Writing Contest Winners 2023-2024

Third Place, Grades 6-8

Adam Nazih

Grade 7, Andrews Middle School, Medford
Mrs. Kerry Bronnenkant, Teacher

Water is a resource that is essential for both survival and daily use. Imagine a world where we did not have access to reliable and clean water for daily needs like drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. This responsibility of maintaining the miracle of water safety and access comes down to the MWRA, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Thanks to the unsung heroes of the MWRA, water is an issue that residents of Massachusetts seldom have to worry about thanks to their diligent efforts and commitment to their mission of providing clean water. Net developers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the core duties of the MWRA, but this group of people is essential for building out the systems that allow the MWRA to track, report, and coordinate the organization’s large web of infrastructure. In the 21st century where everything is digitized, this group of developers have been entrusted the responsibility of safeguarding our most important resource.

               MWRA net developers are not simply tasked to write lines of code and programs. While that is a part of the job, their work falls into a broader scope of maintaining the digital architecture for all of the systems used for each step of water management. Technology plays an important role in not only providing an interface, or interactive platform, for both employees and users to interact with, but also managing the organization’s data and deriving insights from it for crucial decisions. Software development is about identifying a business or organization’s problem, identifying ways in which technology can help, and building a platform to address and remedy those issues. In this case, developers at the MWRA can expect to build out applications that keep track of water quality, automate treatment processes, and handle distribution to the public water system.

               Data and analysis is also an integral part of the role. Data can be collected for a wide range of uses, from software benchmarks and diagnostics that can be used to iterate and improve on existing programs to crucial data on water quality and treatment to make sure the MWRA is compliant with regulation at all levels. As a citizen, providing reliable and accessible data on the local watershed is important in ensuring that the proper governing and regulatory bodies keep our water clean and safe. Water is a deciding factor in a community’s health and it is us up to net developers to provide a platform for everyone to access data. Quality assurance and testing is also just as important. Testing is a part of the development lifecycle and it involves making sure that the software that is designed works properly and efficiently before being deployed, or sent out to production for actual use.

               Finally, all digital infrastructure and services that the developers create must be maintained and this job falls to them as well. Net developers make sure that their systems work efficiently and properly, serving their intended purpose. More critically, they must act in an emergency situation to fix any threats or bugs within the system that might hinder or cause harm to the water management system.

               In any case, net developers have an interesting and crucial role within the MWRA. They wear multiple hats and must constantly learn to keep up with any technologies that could be used to improve the software and programs needed for water treatment. It is a position that demands a commitment for lifelong learning. It is also a job that has the potential to improve water treatment at all stages. Developers work within the limits of physics and engineering processes, but their job is to make the most out of what they have using critical thinking and their technical expertise. By making our systems more efficient and secure, net developers make our watershed more resilient to threats, more efficiently distributed, and adaptable to climate change.

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