In this edition of Beyond Code, we shine a light on Daniel Danailov, Machine Learning Engineer at Anthill’s Center of Excellence. Passionate about programming from an early age, Daniel lends a unique perspective when it comes to crafting cutting-edge AI solutions. Beyond his love for tackling coding challenges, he also finds joy in pushing his boundaries in various aspects of life, as shown by his recent pursuits in running and playing the bass guitar. Join us as we take a glance at his exciting career journey, aspirations, and goals.
Q: Tell us about you and your career journey as a software developer.
Daniel: My passion for programming started when I was 11 as I began taking competitive programming extracurriculars and participating in national programming competitions. After high school, I attended the University of Manchester to gain a more comprehensive understanding of computer science, extending beyond the realm of coding puzzles. My first actual job was a summer internship at a Machine Learning (ML) company, where I was doing backend software engineering, but I had valuable exposure to the ML side. This experience deepened my newly developed passion for AI and ignited my interest in the practical application of advanced AI concepts. During my final year at university, I concentrated on honing my expertise in AI, culminating in my appointment as an ML Engineer at Anthill’s Center of Excellence.
Q: Can you describe your role at Anthill and what a typical day looks like for you?
Daniel: My role primarily entails technical tasks, such as exploring and experimenting with various approaches while assessing their effectiveness to ensure the performance and reliability of our ML algorithms. My typical day consists of a lot of coding and technical discussions with the team, some meetings with clients and partners, and a fair amount of fun and laughter.
Q: Please describe your job in a way that a 3-year-old would understand it.
Daniel: I’m like a special teacher who shows the computer how to do clever things like recognizing what’s in a picture or helping cars drive themselves. I use tricks to help the computer learn and get better at these tasks all on its own, without me telling it exactly what to do.
Q: How do you stay current with the latest technologies and trends in software development?
Daniel: I stay current by reading technical blogs, research papers and listening to podcasts about AI, such as Practical AI. I also keep an eye on tech news, including what’s happening on general social media platforms like LinkedIn. My colleagues at the CoE are also great at knowledge sharing and keeping me updated.
Q: What was your motivation to join Anthill’s team?
Daniel: My recruiter… I like giving credit where credit is due 😀 Joking aside, my main motivation stemmed from the chance to fully utilize my potential in crafting cutting-edge AI solutions. The diversity of projects across various domains at Anthill was another compelling factor that drove my decision to join the team, as I believe it will greatly contribute to my growth as a T-shaped specialist. Last but not least, the team’s professionalism, enthusiasm, and energy during the hiring process further solidified my motivation to become a part of Anthill.
Q: How does Anthill encourage and support its software developers to pursue their own interests?
Daniel: As I mentioned, one of my personal goals is to evolve into a T-shaped ML engineer while enjoying the journey, a mission that aligns perfectly with the nature of our work and includes a lot of self-learning, which is supported by Anthill.
Q: Can you share a project that you are currently working on that you find particularly exciting or challenging, and why?
Daniel: I’m currently working on enhancing an existing computer vision algorithm that our team developed. The challenge lies in optimizing the algorithm to deliver accurate results quickly, and I find the exploration of the trade-off between computational time and accuracy quite intriguing.
Q: What are your future goals & aspirations?
Daniel: I’d like to go head-to-head with our CEO, Georgi Gerginov, in a HackerRank battle 😀
Q: Last but not least, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Daniel: I’m a metalhead who enjoys listening to music and playing the bass guitar. I also like long walks and casual hangouts with a beer. A recent passion of mine is long-distance running in all its forms. Sometimes I unwind with a “10km walk in the park,” which takes me about an hour. At other times, I push my limits with more extreme, shorter runs. I also love cycling, swimming, and high-intensity cardio activities in general.