Portrait: Anna-Maria Halacheva.

Between university and customer meeting

Interview with working student Anna-Maria Halacheva

Anna-Maria Halacheva is studying at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart and is working as a student trainee at the same time. In the interview, she talks about time challenges, exciting practical experience and personal plans for the future.
[Photo: private]

Dirk Srocke: You are currently doing your master's degree at the University of Stuttgart and at the same time working as a student trainee at a globally active IT and consulting company. Do you consider yourself an employee or an academic?

Anna-Maria Halacheva: It really depends on the particular week: When I'm taking exams at university, I feel more like an academic; at other times, I spend significantly more time at my employer. There, I see myself as part of a flexible team that works on interesting projects and tries out new technologies.

Srocke: Sounds like a lot of exciting insights into practical applications...

A.-M. Halacheva: Yes, thanks to this experience I have broadened my knowledge and I am no longer afraid to use new tools. Also, I have now seen more informatics fields in practice. Working "hands-on" with customers on real data is super valuable and even more exciting than the formulas, reports and lectures we know from university.

Currently, I am working directly on a project for a large company in the telecommunications industry. There I can follow all the development phases in machine learning. I have participated in Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) to understand data and identify dependencies. And I've been involved in model training.

Portrait: Anna-Maria Halacheva.

About Anna-Maria Halacheva

Anna-Maria Halacheva has been studying at the University of Stuttgart since 2022 and specializes in Machine Learning. In her bachelor thesis she dealt with "AI Planning Under Uncertainty for Sustainable Buildings".

Srocke: What experience from your studies were you able to apply?

A.-M. Halacheva: The university definitely taught me how to learn. Without this experience, I might have capitulated to the many new tools, ideas and projects within the first few weeks. Not to forget the basics: My colleagues help me where they can, but of course you should already know some basics, e.g. how Python works.

Srocke: One question comes to mind: How do you reconcile all this in terms of time?

A.-M. Halacheva: Well, I'll be honest: It's really exhausting, because I've written 36 credits this semester and also worked 15 hours a week. That makes eight hours a day, with no weekends and no real evening breaks. You definitely need discipline and you have to be able to plan quite well.

But it's absolutely worth it and I don't regret my decision at all.

Srocke: Speaking of decisions: Have you already decided for yourself whether you want to pursue a career at university or in business?

A.-M. Halacheva: That's a good question. On the one hand, I'm attracted by super-interesting lectures or the work of some lecturers or doctoral students at the university. On the other hand, I really enjoy my work; at university I would definitely miss the contact with customers. So I think a purely university-based career might not be the right decision for me. But I can also imagine maybe doing a doctorate with a company or working in the research department of a company.

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