Updating Results

Leidos

4.6
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Shaun Blackburn

There is trust there from management and it makes work a lot more enjoyable.

What's your job about?

Leidos Australia is an information technology contractor that targets various government, defence, intelligence and health projects. I work on a project called JP2096 which is in the area of intelligence and is also often referred to as “Google for Defence”. This project aims at unifying various defence data sources so users can find what they are looking for easier. There are also a number of bells and whistles in the system that make analysing and looking for trends easier which means more informed and efficient decisions. 

An average day for me looks something like the following:

  • Get into work, check Slack for any team or project updates.
  • Either continue working on or pick up a new Jira ticket from the Scrum Board. For my team, this means a 3-5 day chunk of work on some part of the system. These can touch on one or more technologies and include a variety of things e.g. java/python code, automated deployment scripts, an investigation into open-source software etc.
  • Lunch at midday. Usually, walk to somewhere in Melbourne CBD
  • Often there are meetings to discuss a new component design. You can get as involved with this as you want. I enjoy being involved in the designing stage so I end up in quite a few of these meetings.
  • In between working on my own tickets and meetings, I review other people’s work to make sure we are all at the team standard.
  • Go home on time

What's your background?

I grew up in Melbourne and have lived there all my life. Following high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but ended up in a Bachelor of Science at Monash University. I finished that and then followed it up with an honours year in Genetics. I did really well so afterwards there were a few labs wanting me to do a PhD with them. I lasted about a year into a PhD and then decided that this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life and quit. Looking back it was the best decision I have made and I only wish I had done it sooner. 

I spent the next few years in casual jobs before I started to think about getting qualified in something else. I considered a number of things before I landed on a Masters of IT. Some of my friends would later tell me when they heard about it, it just seemed right. A couple of years later I was applying to graduate positions and a friend pointed me to Leidos, who I had never heard of before. They seemed to be doing cool things and be all about technology so I was keen. I put in an application, had a phone interview and then a face to face interview. I got offered the job soon after that. It was a bit of a different journey to end up in this position, but I’m very happy how it turned out. 

Could someone with a different background do your job?

I often tell people that anyone who can think and problem solve could do my job. Sure there are some things you learn in computer science and it would be difficult to ramp up in programming knowledge if you had never done that before. However, if you wanted to, and had the drive to learn, then anyone could do it. A degree can help you get through the door, but being able to learn new skills and then teach other people will help you do well once you are there.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

What I love about my job is the work-life balance it offers. This includes being able to work your hours at a time that suits you and being able to leave for the day without expectations of unpaid overtime. As long as you do your hours for the day and are at work for key meetings, the time you come in and leave is pretty flexible. There is trust there from management and it makes work a lot more enjoyable. I also go to work enjoying the idea that what I am doing has a positive impact on people and Australia as a whole, rather than just being about the bottom line.

What are the limitations of your job?

The project you first get to work on is very dependent on what is available at that time. You could get lucky, as I did, and land in a big project that is just at the beginning stages, or you might end up in a project you don’t enjoy much. Rotations are not as readily available due to the nature of the work, but if you make it clear what you want then from my experience Leidos will try to help you make it happen.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Prepare for your interviews by having a list of prepared answers to typical interview questions in the STAR method. You might have heard it before, but it works.
  • Don’t keep doing something you are not enjoying. You don’t have to enjoy it all the time, but if it’s none of the time, then look elsewhere to what might suit you better.
  • A good work ethic is not something you start once you hit the workplace. Do it now.