Greck Santiago likes to build things—robots, circuit boards, microcontrollers. Naturally, when he came to the University of Advancing Technology to study robotics, he thought he would graduate and get a job as a robotics engineer. Then he discovered software engineering and embedded programming and realized that building cool things didn’t necessarily involve hardware and wires.
“My original goal was to get a job in robotics because that was my major, but goals change,” Greck said. After talking to engineers, reading through job descriptions and applying to about 30 jobs—which he thought was “A LOT”—Greck decided to pursue a career in software development. He also encourages recent grads to “think outside of the major box” and most importantly, “Be flexible.”
Greck eventually landed an interview at Astronautics Corporation of America. “They were more concerned about whether or not I was a team player and could follow processes than if I had all of the technical skills,” he said. And he found out that there are a lot of processes to follow. “Sometimes there might be a simple way to get something done, but because of certain guidelines, we have to find another solution.” These rules and restrictions have taught Greck a lot about critical thinking and problem solving.
Greck’s primary role at Astronautics Corporation of America is verification. A team of senior developers works together to create a product or piece of software, and then Greck designs tests to make sure the product does what it is supposed to do. “It’s also my job to make sure that the product does not do anything that it is not supposed to do,” he said.
Astronautics Corporation of America
Greck works with products such as electronic primary flight displays, engine displays, flight controls, mission computers, electronic flight bags and certified servers for airborne applications. Astronautics Corporation of America also provides services such as system integration and custom software for critical applications.
“My degree provided an excellent base to build upon for my career,” Greck said. “It was a good mix of hardware, software and embedded systems programming,” he added. Furthermore, participating in VEX Robotics Competitions helped prepare him to think on his feet and solve tough technical problems.