I always wanted to work in a field that I am passionate about and has a positive impact on our planet. And here I am: Working in a team that’s shaping the rapid electrification of transport, which is a key role on the road to CO2 reduction and energy transition.
Never say never to a city
I have been with Siemens for a little more than two years now and if there is one thing I have learned – never say you will never move to a city you have never been before. This is exactly what happened to me when I went to Newcastle, UK, for a two-month period during my PhD. I fell in love with the city, and here I am – working as a Data Scientist here ever since then. Not only did I leave my hometown – a small wine village in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany – behind, it was also my first-time joining Siemens. What I like the most about my new home is Newcastle’s function as a hub for digital technologies and, of course, the scenery! For a country bumpkin like me, it is the perfect place to be. I love being outside in the nature and the lake district up here in Northern England is amazing.
Nature, Flora, Fauna, and my way
Throughout my teenage years I was fascinated by nature, both flora and fauna. However, I struggled to find a career path in this area. This soon changed during the end of my physics studies at KIT in Karlsruhe when I became acquainted with solar cell research. I still remember the time very well when I was struggling to find my place in the world of work. To really find something that makes an impact. Eventually, I decided that the field of renewable energy and energy transition would combine my personal aspiration to preserve nature and my professional ambitions that put my skills to work. In my opinion, everybody plays a role in protecting our environment and should use their voice to speak up for it.
Looking for a job that covers it all
During my diploma thesis, I did intensive research on solar cells but was longing for a more direct and faster way to impact renewable energy adoption. I therefore started a PhD at ETH in Switzerland around the development and synthesis of cheap and earth-abundant solar cells. Unfortunately, the solar cells developed were not competitive with the existing, highly efficient technologies in the market. Moving forward, I wanted to find a job that enables me to make use of my know-how and really have an impact on energy transition.
Finding the job that covers it all
I finally found my role with Siemens in the former MindSphere Application Center (MAC) for connected batteries. Our team’s task was to develop a software for large grid-scale batteries to enable an increased adoption of fluctuating renewable energy resources to the power the grid. I have supported with data analytics and algorithm development.
Two years later, and I am now working on a fascinating project to optimize the way we charge electric vehicle fleets like buses e.g. for public transportation. By doing so, we are shaping the rapid electrification of transport, which is a key role on the road to CO2 reduction and energy transition. So, my path led me from fundamental research over development to hands-on support of adoption and implementation of renewable energy technologies. Now, I am a Data Scientist in a place where I feel my work has direct and immediate impact on the world and society out there. How? I am developing algorithms to optimize charging schedules in terms of cost and robustness, using data analytics to derive charging models that enable prolonged battery life. Creating simulations of depot operations that help customers understand their requirements on electric vehicle supply equipment (EV charging stations) for their specific use cases.
Personal development and skills for the future
I have not always been deep into Data Science. During the last two years, I did a postgraduate certificate in this field which enabled me to close the knowledge gaps I had in web development, programming, and integration of data analytics into software. Looking back, I am thankful for having the opportunities to develop myself and my skills. Is personal development easy in my working environment? I have never received a “no” when wanting to develop myself further – quite the opposite. Siemens actively promote personal development – it’s a core part of our culture here.
Apart from working as a Data Analyst and Algorithm Developer, I recently started a project around failure analysis of electric vehicle chargers. My colleagues and I are using the huge amount of data available from different data flows around the operation of these complex chargers. Further, we are using data science approaches to identify failures and their root cause. We are also developing a powerful tool to offer service engineers a fit-for-purpose filtering and structuring of the relevant information they need to further process the failure.
The way we work together
The project mentioned above is a great example of many stakeholders being involved who all play an active role. From service engineers around the world starting to use the first prototype of our tool to an agile development team with software and UI/UX experts who further develop and enhance the application. We are also collaborating with colleagues from our technology department who support us with the implementation of a machine learning pipeline. Collaborating with these great people who have many years of experience is a great way of learning for me and I really appreciate the exchange and interaction with them. If you want to learn more about their work, check them out here.
Quick wins and flexibility – a job for all scenarios
Data science combined with software development allows quick wins and success within a couple of weeks. We can create a tool or application that already helps external and internal customers. Nowadays, data is all around us and the exciting but also challenging part is to tease out relevant bits. With what we are doing, we are sitting right at the heart of big data transformation in industry and business. We are using the huge quantity of data generated by IoT devices and machine learning approaches to extract valuable information to drive our business and enable new use cases.
The beauty of my job is that it can be done from anywhere in the world. The new normal due to COVID forced my work to be done from home full time. This shift in work location has had no impact on the output of work I deliver. Personally, I really enjoy the freedom and flexibility. It also allows me to have more time for hiking, cycling, and running. Sitting in front of a computer all day long is not keeping me fit as you can imagine.
So, in summary: Do something that you are passionate about. Take on a role where you can learn and grow. A role where you get to work with amazing people and have the freedom and flexibility. It really is amazing.
To find out more about our Digital Minds at Siemens please visit www.siemens.com/careers/digitalminds