General Dynamics Software Tools Suite
General Dynamics Land Systems had a couple internal website applications using PHP and MySQL, but these tools each had separate databases and duplicated much of the same data like employees. My first task upon joining the team was to consolidate all of these databases into one, so global updates would not have to be repeated for every application. These databases were also not normalized and the webpages did not make use of CSS, so I converted all of these over as well.
Once this extensive process was completed, I was part of the team that rapidly developed new website applications. Over time I had developed my own PHP framework that handled application bootstrapping, form creation and processing, users sessions, and database access. This allowed us to create and deploy new applications in as little as one month, and after 6 years we had developed well over 30 applications.
Since must of our projects came from overhead budget, we had to solicit and acquire our own work every year and handle the complete solution for each application, which gave me great experience in dealing with customers, gathering requirements, creating documentation, training users, and better understanding various aspects of the business.
Along with the tools themselves, we also generated reporting and metrics for each of our tools that were some of the main catalysts that earned General Dynamics Land Systems a CMMI Level 5 certification for the software department.
The following is a list of just a few of the applications we created:
- Peer Reviews - users reviews and comments
- Asset Management - track users computers, software, and other assets
- Excess Transportation Charges - dynamically determine expedited shipping costs
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations - track all ITAR assets and compliance
- Project Tracking - handle and record project status from inception to completion
- Timecard Tracking - record and report employee hours and perform audits
I was a software developer at General Dynamics Land Systems right after graduating from university, and started off developing software applications for vehicles. I worked on battle simulation software in Java, encoded and encrypted voice communications in C/C++, and controlled hardware from an M68HC12 microcontroller. This was interesting and enjoyable work, and afforded me the opportunity to expand my skillset.
However, website development was what I was more passionate about. GDLS had some internal tools written in PHP and MySQL already, so I would often lend some of my knowledge and support in that area while tending to my other responsibilities. In 2006 I was given the opportunity to work on these internal tools full-time, and I jumped at the opportunity.