Broadcast Tech Career Option

Behind the scenes at The Weather Company’s studio in Atlanta, GA

After becoming a meteorologist in the Marine Corps, I thought that was what I wanted to continue doing.  While I do enjoy forecasting, I found that I enjoyed coding and the technical work far more.  Using Fortran in Dr. Josh’s class was my first-time programming.  I ended up writing programs for most everything I could, from simple derivations to calculating molar mass with the full periodic table built into the program.  This led me to want to go into development and behind the scenes work on models, and such.  After graduating from UMass Lowell, I applied to many places with The Weather Company, formerly WSI, being a top choice.  Since most of my experience had been in aviation operations, I first applied for a position working on the aviation software.  The Weather Company has a few options for aviation, but the main one is Fusion, which tracks flights and overlays weather maps on top of it.  During my interviews, the head manager for customer support told me that I would be better fitted for another position.  The position to which he was referring to was in media support, working mainly on the Max software that TV stations use.

Max Workspace. The product being shown is a surface pressure center map, comparing the Euro and GFS models, with a wind forecast overlaid on it.

As a media customer support representative, I not only work on the software, but also the computer systems themselves.  On top of this, my job also includes working with broadcast meteorologists, and their fill ins who may not know anything about forecasting, to explain all the weather products and how to best use them.  The main question I tend to get is asking about sweeping radar and composite vs looking at a specific elevation and such.  On occasion I do also help them to create graphics to use on air as well.  While I do not work doing forecasting, I ensure that broadcast meteorologists and their on-air support have all the tools they need to effectively deliver their forecast to the general masses.  This position is entry level regarding the development of the software and models.  From here one may go to either quality assurance which deals in the actual development of the software and patching it or become a data analyst which deals more so with the models themselves as The Weather Company does have a proprietary model.  In the end, this is just one option for those interested in doing more than just forecasting.

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