In this series, recent grads share their journey to landing that first job out of college. After years of studying and working toward a degree, these Panthers’ hard work paid off. Now they’re paying it forward by letting you know how they did it.
Name: Gabriel E. Maravi
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Degree/major: Bachelor's in electrical engineering
Where are you working? Title? Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, Electronics System Integration Engineer
How did you get your job? I got in contact with a recruiter on LinkedIn who was looking for recent grads to move to Melbourne, FL.
What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you face it or overcome it? My biggest fear was not knowing exactly what I would be doing because the work was classified. I was put into what we call the "staging area" where you sit and wait to obtain your clearance and then wait to be program cleared.
This was tough at first because if you start a job, you want to know what you are working on, but I knew I had to wait. I overcame that fear and anxiety by learning new languages and working on unclassified tasks. Taking the time to develop my professional skills helped me later on with the job that I was assigned to with stores management systems.
What surprised you the most about your first job? What surprised me the most was working with requirements and how each requirement is important when building a product. If you don’t pay attention to what the requirement is asking for, you may not deliver a certain capability that is needed.
What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process? When looking for a job and starting a new job, you need to really understand what you are getting yourself into. You should also ask what the job entails during the interview process.
I’ve interviewed some students while attending HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference) as a professional, and this question should be the first thing asked: “What would this position look like day-to-day? And what would I be working on?”
Also, don’t be afraid to learn and try new things. You learn things in school that will help you with your future job, but most of the time you learn on the spot and adapt to your environment.
What does a day on the job look like? Currently, I am working with communications subsystem integration that focuses on anything dealing with communication, navigation and identification. I work in the lab, and at times in my cubicle with my cost accounts to make sure the work we are doing as a team fits the master plan we set out for the year. Troubleshooting and making sure each box communicates with each other is my day-to-day. We have several labs that require our attention, and we assist when called.
How does your job connect back to your coursework? It connects in a huge way. I am working on comms and taking the RF (Radio Frequency) microwave class in the College of Engineering & Computing really helped me with what I am doing today. We look at schematics and diagrams every day. With the help of my circuit class, I am able to understand further and apply what I am learning to my real-world experiences.
I took a concentration of embedded systems and working with different boxes that had both hardware and software integrated helped me understand what I am working on currently. Understanding logic and filter design has impacted my daily work as a subsystem.
How has your transition from school to work been? How do you balance your time? I transitioned pretty well because I was doing a co-op for Lockheed Martin in my last semester of school. I started my first day at Northrop Grumman on a Monday, and the Saturday before I had turned in the items I used from my internship to Lockheed. I like to work and keep busy.
During the time I was in the staging area, I was taking leadership courses at Dale Carnegie that were paid by Northrop Grumman, and it really helped me stay in the mindset of school 24/7 while working. I started my master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering a year later, at the University of Florida, and now I am finished. It’s been a challenge because I want to spend time at home with my family and partake in social events, but overall, it has been a smooth transition.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far? Right now the coolest thing about my job is working on something that, down the road, my kids and grandkids will be able to work on and know that I started the work at an early stage. It gives me a sense of purpose in what we do here at Northrop Grumman. We define possibility and always strive to do better.