trivago tales in depth: Meet Sayon
“As I complete amazing three years at trivago this month, it’s been an incredible journey to look back, being blessed with aunique culture that I have lived and experienced in trivago every day!
Retrospecting the last decade before I became a part of the trivago family, I realize how I’ve been transitioning back and forth between photography and computer science to evolve my own sweet spot! At 19, I was at the peak of my photography interest when I dove into street photography and cinematography in Kolkata, India. At 21, I was finishing my bachelor’s in computer science after I had been being intrigued by coding during my teenage years. Considering the combination, I seemed to have been struck by one common interest: visuals and imagery in-camera and computer vision, which eventually led that led me to decide for a master’s degree in Germany with a focus on machine learning and image processing.
My inclination towards computer science was born around the time when I was introduced to the idea of programming at the age of 14. The ability to solve a problem with logical construction was fascinating to me. I already knew my subject of choice for under-graduation. On the other hand, the creative world of photography had captivated me at 16 when I was on a family vacation. I had inherited this passion from my father. That vacation was followed by recognition from an Indian national magazine that further boosted my enthusiasm!
I spent the first few years of my adulthood toggling interests. On the one hand, it was internships in startups exploring the world of software engineering. On the other hand, I was immersing myself in a bunch of creative people exploring the world of street photography, music videos, and film-making! I remember returning from the startup in the evening after a heavy workday and pulling off an all-nighter shoot for ashort-film during my bachelor’s days.
At 21, I was at a crossroads. I had some encouraging recognition and network in the photography world to pursue a challenging career in the field of art. I had already begun my photography blog. I did want to travel around the globe, but I wasn’t sure if I want to earn a living with photography. I didn’t want a mundane IT job either. At the same time, I wanted to learn more in the field of machine learning. So, I decided to move to Germany for a master’s degree in science with a camera in my backpack.
Initial days in Germany were difficult. I had moved out of the house 10,000 km away, managing everything by myself in a land where I didn’t even speak the language. The mathematical aspects of computer vision and neural network courses were hard nuts to crack. Good friends and perseverance helped me sail through. I was enjoying the new culture and keen to learn. I began to enjoy traveling beside my studies and continued photography. It took me a while to realize my imagery story with science and art. I had started internships and writing my thesis in the area of deep learning and satellite imagery. It fascinated me so much that I decided to start a Ph.D. on the topic. Talking about learning from experiences, within a few months I realized that unlike deep-dive theoretical research, I wanted a more people-oriented atmosphere to thrive and grow my passion for images in computer science. I decided to quit my Ph.D. in 3 months and joined trivago.
I feel blessed that I had the chance to continue my passion and join the domain of images in trivago. Starting in the Visual Content team in trivago back then was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Technically, I had the chance to not only build engineering pipelines transporting millions of hotel images efficiently but also work on machine learning projects to derive sentiments and information from these images to empower travelers who use trivago. I transitioned to multiple teams and domains in trivago, continuing to grow with a steep learning curve and bringing value with image algorithms and pipelines.
Today when I look back, trivago has given me the opportunity to not only push my technical skills, but also grow as a person. The leadership skills that I have gained help me become a better person even outside work. Apart from the challenger-mindset and open culture at work, the trivago on-tours, work from another office, incredible experience academy, etc. have helped me evolve my personality to a large extent.
I have more friends at trivago than colleagues. I love exploring history, culture, and cuisine. trivago has a unique composition of talents from ~90 different nationalities. Every single conversation that sparks fanatic learning is a motivation to take a leap forward and try something new.
Beyond my daily work, I enjoy helping trivago with tech-branding, public speaking, organizing the independent monthlyDusseldorf Data Science meet-up, taking part in Hackathons, pursuing personal machine learning projects that can make a social impact, organizing TedX event, writing tech-blogs, and most importantly, to keep learning. At trivago, I’m blessed to be empowered and feel strongly encouraged to pursue all of these projects.
Given my work flexibility, I managed to cultivate my creativity and reignite my fading passion for photography since I joined trivago. Having been recognized by the Indian Embassy in Berlin and the German newspaper of Rheinischepost, it’s been a constant learning process. I am happy to not be a part of the professional race when it comes to the art. I enjoy traveling as much as I can while exploring different parts of the planet and publishing photo blogs. In the last 6 years in Germany, I visited ~25 countries and gained experiences that I’ll continue to cherish forever.
That’s my story about how my love of images manifested in the science of computer vision and deep learning on one hand, and then art of photography and exploration on the other! A huge thank you to every single soul who has been a part of this journey of mine blending passion with profession, and trivago for empowering me with the perfect stage to innovate and grow.”
– Sayon, Data Science & Engineering