In 2000, I started working for NATO as a military staff member in the former CINCSOUTHLANT at Oeiras, Portugal. After five years I became a civilian staff member at the same location working as Software Developer and in 2010 I won promotion to the position of Software Engineer. I am currently working in SHAPE, Mons in the NCI Agency Systems Management Division. This represents a new challenge and therefore a new opportunity for me to grow both professionally and personally.
The first few weeks at the Agency can be challenging as NATO is a universe of new and unique things. There are many acronyms to learn in addition to the military alphabet and ranks, the dynamics of intercultural relationships and politics as well as the technical element of your new position. This can be particularly challenging if you are working in a language other than your mother tongue.
To be Software Engineer, you need to have a university degree in Information Technology and at least 5 years' experience in the field. You need to be able to learn constantly and you must take a keen interest in software development and databases. MS SQL and PL/SQL are important tools which you should preferably learn to master. However, good interpersonal skills are also essential as team work is key to success.
My main duties are to maintain, create and update software applications, create support documents, give user training and support, give comments to any document and project for which my Division is responsible and to discuss or support the implementation of new projects.
The things I enjoy most about my job are the new skills I am learning and the people with whom I work. Since joining NATO, I have attended several training courses on subjects such as Operating Systems and ITIL. I have travelled to several countries, both to perform my duties and to represent the command.