How Apziva’s Director of AI broke into Machine Learning


We interviewed Apziva’s Director of AI & Springboard mentor, Semih Yagcioglu. Here are our key takeaways — diving into how Semih broke into Machine Learning, his position managing a crew of engineers & researchers, and his recommendation for college students getting began within the discipline.

How did you get considering machine learning?

I work because the Director of Artificial Intelligence at Apziva the place we deal with constructing AI-based options to real-world issues together with hands-on coaching in Machine Learning and offering consulting to our companions within the areas of numerous AI matters. In the meantime, I’m working in the direction of finishing my Ph.D. in Computer Science at Hacettepe University the place I deal with creating strategies for higher comprehending and reasoning about multimodal how-to guides. Before Apziva, I used to be main a bunch of researchers and engineers in AI/ML at STM. I’ve been concerned with Machine Learning for a number of years now however the final 5 years occurred to be extra intensive because the current developments round Deep Learning spurred quite a bit of curiosity in each the business and the academy. 

My publicity to Machine Learning started after I was an undergraduate within the Computer Engineering division at Eskisehir Osmangazi University. Apart from taking the related programs, I had the chance to work on a Computer Vision drawback as my senior 12 months challenge. After graduating I labored as a Software Engineer for a pair of years within the business in numerous initiatives. Back then Machine Learning was not that common, particularly within the business. Therefore most of my efforts on working within the discipline began closely round when Deep Learning began to vary the established order within the analysis. 

Alongside my Ph.D. in Computer Science I used to be working as a Machine Learning knowledgeable within the business, the place I had the chance to work on numerous Natural Language Processing initiatives in addition to Computer Vision initiatives. Apart from the event and design I additionally delivered a number of coaching programs within the Machine Learning discipline.

How was switching roles inside the house? What was the position transition was like out of your earlier position to your present position?

In my present position, I’m chargeable for managing the entire AI efforts together with strategic planning, analysis, growth, coaching and consulting. Switching roles is nearly at all times a problem however in the event you occur to construct the abilities you would wish in your subsequent position, then that transition must be a easy one. In my case, I had the chance to construct these expertise throughout my earlier position, due to this fact it was a easy transition for me.

What’s it like to guide a crew of engineers and researchers in AI/ML, as you probably did in your earlier position?

Leading such a crew in the direction of fixing numerous real-world issues is a really difficult activity, but it is extremely rewarding in numerous methods. One specific problem is that particularly with reference to Machine Learning is that the experience degree of the crew members ought to match with the issue you are attempting to unravel. A extra senior crew is preferable to a junior crew if you wish to clear up difficult duties. Especially, for utilized analysis issues the diploma of uncertainty is commonly a bit increased than the common software program growth initiatives. Therefore you’ll want to take this into account and plan accordingly. Another problem is because of the nature of the utilized analysis issues we had been coping with, having an agile mindset is essential within the sense that you’ll want to adapt as shortly as potential to the on a regular basis challenges. To make clear a bit, in a analysis challenge you usually attempt to falsify a speculation, or extra merely you attempt to discover a manner that works after numerous trials and errors. In an utilized analysis challenge, nonetheless, you’ll want to construct a product or a service round your analysis. This requires quite a bit of effort and making selections underneath a number of constraints.

What was it like transitioning from a software program place to an ML one? 

I feel in some methods it’s a utterly new world and in different methods, it is extremely just like software program growth. Having a strong understanding of how software program works and having the ability to develop software program lays an excellent basis when making that transition. However, the instruments, the phrases, the ideas are utterly completely different from the usual growth perspective. My benefit was I had already prior publicity to machine learning earlier than making that transition. In that regard making the transition was not that tough for me however despite the fact that I used to be acquainted with the ideas and had prior ML expertise it required making quite a bit of modifications in my each day work routines. I feel essentially the most difficult half when transitioning from a software program place to an ML place is that you’ll want to get used to designing and coaching a mannequin to unravel your drawback as an alternative of coding each element and case.

How has your expertise been with Springboard on the subject of mentoring?

I feel I had one of the most effective experiences to this point in phrases of working with Springboard. I imply from the primary minute when the Springboard crew approached me, to the entire onboarding course of in addition to the mentoring expertise every part was very easy for me. In regards to mentoring, I’m very pleased that I began mentoring with Springboard. One specific cause for that is that it is extremely fulfilling within the sense that you’re making a big impact on somebody’s life by each offering your experience within the discipline but in addition sharing your expertise with them whereas offering steering all through this system.


What recommendation would you give to individuals seeking to be taught machine learning? 

I consider hands-on expertise is admittedly vital on the subject of machine learning. As a facet notice, it turned very easy to seek out sources or supplies on the net however machine learning is a large discipline and one can simply lose her manner among the many plethora of content material. In that regard, I’d advise looking for steering from somebody whom you possibly can belief to at the least show you how to get in your toes whereas gaining hands-on expertise.

What recommendation would you give to someone seeking to begin their profession in machine learning? 

Having a strong understanding of math and programming is vital on the subject of beginning a profession in ML. But it might sound a bit intimidating in the event you don’t have a strong background in these areas. If that is the case, you possibly can observe a high to backside method whereas studying ML and begin creating ML fashions in a short while however turning into an knowledgeable takes years and if you don’t cease investing an honest quantity of time in creating your self in ML I feel it should repay despite the fact that it’s onerous.

Ready to begin or develop your machine learning profession? Check out our Machine Learning Career Track —you’ll be taught the abilities and get the customized steering you’ll want to land the job you need.


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