One of the best parts of engineering from my experience has been taking theories and whitepapers and turning them into reality. This can be something physical or purely digital. The hours/days/weeks/ of frustration can be incredibly tiring. But that day when it finally works or you realize you solved an adjacent problem... that's one of the greatest feelings."
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
All software focused, some embedded systems at NGC. I worked on a test platform for the Eurohawk UAV, the JTE combat simulation system, a system for automatic search engine marketing bidding and budgeting, a platform an integrations for accessing online video content (think watching Game of Thrones on your computer or streaming device), software for managing and analyzing clinical trials and genetic sequencing data.
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
Solving problems, no question. One of the best parts of engineering from my experience has been taking theories and whitepapers and turning them into reality. This can be something physical or purely digital. The hours/days/weeks of frustration can be incredibly tiring. But that day when it finally works or you realize you solved an adjacent problem...that's one of the greatest feelings.
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
There was a day back at Northrop Grumman where we were working on a system that integrated a few different computer systems. It was dealing with low-level code and required interfacing with graphics card and network systems, flipping bits based on Endianness, and rendering graphics on a different systems than they were generated on.
It took months of work to get it even just working. That was such a feeling of accomplishment when it finally happened. But then to top it off, after about another week, we were able to increase the performance from about 10 frames per second to over 120 frames per second.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
It was absolutely worth it. Both of my degrees were such a great experience for learning how approach problems and in general, how to learn. There are times when in my daily life I end up being too analytical for my wife's taste, but I'm always happy with the outcomes based on research and understanding the problem to be solved.
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
There were days my first year sitting in Small Groups thinking "Why do I want to spend MORE time hearing about the same material I just heard in lecture?". After the first few weeks, man was I glad to be there. It was quite possibly the only thing that got me through some of those weed-out calc and physics classes. Don't give up and take advantage of these guys, they have seen the course material before and know what they are talking about.