I just left my job at Northrop Grumman (NGC) for something very different. My job paid well enough, and most of the time, I worked with people I liked. I had to deal with some political bullshit, but where can you avoid that? I didn’t like the direction of the company, but that wouldn’t have affect me very much in the next 5+ years. But I left anyway.
I’ll be taking a job as a web application developer for Under Armour (UA). At my last job, I did embedded system development in C/C++ with CORBA and DDS, real-time signal processing in an embedded environment (read: hard problem due to data rates and flops per watt restrictions), signal processing algorithm development in MATLAB, and some corporate process initiatives. In my new job, I’ll be doing back-end web platform design, front-end user interface development, and possibly some recommendation engine development. I’d say that’s a big difference.
I did it because I want a change in environment: NGC is a big and bulky firm that moves slowly and has a significant amount of infighting and a severe lack of actual decision-making from decision-makers. The culture of do-whatever-because-you’ll-never-get-fired just never sat well with me. I want to be in a fast-paced, product-focused environment where I can make a difference and deliver a superior product, while also learning things that will help me in the future.
Which brings me to my next point, embedded signal processing is a small market, and in fact, there’s really one buyer that dominates the market (see Monopsony.), the US Government. If I want a bigger market for my skills, I need to re-orient my career path away from embedded and more towards web-based.
I have been very interested in moving my career this way for a while. I built my first site when I was 14, and I’ve kept up with everything since then. When I got into college, I strayed away from it for a while, but now, I’m returning to what was probably my destined career path, a software hacker, who loves to architect, design, develop, and deploy useful and intuitive systems.
I’m looking forward to learning a lot in the next few years and bringing myself up to speed on web application development so I can be as good at that as I have been at embedded signal processing.
P.S. I get to take a boat to work now :)