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A day in the life of…
Hardware Engineer at Lockheed Martin Australia
Patrick Kirwan graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical and Aerospace) and Bachelor of Mathematics and Computer Science from Adelaide University and is now a Hardware Engineer at Lockheed Martin Australia
My alarm goes off, time to get up and get ready. It’s an early morning today because I’m planning on cycling to work.
Alright, I’m up! Time to get ready. I can’t do anything without breakfast first though, so I always make myself some muesli (or porridge in the winter months) with yoghurt and fruit on top.
I’m cycling to work today, so I’ve grabbed my bike, my helmet and I’m off. I find this a great way to get in some exercise, get the blood pumping and feel the fresh air - it’s the perfect way to start the day.
I’ve arrived at work. I’ve already left work clothes at work in my locker, so I don’t have to worry about packing and creasing them in a backpack. I’ll grab them and have a quick shower to freshen up for the day.
Alright, I’m all ready to start the day, feeling energetic after the ride I’ll log into my computer and check some emails. These can be on a whole range of different topics. Some may be company wide announcements, a new task assigned to me, meeting invites, or a response to a technical question I asked one of my colleagues.
Time to open Jira, a task management tool we use to manage our workflow. Here I can see all the different tasks assigned to me, things due soon and any comments that have been placed on any of these. Because my work is quite collaborative, often someone will have mentioned me in a comment and I’ll aim to provide my insight into the problem. Jira provides a good starting point to see all work I need to do and prioritise tasks to structure the day. I might also grab a coffee and some fruit from the kitchen.
It’s time for our weekly team meeting. I work on the Future Submarine Project, where we design the Combat System for the new fleet of submarines which are being procured for the Royal Australian Navy. Within this overall project we have small teams focussing on different sections. My team and I are responsible for designing and integrating the Weapons and Deployables components. We meet once a week to discuss important news that will affect our team, the status of various tasks and any upcoming events, training or other points of interest.
This project is early on in its life cycle, so currently we’re working on high level architecture and requirements. This allows us to define exactly what we need to develop, procure and how all the individual components will interface with each other. A tool we use to model this architecture is called MagicDraw. This is a useful tool and allows other teams to understand what we require from them and how we plan to interface between subsystems. Today I’m going to spend the next hour working on defining some of the components of the Deployables sub-system.
Lunch time! Man, I’m hungry. I brought my lunch today, so I’ll heat it up in the microwave before heading to a table outside to enjoy the sun and chat with some friends over lunch. I usually do a big cook-up on the weekend and separate the meals into containers that I take for lunch each day. This week it’s slow cooked butter chicken with heaps of veggies and some rice. It’s great to get outside, it really breaks up the day. Often, I’ll also go for a walk around the lake.
Requirements are a major part of any large-scale project, so it is important we manage these appropriately. The customer provides us with a range of high-level requirements that we need to break down into individual subsystem requirements. We need to make sure we can relate each lower level requirement to a higher level one, so we can prove we are building the system that the customer asked for. This requires some management but is important to define early in the project, while it is still relatively easy to change. We’re working on our requirements in a program called DOORS. I’m going to spend the next while working on these requirements for my team’s subsystem.
Time to grab a coffee or green tea and a snack and have a brief chat with some colleagues in the kitchen.
I’ve been working on a technical trade study where we evaluate existing solutions on the market, their strengths, weaknesses and applicability to our requirements. By doing this we can evaluate whether we should purchase an off the shelf solution or invest developmental effort in new technology. To do this I’ll need to do a range of research, contact vendors and discuss with experts in the field here in the office.
Time to head home, I’ll get changed and hop on the bike. It’s great to get some exercise and fresh air to clear the mind after a day of work.
Home! Time to cook some dinner and unwind for a while.
I usually play social mixed netball with a group of friends but we’re currently between seasons, so tonight I’m meeting a different group of friends to do a quiz night at the local pub.
Back home and time to get ready for bed, it’s been a busy day, but I’m ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
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