Alum Steven Fischbach reflects on the Navy and shares his future aspirations

What do our students accomplish after they graduate? We’re thrilled to hear from our data science alumni after graduating, and today, we’re excited to share our conversation with Steven Fischbach.

Steven Fischbach graduated from Galvanize in 2019 after retiring from the Navy, and since then, he became a Data Scientist at the Launch Consulting Group and works today as a Senior System Engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Below, we asked him a few questions about his background, his learning experience, and what he’s working on today.

What was your background before joining Galvanize’s program?

I had recently retired from the Navy and was looking for employment in the Seattle area. It became obvious that my skills in R and data analysis were not going to distinguish me from the other job seekers. I needed to learn the tools that were the most common in the civilian community and be able to apply them quickly and correctly. Galvanize gave me the opportunity to learn and made my experience relevant.

During your time in the Navy, where was your favorite place to be stationed and why?

My tour on submarines at Pearl Harbor. That will always be the most meaningful to me. It was the first time that I had struck out on my own and had to contend with life while depending on relative strangers for education, mission, and survival. The contrast between life as I knew it and life lived another way could not have been any greater or more uncertain. 

After more than ten years in the Navy, what skills or lessons did you learn that you have carried into this next phase of your career?

People skills. If you have been in the military for any length of time, you have a Master’s Degree in Humanity. You may begin to think you understand some people better than they understand themselves. Data is a story waiting to be told to a person. Leverage your experience with what matters in every situation and you will make data’s connection with people relatable.

You spent many years in the Navy working as a data analyst. What was the biggest difference between working as an analyst in the Navy versus working as a Data Scientist at Launch Consulting Group?

The environments you are asked to perform analysis in are substantially different in the military and the stakes were probably higher. That doesn’t mean that you will not be met with the same level of emotional intensity in the civilian world. You will be able to find the next small step to move a project forward towards a goal sooner, and if you follow that path, you will find success.

Today, you are a Senior System Engineer at Lockheed Martin. What excites you most about working there?

The scale of the projects that Lockheed works on is impressive. You may find yourself working on a component that will need to perform reliably on another planet. How personally rewarding is that kind of success? It’s valuable and rare. So, go find it!

What are your goals for the next stage of your career? What are three things do you hope to learn or accomplish?

  1. Be a mentor. Take on more responsibility, anywhere, everywhere, and carry as many people to success as you can… and then one more.
  2. Help bring the project I am working on into reality.
  3. Become part of the community I am in. After many years of moving almost every 3 years, I would like to put down some roots. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in pursuing a data-related career? 

I would ask them: what are you analyzing now? There isn’t a single field or professional interest you can have that doesn’t lead to data. It’s OK to build on what you already think is interesting.

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