Friday, March 05, 2004
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Rich had a good point (...) which I thought I would comment on as he suggested. I was able to get my position at Smiths Aerospace despite not having an aerospace background. What I did have in my favor (I believe) was a familiarity with their process, as their product development cycle was, as might be expected, very similar to our Telecom product cycles. They were looking for System Engineers to handle the processing of requirements from the customer into formats necessary for Hdw development, Sfw developement and traceability into various verification formats (factory system test, compliance testing and standard system test).
The other plus factor was that my group (and others) at Smiths (and I am hearing this at other defense companies as well) was filled with ex-Telecom folk (mostly Telllabs expats from the Chicago/Naperville area). Thus they had experience with people coming on board with a parallel skill sets but no background. I was able to present, at the interview, that I had knowledge and a skill set to handle the processes and felt I could pick up the necessary technical knowledges (such as the workings of Avionic specific interfaces like MIL-STD-1760 or 1553 or the architecture of a particular plane for example) as I started. Apparently Smiths agreed. :)
Certainly I found there are differences in approach - for example there are alot more compliance requirements than in Telecom (fun stuff like fungus, blown sand, gun noise and vibration, handling the equipment in chemical gear) and a rigourous approach to fault tolerance/maintenance/safety (a weapon interface problem more serious than dropping a phone call or two) - but the start to end is the same. This all sort of goes back to a discussion Steve Nygren and I had about boiling ones resume/experiences down to a core skill/ability set (sans particulars of a technology or industry) and then seeing how those apply to different industries (Telecom, Defense, Pharm etc.). Admittedly a Telecom to Defense transition isn't that much of a hop, but its a change nonetheless.