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.

Turing machine
Alan Mathison Turing
Alan Mathison Turing

Did you know that computing has been used in military espionage and has even influenced the outcome of major wars? Alan Mathison Turing designed the code breaking machine that enabled the deciphering of German communications during WWII. As per the words of Winston Churchill, this would remain the single largest contribution to victory. In addition, he laid the groundwork for visionary fields such as automatic computing engines, artificial intelligence and morphogenesis. Despite his influential work in the field of computing, Turing experienced extreme prejudice during his lifetime regarding his sexual orientation. There is no doubt that computers are ubiquitously part of our lives due to the infusion of Turing’s contributions.

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

RISC processor
John Hennessy
John Hennessy

Have you ever wondered how computers can execute complex commands in mere seconds? John Hennessy is a pioneer of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture which employs small, highly-optimized sets of instructions to greatly enhance computer performance. He was instrumental in transferring the technology, specifically MIPS RISC architecture, to industry. He co-founded MIPS Technologies and co-authored the classic textbook with David A. Patterson, on Computer Architecture.

As Stanford faculty he rose to be the Chairman of the Computer Science Department, Dean of the School of Engineering, then Provost and finally the President of Stanford in 2000 (and till date). Hennessy holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Computer Science from SUNY Stony Brook. He is an IEEE Fellow and was selected to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor in 2012. Hennessey also launched significant activities that helped to foster interdisciplinary research in the biosciences and bioengineering at Stanford.

Cursor
James Dammann

If you have used a word processor today, moved your mouse on your laptop, dragged an object around on your smartphone, or highlighted a section of text on your tablet, you can thank Jim Dammann. In 1961 during his second year at IBM and just one year after completing his PhD, Jim created the concept of what today we all take for granted -- the cursor. This idea he documented in utilizing the cursor within word processing operations.

After retiring from IBM, Jim went on to inspire future generations of software engineers at Florida Atlantic University. His work there too demonstrated his creativity for he spent considerable effort enhancing their software engineering program by integrating ideas and feedback from local industries into the University curricular. Today, Jim lives in the Westlake Hills west of Austin Texas and spends most of his time in his art studio. He wrote and published The Opaque Decanter, a collection of poems about art, which provided a new view at part of art history.

Image credits