My alarm goes off, but I’m almost definitely going to hit snooze for another 15 minutes. Working from home means no 90-minute commute to the office, so I’m taking advantage of the extra time to sleep in.
Okay, I’m up—time for a coffee.
Time to log on! Although I have no set start time, I prefer to start work by 8:30 am. While everything is loading, I’ll jump on my phone and check Yammer for any updates relevant to me. Once that’s done I’ll move onto my emails, replying where I need to and flagging any action items for follow up.
My manager has assigned me the task of analysing a large amount of text data from a free text field in one of our client forms. I need to find out what kind of information is being reported in this field by our clients. Natural language processing is new to me, so I’m going to need to do some research on this field, but first I want to familiarise myself with the form and the data. A previous grad has already done some work on this so I reach out to them for any additional information they can provide. They provide me with their handover and some additional resources to go over. They also let me know that I can follow up with them if I have any questions.
I spend some time reading over this work as well as other information I have available relating to this form. I start looking at the data and notice it’s going to need some preprocessing and cleaning. I’ve been learning the programming language Python this year, so I’ll be using that to clean up the data. I spend some time manually inspecting the data and write up some basic lines of code that I’ll need in order to analyse the text.
Morning tea! I’m not a big breakfast person, so I’ll make myself a smoothie. While it’s blending, I’ll walk around my apartment a bit to stretch my legs. I’ll also brew a pot of tea to keep me going for a couple more hours.
I want to start researching natural language processing, specifically topic modelling techniques. There are many different methods, so I need to figure out which will work best for my data. There is A LOT of information available, so this is going to take a bit of time. I make sure to document my research in case anyone wants to look over it or it’s needed in the future.
Time for a group meeting with our Program Manager on MS Teams. These meetings are great while working from home because you get to catch up with other grads, even some you wouldn’t usually see in the office. Our Program Manager fills us in on any developments within the grad program, such as upcoming probation meetings and takes some time to see how we’re all progressing with the assessable components of our grad program. We have a chat about how everyone feels with their current working arrangements and discuss any other exciting news anyone brings up.
Back online to continue researching.
Lunch time. My fridge doesn’t have quite the same variety of food on offer as Sydney’s CBD so leftovers it is.
I’ve found a topic modelling method that I think looks promising, but I need to know more about it. Since I have access to online learning platforms like Udemy and DataCamp, I jump onto these to look for some relevant courses on the chosen method. I find one that looks good and dive in.
Afternoon tea! Another few laps around the apartment while a fresh pot of tea brews. If I were in the office, I’d probably duck out with a colleague for some fresh air and a lap around the block.
Time for a team meeting. This is a great opportunity to hear about key developments in projects across the broader team. This is a longer team meeting than our usual stand-ups, with the second half of the meeting consisting of a presentation by a group of colleagues on the work they are currently doing. It’s interesting to learn more detail about the other work that goes on in the team, and questions are always encouraged. As a grad, this exposure to a variety of work is particularly helpful in figuring out what opportunities exist within the organisation, and what topics I might want to further explore.
The online courses can sometimes take a few hours to complete, but I’m at a point where I want to stop and implement some of what I’ve learned. I start working on my code. I get an error when I try to run my code, but it looks like this might be due to the format of the data. I’ll need to either fix this in preprocessing or tweak my code.
I also notice in my data that there’s some non-English text. I know this could cause problems in interpreting any results I produce, so I reach out to my manager for guidance. We discuss writing a language detection function to see how many records are impacted. I’ll need to do some more research, this time to determine if any language packages exist that suit my needs. I’ll start on that tomorrow.
Home time! I’m at a good stopping point for the day but were I in the middle of an online course component or debugging some code, I could stick around a little bit longer and accrue some flex. For now, time to save my progress and log off.
No commute means I have time to do things before dinner! It’s nice weather, so I’ll take a walk to a nearby park or the beach.
Time to make some dinner! This could take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on how adventurous I decide to be (or how much of a mess I manage to make).
I want to say this is bedtime, but I’m a night owl and I don’t have to commute tomorrow… maybe I’ll stay up just a little bit longer.