“What do you do at work?” to which I replied I’m a product manager,
“But what do you actually do”? I thought about this for a second or two, am I an engineer, and innovator, a technologist, an architect?
After a little thought I replied:” I solve problems, and help people with their projects”.
I was surprised by his response, “so you’re like a teacher?”, and in a way of course he was right. Though I don’t think I had ever really considered it this way.
I was so focused on the bit that drove me as an individual (solving problems) that I had overlooked the fact that much of the problem solving was through educating people.
We live in a world where computing becomes ever more distributed and technology is required in applications worldwide.
The projects I work on vary incredibly every day. It may be a computer platform for submarines or naval ships, for monitoring and scanning of patients in hospitals, for building a aircraft simulation, for satellite communications, for an oilfield services provider, for subsea controls, for secure CCTV monitoring on railways or AI powered computers for the manufacturing industry.
I feel very privileged that the computer platforms I build on a daily basis are supporting industrial technologies worldwide, and in turn, are having a positive impact on our everyday lives.
In the computer industry nothing ever stands still and with the push of re-engineered commercial hardware into challenging applications, life is never dull.
Pushing the boundaries on an ever-changing technology playing field is often not without some small measure of pain or resistance.
Life is a learning exercise and we are constantly learning and improving, to make better products, to become more agile, and to better understand the constraints needed for better solutions.
There are so many more challenges than simply computing cost or technical performance.
My role allows me to look at the challenges of today and also consider the likely challenges of tomorrow, and so strive for solutions that not only deliver current and predictable future needs but alleviate and mitigate what can be a costly and painful development process.
Starting with where we are now and the components and technologies currently available, and comparing these with a vision of the future objectives we can identify the gaps and so formulate the journey needed to bridge these gaps and facilitate a complete end solution.
I look at new and emerging technologies for not only the computer components we use but also fabrication and other areas needed to facilitate a complete and finished product.
By understanding the full scope, project end goal and the art of the possible, I can help businesses take the next step or even leap a step or two further in order to provide or help them maintain the competitive edge.
We need to think very carefully about the wider impact that computer engineering has on the world we live in. The design and engineering of computing platforms for industrial applications goes far beyond just benefiting the end-user. It may in fact, affect our everyday lives, and that is a powerful realisation.