Sahit Potnuru discusses his practicum experience at Brunswick Corporation. He earned his MSIM in December 2022 and accepted a job with American Express.
What was your area of interest at the iSchool?
As an MSIM student, I was interested in databases and programming courses.
Where did you do your practicum, and what was your role?
I was an Azure Cloud Computing intern at Brunswick Corporation.
How did you find out about the practicum?
I learned about the practicum through career sessions conducted by the iSchool.
What knowledge and skills did you acquire?
I worked on two projects: (1) building a pipeline in Microsoft Azure using IOT Hub, Data Factory, Data Lake, and Cosmos DB to capture data from various sensors; and (2) developing a tech stack and pipeline to extract data from large files. The projects helped me develop skills in Azure IOT Hub, IOT Central, Databricks, Pyspark and improve my Python coding skills.
During my practicum, I had the opportunity to explore autonomous vehicle architecture and technologies. To build autonomous vehicles, we need to develop various machine-learning models, and all of these models have to be trained with different types of data to handle all kinds of scenarios. To gather such data, we have installed cameras and sensors on boats and recorded tons of data. This is a continuous process to train the model better. I worked to streamline the process of gathering data and building data pipelines. To do this, we need a type of system where a boat driver can turn on a boat and start sending the image and sensor data to the cloud. From there, we could access, refine, and process the data to train the models.
The architecture that my team worked on helps the company to develop internal capabilities and strengthen its value to compete against other companies. Technology like this can later be sold, which can benefit the company in generating value and help other companies to get into autonomy as well.
What did you like best about working at the company?
The company gave me the freedom to explore different technologies and to research and implement solutions. I didn't have to worry about failures while developing solutions.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in a practicum?
Challenge yourself and explore opportunities that you think will challenge your present abilities. Practicum is all about learning new things, exploring an unknown space, and indulging yourself with challenges. The day you start feeling comfortable, you will stop learning, and this stops your growth. The learning journey is important, and results will eventually fall in place.
What are your career plans?
I am happy to share that I received job offers from Brunswick Corporation, ADM, Axtria, American Express, and AWS. I am now a data engineer at American Express.