Employee Spotlight – Nathan Cook
Tell us a little bit about yourself (include family info)?
I was born and raised in Florida, growing up on the Space Coast, just a few minutes away from Kennedy Space Center. I joined the Navy in 2009 as a Cryptologic Technician, where I served on a guided missile destroyer for 3 years. I ended up meeting my future wife while stationed in Alice Springs, Australia for 2 ½ years. We moved back to the Northern Virginia Area in 2015 where I started pursuing my Computer Science degree, while also working as a contractor at the NRO. Our son Alex was born in November, 2015, a few weeks after I separated from the Navy. I joined Northstrat in November 2017 to work on Bodhi, and have been loving it ever since!
BS in Computer Science, University of Maryland University College
As a Software Engineer or Systems Engineer at Northstrat, what is your daily routine like? Or is there one?
What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
I really enjoying solving problems with code. Being given a feature or bug and told to figure out how to make it work is awesome. Finally finding a solution and seeing your code compile and run correctly is an amazing feeling.
What do you enjoy most about working for Northstrat?
Walking over to headquarters for an afternoon snack and beer is a good way to break up the day and interact with the front office or people from other programs.
What made you decide to become a Software Engineer?
I’ve always been interested in the web and computers, but they don’t really let you do much software engineering in the Navy. I was search for jobs after I separated and happened to find an entry-level Web Designer position that didn’t require 5 years of experience and a master degree, and received some excellent web development on job training from one of my coworkers.
Did/do you have a mentor? Tell us about that person.
I worked with a really amazing software engineer at my first job that taught me a lot of the soft skills that I use at work such as problem solving, communication skills, not being afraid to fail at something, and being comfortable with admitting you don’t know something. He really molded me at an critical phase of my software engineering career, and I’m extremely grateful he was around during those early years.
Any advice for young people who want to pursue STEM?
You don’t need a degree to be a great software engineer, and to get excellent software engineering positions. I’m not advocating you skip college, but don’t think your success hinges on you education. On-the-job training, coding bootcamps, and self-teaching can be very useful tools to get you where you want to go in your career.