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Airbus

4.2
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Anthony Rothnagel

What's your job about?

Airbus is a large global company where the type of work varies greatly depending on the worksite; here at Richmond we are supporting the C-130J Hercules for the RAAF – providing both engineering solutions and hands-on maintenance. I am the software engineer for the platform which means I am the point of contact for all software related issues.

This includes maintaining the approved software configuration of the aircraft and investigating software problem reports.

I also develop engineering tools to assist with the day to day work of other engineers (such as performing an electrical loads analysis or processing recorded data from the aircraft).

What's your background?

I was born in USA but moved to Australia when I was 3. I have spent most of my life in Brisbane including all of my schooling.

After finishing high school I went straight into uni, studying electrical engineering but the thought of working for power companies or in telecommunications didn’t interest me greatly and I put my studies on hold for a while.

I spent my time off working in various coffee shops and going on ski holidays until I finally rediscovered my passion for aviation and returned to uni; this time studying Aerospace Avionics engineering. While studying, I also started learning to fly recreational aircraft.

I was first exposed to working with Airbus in Brisbane (on the MRH90 Taipan) for my uni internship. The lessons learnt from this experience and the mentoring I received helped me get my job here in Richmond after graduating.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes! Although it does go without saying you would need some experience with software. I work with people from vastly different backgrounds (ex-military, engineers, former maintenance staff) and it is clear that these differences in background and experience helps to provide a safe and quality solution because different people will pick-up on different issues and will provide different approaches to tackle complex problems.

The most important qualities a person needs for this job is an eagerness to learn, the maturity to know when you are wrong/don’t know the answer, and the confidence to stick to your guns when you are right.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about this job is that I am directly supporting the RAAF which enables them to perform missions for both the security of Australia and humanitarian work. It’s also pretty cool to work in an office which is in the same hangar where we service the C-130Js – this makes it is very easy to go down and inspect the aircraft and perform configuration audits.

I most enjoy the tasks that require a lot of investigating to work out what is going wrong – it’s very rewarding once you finally get to the root-cause of a software issue and often these tasks provide the best opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge of aircraft systems.

What are the limitations of your job?

Sometimes the RAAF need a solution to a problem quickly (in order to meet their operational requirements) this does mean that the job can be stressful and can involve working slightly longer hours on occasion.

It is also a fairly niche role in the industry and it can be difficult to get your foot in the door.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s not worth your time.
  • Don’t sweat the large stuff either – it’s usually out of your control anyway.
  • It’s not a race – you don’t have to go straight from high-school to uni (and then finish the course ASAP). Take a gap year (or two) to work out exactly what you want to do, travel the world, and spend more time with friends and family.