Today we step into the world of Chris Walker, as he talks candidly about his journey and transition from studying Electronic Engineering at the University of Southampton for four years to his current role as Electronics Engineer in the Wireless Products Team. Chris explains why it was important for him to be able to apply his newfound skills and knowledge in a role where he felt challenged, inspired and supported.
‘’When I finished studying Electronic Engineering at the University of Southampton, I wanted primarily to apply what I had spent the last four years learning and secondly to work on fast moving projects, delivering tangible benefits to customers. I saw the opportunity within the Wireless Products Team at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence. On hearing the positive experience of others working here, I applied and was excited to start in my new role in September 2020.
During my first six months within the business, I got the chance to work within several diverse teams across the department on a variety of projects. Within each project, I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I’d gained at university, but better still have these stretched and challenged as I worked with new technologies I’d not encountered before. At times, I was concerned that I would make mistakes and become a burden to the experienced engineers; however, nothing could be further from the truth. The welcome and support from across the department really helped me settle in, especially at the start of my career journey here. Now it has gone full circle, as I do the same for new joiners to the team.
Since joining, I have continued to receive encouragement from my manager and those around me to ask questions and seek out information. By doing this, I am gaining new confidence and continuing to learn and develop in my role, while ultimately delivering positive results. Looking back on my time at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence so far, I feel proud of my achievements and the obstacles I have overcome.
A unique part of working within the Wireless Products Team has been how closely we work with our customers. I regularly meet with them to understand how they interact with our products and to introduce them to new capabilities we have delivered, making the service we provide even better. A key highlight of my time so far has been seeing the difference our products make to our customers and their missions.
In January 2021, I moved to a newly created product area, which was a very small team at the time. Using next-generation technologies, I worked mostly independently on a series of small projects, with a remit to innovate and prototype potential enhancements and new features. I worked with technologies such as LTE and 5G, high performance software-defined radio, FPGAs, C++ and DSP. This product area has now grown significantly into a multi-million pound development programme and I too have grown significantly. I am proud to say I have become one of the key subject matter experts in this area. It has come with its own set of challenges, given I am still very junior in my career, though through the support of others has been another great opportunity.
The community we have created expands outside of the office too, with many of the team meeting daily to have lunch together, playing squash at the nearby sports park twice a week, or joining in our annual rounders tournament. The community here has made BAE Systems Digital Intelligence a place I enjoy coming to work. So much so, several of my friends outside of work have recently joined our team.
Overall, my first three years in the Wireless Products Team has been an enjoyable time full of new learnings and opportunities. The time has flown by and I find it to be an extremely rewarding career. It is an amazing feeling to be able to go into work every day and work with emerging technologies to achieve things that in some cases no one else in the world has achieved – something I never dreamt I would be saying three years after leaving university.’’
The Wireless Products team is responsible for developing innovative mission-critical technologies for our customers. Our experts design, build and support high performance electronic systems. Some of their core work lies in software-defined radios; from their physical design and build to the applications that run on them.
They conduct research and modelling (particularly in electromagnetics, optics and radio systems) and deliver solutions for all environments – from underwater to outer space.
If you, like Chris, are looking for a place where you can leverage the skills and expertise you already possess, and you enjoy making things and understanding how technology works, we want to hear from you.
Find out more about a rewarding career in the Wireless Products Team
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