From Mechanical Systems to Apps: Booz Allen Builds Tech Savvy Engineers

Nov 15, 2017 2:15 PM ET
Thuy Hoang, lead engineer at Booz Allen

There was a time when the surest way to make your parents beam with pride was to become a doctor or lawyer—a sure sign that you had a good head on your shoulders, and you were going places.

There’s still prestige with these careers, but we contend a new career has overtaken the coveted spot once held by these professions—the engineer!

We asked some of Booz Allen's engineers why the profession is so enticing and came up with five top reasons:

  • It’s uncharted territory. “Engineering is a hot field right now, says Paul D’Angio, who came to Booz Allen to help chart and expand our robotics expertise. “There’s still unknowns and so many problems that can be addressed through engineering expertise. It’s exciting to get into a field where there’s still a lot to be solved.”
  • Creating new technology that improves human existence. Ben Jones, a software engineer, joined Booz Allen right out of college. He worked with Paul and others on technology that can be used to detect human heat signatures—with UAV and an infrared camera. The device, Human Detection and Rescue System, aids in disaster search and recovery operations—by sending the GPS location and picture to first responders on the ground.
  • Work touches all aspects of society. Engineers are creating solutions that impact every aspect of our lives. Booz Allen engineers are solving problems that improve national security, our national defenses, healthcare, taxes, the cars we drive, civic technologies (like e-voting), Social Security benefits, social issues. “No matter what you’re interested in—you can have an impact in that area as an engineer,” says Paul.
  • Spending your days “playing” with the latest tech. Engineer Jason Eller was once handed a box of electronic toys and told to have fun finding new applications for them. And Paul adds his team has a “gym” membership of sorts—but it’s not weightlifting equipment they’re using—it’s specialized tools and machines. “It’s amazing to bring something from initial concept to prototype. Sometimes to create a part, we need equipment we don’t have, so we head to the Tech Shop—everyone loves going there.”
  • Opportunities for rapid advancement. Ben also appreciates the opportunities he’s had to take significant leadership over projects and teams in a short amount of time. “I enjoy being in the leadership role and balancing the technical aspects of being an engineer with softer skills of being a consultant at the same time. I’m trusted to get the job done for the client and provided the support I need to be successful.”

No matter what kind of engineering it is—mechanical, industrial, civil, chemical, software, systems—one thing seems universal. The engineers we spoke with love their profession, the freedom of creativity within a technical discipline, and developing solutions that improve our lives and futures.  

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