I started at Raytheon in August ’11 and left the company in September ’13. During my two years there, I had many ups and downs. Work was very cyclical. There would be stretches of time where there is nothing going on and other times where we would be maxing out overtime. The slow periods were very difficult on me. Everything revolved around the charge numbers. When work dwindles, the charge numbers get shut down and people are forced to charge to overhead. The uncertainty of the business environment left everything on shaky grounds. Fortunately, I was hired under an involving manager and was able to join a team that had a steady stream of work. Things started off slow but eventually got very busy and I was staffed on multiple concurrent projects where programs were fighting for my time.

I tried my best to be proactive. I tackled the learning curve and was able to quickly become a contributing member of the team. It helped that I had supportive team members who are always there to answer my questions. Towards the end, I felt that I had fully developed within my arena. I felt confined in my career path unless I moved to another group. However, there were many hindering factors: additional security clearances and company structure/politics.

It’s undeniable that I learned a lot during my time there. I learned what aspects of corporate world that I liked and disliked. Most importantly, I learned where I wanted to take my career. Through my work, I developed a greater appreciate of software development and that’s how I decided to pursue a graduate degree in computer science.

My plan was always to go back to graduate school after working for a few years. I felt that industry experience was crucial to develop into a better engineer. I learned to think more critically and logically in solving problems. I was able to see the relevant details in the overall big picture. You gain a great deal of experience that you simply cannot replicate in a classroom environment. With that new knowledge, I think I am much better prepared for my transition back into academia.

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