Summer Intern

Getting to Know Our Summer Interns: Introducing Jordan

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This is part 3 of our intern introduction blog posts. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

By: Jordan Manthey

I’m 21-year-old and from Tampa, Florida, going into my 4th year as a UC Berkeley undergraduate student, studying computer science and data science. Growing up along the Gulf of Mexico provided me with a conscious appreciation for water and consequently sparked my interest in Xylem and its mission to Solve Water. My experience as a software engineer intern here has allowed me to apply the skills I’ve learned from university to real-world problems. Though I feel that my classes have prepared me well for a career in software development, there are still several gaps between academia and professional work-- specifically around working in a team environment. Valor has done a phenomenal job bridging these gaps for me this summer, and here I’ll highlight some of my key learning experiences as an aspiring developer.

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JIRA

At best, my computer science classes have permitted one partner on projects to ensure academic integrity for all students, however, these restrictions no longer apply in the workplace with a full team of software engineers. I’ve found it incredibly useful to ask questions, take in suggestions, and learn from other people’s code in order to facilitate my own work. Valor uses an issue and project tracking software, JIRA, which reinforces this type of collaboration by allowing team members to make comments and share code snippets on any task. Because JIRA shows which people are assigned to each problem, it has been perfect in showing who to look for help when needed. I have learned that this tool is critical for software development and can highly increase team productivity when used correctly.

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DOCKER

I also quickly found it necessary to make sure my own projects are compatible with the company’s existing software and work properly on each team member’s machine. This problem has always been handled for me or completely overlooked in school, so I was intrigued about learning the ways in which Valor standardizes their software. Here we use Docker Engine, a software tool that deploys virtual containers to provide each team member with the same development environment across platforms. It’s very powerful knowing that the team will be able to run my code as expected when I work within the Docker container, and vice versa.

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UNIT TESTING

 I‘ve had experience creating unit tests for my academic projects to ensure my code behaves as expected, but this has always been a posterior exercise for my own sanity. Throughout my internship, I’ve experienced the benefits of writing unit tests before beginning the implementation process. Tackling real-world problems is typically not as clear-cut, and it can save significant time to consider the end goal of your program before you even get started working. This method will similarly make debugging sessions easier since you already have proper test suites to traceback any issues. Unit testing maintains a greater purpose when working within a development team-- It not only proves to others that your code runs properly, but it also will act as a signal to team members when their own changes compromise your work later down the line. 

Though I took what I’ve learned at UC Berkeley and applied it to my internship, I now plan on carrying what I’ve learned at Valor over into my final year as an undergraduate student. I give many thanks to the enjoyable and supporting team I met here this Summer as I learned and laughed a lot. But most importantly of all, I’ve mastered the Bay Area public transportation system.


Xylem Digital Solutions West hosts Norwegian Business School Delegation

By: Sabrina Strauss, Office Manager

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On July 26, 36 students from the Norwegian School of Economics’ Corporate Innovation program visited the Xylem - Digital Solutions’ San Francisco office to learn about innovation in the water industry.  The 36 students are all enrolled at a summer business certificate program at UC Berkeley. CEO Christine Boyle and their professor Leah Edwards have been working together for several years to help students gain office experience and learn about innovation in Silicon Valley. For the past 3 summers (2017-2019), Valor / Xylem has hosted two summer interns from the program, with both Xylem and the interns learning a lot each year. Interns have helped with marketing material, product documentation, and user group event planning. We also host them to a baseball game each summer. 

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The 2019 program on Corporate Innovation focusses on startup methods utilized within bigger organizations, as well as the acquisition of startups as a way to kickstart innovation in big companies. The one-day visit aimed to provide students real -life examples of corporate innovation, with a focus on the water industry. 

Christine Boyle started the session with an introduction of Xylem and their business mission, as well as the development of their relationship with Valor Water Analytics, which led to the company’s acquisition in 2018. Valor Water is now part of the Xylem - Digital Solutions group.  Next, Xylem staff delivered sessions on product management, data science & AI, and software development practices at Xylem. 

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The students showed great interest in each presentation, and had great questions.  It was a pleasure to have the group and their Professor stop by, and we are looking forward to the next batch in 2020.


Getting to Know Our Summer Interns: Introducing Celine

This is part 2 of our intern introduction blog posts. Part 3 will be posted in August. You can read part 1 here.

By: Celine Clausen

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I am a 23 year old woman from Norway and graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Norwegian School of Economics. As a part of my masters, I am attending a 10-week long program called Innovation School, during which I am studying at UC Berkeley and interning with Valor Water Analytics - A Xylem Company. 

Why I wanted to work at Xylem

It was mainly the combination of sustainability and technology that sparked my interest in working at Xylem. By contributing to solve challenges related to water, Valor also contributes with their software solutions to the resolution of water scarcity issues. I also liked how Valor is addressing one specific area, with the focus is to be the best in this area, rather than delivering several halfway solutions in several different areas. Also, I wanted to work for a company that will be relevant in the future, and I believe that Valor’s technological solutions are going to provide many water utilities with valuable analytics in the years to come. 

How I like working at Valor

It is very interesting to learn about an industry that is completely new to me. It is a fun challenge to understand how Valor's solutions work and the great value they bring to water utilities. I am also overwhelmed by the friendly people working here and the good vibe in the office. Valor has a very flat structure where all thoughts and opinions are heard, and even as an intern I feel appreciated which is very motivating when working. 

My future plans

I want to keep working with global challenges and combine my business degree with my interest in preserving the environment. Therefore, I will lead my master degree in a more sustainable direction, by studying energy, natural resources and the environment with an underlying business focus. 

As I enjoy learning and new challenges I can see myself working a few years in consulting before entering a more specific industry. My time with Valor has been a great learning experience, as I have learned how to quickly understand and adapt to a new industry and business area.

Life in San Francisco

I am a very active surfer so I am trying to surf as much as possible in areas close to San Francisco. Surfing has also been a great way to experience the culture, see the surrounding nature and meet new people. I also spend a lot of time checking out the different parts of the city and eat good food. San Francisco is a very cultural city, and I really enjoy all the art and music there is!

My best San Francisco experience

My best experience in San Francisco was celebrating Pride in Dolores Park with good friends. It was such a happy and colorful experience. I believe no other place does celebrating Pride better than San Francisco.