19: Computer and Robotics Embedded Software Engineer – John Pratt
John Pratt earned a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Originally thinking of going a pure Electrical Engineering hardware route and working on audio hardware his Play Station stopped working and he tore it apart and fixed it and realized he really enjoyed doing that which drove him towards the Computer Engineering path.
Now working on embedded software for robotic vision, he really enjoys it because with embedded software there are many constraints, such as the processing power and memory size that makes designing those systems fun and challenging. He spends a lot of time in the lab connected to the hardware during development and recommends that when you do your designs, you design them for the long haul. The software you design will live for a long time, so take care to document, make it readable and maintainable.
John also recommends that you find something in your field to play with to help bridge the theory you learn in college to the practical application side but be careful not to chase to many cool ideas as you are also defined by the things you do not do. Find one thing and learn it well. He enjoys reading C|net and recommends the book “America the Ingenious” by Kevin Baker