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BAE Systems Australia

  • #1 in Defence & aerospace
  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees


I feel immensely privileged to be able to work with rockets. Rockets are among the fastest traveling vehicles ever created and are the only reliable option for space access, for now at least.

What's your job about? 

BAE Systems Australia is a defence and security company with capabilities spanning the breadth of the product lifecycle. My role at BAE Systems Australia as a graduate aerospace engineer primarily involves rocket development, simulation and modelling. I’ve worked with my team and our customer to understand the desired capabilities of the rocket to be developed and to elicit measureable requirements for the engineered components of the rocket. These requirements are crucial throughout the design phase of the project where the use of rocket modelling and simulation is applied to rapidly evaluate rocket component configurations against the target requirements. I’ve had opportunities to work with another graduate engineer on this project and to also collaborate with other engineers at various levels of seniority.

What's your background? 

I grew up in Adelaide and studied aerospace engineering and computer science at the University of Adelaide. Throughout uni, I sought as much engineering experience as I could. I tutored in a few first-year engineering courses, which was a great way to reinforce the engineering fundamentals as well as it simply being a gratifying experience. I did a summer research project with an academic at uni on controlling micro-scale fluid flows for medical applications, and also got some hands-on engineering experience through designing a rocket with a team for the Australian Universities Rocket Competition. Along the way, I also volunteered for a few societies and organisations. 

During my final two years of uni, I worked with multirotor drones and Internet of Things payload devices on a part-time basis as a cadet at Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG). I was fortunate to be able to bring some of this work to uni as my final year honours project which I completed with two of my mates. As much fun as it was to build and fly a hexacopter drone and payload from scratch, I realised I wanted to expose myself to a greater breadth of the project lifecycle. I acknowledged that the novelty inherent to research and development activities really appealed to me, however, I was sorely lacking in experience across the span of technology readiness levels. After having some candid conversations with my cherished mentors at DSTG, I decided that BAE Systems Australia could offer me the best opportunity for growth.

Could someone with a different background do your job? 

A job in rocket simulation and modelling requires solid foundational skills in maths, programming, physics, and of course, engineering. Problem-solving is the skill that ties these disciplines together, hence, someone with a university background in STEM could handle this job. Such a person would be able to apply their learned ways of thinking and develop their discipline-specific skills on the job. I certainly needed to, and continue to, bolster some of my skills to get the job done properly and efficiently!

What's the coolest thing about your job? 

I feel immensely privileged to be able to work with rockets. Rockets are among the fastest travelling vehicles ever created and are the only reliable option for space access, for now at least. Considering my fascination with research and development, it’s easy to see how rockets, with their peerless capabilities, are a vector for further novel inventions!

What are the limitations of your job?

The biggest limitation of my job is the accordingly secretive nature of defence work. A consequence of this is that it’s often difficult to fully grasp the details of projects happening outside of those I normally interact with. This may lead to situations where people may not know of interesting work happening elsewhere and could miss opportunities to get involved. It’s generally best to simply talk to people about their work and acknowledge that there are limits on how much they can disclose.

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

  • Seek work experience opportunities coordinated by academic staff within your uni. These programs generally don’t require prior experience within your field and are a great way to begin developing your professional network. Hopefully your supervisor agrees to be your referee for your future internship or full-time job applications.
  • Keep an eye on the bigger picture by reading news related to industries you’re interested in. It’s an easy and immediate source of motivation for when you get bogged down in the minutiae of seemingly endless assignments.
  • As long as your grades are decent, your mindset and behaviours matter more to employers