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Saab Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Edward Gray

Work hard, both inside and outside of university. This will set you up well when it comes time for applying for jobs and being able to easily answer interview questions.

What's your job about?

Saab Australia is primarily known for its work in the defence industry, however, has a growing footprint in the Civil domain, with its homegrown OneView product. OneView is an integrated security system deployed in prisons, hospitals and other secure facilities. It is used to monitor and control a site from an intuitive user interface.

My role in the Integration team is to build and configure the backend servers and network infrastructure for OneView to operate on. We spend a lot of time tweaking configurations to meet redundancy and availability requirements, as well as to integrate with a growing list of subsystems – from CCTV to door access control and perimeter detection systems.

My focus started with setting up for Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) in the office. It has since shifted to flying in and out of sites such as the new Clarence Correctional Centre, in Grafton NSW. This will be Australia’s largest correctional centre, housing up to 1700 inmates, and is nearing the final stages of construction. An exciting place to have worked on.

What's your background?

I have lived most of my life in Adelaide. I completed the International Baccalaureate program at Saint Peter’s College and spent many Sundays working at my local IGA. During school, I thoroughly enjoyed physics and economics. This led me to start a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Finance at the University of Adelaide. After school, I landed a job at Macquarie Bank as a financial advisor assistant – drafting reports and evaluating clients’ portfolios.

During my second year of university, I discovered I enjoyed the course Electrical and Electronic Engineering 1A. I found this suited me much more than any of the Mechanical courses I had done. This prompted me to change degrees, putting me three subjects behind and setting me up for a busy third year of summer school and overloading. The change was well worth it for me and even during the tough year, I found I enjoyed my time a lot more.

During the fourth year, my penultimate year, I started looking for internships and work experience. This led me to Saab, where I nervously had my first interview in June 2017. From here I started where I am today in the Integration team in Saab’s Civil department. I was a great fit during my internship and Saab kept me on part-time throughout 2018 as I finished my degree. From here I continued on to the Graduate Program, where I am today.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, definitely. My team has a diverse background of people who all have a keen interest in computers and technology. Anyone who is keen to learn and has an interest can slot straight in and will learn on the job. This is particularly true for my team which requires such a niche skillset that any new starter would have a lot to learn.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that I get involved in a large scope of the process, starting at pulling servers freshly out of the box. I then spend weeks configuring it, integrating it with many other systems and networks. Finally, I get to turn it on for the last time, as it gets deployed on a site that operates 24/7 – ideally only ever turned off when it goes out of service. Working on-site during set to work and commissioning phases is a highlight as you get to see your team’s hard work operating in the real world.

What are the limitations of your job?

Due to the tighter timelines in this side of the business, the allowance of time for certain tasks can sometimes be limited. There can be a smaller allowance of time for trying new things as we strive to deliver consistent solutions between projects. However, this is improving as we grow into new markets.

As a Graduate I have been giving a large amount of responsibility which can be stressful at crunch times, however, has been greatly rewarding.

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

My three pieces of advice for students:

  • Work hard, both inside and outside of university. This will set you up well when it comes time for applying for jobs and being able to easily answer interview questions.
  • Look for opportunities and get to know companies at careers events, Ingenuity and when companies (like Saab) come to present at the university.
  • Have fun and enjoy what you do. Once I changed degrees I was much happier and doing well got a whole lot easier.