Technology Careers

Career in System Engineering
Day in the life as a Test System Engineer

Tim Oakley
IT Specialty:
Programming & Software Development
Job Title:
Test System Engineer
ATS Inc.
Bachelor of Science; Electronic Engineering Technology

Q. How long have you had your degree?
A. 3 years

Q. Do you feel your degree adequately prepared you for your technology career?
A. It would have had I pursued a career that was specific to my training/college education. It did give me the building blocks with which further develop my "IT" skills while on the job.

Q. How many years have you been in the IT field?
A. 3 years with ATS

Q. Have you ever worked in a field outside IT? If so for how many years and in what other fields have you worked?
A. Yes, currently my main job focus isn't on IT work. I do software programming & development in addition to my current job requirements.

Q. If you answered “yes” to the above question, in what way did working in other fields prepare you for the IT field? A. Or do you feel it had no bearing on it whatsoever?
My main role working as an ATS contractor for Caterpillar drives everything I do in the IT field. I'm not sure if it has exactly "prepared" me so much as drove me to learn & develop the skills to fill a need.

Q. What personality traits and skills do you possess that you feel help you in your specific IT field?
A. As much as I dislike the buzz word, being a "team player" has to be at the top. Also the ability to troubleshoot & anticipate problems.

Q. What steps does someone go through to get a job in this field?
A. Get your resume out. There never is any harm in sending it to a prospective company. Also, if your college/university has any placement assistance, use them. That’s how I came into contact with ATS. The counselor mentioned that there was a hiring "fair" and that I should check it out. Now here I am.

Q. What are ways to advance in your field?
A. Certainly getting a higher education. Also, nothing replaces experience. You can't go to class for everything.

Q. What is the most enjoyable thing about your job?
A. The many different challenges I'm presented with on a daily basis.       

Q. What is the biggest challenge regarding your job?
A. The many different challenges I'm presented with on a daily basis.

Q. What skills do you use at work?
A. Microsoft office (heavily in excel), several programming languages (Visual Basic 6, Visual Basic .NET, Visual Basic for Applications). I also rely heavily on a basic knowledge of networking and how to navigate a network.

Q. What percentage of your day do you spend working independently or in a group?
A. I'm usually independently focused on one aspect of the Cat plant. Of course I'm part of a group that supports the entire factory. I might say 50/50.

Q. If you could give me one quote about why you feel Information Technology is “THE” field to be in what would it be?
A. Information systems and the need for the people to support them is everywhere. All modern corporations, businesses and facilities basically can't function with them.