Career Story: Software Engineer In A Company That Makes Math Tools For Scientists

Software Engineer In A Company That Makes Math Tools For Scientists

Job Title: Engineer

Type of Company: I work for a software company that produces tools for scientists and engineers.

Education: BA and MS in Aerospace engineering, M.I.T.

Previous Experience: I worked as an engineer at an aerospace company and an aviation company. I also worked as a software engineer for a computer company.

Job Tasks: I write software that scientists and engineers use to help them solve math problems. More specifically, I write programs that solve differential equations. This type of math problem is common to many fields like biology, finance, automotive, aerospace, and electronics.

I spend most of my day sitting in front of the computer writing and debugging software. Software is a set of instructions that computers can understand and execute. There are several different languages in which software can be written and engineers are often expected to know several.

After the software is written, it must be tested. This is usually done by writing more software that tries to simulate all the different things a customer might do to see if the right answer comes out.

Throughout the process, I often attend meeting to track progress or discuss aspects of the software design. Although all the tasks are broken into small pieces for individual engineers to work on, they must all fit carefully together. There are nearly 1000 other engineers working on the software and it is very important that we coordinate our efforts. It is very much like writing a book with a different person working on each page. You really need to pay attention to the people writing the page before yours and the page after.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is learning from the smart people that I work with. I am expected to continually learn new things. The problems that I am given to work on are hard, but also very interesting. Computers change a great deal every year and the way we use them to solve math problems changes too.

The worst part of my job is that computers don't make the best company. Sometimes it can be frustrating and lonely to sit in front of one many hours a day.

Job Tips:
1. Learn math and science -- all different kinds. They will serve you well in almost any field you chose.

2. Participate in activities that require teamwork whether acting in a play or engineering in a robotics contest. Very little of interest gets done by individuals so it is important to learn how to work in group.

3. Explore all the different things that people do for a living. There are jobs that are fun and interesting. School is just the beginning of a lifelong education.

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