Well, colour me enthusiastic.

“It’s about the enthusiasm which surrounds people who are talking about the things they are most passionate about” points out Cillie when we are talking about the Rabbiteer Sessions.


The what?

Our Rabbiteer sessions are our way of bridging the gap between university and the working world as well as a way to upgrade your workplace. With the fast advancement of tech, we make sure you never miss out by giving experts a platform to keep you in the loop.

This was the very first time we presented at JoziHub. Jade gracefully and comically opened for us.

Wat Se Cillie Malan?
We wanted something for students, we wanted to get involved in a university and hopefully show the students something that they wouldn’t see, see what it is really like being in the industry. Show them things that they might not learn at university. With the Rabbiteer intern program for those “pass” the program we offer them a job afterwards. The idea is that we interview people before they come into the program and then going through the program we see where they are at –
help them with their projects and through university. Those who stay with the program get offered a job. In our first year of running the program, we had 10 Rabbiteers and ended up hiring half of them.

We went to the Google Cloud conference in March and one of the things which we wanted to get out of that was to return to present some of the things that we learned there, they were announcing a lot of new things.

My idea for the session that I did this time was to of show students and whoever else wanted to join us, some of the things which Google offers on their cloud platform as well as the kind of things we can do nowadays which are so easy to do compared to how we did them before. My session was specifically about Cloud Machine Learning. Machine learning is the hot buzz word these days, everyone wants to use this hammer to fix all of their problems. Machine learning is kind of a hammer and everything becomes a nail. I wanted to start by showing what the cloud does as there are a lot of misconceptions about that and then I spent a bit of time talking about what machine learning is.

I also showed many of the problems machine learning solves, specifically problems on the Google Cloud platform which can be very easily solved with the services they offer – like their speech recognition which you can integrate your own application into their speech recognition software, you can use their image classification software which includes things like detecting the emotion of faces, it will say if an image is appropriate or not, all sorts of things. So, I basically went through the services Google offer as part of their machine learning as they are arguably the industry leaders in that field.

Wat Se Frikkie Snyman?
In 2014, during my second year of university, it was career day at Tuks. There were a bunch of companies who had stalls there, Retro Rabbit was there. My friends and I went to a few of the companies to ask if they had internship programs and what they were about. They all asked us what year we were in. No-one offered anything for second years. We then came across Francois who asked us to mail him. We had interviews and then our internship program started.

It was 5-hours a week of shadowing and doing some work. The year after that the Rabbiteer Intern program launched, made up of a bunch of pre-selected students who came in for interviews. The same process followed in 2016. 2017 saw the Rabbiteer program becoming very much about talks to prepare you for industry. It has the goal of teaching, it teaches you the stuff that they don’t teach you at university.

In university, we learnt all of this cool stuff, some of the algorithms and A.I but we had no idea how to develop a project from scratch. So, the idea was to come in and learn how this is done – how do you actually develop a website and how do we apply the stuff we are being taught at university in this developer process as well.

In one of the recent session, Cillie Malan did a talk on the Google Cloud platform, he showed us you can do all of this A.I stuff and you can run different set-ups of neural networks in the cloud and the thing just runs. I was thinking back to my honours year, I had my PC at home running models for like 2 weeks on end, in that time I couldn’t actually use my PC. I wish I just knew about the Google Cloud platform before doing my entire honours year it would have been way easier.

The environment you find yourself in at Retro is not the typical software developer environment…
When we came for the interviews we were wearing suits and ties and I was feeling silly. It is not what I expected it to be it is way better. It is a nice environment where everyone is comfortable to do their job. You can do a better job when you are comfortable.

Author Sandy L

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