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Aireon’s Women Who Rock(et): Shivani Sharma

In celebration of Women’s History, Aireon is honoring the achievements of some of the great women at Aireon and asking them about their experience working in aviation, a primarily male-dominated industry.

Shivani Sharma, Network Engineering Manager at Aireon, oversees the essential core services networks which ensure worldwide connectivity to our customers.

Shivani Sharma, Network Engineering Manager

What led you to your career in aviation?

The allure of flying airplanes captivated me from a young age, nurturing one of my childhood dreams of becoming a professional pilot. After high school, I eagerly sought out pilot training programs, only to be guided towards obtaining a formal degree first. This led me to pursue a Bachelor’s and Master’s in engineering, where I discovered a newfound passion for computer networks.

Embarking on my professional journey in Network Engineering, I had the privilege to design networks for satellite service providers like SageNet, Astrium Services, and Speedcast Government. While exploring diverse opportunities, I was introduced to Aireon and was drawn to its unique service model and pivotal role in the aviation industry.

Although I didn’t take to the skies as a pilot, I’m thrilled to have found my place in the aviation sector through Aireon’s Network Engineering. Being part of a team that contributes significantly to global aviation has reignited my passion for my career.

Can you explain a bit of the work you do at Aireon?

At Aireon, my role as Manager of Network Engineering involves overseeing the management of Aireon’s essential core services networks and ensuring worldwide connectivity to our customers, who are primarily Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP). Aireon network engineering has a crucial role of ensuring that our network infrastructure is robust, reliable, and secure, enabling us to deliver cutting-edge air traffic surveillance services to our customers worldwide.

What inspires you and why?

What truly inspires me is innovation – the pursuit of ideas that break new ground and challenge the status quo. The thrill of being part of something unprecedented keeps my passion alive. Aireon’s groundbreaking technology, harnessing ADS-B messages for air-traffic surveillance, left me in awe when I first encountered it.

Being a member of Aireon’s team, where we collectively manage the network backbone responsible for delivering crucial life-safety air navigation services to ANSP, brings me a profound sense of inspiration. The opportunity to contribute to a technology that plays a pivotal role in enhancing air-traffic surveillance and safety fills me with pride and a deep sense of fulfillment. It’s this innovative spirit and tangible impact on the aviation industry that continue to fuel my enthusiasm and dedication in my work at Aireon.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a women starting a career in aviation?

To women embarking on a career in aviation or engineering, my most important advice is to be the ultimate judge of your own self-worth. In male-dominated fields like engineering and aviation, it’s unfortunately common for women to face discouragement and skepticism about their capabilities compared to their male counterparts.

In such situations, it’s crucial to evaluate your skills and achievements based on your own standards, not on the perceptions of others. You don’t need to constantly prove yourself to anyone else; instead, focus on proving it to yourself. Surround yourself with a working environment that respects and values you as an equal. It’s vital to seek out a workplace where you are treated with respect and equality, fostering an atmosphere where your potential can truly flourish without unnecessary barriers. Remember, once you find such an environment, the sky is not the limit – it’s just the beginning of what you can achieve!