Arsalan, Software Engineering Intern @ Sea Street

(back row, left to right) Me, CJ, Dave, Ryan, Bob; (front row, left to right) Taylor, Bernie, Paul

I spent this past summer as a Software Development Intern at Sea Street Technologies, a cloud technology startup based in Boston, MA.

Sea Street’s product, StratOS, is an automation system that manages both applications and infrastructure based on policy, and that continuously creates, updates and programs system architectures to meet the needs of the applications and the policies.

Being Part of a Small Team

I’ve seen myself working at a startup for the longest time and I was excited to seize this opportunity once it presented itself. The summer’s experiences confirmed that I want to find a career that offers close mentorship by supervisors in addition to balancing the freedom to tackle individual assignments.

Design Thinking in Problem Solving

The first six weeks were devoted to creating an efficient solution to the team’s current process of monitoring and reviewing various software build streams.

My partner and I used the process of Design Thinking to come up with our dashboard tool. We defined the problem at hand and we began to identify various pain points by interviewing the two groups involved: people who were assigned to send the daily email reports and those who received them.

Source: The Stanford d.school

The current process, as it was, relied on sifting through various directories and copying-and-pasting the information into a table. This was both time consuming and the resulting format could fall victim to the various individuals’ styles.

We took advantage of the existing Jenkins URL patterns to write a script that that interfaced with the REST API to gather appropriate data and load it into a table that would be updated in real-time. The produced-table was simply copied into the email template and sent out. The work flow decreased from 10 minutes to less than a minute in total.

Another feature request was to add context to show the connection between the defect logging system and any build errors. We used another script to interface with IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) to scrape the data from defect logs and link them to a stream’s build results. We had greatly reduced the need to interact with three separate entities and manage the correct data with our tool.

My partner and I presented our prototype to our supervisors and to those whom we interviewed, for feedback and iterated our prototypes based on those suggestions. This cycle helped us refine our prototype with significant upgrades and solutions that made our end users’ lives easier.

At the end of the six weeks my partner and I presented our work on the dashboard tool, along with a live demo to the Engineering team and the CTO, which went splendidly!

Navigating Independence and the Crockpot

During the second half of the summer, my focus shifted to working on various design initiatives to be implemented into the StratOS platform. The majority of this solo work was to improve the platform’s user interface and carry out an assortment of visual upgrades.

I approached the challenge of switching from having a partner to working solo by pushing myself to research and think critically and know when to ask questions.

Armed with a brief introduction to JavaScript, courtesy of CodeAcademy, I launched myself into understanding structure of the StratOS portal. I began to appreciate seeing the OOP principles of Java and applying in the JavaScript context, not only with CSS styling but also with the types of portal views I created/modified.

In Sum

This felt so different than the classroom, as with prior internship experiences I felt extremely driven by making something that exists and is used by others.

Learning to work and live independently pushed me to become actively conscientious of my my health and my responsibilities. I learned the to prioritize and communicate.

I learned the basics of cooking how to make CrockPot meals! I explored Massachusetts and learned to be a tourist my own and loved every moment of it, especially touring Salem, visiting MassChallenge and attending classes at the Artisan’s Asylum.

I only have a glimpse of how development teams collaborate and the way each individual fits into the work flow and know that I want more. Working at a startup was always something that enticed me and I now have more confidence to pursue this kind of environment when searching for my first job.

Onward to bigger things!

This internship was sponsored by the HWS Guaranteed Internship Fund and Langdon Cook L.H.D.’12, P’99, P’05, an investor in Sea Street Technologies, for five years.