Inzpire's Mikey Newton
As one of Inzpire's cyber analysts it'll be no surprise to learn that I am passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths - more commonly known as 'STEM' - and a huge advocate for the topic in general. As one of the handful of people at Inzpire working on the shop floor who has not previously come from a military background, I feel it is important to share the importance of STEM and how I got into a STEM-based career, finally landing my dream job working in the Defence industry (even though I must admit the military humour sometimes gets lost on me!).
STEM-related subjects are important disciplines in our everyday lives, but nationally we are facing skill shortages in all STEM fields; however as society advances and we drive towards a more highly technological way of life, the requirement for a skilled STEM talent pool continues to rapidly grow. Additionally, we are facing a lack of equality and diversity in all STEM-related career paths and fields. At Inzpire, we’re trying to tackle these issues and promoting a more inclusive STEM workforce by supporting STEM events in schools and communities. As someone who is extremely passionate about this, as part of British Science Week I thought it would be apt to share how I got into a career working with technology and share my tips on how more people can get in to STEM as a career choice - regardless of your background.
My career path in to technology started very early on. My father and both grandfathers served in the military and this is what I decided I wanted to do. My dream was to become a pilot - living next to RAF bases for several years and watching Top Gun over and over again really had an impact on me!
Unfortunately, I had an illness for 2 years which would prevent me from joining up. However, it was not all doom and gloom; my father was interested in robotics and science and had a particularly unhealthy obsession with IT (information technology) and software engineering. I couldn't escape parts of computers laying on our coffee tables or programming manuals in our kitchen cupboards (don’t ask).
I started tinkering with all of those computer parts laying around and constructing computers and under my father's guidance I started to develop a real interest and passion for computing whether it was the hardware or software aspect - I really enjoyed it all. One 'experiment' I remember particularly well is placing a small piece of electrical cable across two random solder points on the back of a live motherboard in a computer to 'see what would happen'. My father was working on this computer at the time attempting to fix it and suddenly there was a loud “BANG” followed by plenty of smoke. My father said, “what the hell was that?” and blissfully unaware of what I was doing at the time I just replied, “no idea – don’t know what happened there!" (as I peered from behind the computer looking shocked and my ears still ringing from the noise of the explosion).
Be inquisitive and do all you can to learn as much about your topic of choice
During my time at school IT was my favourite subject (no surprise) and when it came to deciding whether to move on to further education or straight in to work, I decided to go down the college route and study a course in IT. In addition, I wrote to a few computer shops in the local area to see if I could gain some work experience and further expand on my existing knowledge. I landed a job in a computer repair shop at the weekends and luckily I didn't blow any of those ones up.
As I entered the workplace my skills developed and throughout my early career I worked for some fantastic companies and continued learning in a bid to best "IT person" I can be! I always attempted to go that extra mile by putting additional study hours in to a variety of computer-related subjects outside of work hours and by completing plenty of certifications ranging from basic PC repair to cyber security. Continual education is extremely important, especially working in Technology - the industry is so fast-paced and there is always a new development to learn about to ensure you are at the top of your game.
Throughout my years working in IT, whilst I loved my jobs I still had this ambition to work in the defence industry and I finally got my lucky break in 2018 whilst working in cyber security for a company in Lincolnshire. Raytheon UK contacted me after discovering my CV online (which obviously heavily illustrated my passion for all things associated with IT and cyber security) and offered me a job working at RAF Waddington with the Sentinel R1 team focussing on IT security associated with the platform.
Sadly the Sentinel R1 platform was coming close to the end of its operational life with no extension in sight, so I decided to apply for a cyber analyst opportunity which had just come up at Inzpire. It was perfect timing and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with the cyber team here.
I now have a STEM career in the defence sector which is what I always wanted. It took lots of hard work, plenty of focus, extra studying and a tiny bit of good luck; but if you are reading this, you can achieve this too. Here's how:
I've recently branched out my STEM support - here is an image of me supporting the VEX IQ Robotics Challenge for the Techpoint Foundation for Youth based in Indianapolis, IN
At Inzpire we are lucky to have a highly skilled and talented workforce with a variety of STEM-based skills. A huge percentage of our employees have many years of experience in STEM-related fields, and just as many have experience in training and instruction. As one of the fastest growing defence companies in the country, we feel it is hugely important to ensure the future requirements of a STEM-based workforce are met by engaging with communities, schools, colleges and universities across the country and passing on our wealth of experience with a variety of events, projects, career talks and school lessons. If you would like to discuss how Inzpire could help with any STEM projects you may be investigating, please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org - and don't forget my offer of cyber mentorship!
Technical and Strategic Services OBU
In order to develop a multi-domain, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations capability you must be able to compare the effectiveness of systems, training, tactics and data support
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