Software Developer, General Motors, Auto
What do you enjoy most about working in manufacturing? I appreciate the open-ended approach to coming up with a solution. The reason my customer does their job the way they do is because that is how they were trained to do it, and that way has always been “the way” to do it. Nobody questioned it. I find so much satisfaction in disrupting the norm and providing solutions — sometimes only a few hours to develop, sometimes months — that would forever improve their process and help them save time for years to come.
What attracted you to a career in manufacturing? Sophomore year at Texas Tech University, my project lab group was tasked with building an autonomous vehicle. We were given a 1:18 scale model Hummer H2, a GPS chip, an FPGA board and only two months to put it all together! The countless late nights and frustrations all disappeared the moment we saw the car drive itself around the parking lot. Seeing our blood, sweat, tears and thousands of lines of code intelligently scoot around at roughly two miles per hour drove me toward pursuing a career in manufacturing. (I don’t have kids yet, but I suspect baby’s first steps come close to this experience.)
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about creating their future in manufacturing? Develop a personal project. Find something that peaks your interest that allows you to develop hands-on experience with concepts you have covered in school. Build a robot, develop an arcade game, write an app — whatever you decide should capture your interests and keep you engaged, providing a canvas for your ideas and open-ended future innovations. If this exposure consumes your thoughts and keeps you up at night, you might have found your passion in manufacturing!