Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Career of the Month

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Career of the Month

Article excerpt

Work overview.

I consult for various companies and individuals and organize digital storage conferences, including one specifically for the entertainment industry. I write reports on technology trends in digital storage and applications.

To figure out industry trends, I confer with others and read a lot. Currently, new devices and new processing and memory capabilities are driving the industry. Digital storage in the cloud, making data accessible through the internet, has led to enormous changes in how we can use machines.

For my consulting work, I sometimes test storage devices and analyze problems, such as corrupted data on the device or damaged firmware, a software program on a hardware device. I may try to recover missing or damaged data, which requires specialized equipment, interfaces, and software. Sometimes I use an electron microscope to do materials analysis.

Career highlights.

I like the sense of discovery that comes with understanding something and seeing how different parts work together. I've made many successful storage devices and am the author of six U.S. patents. It's satisfying to be able to make money off something you made.

I also enjoy writing. I wrote a book about digital storage and consumer electronics and blog about storage for Forbes.com.

Career path.

When I was a kid, I read a series of biographies. The people working in technology seemed so cool because they were making products that could change lives. And they were doing that by knowing about how the universe works.

In high school, I saw my first electron microscope when I visited a fossil collector's lab. I later got a bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Minnesota and then spent a year at Honeywell Research in the Twin Cities, working on magneto-resistive devices for sensor applications. I wanted to use equipment at the University of Minnesota, so I decided to go back to get a master's degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in materials science. Later, I got a PhD.

For a few years after college, I worked on magnetic recording on floppy disks for 3M and then for another company that made magnetic recording heads. After that, I developed storage media for an electronic camera at Polaroid. I then spent the next 20 years or so in California working at various hard-disk-drive companies, where I developed magnetic recording technology as an engineer and manager. …

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