Career Spotlight: Software Project Leader

Software Engineers develop world-class missile systems through the complete range of software product lifecycle activities. They use the latest tools to create high quality, innovative software solutions for our air, sea and ground-based products.

Martin Stevenson tells us more about the day-to-day role of a Software Engineer.

I’ve spent the last 5 years working within the software embedded department which consists of a large friendly team of around 80 developers across two UK sites. My work as part of an international software function is always varied and includes tasks related to designing and developing software for missile sub-systems. These include:

a) Actuators, used to control the flight path via fin and other control surfaces on the missile.
b) Seekers, of various technologies that acquire and track targets.
c) Weapon Control Units, that acts as the central controller and ‘brain’ of the missile.
d) Data links, allowing communication between the launch system and missile in real time
e) Telemetry units, used during trials to collect and transmit large amounts of flight data


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The diversity of my day-to-day tasks mean I use a number of different design methodologies that cover everything from software requirements, the design all through code development to testing and support.

A typical task involves creating UML diagrams that illustrate the intended structure, interfaces, sequences and communication mechanisms of the software. I enjoy the level of responsibility that comes along with this as my code must be developed to a very high standard and I get to be involved with the whole process of creating the software.

It is essential that the software I create is safe to use out in the field, therefore reviews and testing are a very important aspect of my role. Once the code is created, it is thoroughly tested, from the smallest component to the entire sub-system. This testing is done partially on a computer and partially on some of the onsite state-of-the-art lab equipment, which allows us to test on real target hardware.

As the project progresses further, we move from creating a sub-system to integrating it into a completely built missile. This is then put through vigorous testing to expose any potential problems before moving into real-life testing through firing trials.

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I get a real sense of satisfaction knowing that the code I have developed is being used to help defend the UK army, navy and RAF.

Interested in a software role? Take a look at our current opportunities here