Interview by Viktoria Pashtriku
For today’s Engineer Spotlight we are interviewing Duro’s Lead Computer Engineer Joseph Gibbs. He shares the difference between engineering at school and once you get into the professional world, and what it’s like stepping into a management role.
Viktoria Pashtriku: Why did you major in Computer Engineering?
Joseph Gibbs: Actually, I didn’t start off with computer engineering. At first I was in electrical engineering because my high school had classes related to electronics, computers and circuitry that I was a part of for a few years.
Because of this I went into electrical engineering, but I liked programming a lot more. My friend suggested I transfer into the computer program which is why I am now a computer engineering major.
VP: What interests you the most about CE?
JG: What interests me about CE is the versatility of it; I am able to build electrical circuits, program hardware to operate these circuits, and also work in other aspects of programming. It really makes it fun for me to be able to do so many different things.
VP: What is it like to be the CE Manager at Duro?
JG: I get to see what everyone else on my team is doing, and help motivate them and give them advice based on my experience. I am just making sure I am doing what I can so they can do what they have to do.
VP: What do you enjoy the most about working at Duro?
JG: I like being able to do hands on stuff. A lot of the time in class, it’s only theory. When working on autonomous systems one needs to work closely with engineers in multiple fields such as mechanics, electricity & magnetism, machine learning, data communications, all together. In the past they felt like they were individual subject areas, but I can appreciate how each fits together now.
VP: What are you currently working on at Duro?
JG: Right now I am working on finalizing our computer system for our underwater vehicle and starting to write the artificial intelligence for it. I also assist with the programming and testing of our propulsion and navigation systems.
VP: You also work on the Duro Youth Development Initiative, tell me more about that.
JG: Yes I do. I offered to get involved once I learned we were going to start a computer programming course focused on Python. I’m still somewhat a kid at heart, so I’m able to understand what middle and high schoolers would enjoy learning. Game development is a large field right now that I am gearing our program towards. Kids are always distracted playing games on their phones and on the internet, but I feel it’d be worthwhile if they could learn how to make their own games. In the process they are learning valuable skills that are relevant for any software developer, as well as gaining pride in their work.
VP: Aside from engineering, what else are you passionate about?
JG: Video games. Music. Running. Basketball. I love food; I love going out to eat. I also like anime and manga. It’s pretty much all the stuff I loved to do as a kid, only now I can afford to do it myself. I don’t have to ask my parents to take care of it for me anymore [laughs].