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Erica navigates across aviation careers

I feel I am so fortunate that my aviation career has landed me in my present position at a company that designs and supports operations software for the airline industry. My position as a Senior Software Quality Assurance Analyst – Subject Matter Expert allows me to bring a unique perspective to the software development process. As a Senior Software Quality Assurance Analyst, my role is to test the software before it reaches the customers; as Subject Matter Expert I am able to apply my aviation background to scrutinize our products from an airline’s point of view. My testing is focused on the aircraft performance, navigation data and dispatching tools.

Following university, I started my aviation career at my local flight school the way many pilots do, progressing through my licenses and subsequently instructing for six years while I earned my ATPL qualifications. At the time, the industry was at a bit of a standstill and I was tired of waiting for jobs to open up. I decided to turn my sights to airline dispatching and I completed my exams for that role but an extremely small job market again left me searching for something different. I discovered my city was home to a unique company called Navtech at the time, now Navblue (www.navblue.aero). I began my career on the Customer Operations Desk, supporting airlines worldwide with software troubleshooting and soon moved into my present role in Software Quality Assurance (SQA).

To illustrate the crossover between my aviation background and SQA, I draw upon my CPL and ATPL-level knowledge daily: pouring through aircraft flight manuals, examining navigation charts, and verifying the accuracy of results. I apply my expertise to help validate that the way a dispatcher, or pilot, uses the software makes sense; and I need to ensure that all of our customers’ requirements are being met.

A keen eye for detail is one of the keys to my success. Clear and efficient communication is also important as we work closely as a team. A little bit of curiosity and the desire to sleuth out the root of the problem rounds out the skill set that helps me on the job. I also get to draw upon my instructing background, teaching my peers the aviation background they need to assist them in their roles.

I love that I can combine my passion for aviation with a traditional work week. I am very fortunate that my company encourages a healthy work-life balance, where I am able to work from home when required, allowing me to be there if my daughter is sick or my parents need a hand. In addition to an active social committee making work fun in the office, we are encouraged to get out and contribute to our community and keep ourselves active. This balance means that I am able to spend the time I need with my family as well as staying on the cutting edge of airline operations, and I still have plenty of time to go flying when the mood strikes!

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