Working at ALFRED – WALTER’s story

My 6 Months Internship

Enjoying the sunny weather in HH.

I’m Walter, a data scientist at ALFRED Maritime. Besides working, I study Operations Research at Aalto University in Finland, my home country. I initially joined ALFRED through my studies as an intern in November 2021. I had previously considered going for exchange studies in Germany but had hesitated due to Covid. However, as I had the opportunity to include an international internship in my studies, I took the job at ALFRED. As I had no other obligations, I basically just packed the car and drove to Hamburg. 

I had little experience in software development, so I was quite anxious about starting to work on one of ALFRED’s big projects already on my second day. Thrown in the deep end, so to say. But as I got over the initial shock, I was very happy about the situation. I got a minor task where I experimented with forecasting and learned about the project as a whole at the same time. It was a while until I could honestly say that I actually contributed, but thanks to great tutoring and meaningful tasks, I learned new things every day.  

My main tasks related to an energy efficiency project for a next-generation cruise ship. The workdays were spent programming, taking part in meetings with stakeholders, and discussing with the other team members of ALFRED. The core team is a small, diverse team of skilled professionals from various backgrounds such as maritime energy efficiency, software development, the internet of things, robotics, and machine learning. We like what we do and are eager to learn more. The atmosphere is friendly and encouraging, and I was warmly welcomed.

ALFRED’s office is located in Hamburg, Germany. The city has one of the largest harbors in Europe, and it is a key part of the city’s identity. The Elbe river that flows through the city is lined with both cranes and canals, and in the middle of the city is the Alster river with its two lakes. As Hamburg is a huge city, there is a lot of stuff to do. In my free time, I liked exploring the different parts of the city and taking part in events. Hamburg has an incredible international community, where everyone can join and take part and host events. To name a few, there were movies, culture, pub quizzes, picnics, and different sports. I really enjoyed the weekend hikes, where we would walk as a group for the whole day somewhere in Hamburg’s vicinity. Making new friends in Hamburg is not a problem, even if you aren’t very good at German.

As time progressed, I learned more and more about how ships work and how software is developed, and also of the traditions and culture of the maritime industry. Ships are huge investments, and I appreciate how MEYER WERFT also does the “extra” mile, such as keel-laying ceremonies, to honor traditions and celebrate the occasion. Shipbuilding techniques have changed a lot over the centuries, but they are still performed by skilled craftsmen who are proud of what they do. I can hardly wait to have some of my work deployed on ships. Will be very satisfying to one day be laying on the deck of a cruise ship, knowing that it is operated in the most sustainable way with the help of ALFRED’s AI.

The six months internship passed quickly, and after May, I continued working full-time, both remotely from Finland and on-site in Hamburg. At the end of the summer, I headed home to finish my studies. My plan is to finish them by the end of the next semester, and meanwhile to support ALFRED as a part-time data scientist. Lots of work still to be done.  

Cruise ships are a world of their own, where many fields combine to create floating cities that sail all over the world. Integrating and managing all the individual parts in an efficient way is a huge task, both during construction as well as in operation, and will be a key part of maritime decarbonization efforts. With its connection to MEYER WERFT, ALFRED is a front-row place to work, and to contribute to a greener future.