A Day in the Life – Summer
What is your title? Describe what you do.
I am a senior systems engineer. I provide requirements analysis and modeling support for government contracts, mostly for software systems.
What drew you to CSCI? Why did you choose to work here?
I was recruited by a lead that I had at a prior company. He had worked at CSCI and was returning there as a boomerang which was a good sign. I was feeling tired of just being a number at a larger company and was ready to make a change.
What makes CSCI different than your previous workplaces?
It’s much different from the environment at a large company. CSCI is much more close-knit. You feel like you’re important. People’s work contributions and lives matter to everyone at the company and it feels inclusive.
What’s an example of a success story you’ve had there? How did you achieve success on that project or endeavor?
There was a multi-month project where we met with users to document their desired functionalities for a software system. Our team would sit down with the client for a week each month and spend the remainder documenting what we had discussed. Our team would collaborate and then document the desires via modeling tools. This process was repeated a number of times to ensure the best and most complete system design for the users. Ultimately, our team produced a comprehensive model made to describe the customer’s needs. The project was rewarding because we had a direct impact on the requirements for future systems. We had a real effect on improving a system that would be used by the warfighter.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a role like yours? Are there specific character traits or skills/certifications you should possess?
The most important thing I found is the ability to listen and hear what customers and coworkers are trying to communicate. Trying to cross bridges between operational users and technical personnel is the most useful skill I’ve brought to the table. Technical skills can be taught but that other bit you have to really work at. It’s really all about communication.
What’s on your playlist when you’re focusing on a project at work and/or during your commute?
Usually it’s either acoustic versions of hit songs or Spanish guitar.
What has helped you stay focused during this pandemic remote work situation? Can you share some tips for others?
While remote work is my norm, some things have still transitioned for me. I’ve had to create much more clearly defined work periods. Having a defined schedule and a specific place to go where you are alone are the biggest keys to success. Some people don’t have that option and need to do what works best. Also, I try to have a normal routine like having coffee in the morning. I also run or do some form of exercise because it gives me mental clarity and stress relief. I’m lucky, as a runner, to have a treadmill but there are also tons of workout classes online that are being offered that people can take advantage of.
When things get back to normal, what is the first thing you want to do that you can’t do right now?
Go sit down at a Mexican restaurant and have chips and salsa.
How will this unprecedented time period change your perspective?
I think the biggest thing is we need to have more focus on is what’s happening inside our homes. Teaching my kids real-world skill sets and learning how to do and fix things that might have been overlooked before has been valuable. Also, even though everyone is working hard and moving fast, it’s helpful to slow down and check in with our families instead of just our schedules.
If you could telework anywhere in the world, where would it be? What’s your dream telework locale?
On the beach in Mexico (with chips and salsa).