Career Profiles

Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.
Andy Stephenson

Andy Stephenson

Technical Director

Degree(s):

Software Engineering BSc (Hons), Durham University (Technology Enhanced Learning MSc, Durham University TBC)
“You don’t have to be a nerd to study computing; the world of computing encompasses a plethora of different career choices that range from managing teams to marketing products as well as getting stuck in with code. With such a diverse industry, you just have to find out what you’re passionate about and there are plenty of people along the road to guide you there.”

If someone leaves the lights on in the office overnight, how do you know? How much does that cost the business? Wouldn’t it be useful to be on the way to receive a phone call from your energy management system alerting you of this, informing you of how much this will cost but then offering to switch the lights off for you? This is one part of my role as technical lead for a smart energy company aiming to create intelligent systems to monitor and manage all aspects of businesses’ energy consumption with the ultimate aim of saving energy and money.

I find it’s great fun getting together with a bunch of friends - both technical and non-technical - to chat about technological projects we’d like to work on. With computing, you can very quickly turn an idea etched on the back of a beer mat into the world’s next most exciting startup. Recently I started working on an app called Clean Campus which is designed to resolve issues like broken lights throughout campus quickly using a reporting system based on smartphones. Other than being a break from the day job, these projects help develop yourself professionally as well as giving you a great opportunity to test out new technologies.

Personally, I’m really passionate about ‘clean-tech’ industries such as electric cars, smarter cities and energy efficiency. These industries are currently experiencing rapid change and are having technology applied in every area to optimize resources and make existing technology more efficient in order for us to develop a smarter planet. With computing, it’s important to contrast your daily work in front of a screen; I love getting out and about as much as possible and you’ll frequently find me off camping at weekends or cycling across the country just for fun!

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Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.

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@ symbol
Ray Tomlinson
Ray Tomlinson

Have you ever considered that someone, at some point, was in a position to choose what symbol would be used separate the user from their location in an email address? That person, it turns out, was Ray Tomlinson, and in 1971 he chose "@". Tomlinson is credited with demonstrating the first email sent between computers on a network, and when asked what inspired him to make this selection he said, “Mostly because it seemed like a neat idea.”

After completing his Master’s degree at MIT in 1965, Ray joined the Information Sciences Division of Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then he has made many notable contributions to the world of network computing. He was a co-developer of the TENEX computer system that was popular in the earliest days of the Internet; he developed the packet radio protocols used in the earliest internetworking experiments; he created the first implementation of TCP; and he was the principle designer of the first workstation attached to the Internet.

MATLAB graph
Cleve Moler

Cleve Moler improved the quality and accessibility of mathematical software and created a highly respected software system called MATLAB. He was a professor of mathematics and computer science for almost 20 years at the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the University of New Mexico. In the late 1970’s to early 1980’s he developed several mathematical software packages to support computational science and engineering. These packages eventually formed the basis of MATLAB, a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numerical computation. MATLAB can be used to solve technical computing problems faster than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and Fortran. Today, Professor Moler spends his time writing books, articles, and MATLAB programs.

Listen to what Professor Moler has to say about his life’s work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT5umwNSAxE

Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson
Liz Gerber
Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson

Liz Gerber earned her MS and PhD in Product Design and Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. She specializes in design and human-computer interaction, particularly how social computing supports the innovation process. Her current research investigates crowd-funding as a mechanism for reducing disparities in entrepreneurship.
Gerber's work funded by the US National Science Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Transactions on Computer Human Interactions, Design Studies, and Organization Science.
As an award-winning teacher and researcher, Liz has touched the lives of more than 6,000 students through her teaching at Northwestern's Segal Design Institute and Stanford University's Hasso Plattner's Institute of Design and through her paradigm-shifting creation, Design for America, a national network of students using design to tackle social challenges.

Image credit - Lisa Beth Anderson

First computer mouse
Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Engelbart

In 1967, Douglas Engelbart applied for a patent for an "X-Y position indicator for a display system," which he and his team developed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. The device, a small, wooden box with two metal wheels, was nicknamed a "mouse" because a cable trailing out of the one end resembled a tail.

In addition to the first computer mouse, Engelbart’s team developed computer interface concepts that led to the GUI interface, and were integral to the development of ARPANET--the precursor to today’s Internet. Engelbart received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, followed by an MS in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1955 both from the University of California, Berkeley.

King's Quest
Roberta Williams

Video games immerse users in a world of high tech thrills, stunning visuals, unique challenges, and interactivity. They enable users to become a warrior princess or a gruesome ghoul, create a virtual persona, or even develop worlds that other gamers can play on. But before the games of today became reality, they were the dreams of a few innovative individuals.

Roberta Williams is considered one of the pioneers of gaming as we know it today. During the 80’s and 90’s along with husband Ken Williams through their company On-Line Systems, she developed some of the first graphical adventure games. These included such titles as Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess and the popular King’s Quest series. Williams also helped introduce more girls and women to the world of gaming by bringing games developed from a woman’s perspective to mainstream market.

Image credits