Welcome to the STEM Career Highlight Series, which is a Q&A series showcasing the people of Hughes and the STEM path they took to jumpstart their careers and get to where they are today. Through sharing these experiences, we hope to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and instill in them the same enthusiasm and passion our employees have for what they do.
This week, we’re talking to Nick, a senior systems engineer who architects and automates solutions for internal operations teams at Hughes.
Where did you go to college and what did you major in? I majored in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Who inspired you to pursue a STEM career? My parents were educators who exposed me to STEM pretty early on, including through their involvement with 4-H. However, learning about web design at a local vocational tech camp as a teenager was what sparked my interest in building and designing things.
What has been your favorite project at Hughes? That’s a great question! I’ve worked on a lot of different projects at Hughes in the last 10 years, but my favorite would be automating the creation of testbed environments using an open-source platform. The project had originally fallen to the wayside due to other more pressing business and engineering priorities. However, I saw the impact it could have if we dedicated some additional time to it, so I picked it back up in my spare time. The result was the creation of a free, long-term solution that the DevOps team uses today to dynamically create testing environments.
What is your favorite part about being an engineer? Designing solutions, no question. Engineers are natural problem solvers – they like a good puzzle. I enjoy identifying interesting engineering challenges and then experimenting with potential solutions. It’s the best feeling when you find the right one.
Where do you see the satellite industry going in the next five years? The satellite industry is trying hard to adopt a DevOps mentality, which involves the rapid adoption and deployment of software and processes to meet customer demands. We’ll also see companies move toward containers, a method of minimizing application deployment time to expedite software delivery and cloud adoption. Hughes is currently using containerization to efficiently deploy dozens of accelerated gateways that will further help improve the customer experience.
Any words of advice? You’ll never go wrong if you build a solid foundation of the basics, especially with how complex technology is becoming.