On March 02, 2017 I started my first day at SEPTA working for Encada LLC. Engineering Services. Going from working in the restaurant industry to a field related to my education and passion is unbelievable. My role is to work with SEPTAs New Payment Technologies (NPT). My responsibilities include testing Turnstiles, Fare Vending Device (FVD), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gates and Administrative Sales Devices (ASD) to assure they function properly.
My job quickly grew to allow for new responsibilities and I have been working 50-55 hours a week between different projects that I am working on. I track, monitor and analyze each system to find anomalies or problems in the system that may cause functionality problems on the client side or the backend. When doing the testing in the field, I follow a scripted (testing procedures) that is provided by Conduent (Xerox). If the system does not respond as the script details, we stop the test. The Conduent team has an opportunity to fix the fault right there, but if not the testing for that device is stopped and marked as ‘failed’. Conduent must correct the problem before the system can pass to move forward. I will go back out to retake the test again for that specifically failure point after Conduent corrects the issue.
I have been able to see how the SEPTAs NPT data center for the Philadelphia area is setup and how the system functions. While in the testing lab, I am able to see the backend to gain an understanding of what is going on when I am testing the system in the field. I have learned that there are so many variables to considered in natural environment. When in school the environment is controlled and we can focus on specific aspects or outcomes. This internship has allowed me to think on my feet and learn fast.
Every week I am able to attend meetings with senior executives and I am provided the experience of witnessing how a meeting is orchestrated. I notice that there is an art to how people communicate to resolve key business issues. Communication has been a key component to assure that people are doing their job and they are being held accountable. This experience is much different than working on school projects.
In addition to working full time at SEPTA, I have been given other assignments to work on from Encada. One project that I have been working on is for the Pittsburg Port Authority (PPA). I was provided all the data for 2016 pertaining to the Railcar and Bus systems with times for delays. The data had many variables to look at but my goal was to identify problem areas that was contributing to operation inefficiencies. The data sheet was larger then other files that I have worked with but I was able to filter the data and find specific issues in their transit system. After identifying the the troubled areas, I utilized Excel and Tableau to create data visualization. The learning experience allowed me to use skills from MIS2501, MIS0855 and MIS3535. I used project management techniques due to the complexity and number of variables. By breaking the task down allowed me to focus on specific details and set realistic goals. MIS2501 & MIS0855 are data focused course and each provided tools for working with data. R, Excel, Tableau and understanding how relational databases work all played a part for me to communicate my finds for my team.
Since March I have been working about 40 hours a week at SEPTA and working 11-13 hours a week on other projects for Encada. I am working consistently 200 hours per month. This has been an amazing experience to gain exposure to so many different areas in technology. I am hoping to move in to a permanent position in September.