Jan 22 2019
Read Sudipto's Story
Growing up in a small town in India I always knew I’d become an engineer, the same way you support a certain sports team: you don’t decide. You just know.
This was probably down to my father, who was a chemical engineer. There was a straight line for me to follow and he was always telling me so! He would say “this is the school you’ll go to, this is the degree you’ll get, this is the company you’ll work for.
And luckily, it all made sense for me. I liked maths. I liked physics. I liked analytics. And I liked being able to take all those skills and use them to create something. Although I am the first to admit, there was just a little pressure at play, too:
‘When I look back now, I don’t know if it was my love of maths or fear of my dad that made me an engineer – both helped, I guess.’
When I was fifteen, I decided to take my keychain apart. You see, it had six buttons, each with a different sound. For me and my classmates, the best (and most irritating) sound was, of course, the ambulance siren. We’d wait till a serious, silent moment in a lesson and suddenly set it off. That was our favourite prank.
Anyway, we liked this noise, but we had a problem: it wasn’t loud enough for us. It was a little annoying, sure, but we were aiming for ultimate irritation. We wanted window-shaking levels of noise.
So I started tinkering; I converted the battery system to run from the wall socket. I changed the voltage, rerouted the wires, flicked the switch and – yep, it blew up in my face. Maybe that was karma.
After that, I set off a few more explosions before deciding to settle on a safer area of engineering: microelectronics. Things still blow up, and okay, that can get expensive – but you’re not likely to start any fires in my field. Which is probably a good thing, considering my track record.
Most engineers have a ‘when I blew this up’ story; it’s par for the course when you’re trying to create something new. And that skill – creating something new – is part of what’s always drawn me to engineering. You get to combine these really rational disciplines (analytics, maths, physics) with this ability to solve problems – even bigger problems than ‘this annoying noise isn’t annoying enough’.
I guess it’s why I admire Elon Musk. He’s solving problems too, but tomorrow’s problems – like space travel. And honestly, I think at Tektronix, we work a similar way: just look at what we’re doing in automotive power. That’s my area, and we’re already planning how to get ahead, not for the next seven years, but the next seventy.
So we’re solving tomorrow’s problems too (and only very occasionally blowing things up).