Tacos, Champagne, and Integration Testing: My Summer Internship at SWIM.AI

by Shovik Guha, on Sep 10, 2018 2:34:50 PM

My friend and fellow intern Will described SWIM.AI as a place where employees use Expo™ markers as door stops and forgo scratch paper in favor of writing their ideas on walls, but there’s another image that defines my experience at SWIM.AI. Weighing all of SWIM.AI’s quirky activities, one of the most memorable days for me was celebrating SWIM.AI’s Series B funding round with the seemingly odd pairing of tacos and champagne. Before I recount my experience as an engineering intern at SWIM.AI, let me introduce myself. My name is Shovik, and I am a rising junior attending the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign for Computer Science and Mathematics. Working for SWIM.AI this summer was an amazing experience, and I learned so much about both the technical aspects of SWIM.AI, and the logistical aspects of growing a tech startup in the continuously evolving landscape that is Silicon Valley.

Shovik Guha SWIM Integration Testing Final Presentation Cover

Click here to see Shovik Guha's Integration Testing Project Final Presentation 

Now, most of my industry internship experience has been at small – medium sized companies, both because they tend to have a more relaxed culture, and because I feel that I can have a more direct impact on the company. I was pleased to find that at SWIM.AI, both of my reasons for choosing small companies over large ones were validated. The company culture is here definitely leans more to the laid back and relaxed side, which is reflected in the attitude of every employee here. Make no mistake though, when something needs to get done, everyone here puts their nose to the grindstone and works diligently and precisely until the job is done. The most satisfying part to me is seeing how exactly my contributions impacted the final product, something that is only possible at a company which strikes the perfect balance between a relaxed environment, and working hard when needed.

Specifically, my main contribution this summer was creating an integration testing pipeline to test SWIM applications and see how they perform over time. The main issue with creating such a system is that collecting several different metrics over time produces a lot of data, which is hard to keep track of and manipulate. If only there were a way to aggregate real-time data coming from multiple sources and do some real time analysis, while storing all the data for more rigorous analysis at a later point in time…? Yup, you guessed it, I used the SWIM software stack to build an integration testing pipeline to test SWIM applications. If this sounds like a chicken and egg situation (or endless recursion if you’re a programmer), then I don’t blame you. But actually, the SWIM stack tends itself quite well to exactly these sorts of situations (and many more, of course). Over the course of this project, I learned a lot about how the SWIM libraries work internally, as well as the applications of these libraries from a user standpoint.

As my time at SWIM.AI this summer comes to a close, I can’t help but look back in awe at what I’ve been able to learn and accomplish in just one summer. From a technical standpoint, I truly believe in what SWIM.AI is doing, but I realize now that it is the people at SWIM that make SWIM what it is. From watching the World Cup semi-finals match projected onto a wall, to asking any of the engineers a nuanced, technical question about their code, to talking about the latest games for the Nintendo Switch, everyone here is one of a kind, in every sense of the phrase. Unfortunately, the summer is now over and I head back to school in 2 weeks, but who knows, maybe I’ll be back again for round 2 next summer!

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