Hear what real MDCDP employees have to say about their experiences in the program. A few of the participants in the Missile Defense Career Development Program shared their thoughts and advice about MDA careers:
I applied for a career with MDA because I wanted a change of pace compared to a career in industry. The possible work described in the vacancy announcement caught my attention. The MDCDP program allowed rotational assignments and offered a progressive transition into MDA.
I was looking for a career development program within a large organization — to learn more about the organization and gain a technical background with opportunities to grow and learn.
The MDCDP program
The MDCDP program provided one of the best opportunities to begin a career anywhere. The opportunities to learn, grow and expand seemed endless. It was a very positive experience for me. I liked rotating to new assignments to learn new skills and learn about the agency every six months. The transitional period of the program - two years - into a full-time position eased concerns I had about transitioning from college to the workforce.
I chose MDA because I was seeking security and stability. I was ready to begin my career, not just another job. The most important thing for me was flexibility. I knew I would soon start a family, so I wanted a career that would allow good work/life balance.
The most beneficial part of the MDCDP program is having the ability to rotate. Having the opportunity to work in different areas and learn how one area affects another is good for development. I can make better decisions knowing how each decision affects each part.
MDCDP is a relatively new program. Be patient, focus on learning, and enjoy the experience. We play a vital role in our country's defense, and always remember that is the ultimate goal.
Why I chose MDA
MDA was at the college career fairs and was hiring. The work sounded interesting, and it is a chance to help defend the USA. The work of the agency is a little different than a company in industry; however, the work can be very rewarding.
MDCDP is a Hands-on Experience
MDCDP is an excellent program to help bring a new employee up to speed. It was an awesome experience! Working hands-on, going and seeing the MDA sites, and learning how everything interacts was really beneficial.
Why I Love My Job
The MDA mission is so important. It's why I'm here and love doing what I'm doing. So many people work together on different parts of a system to help develop and deliver the product to the troops. I chose this career to help develop the technology that defends our forces, friends, allies, and homeland. Sometimes I leave work thinking, "Wow, I get paid to do this?"
About the Engineering Work We Do
From an engineering perspective, much of the work is not as technical as many would like. There is not much design or number-crunching in my position. However, I get to apply everything I learned in engineering school to help manage processes, system integration, and financial issues.
I work in Test, or DT, and specifically in Operation/Execution. I get the opportunity to sit on console and execute flight tests. This supports MDA's overall mission by validating and verifying all of the previous work by others and proves our systems can intercept possible enemy targets. Through my rotation in Advanced Technologies, DV, I helped develop portions of the SM3 Block-IIB missile.
The Surprising Benefits of Federal Employment
I did not know about the flexible work schedules, the excellent benefits, the job security of the agency, or the excellent educational/career development training opportunities that are abundantly present at MDA.
Leadership has been so supportive here. My mentor/supervisor is always finding opportunities for me that may be fun, interesting, and great for career development. Leadership and most others in the agency are always trying to find ways to get MDCDP participants involved in activities that will help develop their careers.
Advice to New Interns
When coming into the agency with no background in missiles, defense, or the workplace in general, be prepared to be bombarded with information and acronyms. It is a bit overwhelming the first few months, but when you get the hang of it and you are able to understand the system and start doing things on your own, the job becomes very fast-paced, interesting, and fun!