My Time at Sirius

I landed an internship this summer, I know I was surprised too. Let me introduce you to Sirius Minerals the FTSE 250 traded company.

Also a shout out to Hull Uni for letting me know through their jobteaser platform. So the week after I got the job I moved to Scarborough for 2 months. Honestly it was a fast but 100% worth it for the experience I gained in those 2 months.

Sirius Minerals

Sirius Minerals is a fertilizer development company. Most people would describe it as a mining company, and I wouldn’t blame them they are developing mine, so it makes sense. They’re a start-up but a billion-dollar start-up so I was pretty excited to join the team.

Every start up needs a ping pong table...

Social Space

Our mission is really to ensure food security for the world for a minimum of another 50 years so for a project of this scale with an estimated 9.7 billion mouths to feed by 2050, you can really see why investing in this area is key. Contracts and trails are already been signed or in progress from India all the way to Argentina. The main product is POLY4 which contains 4 of 6 macronutrients(potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium) that all plants need.

IT or BI in a VM..?

From day one I had to run a virtual machine, obviously this would have a performance impact, but my setup wasn’t bad…

My Setup

Yep, Thunderbolt daisy chain too and i7 of course and 16GB standard, I wasn’t a fan of Thinkpads but it has grown on me. Open source software was dominant here, being a start up after all it’s important to keep overhead low. Most of their servers run on Ubuntu so I had to have one for development purposes, but I have to say my preferred flavour of Ubuntu has to be POP OS. A virtual machine with an SSD works really well, much better than my previous experiences.

The Unix experience was so good that I even have it installed on my personal machine. It’s very convenient to have one installed just in case you have to run a Linux utility; Docker containers in particular in my case are so good they have become my preferred installation medium. And this does away with the Windows pro requirement which is just obnoxious. Being new to this stuff made it a learning curve but everyone was really helpful, and the GM of technology even sat down with me to help me with some cron jobs I was having trouble with.

I coded my first ever Java project, an application that consumes a REST API from a popular task management system and exports this to a Postgres database. Now this is very useful for backup but also allows for the application of Business Intelligence software. In my case this was Metabase, an open source, modern BI solution built on Clojure, but I did go on to run some tests on Apache Superset and Redis. Elasticsearch + Kibana looked very promising and was very polished but required a NoSQL to be maintained along side our Postgres database so it was unsuitable in case.

Now most data scientists code in Python so that was the next thing on my list. I spent a week learning a very different programming language and it’s become one of my favourites syntactically. I produced less verbose code compared to either Java or C#, and with my data mining module next year I know it could be very useful, not to mention machine learning.

With this being my first internship I’m truly grateful that I had the opportunity to join the team and be part of something that will have a lasting impact on a local and global scale, and hopefully they’ll have a placement or a grad student next year.

My Setup