UM Students Intern at Research Institutes in Greater Bay Area

Text:Senior UM Reporter Savanna Lok │ Photo:Provided by the interviewees │  ISSUE 90 AUGUST My UM

During the summer holiday, many students like to take the opportunity to enroll in courses, travel, work a part-time job, or undertake an internship. This year, some University of Macau (UM) students interned at research institutes in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), in positions such as software developer or project coordinator. The internship opportunity allowed them to put their knowledge into practice and learn more about the latest research results in the GBA.

Zhang Hanxiang

Zhang Hanxiang, a fresh graduate of the Department of Computer and Information Science, interned at the Institute of Industry Technology, co-established by the Guangzhou government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as a front-end developer for educational Android apps. He learned object-oriented programming at UM and had the chance to apply his skills to Java development during the internship. ‘Our products are used by many people, so the company places a great emphasis on user experience,’ says Zhang. ‘I’ve studied human-computer interaction at UM and learned how to improve user experience.’ After the six-week internship, Zhang realised that this type of work is all about accumulating experience. ‘The Android system is updated every six months. Therefore, it’s important to have the experience of working with it,’ says Zhang. ‘I was once bothered by a problem about web development for two days, and had to consult people with more experience to find a solution.’

Zhang Weijian

Zhang Weijian, a third-year student from the Department of Computer and Information Science, interned at the Institute of Software Application Technology, co-established by the Guangzhou government and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ‘Although I applied to the position of product assistant, I wanted to do something related to research. In the end I managed to change my position to research assistant,’ says Zhang. ‘My job involved conducting studies on how to improve public transport arrangement and predict passenger flows,’ says Zhang. According to Zhang, his knowledge of mathematics and computer science from UM was a great help in data analysis and remodeling. During the internship, he learned about various deep learning frameworks and data visualisation tools. ‘I’ve never used the Pandas library before for data analysis and thus made many mistakes at the beginning. Later, under the instruction of my teacher, I became more familiar with the library and could finish the tasks on my own,’ says Zhang, who refers to himself as a ‘hardware killer’. During the time in the institute, all the computers that he had used ended up having problems. Zhang had no choice but to do the programming on his own laptop. The incident helped to boost his resilience and problem-solving skills.

Chen Shuyi

Chen Shuyi, a first-year master’s student of e-commerce technology, also took up an internship in Guangzhou, at the Fok Ying Tung Research Institute of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. During the internship, she provided assistance to the 16th International Conference on Advanced Molding and Materials Processing Technology held in Shenzhen in August. In her job in the institute, she was mainly responsible for finding information about mainland universities that offer programmes in related fields. ‘There are more than 1,000 vocational schools in mainland China, so it took me a lot of time to complete the search,’ says Chen. ‘Fortunately, my instructors and colleagues gave me good advice and some search results from the past. I did better than I was expected to.’ Her unit belonged to the Division of Advanced Manufacturing and Automation, which is a new research field for her. She liked the work atmosphere in the institute very much. ‘Each researcher has his or her own responsibility. The research atmosphere was very good there. It was a great experience,’ says Chen. She adds that she will consider working in a research institute after graduation.