Learning Java with Monsters

At BiG we’re passionate about innovating with data but it’s coming together of brilliant minds that makes what we do possible. Rich flow of fresh talent and attitudes is crucial to keep our enthusiasm for problem solving with data infectious.

Here is what our intern, 4th year Mathematics student Conor, made of working at BiG. His responsibilities included: writing code, analysing data and learning to operate office robots (a form of machine learning!)

My name is Conor and I’m a 4th year Mathematics student at the University of Exeter. In June I spent one month as an Intern for BiG Consultancy. Before my internship, I had limited experience with programming and knew very little about big data. Once I had arrived, met the team and had a tour of the office, I was given my first task. I was to spend my first two weeks learning how to use and program in Java. I had no prior experience with Java, so it was a steep learning curve, but Gerry helped me to overcome any obstacles that I faced. I was challenged to create a text-based game by the end of the two weeks where the hero, Conor, had to go through different rooms, encountering and defeating monsters along the way. I was proud to have created this game from scratch after such a short space of time. It really opened up my eyes to the many applications of Java.

After successfully playing Frankenstein and creating an army of monsters, I moved from learning about the software development aspect of BiG Consultancy to data visualisation. In the next two weeks, I learnt how to use SQL to extract data. I found this to be significantly easier to work with than Java! With the help of Chris, once I had created data tables, I was able to manipulate them to create visual representations using programs such as Tableau and KNIME. This made the data easier for a client to analyse.

I really appreciated the time that I spent working at BiG Consultancy. With the help and guidance of the team I was able to develop my skills in programming in Java, as well learning about data analysis and visualisation. In addition, this was the first time that I have worked in an office environment, so this was also a very good experience. I especially enjoyed the coffee machine! Throughout the month internship, I learnt a lot about the rapidly developing world of big data and am excited to use the skills that I acquired here at BiG in my future endeavours.