The approach, reasoning, timelines etc. are very important factors as well.

What I Learnt

The daily standups, sprint planning and meetings helped me understand how a project works in a company and how should I approach my goals. I was fortunate enough to have a team like I did, with Krupal, Chirag and Aman to help me with the project and guide me whenever I needed a direction. I never felt like I was the junior-most person in the company. That’s the best thing about Haptik and it was my biggest concern while joining.

Apart from my project and the work I did, another thing that kept me involved was the Friday evening breakout sessions. An interesting new program that started during my internship was the weekly ‘Lunch and Learn’. Every Friday, during lunch, someone from either a technical or non-technical team gives a talk. So everyone learns something new every week. Being a student, I felt like I was in class again. The only difference: I genuinely enjoyed these talks.

These 5 months were some of the best months of my life. Haptik has changed a lot from the time I started to the time I left. But their culture and eagerness to help each other have remained the same.

I loved my internship at Haptik. I never imagined that I could build something like this and learn so much in such a short time. It was nothing short of inspiring. Seeing my colleagues work so hard, always inspired me to put a little more effort. I’m proud to say that I was a Machine Learning Intern at Haptik.

Gauri Agarwal - Marketing Internship

The Decision

The summer vacations were rolling around and with the end of exams, anxiety started to creep into me. I wanted to do an internship and choosing the right one was a pain. During my ‘perfect’ internship research, I realized that I wanted to work at a start-up.

My initial research told me that Haptik was an AI-based startup that builds chatbots for consumers as well as businesses. And I knew that it would be the perfect internship opportunity. Coming from a non-tech background, I was especially excited to get a peek into the world of a tech startup.

After my Initial interview with Aakrit and Shubham, I received instructions from the HR team to create my work email and slack ID before showing up to work on Monday as the latest Marketing Intern. All this was very new and exciting to me.

The First Day

All my pre-Day 1 worries about nice co-workers and the dress-code proved to be unnecessary once I joined!
I was introduced to almost everyone in the office. It also included a meeting with the marketing team wherein I got a chance to introduce myself and ask questions.

My expectation was that the company would have a rigid, hierarchical structure, and I even ended up calling Aakrit, the CEO, “Sir”. The HR team later asked me to refer to everyone with only their first names!

What I Learnt

The next few weeks passed by rather quickly as the head of marketing, Shubham drowned me in excel sheets and bringing her the perfect non-sugar coffee in a white cup – no stirrer.

Moreover, I worked with Michelle on Digital Marketing and diligently answered tech questions on Quora every day. This was where I learnt about creating and maintaining a Medium blog and saw first-hand what B2B Social Media marketing is all about. I even took a shot at writing copy for a chatbot and gained some knowledge on what goes into crafting a conversation.

I ended up learning so much about chatbots and Conversational AI in the few weeks I was at Haptik. The Dream11 Case Study video with Shubham was another project I joined and travelled to their office to shoot it. On a side note – I even featured in it. You can watch it here.

If all this wasn’t enough, Haptik also introduced me to sales meetings, wherein I travelled with the sales head to one of India’s largest financial services companies for a client meeting. I even represented Haptik at the AWSSummit and spoke to prospective clients and pitched Haptik to them.

Working with the HR team and helping them find games for team activities was another one of my responsibilities!

All this goes to say that my short internship at Haptik was a meaningful one. All the cross-team work helped me gain a better understanding of how a company functions. I grew and learnt over the summer and I’ll be carrying these lessons forward to college and beyond.

Pratik Jayarao  Machine Learning Internship

The Decision

I had completed 6 semesters of Engineering in Computer Science and wished to pursue a Master’s Degree from the US in the same field with a specialization in Data Sciences. But on August 6th 2017 my father passed away owing to his illness. I was almost at the end of my 7th semester with no plans for further studies nor a job in hand, as students planning to complete their post-graduation were not permitted to sit for job interviews. It was quite a trying period.

I dropped the plan of going abroad and decided to find a job. But I was adamant about finding a job in the field of Data Science. This field, in particular, requires a lot of experience and freshers, in general, are not hired for the same. This is where Haptik stepped into my life.

Haptik was known to take in freshers as interns and give them an opportunity to learn and work as part of the ML team. I contacted my college senior Chirag Jain (Senior Machine Learning Engineer) at Haptik and he set me up with an interview in the month of December. This interview went on for about four hours with my now team lead Krupal Modi (ML lead) asking questions from the quants realm, followed by Chirag’s interview, testing various aspects of the Machine Learning domain, followed by an ML driven task. It was the most gruelling interview that I was ever a part of. testing my technical as well as application skills.

The First Day

Fast forward a month to January 10th 2018, my first day at Haptik. I joined the ML team under the mentorship of Aman Srivastava (Senior Machine Learning Engineer). While I had experiences from previous internships, I had always worked on proof of concepts and never in a production environment. HIGH, CELERY, PROD, CRON, RELEASE, DOCKERS, STAGING, PROD, DEV…my God, was I intimidated. It took a while but I started to get the hang of things, thanks to all the patience and help of the team.

What I Learnt

My first major project was ‘PERSON NAME ENTITY’. In simple terms, it meant that I had to extract peoples’ names from a chat message. Under the guidance of Aman, I prepared a fully functioning model using Data Mining and Machine Learning techniques. This was the first time I was creating a model for a product, I learnt a lot from Aman, Chirag and Krupal. How to tweak an experimental model so that they perform in the production environment, to the right practices of coding in a company, to various approaches to a Data Science Task.

This project laid a strong foundation and by the end of shipping this project my vocabulary for code break had changed to ‘CODE PHAT GAYA’. I knew had become a part of the Haptik family.

I continued to work on various projects which included both extensive periods of research as well as application. Working with changing the architecture of the code base, writing code for database migrations, trying out new models for various ML-based problems like NEARBY ENTITY using CRF model, SENTENCE SIMILARITY using Deep Learning.

The most recent project I am working on is to make the Haptik platform compatible with many languages. This project highly research oriented and it improved my research paper reading skills. These 5 months helped me build a strong base as a Data Scientist.

The Aftermath

The greatest challenge was to juggle between my college and the internship. 6 hours of college and 6 hours of internship. I would be on a different schedule every day but was able to finish the assigned tasks. In between college, internship, internal exams, external exams, vivas, morning standups, final exams, Slack-ing for every small thing, having chai on the 7th floor and Friday to Friday breakouts I completed my Internship.

Life at Haptik - Before and After Office Hours

These 5 months have been the most hectic yet the most productive phase of my life. And as a reward for my efforts, I have been offered a full-time job at Haptik and am looking forward to learning and working at Haptik.


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