A photo headshot of Nassissie Fekadu

Nassissie Fekadu

RF & Test Engineer

2 years at Ridgeline

How would you describe your role?

I wear a few hats here that cover different things, but everything I do has to do with RF (radio frequencies), whether that’s wireless, wired, software defined radios, or anything else. Any problem that needs solving in that area, whether that’s trying to solve a Wi-Fi problem where the signal isn’t doing well – how do you troubleshoot it – or a software defined radio that isn’t transmitting like its supposed to, I deal with all of that. From the signal, the device that produces the signal, the programming that’s involved like Python. I also deal with test engineering, testing, and validation. So, when we have the right product, before it goes out, we test for quality assurance and then do testing validation – checking to see if the product does what you expect it to do. Figuring out what type of signature it leaves, that kind of thing.

How has your experience been at Ridgeline so far?

I’ve had a few different roles before coming to Ridgeline, my most recent being an RF engineer. I was happy, but technical growth wasn’t possible. So I started looking for a new job where I could grow technically. When I interviewed at Ridgeline, I really liked the camaraderie and kindness they showed each other. More than work really, the people matter. And then they showed me the labs and I was in love. I said OK, I want to join now!

How would you describe your team?

Everyone I’ve worked with, whether that was on the R&D team or now with the Products & Engagement team is so intelligent and so welcoming and kind. That’s the environment I enjoy, and that’s why I’m here I think.  

As someone who works mainly remote, how do you stay connected?

When I’m home, my team has video meetings, and we stay in contact through chat and email. I don’t feel left out and I’m able to find the right balance between the convenience of working at home and also being part of the team. I try to come into the office once or twice every week or so just to see everyone and reconnect.

What parts of Ridgeline’s mission do you connect with?

It’s funny, as a communications engineer, I just want to communicate! But security is a big part of communications. For example, when 4G was designed, they designed communications devices and then added security as an afterthought. In 5G, they’ve incorporated security into the design itself. Ridgeline’s way of going about signature management really aligns with where the technology is right now and I like being a part of that.

What has been your biggest accomplishment at Ridgeline so far?

I was able to work as part of a project testing out a brand-new and world record breaking communications technology and it was fantastic. I look forward to doing more testing and validation as part of that team going forward.

What resources have you been able to take advantage of in your time at Ridgeline?

I appreciate how dedicated Ridgeline is to getting our team the tools and resources we need to do our jobs. I had a spectrum analyzer that wasn’t working and I wanted it calibrated. That was approved so quickly and was taken care of right away. And then, of course, the other little perks like our uniform allowance – being able to buy some fancy shoes and things like that. It’s fun.

What is the most unique thing about working at Ridgeline?

I think the team is unique. The way there is no “me.” That is fundamentally what I like about Ridgeline. In the tech industry, there is always a lot of competition. Here, it’s all about us together working to make the right choice and working toward excellence. I’ve yet to meet a lazy person here. Really. Everyone is working so hard to make what they’re doing better.

How have you grown professionally at Ridgeline?

When I joined, I would say I was a theoretical engineer doing very simulation-based research. But once I got to Ridgeline, I physically do software defined radios. The hardware part is something I’ve cultivated very strongly. I’ve also become more knowledgeable in my programming skills, particularly Python. So, I’ve moved from being a theoretical engineer to an application engineer.

Anything else you’d like to add?

One thing I’m very proud of in my time at Ridgeline is our partnership with the 100 Black Men of Greater Washington D.C. We do an annual STEM camp for the kids involved with that program, and I am one of the instructors and mentors. Last summer, we did a project focused on coding that I am very proud of. I was telling someone recently, if out of those 40 or so kids, even one of them becomes an engineer, then my work is done. Ridgeline’s involvement with that organization makes me so proud.

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