Sanyam Bhutani

Machine Learning Freelancer

Dominic Monn: DL Practitioner Interview #1

September 8th 2018

Part 1 of the Series where I interview my Mentors

I have very recently started making some progress with my Self-Taught ML Journey. But to be honest, it wouldn’t be possible at all without the amazing community online and the great people that have helped me.

In this Series of Blog Posts, I talk with People that have really inspired me. People that I really look up to and that I learn and work with.

The motivation behind doing this is, you might see some patterns and hopefully you’d be able to learn from the amazing people that I have had the chance of learning from.

Today we’re talking with Dominic Monn.

A Great Leader, Founder, Community Leader, Self Driving Car Engineer and currently a DL Engineer working Remotely.

Sanyam:​ Hey Dominic! Thank you for doing this interview. I’m thrilled to be interviewing you.

Dominic: Hey Sanyam, always glad to talk to you!

Sanyam: You’re one of the best Practitioners I have met in 2018.
Can you tell the readers about yourself?

Dominic: Oh, what an honour :) My name is Dominic, I am 20 years old and working as a Deep Learning Engineer for Loom.ai. The company is SF-based and I am working remotely from Switzerland. Aside from other things, Loom.ai is the company behind Samsung’s AR Emoji.

Before that, I was a Deep Learning Intern at NVIDIA in Zurich. I got there after doing the Udacity Nanodegree for Self Driving Car Engineers.

Sanyam: Awesome.

You’re also working on a lot of platforms outside of your job. Can you share more about these?

Dominic: I like to spend my weekends and my free time building sideprojects. The two taking up most of my time are MentorCruise, a marketplace to connect students with experienced mentors in Tech — and RemoteML, a global community and job board, all around working remotely in Machine Learning.

I’m always looking for the next problems to solve and the next product to work on, it’s a lot of fun.

Sanyam: You’re an experienced practitioner today. But what was the first thing that got you interested in AI?

Dominic: I got started in Software Engineering with a 4-year apprenticeship where I worked at a software and web agency. After doing webapps and websites for 2–3 years, I just got bored of it and started branching out a little. I started dabbling a little with Unreal Engine and Game Development, then had a small interest in UX and ended up in AI/Machine Learning.

Sanyam: Was there a point where you decided that you want to take this up as your profession?

Dominic: My interest in Machine Learning started as just another sideproject. I got my fingers dirty in Kaggle and ultimately took on a Udacity Nanodegree. I always enjoyed experimenting and doing that as my profession (working in Research & Development) seemed like the obvious path. When I got the chance to go to NVIDIA (despite more lucrative offers as Software Engineer), I took it.

Sanyam: You’ve mentioned some of the great platforms that you’re working on, and I personally know that you ship code very fast.

How do you manage to work on multiple task? What’s your secret?

Dominic: When I wake up, I always know what I’ll work on for the day. I plan out my whole day the evening before, using Todoist. I work full-time, which takes up most of my day, so between meals, going for walks, working out and sleeping, I need to know what I can get done for the day. The key is to move fast and not being afraid of shipping things.

I usually have a large list of to-dos for each of my projects. Some are more important and usually get done quickly, some others have been on that list for months. It’s all about managing expectations, splitting up work in chunks and shipping fast.

Sanyam: We were chatting offline about your upcoming ventures. What can we expect from logits.co?

Dominic: RemoteML started out as a small job board. Nowadays we are over 750 members worldwide, most of which are burning to get some work in Machine Learning. Companies and startups can use Logits.co to tap into that community to hire freelancers for their projects. I am excited to see how it’s going to work out.

Sanyam: Before we conclude, What best advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?

Dominic: Don’t be afraid to get your name out and your hands dirty as early as possible — both in business and Machine Learning. Ship fast and get internships, be determined and the rest will come by itself.

Sanyam: What would be the best place to get in touch with you or follow your work?

Dominic: I’m fairly active on my Twitter (@dqmonn) and my DMs are open. I’m also almost always online in the RemoteML Machine Learning Chat, so be sure to visit me there.

Sanyam: Thank you so much for talking doing this interview.

If you found this interesting and have any suggestions for interviewing someone, you can find me on Twitter here.

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