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Innovation & Purpose: Behind the Scenes at Northrop Grumman

High-powered space telescopes. Cutting-edge threat detection systems. Robots capable of dismantling IEDs. These aren’t just topics ripped from the headlines of Popular Mechanics. At Northrop Grumman, products like these are their bread and butter — and their employees get to work on them every day. Whether designing the machines themselves, developing the software they run on, optimizing their production or ensuring operational excellence of the organization as a whole, Northrop Grumman team members all contribute to the development of innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike and logistics and modernization that touch people all over the world.

But what exactly is it like to work at one of the world’s leading global security companies? We chatted with three Northrop Grumman employees who gave us the scoop on their roles and responsibilities, what gets them excited to come into work every day and what you need to know if you want to get a job there — here are a few highlights from our conversations.

One-of-a-Kind Projects

glassdoor Cory Carruth
Cory Carruth, F-35 Director.

Northrop Grumman employees work in a vast array of fields, including engineering, business development, information technology, finance and research, to name just a few. One common theme? Each employee we spoke to had the chance to take on some seriously cool projects.

“As Director of the F35 Center Fuselage integrated product team, I lead a team responsible for all of the day-to-day activities associated with fabrication and assembly of the Center Fuselage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” said F-35 Director Cory Carruth.

Cyber Solutions Architect Raven Sims, on the other hand, helps “define the defense-in-depth architecture for Security Operation Centers (SOCs) for different federal agencies. While building out the architecture of their SOC, I am able to define all of the tools and technologies to streamline operations for cybersecurity capabilities.”

For Process Engineer Arlete Kanode, the average day is all about ensuring things run smoothly on the manufacturing side. “We troubleshoot items on the production side and for depot, which are products returned from customers, repaired and sent back to the field. We do a lot of problem-solving on the manufacturing floor, creating the routings and work constructions,” Kanode said.

A Sense of Purpose

But it’s not just the work itself that gets Northrop Grumman employees out of bed in the morning — each of the employees we chatted with reported a deep connection to the company’s overall mission.

What originally drew Carruth to Northrop Grumman was “the opportunity to work on products helping preserve our freedom. I am still in awe of the technical complexity and personal commitment that goes into designing, building and supporting the amazing products that I’ve had the chance to work on, from the B-2 bomber to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” he said.

“Every day I come in to fight a new battle to defend against the latest threat. I fell in love with the forever-changing environment and the thrill it gave me,” Sims added. “Protecting the government’s most critical assets was very important to me. What I do on a day-to-day basis truly makes a difference in the world and knowing my place in that is truly rewarding.”

In this sense, Kanode said she feels more directly able to “give my support to the men and women who serve their country. You always want to give moral support to them, but being able to do work outside of that to support them makes it even better.”

A Company Culture as Strong as Its Products

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Cyber Solutions Architect Raven Sims.

Northrop Grumman employs approximately 70,000 employees in all 50 states and in more than 25 countries, however, employees say that doesn’t diminish the impact they’re able to make or the camaraderie they feel.

“While Northrop Grumman is a large company, I have always felt that my direct efforts have contributed to our success,” Carruth said. “I have been fortunate enough to be a part of three teams that celebrated first flights of new aircraft… It is hard to describe the emotion of seeing the culmination of this hard work take flight for the first time.”

Sims also attested to the celebratory and collaborative spirit found within Northrop Grumman. “My team does weekly tag-ups to discuss everything that we have been working on. We also go to happy hours to celebrate one another’s success when something rewarding happens,” she said. “When you work at Northrop Grumman, you are truly surrounded [by] peers and management that are truly top performers.”

While Kanode is still newer to the team, she agrees that “the people have been awesome — so willing to share their experiences and knowledge, and help me when they can. Everybody I’ve met has been so friendly and positive,” she said. “I would [also] say the work-life balance and the company support for it is amazing.”

Benefits That Rival Silicon Valley

Contributing to the strong company culture is an excellent benefits package.

“In addition to competitive pay and benefits, Northrop Grumman is focused on creating a positive work-life balance through a 9/80 work schedule [in which employees work nine hours a day with every other Friday off], ability to offset your work schedule, generous maternal and paternal leave and paid time off,” Carruth said.

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Process Engineer Arlete Kanode.

The company even has a special program aimed at helping those who have been out of the workplace for an extended period transition back into the working world.

“I had been out of the workplace for over five years, after deciding to take a career break and stay home with my kids. I was nervous about coming back,” Kanode said. “The program gave us guidance through interpersonal relationships and looking at our time outside of the workforce to see what skills we had developed that could benefit us here. I saw the value of the skills I learned from staying at home, including multitasking, interpersonal relationship building and schedule management.”

How You Can Get a Job at Northrop Grumman

Interested in joining the Northrop Grumman team? The employees we chatted with shared a few tips:

  • Take Ownership: “Accountability, reliability and ambition make someone successful at Northrop Grumman. It’s important to take ownership and to challenge yourself at all times to excel in the company,” Sims said.
  • Be a Team Player: “Teamwork and collaboration are an absolute requirement for anyone that wants to be successful on our team… People have to have skills to work with people from all different backgrounds and skills sets,” Carruth shared.
  • Remember — Communication Counts: “Soft skills are very important, and developing relationships and networking are necessary to being successful,” Kanode advised.
  • Highlight Your Leadership: “When interviewing applicants I enjoy learning about [their] previous leadership experiences… In addition to learning about their style as a leader, I enjoy asking and learning what they could have done better in that leadership role,” Carruth said.

According to Carruth, there has never been a better time to join Northrop Grumman.

“This is a tremendously exciting time at Northrop Grumman as we grow and scale our business to support our growing portfolio. In the past 17 years that I’ve worked for Northrop Grumman, I have never before seen the amount of opportunity (promotions and hiring) that exists today,” he said.

“If you want to be a part of a highly engaged, inclusive and diverse workforce where everyone cares about the quality of service we give to our customers, then come to Northrop Grumman,” Sims added.

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