Glenn Goodlett

Air Force

Pivoting to a different career can be daunting, but not impossible. Read how this veteran began as an avionics technician and became a software engineer.

Glenn, tell us about your primary job in the Air Force?

I was an Avionics Technician. It was my job to maintain and repair the aircraft's electronic systems such as its communication, navigation, and monitoring equipment. The saying is that the Avionics technician maintains the eyes and ears of the pilot.

Are there ways that your career in the Air Force compare to your career with Viasat?

The environment at Viasat is a lot more open and creative than what I experienced in the military. There is still a lot of camaraderie and teamwork that one would expect from the military, but the intensity and pressure has been turned down a notch.

How did you know you wanted to be a software engineer?

When I started seriously thinking about my bachelor's I was stationed in Okinawa. I was always interested in mathematics and engineering, and Software Engineering was really the only degree program that fit into those categories while also having a flexible program that would allow me to pursue my degree while working all over south east Asia. Since starting, Software Engineering has really become a love story with me.

What was your path from Avionics Technician to Engineer?

Honestly, I feel the most important skills to have as a Software Engineer were ever-present in my role as an avionics technician. Troubleshooting and repairing complex avionics systems is a lot like writing and debugging software. The only difference is instead of tracing signal flow through a diagram, I'm tracing information through a call stack.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pivot their career?

Think about what you want to be and where you want to go and focus on that. If you want to be a Software Engineer, start thinking of yourself as a Software Engineer. Turn everything you need to do to get there into a big part of your life, make becoming that thing you want to become your religion.