4 young engineers to know

-January 16, 2015

By far, the most constant concern from EDN's readers over the years is that there won't be anyone to take their place when they retire. In general, that concern has ranged from worries over low STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) interest from the next generation, and how that will lower the number of new engineers, to concerns that the next generation doesn’t understand what it means to work hard.

Each year at DesignCon, we pull together a panel of young engineers who excel. This year's DesignCon is no different. We've gathered four such young engineers who excel, not just "at their age" but excel in their enthusiasm and with their accomplishments.

These are smart engineers who I've been privileged to get to know. Here's what I like about them:


Joe Hudy
I've had the pleasure of following Joe Hudy's career so far through Maker Faires. You may know him as the kid with the marshmallow shooter but he's grown his designs into so much more than that one device.

Inspired to explore engineering by a science book he received when he was in the 1st grade, this well-known maker has been to the White House where he presented his devices to President Obama and is the engineer behind the motto, "Don’t be bored. … Make something!"

Joe has spoken at Maker Faires in Rome, New York, and elsewhere. Beyond Maker Faires, this 17-year-old student at Arizona State participates in his local hacker space. He also has professional experience at Microchip Technology and is currently the youngest employee at Intel.


Cathy George
Whenever I get a LinkedIn message or email from Cathy George, I open it immediately. Her excitement about engineering and sharing knowledge is contagious. Cathy is a 23-year-old recent graduate and now R&D hardware engineer at Psiber Data, part of Softing Industrial Automation GmbH.

She actively seeks answers to questions, be it through her local IEEE, LinkedIn, reaching out to authors of EDN technical articles, or at shows like DesignCon, where she's planning to meet several of the engineers who have helped advance her learning over the years.

Giving back that knowledge, as so many have taken the time to do for her, is a career goal for Cathy. "Before I retire from this industry, I would like to see a healthy flow of knowledge from the older generation to the next-generation. I would like to be a trainer, mentor, and hopefully enable others to keep the flame alive for engineering and innovation. I love interacting with people and I think my biggest accomplishment would definitely be to pass whatever skills I have acquired to others."


Shubham Banerjee
The brains and heart behind Braigo Labs Inc, Shubham Banerjee has seen a lot of media attention for his Braigo Braille printer version 1.0, created using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit (Brai-lle + Le-go= "Braigo") – and rightfully so.

The inexpensive device is a game changer for the visually impaired and exemplifies Shubham's general take on his career. When asked what his career goal was, he said: "I want to help people in my own rights. I have understood that the technological advances should eventually help us and not become a barrier due to high costs." And with Braigo, this 13-year-old is well on his way to doing that.

Shubham has even caught the eye of Intel VP and GM Mike Bell. In September 2014, at the Intel Developer Forum with Bell, Shubham demonstrated Braigo 2.0, which promises to be the world's first and least expensive, silent, IoT enabled, light weight braille printer or embosser. It will use Braigo Labs patent pending technology along with the Intel Edison Chip. Shubham is currently the youngest entrepreneur to receive VC funding from Intel Capital.


Shachi Kakkar
I've known Shachi Nandan Kakkar for years and at this point I can say with some certainty that he does not sleep. I just don’t see when he would have the time.

Although his original plan was to go into marketing, his dad, an engineer, encouraged him to reconsider. Now he is studying Computer Engineering at Santa Clara University and proactively works to inspire young guns as well as veteran engineers to look at engineering as an exciting and a creative discipline that can be as fun as the Olympics.

If you have any concerns about the next generation not wanting to work, talk to this 19-year old. When it comes to his career goals, Shachi is dreaming big. "I would like to use my knowledge and experience as an engineer to eventually design and market cool products like an iPhone that people fall in love with. This will combine my passion for engineering with my passion for marketing and meeting new people." The last part of his answer is what I really enjoyed. Shachi continued to say that he would like to be the CEO of a start up on the rise and ideally be able to retire relatively young but still work because, "why sit on my butt when I can pursue work that I love."

The DesignCon panel this year is on Wednesday, January 28, at 2pm, in the Chiphead Theater. If you come to DesignCon looking to be inspired, try to make this panel. We call the panel "Next-Gen Engineering," but it's not about young engineers. It's about engineers who will inspire tomorrow. Come on down and get a little inspiration today.


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Want to learn more? Register now for DesignCon, the premier conference for chip, board, and systems design engineers. Taking place January 27-30 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, DesignCon 2015 will feature technical paper sessions, tutorials, industry panels, product demos, and exhibits.

DesignCon is managed by UBM Tech, EDN's parent company. Get updates on Twitter, Facebook, & DesignCon Central.

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