Sarah Small

Edinburgh  21 April 2021
Graduate Software Engineer

Meet Sarah, a Graduate Software Engineer working in the radar division at our Edinburgh site.

What is your current role at Leonardo?

Currently, I am working as a Graduate Software Engineer at the Edinburgh site. I work in the radar division, and I am involved in creating software to go inside the Eurofighter Typhoon. I spend time with my team designing how our software will function, implementing the code, and testing to make sure that the software produces the results we expect.

Why was our graduate programme the right path for you?

The graduate programme has helped to provide me with a foundation to start developing my career. Throughout the programme, structured training and support has been provided, which has given me the chance to learn about different areas at Leonardo and obtain a wider perspective of the organisation. I also think the programme has given me the opportunity to create connections and form a network with other graduates within the company.

What did you study at university?

I recently graduated from the University of Dundee with a First Class degree in Computer Science. The course not only gave me the opportunity to learn about theoretical computer science concepts, but also provided me with useful practical experience. During the course, we were able to gain industry experience in developing software, as the university gave us the chance to work with external companies. In the projects, we would work with clients, which was really helpful for understanding how software is developed in a business setting.

Tell us what you do in a typical day

I currently work on developing software for radar at the Edinburgh site. For me, a typical day involves designing, creating, testing, and reviewing code that will form part of the software in a radar system. In doing this, I get to work with other teams outside of my own, and I get to work with different types of engineers to produce the solution. I am also the First Year Graduate Representative for Edinburgh, which means that, alongside my day-to-day work, I attend regular graduate forums to provide feedback for the First Years at the Edinburgh site. In addition, I am also a STEM ambassador for Leonardo, which means I spend some of my time organising, and getting involved with, STEM related projects.

What do enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is the variety; there are many different areas to work on, and no day is the same. In my team, we use an ‘agile’ way of working, which means we are focused on producing small pieces of work incrementally. The result is that we are able to work on lots of different short tasks, allowing us to work on many parts of the overall system.

What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?

One of my biggest achievements so far is being a mentor for the Industrial Cadets Gold Project. For this project, a group of senior school pupils were tasked with creating a low cost radar that would utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI). It has been a really rewarding experience, and the students who took part created some great digital radar models and demonstrated their knowledge of how AI could enhance the radar.

What are your career aspirations?

In the future, I would like to continue working in software and technology, as I think it’s a fascinating area. In the immediate term, I am focused on improving my technical skills in software development, and working towards meeting the competencies of a Senior Engineer. Going forward, I would like to develop my leadership skills and play a key role in helping to deliver software within Leonardo. Ultimately, my main aspiration is to be successful, and what that means to me is to be happy in what I’m doing, confident that I can create good work, and able to guide others to do the same.

Why should someone consider the graduate programme at Leonardo?

I think the graduate programme at Leonardo provides you with all the tools and skills you need to succeed in the workplace. Throughout the graduate programme, you get the opportunity to take part in lots of different modules to develop your skills in many areas such as finance, presentation skills, and technical knowledge of Leonardo’s products. The programme is open to graduates from many different disciplines, so you will get to meet lots of different types of people!

Leonardo's Graduate Programme

Leonardo's award-winning graduate programme develops promising young graduates into engineers and business professionals of the future.

Leonardo's Graduate Programme