(Note: This article was originally published on April 12, 2021).
In this blog, we wanted to do something a little different.
Recently, we have been getting a number of emails asking about software development opportunities within Scaled Analytics. The timing is pretty good, too, as we are getting ready to expand our team over the next few months.
Obviously, we think that working with Flight Data is an exciting and challenging career opportunity but we thought we would get Scaled Analytics’ head of Software Engineering, Nick Gallant, to answer a few questions about what makes this discipline of Software Development unique and particularly interesting.
Here is what Nick had to say:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Scaled Analytics
As the Vice President of Engineering at Scaled Analytics, I’ve been developing or managing aviation software projects for over 20 years. Everything from aviation accident software for UNIX workstations and flight mission software for military helicopters to cloud-based flight data solutions for aircraft safety, training, and maintenance.
2. Tell us a little bit about what a S/W developer does at Scaled Analytics
Software developers at Scaled Analytics are involved in all aspects of software development. For example, with our flagship product Sky Analyst, a developer could be flushing out requirements with a customer, building new 3D models for our animation application, adding a SQL database script for our advanced reporting tools, or coding a data processing algorithm in C# to handle a new flight recorder format.
There is an opportunity to learn a wide range of technologies – but we don’t expect anyone to be an expert overnight.
We also encourage the evaluation of new products and services and always ask ourselves if there’s a better solution out there? This includes software development tools, but also corporate software such as those for task tracking and communication.
3. What are some unique skills or personality traits that you look for when considering hiring a new Software Developer?
Software development is all about solving problems. Whether it’s designing a new feature or trying to resolve a customer issue. Before you can start coding – the problem must be well understood. A deep knowledge of existing languages such as C# or SQL is nice to have, but the ability to learn is even more valuable.
Software is significantly more complex than it was 10 years ago with multiple solutions to solve the same problem. For example, to develop a new web application, there are at least five major frameworks to choose from. Being able to understand new technologies and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses can be more valuable than a lot of experience with a handful of programming languages.
4. What makes working with Flight Data unique or exciting compared to other Software Development jobs?
When I was a university student, I was hired as an intern at a company that specialized in aviation software for accident investigation. The job wasn’t easy at the time. My “desk” was a board on top of an old safe, and I was surrounded by the constant hum of HP-UNIX workstations. Even though I was young and had little experience, I was part of a real company with real products and customers who were trying to solve problems as serious as plane crashes.
My friends who were also interning at the time had a different experience. Besides being bored most of the time, they worked on a small part of a box that went into another box that maybe went into a router? I was never sure, having fallen asleep at that point in their description.
Over a year later when I wrapped up my internship – besides having a stronger work ethic and new skills – I was proud of what I was working on. Being involved with a software product that keeps people safe was rewarding. At Scaled Analytics we have that same feeling, but it’s even more rewarding and exciting as we leverage the latest analytics tools – not only for safety – but for fuel and emissions monitoring, maintenance, and training.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to tell Software Developers that are considering a career in working with Flight Data?
Everyone at Scaled Analytics has worked for large and small companies and have seen the challenges with each. Our goal, as a company, is to nourish a start-up culture of flexibility and new ideas while growing carefully to avoid the pitfalls found with larger companies.
Scaled Analytics is a great place to work as a software developer and as more companies leverage all kinds of data sources for their products and services – flight data is easily one of the most rewarding.
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