MIL is proud to employ some of the best and brightest IT personnel around. Largely located in Southern Maryland at our Lexington Park, Md. offices, our software developers are a shining example of the work our team completes for our NAVAIR customer. These employees work hard to apply expert techniques to demonstrate systems, which include subsystems, programs, and projects, all to meet our customer’s complex design requirements.
To get a peek into the life of a software developer at MIL, we had the pleasure of interviewing Holly Tennyson, one of our systems & application support analysts. She also gives insight on what it’s like to be a woman in her field.
Q. How did you find your way into your career as a systems analyst?
A. My path began in high school, when I enrolled in a computer programming class at the vocational technical school my senior year. Through that class, I found that I really enjoyed programming and the logical thinking that went along with it. From this experience I decided to pursue a degree with a focus on software engineering.
After I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Sciences, I accepted my first programming position. My career has changed a lot over the years, as many companies and government agencies have moved away from custom coded applications to commercial off the shelf (COTS) programs. I have gone from writing code to creating custom applications, customizing COTS applications, creating customized reports using advanced queries, and supporting the database back-end of the applications. Most of the COTS applications come as a platform that can be customized using internal application tools to meet user/business needs.
Q. How long have you been working in the field?
A. I have been working in the IT field full-time for about 24 years. Before beginning my full-time career, I completed internships and part-time work in the IT field.
Q. Can you share a little bit about what it is you do and what a typical day is like for you at MIL?
A. I currently support NAVAIR where my main focus is application development, however, I also support installations of other applications and back-end support. On a typical day, I work on enhancing the functionality of the application for the customer. This involves troubleshooting issues, customizing the application work flow and screens to suite user’s needs, as well as developing/maintaining data interfaces. There are also times when special project support is part of my daily activities. This type of support can include building out database and application servers, installation of applications, and end user access support. Support of this nature also involves working with other teams for networking, servers, and accounts.
Q. I think it is fair to say that women are in the minority when it comes to the tech industry. What do you think is the best and/or hardest part about being a woman in your career field?
A. During the 20+ years I have been in this field, I have seen it slowly morph and change. From my perspective, it is a lot easier to be a woman in the tech industry now than it was 20+ years ago. There are a lot more women in the tech field now than when I started. As a woman, I have always felt like the hardest part of the job was being taken seriously and having my knowledge respected equally by my male colleagues. Over the years this has gotten noticeably better; however, the belief in the female stigma/stereotype is still alive in many places.
Q. Do you have any advice for women or young girls interested in a career in tech? What do you wish you had known?
A. I would tell young girls coming into the tech field to be confident. That is often a hard concept for young women entering the workforce. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn the things you don’t know. Knowledge is power. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground when you know what is right. Stand your ground, and don’t be rude; be firm and professional. Unfortunately, being taken seriously as a woman in tech is still a hurdle many must overcome.
I would also say to sharpen your negotiation skills: this is one thing that I wish I had been taught early on. Additionally, I highly recommend they find a good mentor. One that will help push you to be the best you can be, and will help coach you through tough situations that occur in the workplace.
Q. What do you love about your job?
A. I love that I work in an ever-changing, diversified field. No day is the same and I am always learning new things while expanding my knowledge.
Interested in becoming a software developer at MIL? We have immediate openings for individuals with a background in C++. Additionally, qualified candidates may be eligible for a sign-on bonus.
Apply for our C++ Software Developer position today!