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.
Susan Land

Susan K. (Kathy) Land

Deputy Program Manager, Huntsville, United States

Degree(s):

Master Science, Project Management - Information Technology, Florida Institute of Technology
“Active participation in a professional association at some level is critical for individuals who wish to get the most from their professional careers. The IEEE family is 125 years strong and growing stronger. I would invite you to see how each of you might use the IEEE Computer Society as a learning resource, to get and stay connected, and as an opportunity to serve in your technical community.”

I 'grew up' with Software and Systems Engineering. My first technical job was as the systems administrator supporting a missile defense laboratory in the early 1980's. I have worked on, or led, a variety of software/systems efforts ranging from video game development to hardware-in-the-loop missile testing. If I had to point to one key to success in this field - stay technically current.

The range of roles I support tends to mirror the product development life cycle: Marketer, proposal developer, detailed requirements evaluator, software designer, software configuration manager, software quality assurance expert, software test lead, software fielding team member/lead, documentation support team member, and help desk team member. The environment is dynamic.

I am a Deputy Program Manager for the Missile Defense Agency. Responsible for program management of Spiral 8.2 of Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management system. I like the work because each day brings a new technical challenge.

Although I have been proud of all projects I have supported, the one with the highest 'cool factor' was as Lead for Product Development supporting the Army Aviation Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Software Engineering Directorate, Redstone Arsenal, AL. I executed and managed a series of successful releases of the America's Army public game and training application.

I am an active volunteer with both IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society. I strongly believe in the value of these professional associations.

Browse other 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.

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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

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.

Router
Sandra Lerner

It is difficult to imagine a time when computers were not capable of sharing information and resources with great ease. Sandra Lerner pushed the boundaries of network computing as one of the co-founders of Cisco Systems, which introduced one of the first commercially viable routers. The router was born while Sandra was working at Stanford University in the 1980’s after earning her Master’s degree there in Computer Science. To avoid the tedious task of transferring information between computers using floppy disks, she and co-founder of Cisco, Leonard Bosack, created a local area network, or LAN, between their campus offices using a multiprotocol router that Bosack developed. Shortly thereafter the pair started Cisco Systems, and began selling the router which was a success, because it could work with so many different types of computers. After Leaving Cisco in 1990, Lerner started the trendy cosmetics company Urban Decay and became a philanthropist and avid activist for animal rights.

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.

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.

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