Northrop Grumman mentorships inspire career possibilities

Northrop Grumman mentorships inspire career possibilities

 January 10, 2022

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Helen is a Software Configuration Analyst for Northrop Grumman in Melbourne in Florida, USA.

She learned a little about cybersecurity early in her career, and as she watched that field grow and expand she wanted to dive back in. Cybersecurity is very technical and complex, so, she sought out a mentor who could teach her more.

At an African American Task Group (AATG) employee resource group event designed to pair up mentors and protégés, Helen met Francis, an Northrop Grumman Fellow who has a doctorate in cybersecurity.

Leading-edge industry experience 

“I was intimidated at first,” Helen explains. After all, NG Fellows are renowned throughout the company and industry for having decades of leading-edge experience in their fields.

Helen worried about being able to understand and learn from someone with such advanced knowledge of cybersecurity, especially cybersecurity as applied to the aerospace and defense industry. Francis is an NG Fellow in cybersecurity and system security engineering. He served 23 years in the Air Force in roles that showcased his increasing level of technical expertise and leadership.

However, the pair clicked, and Helen soon found that there was nothing to be intimidated by - Francis was a natural teacher.

“He brings everything down to my level where I can understand it. He has been showing me how the pieces all work together; the whole process, from start to finish, whether it’s the hardware or software portion," Helen continues. 

Inspiring mentor-protégé relationships

Northrop Grumman Fellows are not just charged with solving difficult technical challenges related to their fields, they also share their technical expertise in an effort to grow their fields, and one of the key ways Francis does this is through mentor-protégé relationships. Helen says that Francis strives to help her understand even the most complex cybersecurity principles.

Today, Helen has moved into a role as an analyst on the cybersecurity system team. Before teaming up in the mentor-protégé relationship with Francis, Helen says she never considered moving her career down a technical path. Now, she sees it as a possibility.

“Knowing why we’re doing certain things within cybersecurity, and how we’re helping the customer, really benefits me. When I go to a different department to work on a project, I know how those pieces fit because of Francis," she describes. 

Different perspectives are learning opportunities

Helen is not the only one benefiting from the mentor-protégé relationship. Francis says he has learned a lot from her, too: “She has fresh ideas. Her different perspectives allow me to reexamine problems we’re faced with today, and I learn a lot from that process."

Francis explains how he hopes to inspire and educate junior information technology professionals to enter the cybersecurity field - and he is not alone.

There are more than 200 Northrop Grumman Fellows across the enterprise, all advising on matters ranging from cybersecurity to engineering to business management. They support programs and initiatives across the enterprise and undergo a competitive selection process to earn the title. NG Fellows are reviewed bi-annually and are retained based on the business needs and strategic growth initiatives.

Embark on a career with Northrop Grumman and find your own mentor 

Working with a mentor at Northrop Grumman can not only inspire and educate, it can help you discover your dream career path. 

There is a wealth of exciting job opportunities at the company. 


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