Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Interview at Navair

I wasn't going to post today, but I got a little motivation.
After yesterday, this day seemed like perfection. I would definitely have to say that the best part of today's interview was the fact that we didn't actually have to interview. Today was just an overview of what Navair does.

The first presentation we got was from the HR department. No new information here, just stuff from the brochures and the website that I had already read. I think sleeping an extra hour would have been WAY more interesting. I almost fell asleep during this part, but that might have been rude. *shrug*

The second presentation was an overview of what goes on at the base. As this presentation unfolded, it became pretty obvious that everything they do advances the art of waging war. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation of weapons. From the presentation, it seems like there are two different 'factions' in this company, the RDT&E people and the production people. Which is cooler? I don't know. They're all equally dweeby.

The third place we went was to this place where they can simulate battlefields. Then we went into a room with a simulator with about 120 degrees of vision in front of you. And they let us fly an F/A-18 in the simulator... it was unbelievably fun. They showed us some of the hardware they use. SGI machines everywhere. It was an impressive looking facility. Like I could play in the place for hours.

Next, for the fourth place, we went to go check out the SPIKE development. The base (Navair is part of the navy) sets aside some money every year for a competition that everyone can compete in. You can propose an idea, and if it wins, it gets funding. Well, some guy was sitting in a bar, talking with a Marine about how the people that America is fighting right now don't really have advanced transportation. They just roll around in cheap trucks. The Marines needed a weapon to take these trucks out with; they can't use the shoulder mounted rocket launchers because they cost $80,000 and $100,000 per shot... and it was way overkill. So they came up with the idea to make lighweight cheap missles for Marines to pack around. He won the competition, and ended up getting $4 million (not just from the competition, enough people higher up thought the idea was good, they gave him more funding) to go ahead with project. So, we saw these little missles they were designing. Really cool stuff.

Then lunch. A Thai buffet... I love food.

Then we went to the place where they test radars, and learned about all the simulations, and where 'in-the-loop' they can test at, what they can emulate, etc. They showed us some radar 'target injectors'. They can put targets on radar screen in the test harness... pretty sweet.

Then we went to the place where they develop software for the F/A-18. I mean, all the software for the F/A-18. The control systems, etc. They develop the software for every version of the plane, for every country that uses it (because other countries can't have our badassness). This group is at a SEI CMM Level 4, and they're going to be evaluated for the a Level 5 in a couple months. Level 5 is as high as it goes... and thats pretty impressive. (They'll be switch to the CMMI in a few months, and will likely have to climb the ladder back to the top.

And, in the end I actually got offered the job in Navair's ESDP (Engineering and Science Development Program). This is actually a really cool program. It's a 1.0-1.5 year long rotational program where you get to work on a bunch of different projects for 3 months at a time, so you can find the one you want.

There are more things to consider in my job options now. I looked up some info, and the offered salary at Navair is equal to almost $90,000 in San Jose (where Google is). And $60,000 in Seattle.

I still haven't heard from Google... and I can't seem to get my mind off of them. Since I'm back in Spokane, and visiting all my parent's friends, they've know that I'm looking for a job, so I get the same questions about "what I'm going to do" in the future. And, it sucks not being able to give them a definite answer. I guess I'm just hoping that Google will offer me a job...


Kenna said...

pretty interesting interview with Navair..China Lake. I wish you would have had the opportunity to visit other sites such as Point Mugu or Patuxent River. Not sure what you're doing now but Navair is a great company!

Anonymous said...

I know this was long time a go but I want to know.Did you get the job offer at navair the same day as the site visit ? I was at china lake for a site visit , but the hiring manager told me he will get back to me in 2 weeks.