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Nova Systems

4.3
  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Jaya Sudarpa

Engineering degrees don’t necessarily give you the skills for a specific engineering role, but rather give you a broad range of skills you may use at some point in your career.

What's your job about?

Nova Systems is a professional services provider, predominately operating within the Australian defence sector. In the Systems Engineering space, Nova usually operates within the conceptual design, system sustainment, and retirement phases. This includes requirement generation, test and evaluation, and verification and validation. I am part of the Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) ‘Lighthouse’; we’re a small team building the MBSE capability within Nova, testing its applicability and benefits. MBSE is a drastic change from the well proven, traditional systems engineering methods, and therefore selling this idea is all part of the challenge. I’ve been with Nova for four weeks now, and in that time, I’ve completed a few tasks that have assisted with the development of MBSE, while consecutively developing my own skills. Some of those tasks include developing interactive diagrams for presentation, building up the internal ‘Capability Development and MBSE’ webpages for easier accessibility and navigability, and compiling training material for those interested in learning MBSE. The most challenging of those tasks has been the development of the webpages. I initially expected a single webpage to allow better navigation, but it’s basically turned into a website in its own rights! As it was a new task I had never undertaken, I had to leverage the knowledge around me. Luckily for me, Nova is a great place to work, and everyone’s happy to give me a hand wherever they can.

What's your background?

I grew up in Adelaide, and despite ending up in an engineering role, I never necessary had a knack for science and maths through school; I really had to work at it. I learnt to enjoy the results from putting in effort. When I got to the point where I needed to decide where I was heading after school, I knew I wanted to get into engineering; but like others, I couldn’t really nail down exactly what field I was interested in. I chose Mechatronic engineering since it combined mechanical and electronic engineering, as well as some aspects of system control. I enjoyed the diversity more and more the further I got into my degree.

I completed work experience with Nova Systems halfway through my university studies. It really opened my eyes as to how the skills I learnt at university would be transferred into the ‘real-world’. After this experience, when I was presented with a new topic in my coursework, I could really see its value, and my study approach was positively affected.

In my final year of university, I began to apply for graduate positions. In a tough job market, I always had Nova on the top of my list. I loved being part of the team on work experience, and I knew there were few better places to begin my career. My past work experience proved to be invaluable, and I was fortunate enough to be offered a position. I’ve been here four weeks now, and it’s still the same great working environment that I remembered.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

I would say it’s required for anyone undertaking this role to have a degree in engineering; but that said, I don’t believe they would need to have undertaken the same study path as I have. Engineering degrees don’t necessarily give you the skills for a specific engineering role, but rather give you a broad range of skills you may use at some point in your career. More importantly, they teach you how to tackle problems. If someone could apply themselves to a project with the right mindset, they could become a graduate engineer.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The best thing about working at Nova is the people. Culture is an important part of Nova and it definitely shows. Everyone here is supportive, and you know you can have a chat to anyone, even those in management roles. The company is always holding social events, and it’s a great way to spend time with your workmates outside of the office.

What are the limitations of your job?

The only limitation I’ve experienced in the short time I’ve been here is the difficulty getting into actual engineering projects. As we’re developing a new skill within Nova, there aren’t many projects that are ready for Model Based Systems Engineering. That said, I know there will be opportunities in the future, so my current role is a great way to develop my skills for that time, and I could be part of a handful of people in Australia specialising in the MBSE field!

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

  • Approach your lecturers and demonstrators more often, they’re there to help you! Sometimes I would be reluctant to ask the wrong question, but when you’re a student, there are no wrong questions; it’s all part of learning.
  • Review course content more often. I would try and keep up with content throughout the year, but would sometimes find myself re-learning topics before exams.
  • Get involved in mentoring. I recently attended an event for upcoming graduates looking for opportunities, and I really enjoyed providing some guidance. I think I would’ve enjoyed doing something similar at university.