How would you describe your role at RII?
I’m a software engineer. In 2017, I started on an Android development team within RII and then transitioned to a large scale mission critical system project where I worked with an external customer and a team of other RII developers. As a member of the development team, I write and debug software on a daily basis.
You have a degree in history. How did you become interested in software engineering? Can you tell us about your career journey?
I then learned PHP/MySQL (used for web scripting and databases) on my own and transitioned to a different job where I was one of two developers working on a web application for lobbyists to track state level legislation in a couple of states. I learned web scraping to gather the legislation from the states’ websites. I was living in Boston at the time and after work I would go to weekly tech meetups where I was exposed to really cool technology. At my next job, I was exposed to Java and Android and discovered that I really enjoyed writing Android applications. This is why I was originally hired by RII—to help build Android apps for the military.
Although I didn’t make a career out of my history degree, I don’t regret studying it. I learned a lot and it definitely helped hone my attention to detail that is necessary for programming.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in programming, but doesn’t know where to start?
What is one of the most impactful or memorable projects you have worked on during your time at RII?
I was on an Artillery Program where our team was tasked with the development of a Smoke Screen Fire Mission. We had to work with subject matter experts (SMEs) and architecture to help calculate where a battalion of cannons would fire smoke rounds to create a smoke screen to protect friendly forces. This was extremely challenging. As you can imagine, the wind speed and other meteorological factors must be considered to predict where smoke is needed, how many rounds, and at what interval to fire rounds, which also depends on the intended duration of the smoke screen, where the friendlies are, and where the enemy is located. I will never forget this experience and the exhilarating feeling we got when we finally succeeded and saw the smoke rounds drawn on the map where we expected within the user interface of the application.