Information technology plays a huge and growing role in the aerospace/defense industry, which makes this industry a good one for people searching for technical jobs. Computer systems are now part of almost every aspect of the design and production of aerospace equipment, from the software used to simulate the aerodynamics of an aircraft, to the wide-area networks that connect different government facilities.
The Aerospace/Defense Industry Landscape:
There were many fluctuations in aerospace and defense between 2000 and 2010. A March 2010 report by professional services firm Deloitte LLP, titled Aerospace & Defense - 2010 U.S. Outlook, said the U.S. aerospace and defense industry demonstrated "generally outstanding financial performance" by the end of the decade.
However, the report also pointed out that certain sub-sectors didn't do so well. The business jet industry, for example, saw production slashed by 50 percent, and the commercial aircraft field experienced the worst order cycle in almost 20 years.
The main focus for the aerospace/defense industry in 2009 was survival. According to consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers, aerospace and defense will still face a number of challenges over the coming years, including the recovering economy, political instability in certain areas of the world, and the fluctuating price of oil.
However, the Deloitte report predicted a "steady climb" for the industry starting in 2010, which should bode well for the IT job market in this field.
Of special note for job seekers interested in entering this field: ComputerWorld's 2010 Salary Survey found that defense/aerospace would be at the top of the list as far as IT pay, with overall compensation up 2.9 percent in 2010. Bonuses are supposed to increase by 19 percent and salaries should go up by 2.2 percent.
Top Skills and Experience for the Aerospace/Defense Industry:
Here are some of the skills and areas of experience that employers in the aerospace and defense industry may be seeking (all depending on the position you are applying for):
- software development experience;
- knowledge of programming languages such as C, C++, Java, PHP;
- familiarity with Linux, Unix and Windows systems;
- experience with wide-area networks and local-area networks;
- understanding of ITIL standards;
- IT security background, including GIAC, CISSP or CISM certification;
- background in supporting/maintaining network security devices;
- experience in areas such as disaster recovery, auditing, ISO, business continuity;
- SQL knowledge and database design and management skills;
- critical thinking abilities;
- strong communication and teamwork skills.