Sharon ONeal

Sharon ONeal

Sharon ONeal

Director of Software Engineering
Professor of Practice

Sharon O’Neal recently retired as an Engineering Director I at Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) in Tucson, Arizona. Over the course of her 35 year engineering career, she has held a variety of roles and responsibilities including:

  • Software Engineering Director, with responsibility for more than 550 multi-disciplined engineers responsible for the real time embedded software for Raytheon’s missile products.
  • Systems Engineering Director Advanced Systems Design, including System Security Engineering (SSE) and Systems and Software Architecture
  • Senior Fellow providing technical oversight and leadership
  • Program management for several programs in excess of $100M
  • Capture management and large-scale proposal development
  • Strategic leader for very large engineering organizations

Before retiring, as the Software Engineering Center Director Sharon was very active in leading change across multiple engineering disciplines within the RMS Engineering Directorate, and was heavily involved in several initiatives at RMS including:

  • Multi-disciplined Agile transformation
  • Continuous Integration and other automated test initiatives
  • Cyber / Software Assurance maturation

Sharon was the first female at RMS to achieve the distinguished technical classification of Senior Fellow Engineer. She has extensive program management experience and led multiple very sophisticated and complex development programs through the Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase of development. She is very committed to program excellence and developing high quality products for Raytheon’s customers. Sharon is a certified Systems Architect, certified SW Architect, certified Agile Scrum and Product Owner, and is also certified in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). 

Since retiring, Sharon has made the transition from industry to academia by teaching different cybersecurity courses in the College of Engineering.   In 2020, she led a group of faculty to develop the curriculum for a new BS in Software Engineering, which was approved by Arizona Board of Regents in April 2021.  The Software Engineering degree program is now offered across 3 different campuses/formats including On-campus, Online, and to our Yuma Distance Campus.  As the program was launched in the Fall 2021, she was selected to become the Director of the Software Engineering program, which is co-led by both the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and the Systems and Industrial Engineering (SIE) departments.  

Ultimately, Sharon's primary goal is share the wealth of her experiences with next generation engineers and help them transition from academia to industry careers successfully. She loves working with engineering students, as it gives her the opportunity to teach / mentor, and also mutually learn with/from the students in the classes she teaches.

Sharon began her career with Hughes / Raytheon in 1985. She was the first in her family to earn her college degree. She has a BS degree in Computer Science, graduating Magna Cum Laude from California State University in 1984. She earned a MS degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1991.

Among her many passions, Sharon has been very proactive and dedicated to reaching out to school age children in her community to foster a better understanding and appreciation for the math and science disciplines. Several years ago, she originated and established a major outreach program in Tucson held annually called the Math Science and Technology Funfest (MSTFF) that united hundreds of scientists and engineers from many different companies and affiliations across Tucson to bring their love for math and science to life for the community’s children. Since its inception in March 2003, more than 75,000 school age children from all socio-economic backgrounds have benefited from this event. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) whose mission is to empower Southern Arizona’s K-12 students to participate in science, technology, engineering and math through inquiry-based learning and research


  • B.S., Computer Science California State University Northridge, Northridge, California, United States
  • M.S., Computer Engineering University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States