What Software Careers are in the Aerospace Industry?

Aerospace IndustryComputer scientists and software engineers who are looking to start software careers in the aerospace industry have a wealth of options available, many of them located in the public sector. Aerospace is tightly integrated with defense in the United States and in many other countries, and this means that software developers may well be working for defense officials and government-approved private contractors as they create a software solution for managing satellites, rocket launches, traditional aircraft, and daily operations. The most popular jobs can be found in both the private and public sectors, however, and offer some unique opportunities to qualified professionals.

Defense Department Software Developer

The Department of Defense is primarily responsible for developing the software installed on satellites launched for defense or communications purposes. This software is governed by the DoD, simply because it might be confidential, highly secure, and redundant enough when under attack to protect government data. Software engineers and developers who take a position with the Department of Defense will likely focus on revising old software applications for new systems and platforms, and will also have a chance to coordinate with external departments like NASA in the process.

Technical Director or Systems Coordinator

Whether in the public or private sectors, a technical coordinator is an absolute asset when creating or managing software applications for satellites, space programs, and top-secret projects. In this role, the software developer will most likely continue performing routine development and troubleshooting tasks most of the time. In some cases, however, they’ll work with a team of like-minded professionals in a managerial capacity. They’ll focus on meeting deadlines, testing produced software, conforming to federal or company regulations, and managing budgetary needs for ongoing development. Technical directors are sometimes responsible for hiring or determining the platform, programming language, and number of team members used as well.

Software Development Consulting

Whether it’s a private company or a public agency, choosing the right programming language, hardware, and development ecosystem, can be quite a challenge. The most experienced and talented software developers can actually work for these employers in a consulting role to help them choose the style of development that most directly and effectively meets their needs. They might suggested a specific C-based programming language, a given operating system and development platform, or even certain types of hardware that will make it easier to create efficient software. Their recommendations will be approved by the department, passed down to technical coordinators, and implemented by developers who work within the new set of guidelines.

Systems Coordination

Some software developers are given the challenge of developing software and then coordinating that development with appropriate hardware. Known as systems development, systems coordination, or systems engineering, this is perhaps the most advanced role offered in the Department of Defense and private companies like Boeing. The ability to set the hardware and software standards for a new satellite or aircraft is one that many developers work hard to achieve over a very long career in the industry, according to Payscale.

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Exciting Opportunities Abound for Talented Software Developers

Aerospace continues to be a major area of federal and private sector spending, and job growth for software developers remains strong in the industry as a result. Professionals looking for software careers in the aerospace industry can fill any number of hands-on development roles, advisory roles, or other positions that involve full coordination of the entire hardware and software ecosystem.