Interning at Øptimus with Josh Singer

What is it you say you do here? 

I’m an intern on the Data Science team. I work on any ad-hoc project that involves the word “analysis”. While my background is in R, I have learned to munge data in Python for statistical analyses and Excel for quick visualizations. Aside from scripting, I am researching new machine learning methods and building a database to improve survey sampling.

What’s it like interning at 0ptimus?

Øptimus doesn’t stop. I learned that if you can successfully balance projects, your Twitter feed, and unlimited access to the free food in the kitchen…you’re in good shape. In terms of work, I was put on a project which helped me learn Python, refine my skills in Excel, and R. In the office, we’re constantly debating the best D.C. restaurants, pop culture, and why the nacho cheese machine doesn’t get refilled everyday. 

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on here?

As campaigns prepare for the 2018 midterm elections, Øptimus provides candidates with statistical insights based on survey results. At the beginning of the summer, I was assigned to analyzing survey cost trends and researching feature selection methods. My job was to ensure these surveys were cost effective. I ran computed aggregate metrics and automated the calculations to view survey trends real-time. It has been eye opening to see how responses vary and affect our expenses.

What excites you about the work that you do?

Øptimus is focused on providing real results. It’s been exciting to know the projects we’re working on are solving real world problems in the political arena! I’ve learned how institutional knowledge and data integrity are the perfect components to success in Data Science. Data Science is storytelling with numbers to back it up.

What are a few of your favorite things about interning in DC?

Museums, monuments, and memorials sums it up. Aside from that, D.C. is one of the most bike-friendly cities! Once I moved here I immediately bought a bike. Now I commute everyday on the Mt. Vernon trail. To top it off, the Capitals just won the Stanley Cup so it’s been a super fun community to be apart of.

If you could do anything else in the world what would you do?

I’m just ambitious enough to want to be a semi-professional skier. I’d be good enough to make money off of it, but never reach superstardom. My plan has always been to live close to the base of a canyon to get in a few runs once my work day ends. Unfortunately, my skiing days will have to wait while I’m in data.