SpaceX Software Engineer Career Advice

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We asked members of the SpaceX Flight Software team the following question:

What advice would you have for someone pursuing a career in software development?

Find their answers in this presentation.

Published in: Engineering, Technology, Business

SpaceX Software Engineer Career Advice

  1. 1. S P A C E X S O F T W A R E C A R E E R A D V I C E E N G I N E E R T H E F U T U R E
  2. 2. – E L O N M U S K “SpaceX is like Special Forces… we do things that others think are impossible. We have goals that are absurdly ambitious, but we’re going to make them happen. We have the potential here at SpaceX to have an incredible effect on the future of humanity and life itself.”
  3. 3. We asked members of our flight software team the following question: What advice would you have for someone pursuing a career in software development?
  4. 4. - R O B E R T R O S E , D I R E C T O R F L I G H T S O F T W A R E “Write as much code as possible. Nothing teaches you programming like programming.”
  5. 5. - C H R I S T I N A W O L F S K I L L – M A N A G E R , G R O U N D S O F T W A R E “Show interest in programming outside of work/internships/class. Programming on your own time to create things that interest you demonstrates your curiosity and interests, and can make your interview stand out.”
  6. 6. - J A M E S P H I L L I P S , S E N I O R S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Communication skills are as important as technical skills. Make sure you develop both. Make presentations, hone your skills."
  7. 7. - C H R I S T I N E B A N E K - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “No one can limit what you attempt - if you think it’s possible, try! Your time is the only cost, wasting it your only risk.”
  8. 8. - R I C H A R D P E T R A S I I - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Understand how hardware works. Read data sheets for the chips installed in your PC. Figure out how to make it do something unique. Ex. Bit bang a signal out of your parallel port (yes, motherboards still have them).”
  9. 9. - C H R I S T I N E B A N E K - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Take what other people have spent time perfecting, and make it better. Take two things you love, and combine them. The greatest things aren’t necessarily the most complicated.”
  10. 10. - J O H N P A L M I E R I - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Code reviews are critical to your growth as a developer.”
  11. 11. - K E N N A I S H T A T - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Don’t fall for the Arduino trap - thinking you can understand 5 embedded systems just by following the instruction manual. Make the same thing 5 times on 5 different platforms to understand the differences between them.”
  12. 12. - R O B E R T R O S E - D I R E C T O R , F L I G H T S O F T W A R E “Get to know two or three programming languages exceptionally well. Get books, study them.”
  13. 13. - J E S S I C A H E S T E R - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Tackle big projects. There’s plenty of support online if you get lost. You’ll learn far more from figuring out what went wrong and fixing it, then from a project you don’t have to think much about.”
  14. 14. - D E R E K B R O N I S H - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Pursue some interests other than software, and figure out ways to apply coding to those interests.”
  15. 15. - K E N N A I S H T A T - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Use Github regularly. Clone projects, look at source code, read comments. Identify which code you can follow and what you can’t. Keeping a codebase consistently understandable is a fundamental principle of software engineering.”
  16. 16. - E L L I S R A H H A L - S E N I O R S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Maintain a dynamic tension between stealing as many good ideas as possible, while stretching yourself to do what no one else has done.”
  17. 17. “Make something you think is awesome. If you like what you’re working on, you’ll stay invested. Candidates who stand out are the ones who can talk about (technical) projects they were really invested in.” - J E S S I C A H E S T E R - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R
  18. 18. - J A M E S P H I L L I P S - S E N I O R S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Get involved in open source projects. Read blogs. Build stuff.”
  19. 19. - K E N N A I S H T A T - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Learn how to write both term papers and editorials. Half of software engineering is effective communication in writing, and knowing different styles of writing will help you describe your work to other people.”
  20. 20. - D E R E K B R O N I S H - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Make an app, contribute to open source projects, build a robot, design a web site. And, of course, read ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach!’.”
  21. 21. - E L L I S R A H H A L - S E N I O R S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Always spend a portion of your time researching new ideas and technology. If you aren’t uncomfortable and out of your element, you aren’t doing it right.”
  22. 22. - C H R I S T I N E B A N E K - S O F T W A R E E N G I N E E R “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
  23. 23. Engineer The Future SpaceX.com/Careers @SpaceXJobs

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