Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What’s it like to be a….defense consultant?

My job title is:
Subject Matter Expert (SME) / Consultant -  someone who has expertise in a particular area/s pertinent to company projects. For defense/technology companies this can range from politics, transportation, infrastructure, business, communications, military, populations, foreign relations, computer programing, etc.

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
A workday could consist of individual research, writing reports, data analysis, group collaboration and discussion, informal team meetings, or formal company meetings with clients. The annual schedule is dictated by individual project schedules so there can be slower days at the beginning of a project and extremely long and hectic days toward project completion. Doldrums and fast sailing – be ready for both.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
I was hired by my employer while I was in graduate school. They needed someone to fulfill a specific opening and I met all of the qualifications. Many defense/technical companies send recruiting teams to larger universities.

What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?
My educational background was an MA in European History. I would suggest primary majors in political science, history, engineering, or similar fields that develop strong research, writing, and analytical skills. I must also STRONGLY recommend a secondary major or minor in business or perhaps computer science. These are very practical and marketable skills to possess and highly valued in the private sector. Employers want well-rounded candidates who are really good at something but have basic knowledge of lots of other things.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 01/24 at 01:26 PM
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