Hi! I am the data science (and web development) intern in Do The Samurai. Recently I just finished my two-month stay in Tokyo (how time flies!!) and went back to Shanghai. Looking back on the whole internship, I found a lot of unforgettable gains and memories that I would like to share with everyone. Take your popcorn and get ready for the stories!
In general, I would divide the whole internship into two stages: learning and creation. I consider these two stages are closely connected with each other and both carry important value to me.
The learning stage concludes my first two weeks at the company. As a data science student, I still remember the confusion I got when I am able to access the hotokami database. The difficult column names, missing data and overwhelming size of database all became obstacles for me to grasp the meaning behind data. In order to solve these problems, the very first method that I can think of is to use Python, the programming language designed to perform extensive data analysis. However, after some time, I realized that although python works in the school, the long time it took to perform an analysis and the vulnerability of errors within the codes all makes the method unfeasible in the production environment.
Therefore, I decided to turn for a more powerful tool that is made for quick and efficient visualization of data - google analytics. Since I almost had 0 experience in GA before, I spent one week learning the basic knowledge like second dimension, bounce rate and etc. As a result of it, I made a 50 pages Google Analytics Manual which not only helps me but also my company to perform future data analysis.
In addition to data analysis, I also spent much time performing market research for the future of Hotokami. After reading over 60 pages of various reports and travel blogs, I gained a deeper insight into the potential demands in the Japanese travel market upon 2020 and suggested the general directions Do The Samurai should head for accordingly.
The creation stage is the succession of learning. After two weeks of getting familiar with the company as well as the market, I combined those pieces of knowledge with my own perspective to form new initiatives. The first project I took lead in creating is the shrine and temple heatmap. Inspired by the effect of direct data visualization, the high abstraction characteristic of the heat map provides easy and understandable access to the data for users without the need of having much knowledge. With the help of other public media, the heat map page reached over three hundred thousand views within 15 days, suggesting a possible direction we could head for in spreading the knowledge of Shinto and Buddhism to the general public.
The other initiative created is the black ship project inspired by my market research. It creates a bridge that successfully connects the resources currently held by Hotokami and turns it into useful help for the incoming foreign travelers. The project is currently under development, and will soon go through the alpha testing stage in the near future (excited!).
As a web developer, one final piece of work that I am participating in is helping transiting Hotokami to ruby on rails framework. During the development, I am able to deploy multiple new functionalities including ajax partial rendering to boost page response time, Action Cable to enable real-time synchronized update for all users, and etc.
In all, I am very grateful for the two months I spent in Do The Samurai. Throughout the process, I am able to constantly learn new knowledge, combine it with my own thinking and build initiatives upon what I've learned. This becomes a virtuous cycle which helps me in improving myself as well as the company. In the rest one month of my summer break, I would keep the ruby on rails and black ship project development keeping in mind to maintain that cycle.