Minseok, Machine Learning Engineer
3 min read
We speak to Minseok about his career journey at Tic:Toc.
Minseok has been a mainstay member of Tic:Toc’s Data Science team for almost three years. He’s focussed, diligent, and sharp as a tack. You’ll typically find him working quietly away on a project, with his head deep in code, refining machine learning algorithms. We spoke with him about his role to get an inside look at Tic:Toc.
It was about two and a half years ago when I joined Tic:Toc. Back then, I hadn’t heard of Tic:Toc, but things have changed now. When I talk about home loans with my friends, they know us. I now get asked several questions about our rates and products. I’m glad that more people have started noticing us. I’m sure many more will too.
When I stepped out of the lift, old wooden floorboards and an industrial ceiling greeted me. People were full of energy and cheerful. As I walked down the corridor there were many random items: a paper mache head and a large, life-sized granny cut-out. People seemed to genuinely have fun working at Tic:Toc.
No, Adelaide is not my hometown since I was born in Seoul, South Korea. But, Adelaide is like my hometown and especially to my family since we’ve spent the majority of our time here. I do enjoy working in the city. Everything is nearby, and it’s great to commute. There are heaps of options for lunch, snacks, and coffee!
As a machine learning engineer, I feel it’s challenging when I can’t have straightforward answers and fast results. These are natural challenges that all machine learning engineers face. You have to go through a lengthy process starting from data collection to model training. And, there is no guarantee that your approach will be successful after the long process. Think of a detective who has to collect as many pieces of good evidence as possible to make the best guess. In my context, it is data that directly impacts the quality of my analysis and machine learning models. Preparing quality data is a big challenge because it requires a long time and manual work. And, it needs a lot of patience.
It is very rewarding when my work leads to a product that improves people’s lives. It is especially rewarding since you invest a long time in developing it. There is that satisfaction when you finally see it bearing fruit.
A detective who collects evidence and makes the best guess.
I would recommend them to learn back-end coding. The code you use in the machine learning and back-end domains are different. In machine learning, you code to prepare data and train machine learning models using the data. Where does the data come from? From the main product. If you can understand the language that’s used to build the main product (in our case, C#), you can build your data pipelines and implement machine learning models you trained using the data. You can have a wider spectrum in your work.
I’ve been reading “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”. It explains how the U.S. food industry used and is using those three ingredients to attract kids and adults and make them addicted to them. It was interesting to know that they have a math formula that calculates a level of addictiveness.
Yes, I think I’ll keep working. There are certain things that money cannot buy, and I think working here is one of them.
My first coffee is usually long black. After that, I’ll have another long black or latte.
Interested in a career at Tic:Toc?