A Day in the Engineering Development Group
By Dheekshita, engineer
By Dheekshita, engineer
As a member of the Engineering Development Group (EDG) at MathWorks, each day is quite different from the next. Because there is no such thing as a typical day, I am choosing to share the events of one of my most memorable days over the past few months.
8:30 a.m. Arrive at the Apple Hill campus, drop my bag off in my private office, and switch on my computer. Before getting down to work, I grab my thermos and head to the kitchen on my floor.
8:35 a.m. Make some tea. I usually choose one of the herbal teas from the provided selection, but today I feel fancy and decide to make a London Fog, which is Earl Gray tea with milk (though I use half-and-half, because why not?). While I’m making my tea, a colleague joins me in the kitchen. We chat for a bit about our weekend plans before heading back to our offices.
8:40 a.m. Check emails and meetings for the day. I see that one of my customer cases from the previous week has received responses. The customer was having an issue applying deep learning. I spend some time reviewing their code files and determine that the size of their inputs is causing an issue when training the model. After confirming that this is indeed the source of the issue, I type out an email to the customer explaining how to reshape their images to resolve the issue and link to some documentation that provides further explanations on expected input size. I send the email and close the case.
9:45 a.m. Attend scrum for my project team. As a member of EDG, I have the opportunity to work on projects with different teams on a rotational basis. My current project is with the MATLAB Grader team, and every morning we have a 30-minute meeting where we all give updates on what we accomplished the previous day and our plans for the current day. The day before, I had met with a UI designer colleague to get feedback on the component I was building for my project. So, my plan for the morning is to incorporate the feedback and send it out for some more feedback before lunch.
10:15 a.m. The team scrum ends, and I work on incorporating yesterday’s feedback into the design of my component. My project involves building a data visualization component with some configurable options. It takes me about 2 hours to finish incorporating all the feedback. I send pictures of the updated component in its various configurations to both my project mentor and the user interface (UI) designer.
12:15 p.m. Head down to the cafeteria for lunch. I make myself a salad and pick up some soft-shell vegetarian tacos from the hot bar. I seat myself at a large table with some other EDGers who started around the same time I did. Some of them I haven’t met in person before because I choose to work from home most days. We marvel over people’s respective heights and other seemingly trivial things that become apparent when meeting someone in person but are hidden when virtual.
12:30 p.m. During the lunch conversation, I discover that there is a trail between the two MathWorks campuses in Natick. Not only that, but MathWorks also offers a free bike-sharing program! It is one of the last warmer days of autumn before the winter comes in, so one of my colleagues asks if I want to take a bike ride to the Lakeside campus and back. Of course, I say yes.
12:35 p.m. Using the app, we check out bikes from the bike stand and set out. The bike trail is gorgeous: a paved path through trees with fall colors and passing a lake. The trail is also mostly empty except for a few elderly couples taking a stroll. As we ride, we soak in the last days of autumn and talk about our lives outside work.
1:10 p.m. We get back at the end of our lunch hour, return the bikes, and head up to our offices again.
1:15 p.m. Check my email and get back to work. I have not received feedback on my designs yet, so I decide to teach myself how to write unit tests. I read some of the other unit test files in the team’s code base, and I note down my questions. After an hour, I message my mentor to ask if I could set up a quick call to answer my questions on how to set up and run the test suite.
2:30 p.m. I call my mentor and ask him questions about how to set up a unit test and run the test files. He shows me shortcuts and shares some helpful documentation.
3:00 p.m. Read through the documentation and set up my first test cases. It takes me almost the rest of the day to write out skeletons of the unit tests I need for my component.
4:00 p.m. Take a quick 5-minute break. Head to the kitchen to make myself some herbal tea.
5:15 p.m. Feedback on my design comes in from my colleague in UI. I make some minor changes to the component immediately and make notes on what I need to do tomorrow.
5:30 p.m. Pack my bags and head out, stopping by one of my colleague’s offices for a quick chat.
Like most days in EDG, I spent my day working on different tasks of my choosing and learned new things from my colleagues. This day was particularly memorable, however, because I was able to enjoy some of the benefits of being on campus—chatting with friends, sampling the tea selection, and taking a MathWorks bike for a spin. The hybrid work model at MathWorks allows for a nice blend of experiences.