János is a Data Science student from Hungary. Currently he is studying for his master’s degree in Data Science in the Netherlands. He loves volunteering, hiking in nature and discovering new cultures.
So, what brings you to the Netherlands?
I’m currently doing a joint degree master’s program, where I’m spending my first year in Eindhoven, and my second year in Berlin. The program is called the “European Institute of Technology” and was founded by the European Union, and it offers degrees all over Europe: Milan, Nice, Stockholm… There’s also a mandatory summer school, so I’ll be in Helsinki in August.
Why did you chose to study computer science?
I loved Math in elementary school and I was always interested about how things work. My journey started quite early when I got accepted by a technical high school and started learning about telecommunication and informatics. I’m from a little village in Hungary with 3000 people called Diósjenő. There were fifteen people in my class, and three or four of us ended up going to Budapest; I moved to a dorm when I was fourteen.
Favorite project you have built? Most rewarding project?
I participated in an exchange program in South Korea and one of my project was a smartphone application which helps people with hearing problems. The application amplifies the voice according to a given frequency pattern. For instance if a person have problems hearing low frequencies, it relatively amplifies that range more.
I did my thesis in Armenia on developing a secure form of Android authentication. For a typical Android login, you have to draw a pattern. My goal was to develop an authentication method which was protected against shoulder-surfing, which is when when someone is standing behind your shoulder, looking at what you’re doing. Say you have 500 icons- when you register, you select ten of the icons as your password icons. When you open the authentication interface, you will see a bunch of icons, and four of them will be your password icons. They will form a cross, and you have to point at the middle of the cross. Do this 3 times with different sets of icons on the screen.
Most challenging project or experience you have gone through?
I would say it was my software engineering internship at Morgan Stanley in Budapest. I had to become familiar with an enormous software ecosystem and understand how the different parts in their risk analytics system are connected to each other. Even though I spent only two months at the firm, I had the chance to meaningfully contribute, implement new functionalities, and clean old code bases. I hope my lines of codes are still running daily and influencing financial decisions.
Favorite class you have taken? Why?
I shall mention the Introduction of Programming by professor Zoltán Czirkos at Budapest University of Technology. Zoltán was using very innovative teaching methods to make us understand the core of programming and without this basis I would have struggled a lot in the future.
Among more advanced classes, I would highlight the Process Mining course at Eindhoven University of Technology by professor Wil van der Aalst. It is a completely new field born in Eindhoven and I see its prosperous future in optimizing many kind of processes and workflows. (Eg. our homework assignment was to optimize a loan application based on previous inefficient loan application attempts.)
Most challenging class you have taken?
Definitely the Databases by Sándor Gajdos at Budapest. We had to understand all the core principles of database design and during the oral exam all aspects were asked very rigorously. But the effort was definitely worth it.
Other resources you have used to learn computer science?
Right now I am studying Functional Programming on Coursera and I already subscribed for some other massive open online courses. Also I took part in summer universities, for instance I learned about game development in Athens, Greece.
Internships/Research opportunities you have had?
I did some internships, I would highlight my experience in South Korea. I was working at a small start-up called GoQual and I was developing a smartphone application for communication within universities. Also it was a great way to discover the working culture of Korea. You know how when you study abroad, you mostly hang out with international students? At GoQual, I was the only foreigner in the office!
I also spent six weeks in Poznań, Poland, developing an Android application for enterprise resource planning.
Resources you used to get those internships?
I applied for the internship in Poland through the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience. My South Korean internship was offered by the university where I was studying at that time.
What would you like to do after school?
First, I would like to get experience in Data Analytics at a big international firm, then I am thinking about starting my own data science consultancy company. I am also considering doing a PhD in the future. Hopefully I can do my thesis at company like StarSchema, which does data analytics for companies like Facebook.
Advice for students interested in studying cs or pursuing projects?
What I feel I missed is I did not have a hobby project during my studies nor I did not take part in a hackathon, so all my experience comes from university assignments and internships. I would encourage everyone to think about interesting projects and just start working on it. Who knows, it might be a successful start-up one day.