From Central Asia to DeepMind: A Software Engineer’s Journey of Learning and Impact

An Interview with Aliya Rysbek: A Software Engineer at DeepMind

We had the opportunity to speak with Aliya Rysbek, a software engineer at DeepMind, about her journey to the company and her role on the Platform team. Aliya is passionate about learning and has a strong background in computer science. Let’s dive into her experience and discover what she does on a daily basis.

What does a software engineer on the platform team do?

Aliya is a full-stack developer on the platform team at DeepMind. Her main responsibility is to work on a custom project management system that organizes all of the company’s research projects. This system helps plan and track projects, assign tasks to team members, and facilitate communication. Aliya builds different components of the system and improves its functionality by creating backend services.

Can you walk us through a typical day?

Aliya’s day varies depending on the phase of the project she is working on. If there’s a feature to be added, she collaborates with the team to come up with the best solution. She also deploys new features, performs maintenance tasks, and communicates changes to stakeholders. She spends her morning hours focused on critical work, and her afternoons are the most productive for coding. At the end of the day, she takes a break, chats with her team, and walks around the office for inspiration.

What’s something you’re particularly proud of in your career?

Before joining DeepMind, Aliya mentored tech students and high-schoolers in her free time. She helped them with their CVs and did mock interviews. Now, she has the opportunity to support non-profit organizations and local projects, which she finds fulfilling. She believes in bringing diversity and inclusion into the workplace, especially as a female software engineer from a developing country.

Can you tell us about your journey to DeepMind?

Aliya is from Kyrgyzstan, and getting a role at DeepMind was a significant achievement for her. English isn’t commonly taught in her home country, but with the help of scholarships, she was able to attend a private high school that improved her English skills. She discovered her interest in math and participated in national competitions. Later, she pursued computer science and completed her studies in Turkey and Hungary. With the support of her mentor, she prepared for interviews and celebrated five offers, including one from DeepMind.

How did you prepare for your interview at DeepMind?

Aliya focused on coding interviews and utilized resources that helped her feel prepared. She valued her background in computer engineering and gained internship experience that contributed to her confidence during the interview process.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of work, Aliya loves cooking and baking. Recently, she took advanced baking courses and impressed her friends with delicious creations like pavlovas, croissants, tarts, and complex cheesecakes. She also practices dance and Aikido, which keeps her active. Additionally, she has developed an interest in calligraphy and pottery. DeepMind offers various courses unrelated to work, allowing her to explore her passions and continue learning.

What kind of impact do you hope DeepMind has on the world?

Aliya believes in fair access to quality education worldwide, and she sees DeepMind as a potential contributor to this cause. The company has made efforts through scholarship programs and summer school support, but she believes there is more that can be done. Global access to education can unlock hidden talent and improve the overall quality of life.

Any tips for aspiring DeepMinders?

Aliya advises aspiring DeepMinders to make connections and reach out to learn more about the company, positions, or projects they’re interested in. Building relationships is invaluable and can help individuals find the perfect fit based on their skills, interests, and values.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Aliya emphasizes the importance of asking questions. She believes that people are willing to help and welcome curiosity. Understanding that it’s okay to not know something but having the curiosity to learn from others can lead to personal and professional growth.

If you’re interested in engineering roles at DeepMind, learn more about their opportunities and search for open positions today.

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