Your dream job in Vancouver – developing software to save the planet

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Posted on: | Posted in: Life at Schneider Electric.

A year ago, I got a call that really surprised me. Schneider Electric was looking for software engineers and were interested in interviewing me. I told the recruiter my impression of the company: a French multinational focused on electrical equipment with 160,000+ staff and I asked him why do they need me?  He laughed and explained in three simple points what they are doing in the Burnaby-based solar business unit, and why should I join the team:

  • It’s an ambitious autonomous startup that can leverage all the resources and global reach of Schneider Electric
  • They are building something that will have huge impact on the planet
  • They are doing more cutting edge software work than anyone else in Vancouver

He’s good at his job! I met the people working at Schneider Electric, joined the solar business and today I am really happy that I made that decision. Let me tell you how I spend my days.

We are working on a product called Conext SmartGen™ a next-generation inverter for utility-scale solar power plants. Conext SmartGen converts the DC current coming from solar panels into AC current, then runs it through a medium voltage transformer so that the energy can be served to the grid. This is the dry electrical and mechanical engineering part, but how much actual software work is involved?

Surprisingly, quite a lot.  Backed by a strong group of systems engineers and a systems test team, the utility-scale inverter product has five cross functional and autonomous software teams:

  1. Controls – the stable flow of power in and out of inverter.
  2. Firmware – ensures safe operation of the inverter and its subsystems.
  3. Communications – develops a multi-protocol gateway between the inverter and plant equipment and the outside world.
  4. Apps – develops the cross platform responsive app to monitor, configure and service the inverter on site and remotely through the cloud.
  5. Cloud services – responsible for collecting, storing and analyzing inverter performance data, remote troubleshooting, asset tracking and predictive maintenance capability.

All these software teams are solving some very challenging software problems using different stacks of technologies and tools: from MATLAB and Simulink model-based design targeting FPGAs, to embedded C on RTOS or Posix OS, to Javascript-HTML-CSS-Angular-bootstrap for mobile apps and Azure IoTHub, Elastic Search, CouchDB and Big data analytics tools for the Cloud Services team. The challenging part is making it all work together through effective collaboration with different teams.

In the solar business at Schneider Electric, we are lucky to have some highly talented software engineers across these teams who are working with the common goal of making a huge impact on the world we live in. In order to keep growing our business we need talented software engineers across all the teams, like you.

Discover the opportunity to join our team, click here to learn more about the open positions in the solar business.

Find out in the careers page how our values and sustainable performance make Schneider Electric the employer of choice


About the Author: Ahmed Ferdous is a Software Development Manager at Schneider Electric, currently managing Cloud Services and Mobile App team for the Conext SmartGen™ inverters. Ahmed has over 15 years of software development and management experience with the last few years focusing on highly available large scale distributed software systems. He’s a passionate follower of soccer and cricket and an avid fan of the FC Bayern Munich and Bangladesh national cricket team.