Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Q&A for Naasik Akkas, Test and Automation Engineer

Naasik first started at Bishop-Wisecarver
as an intern last year.
Naasik Akkas joined the Bishop-Wisecarver team late last year, bringing with him a mechanical engineering degree from UC Berkeley and with an internship at Bishop-Wisecarver already under his belt. Invigorated by the knowledge and experience that he was able to gain here during the summer of 2012, Naasik focuses his work on mechatronics as a Test and Automation Engineer. Not only was the team excited to have him the first time, but even more enthused that he came aboard after completing his education. Have a question for Naasik? Leave a comment in the comments section below!

Question: Why did you want to be an engineer, and did you always know that this was something that you wanted to do, or was it a decision that emerged later?

NA: My dad is a mechanical engineer and I saw what he got to do, so since I was very young I always thought I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. Once I was in high school I got really interested in physics and learned more about mechanical engineering, and that helped me decide that it was something I really wanted to do.

Question: Where did you receive your education in engineering and in what area did you specialize?

NA: I received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley with an emphasis in controls and robotics. I ended up working on two sizeable projects: the first project was a robot that used computer vision to detect people and follow them around, and the second project was an amphibious vehicle that is able to travel on both land and water.

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team?

Answer: I interned at Bishop-Wisecarver during the summer of 2012 doing job functions very similar to those that I am performing now. Before that, I had an internship in Bangladesh doing work with industrial automation.

Question: What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in a career in engineering? Let’s say a middle school student or a high school student.

Answer: Always try to improve your math and physics knowledge. Those are incredibly important subjects for a mechanical engineer to master. Also, for high school students I would say definitely go above and beyond the normal coursework. Most importantly, try to make real world connections with everything you learn.

Question: What's the most rewarding aspect of being an engineer?

NA: When something you build actually works.

Question: Technology plays a big role in the type of engineering that you do. Is it a lot of effort to stay abreast of recent technologies used in your area of expertise?

NA: It can be, but if you are always interested in the subject then it's easy to stay on top of it. I learn a lot from Ali Jabbari (Vice President of Engineering) and George Anwar (Consultant). So talking to the right people and being around the right people in the field helps. Also, articles on the internet and blogs that discuss technology are very useful.

Question: Which aspects of your role at Bishop-Wisecarver do you appreciate the most? In what areas do you find yourself working the hardest?

Answer: I appreciate the amount of creativity we are able to exercise with selecting components and also in other aspects of decision-making. I appreciate the ability to be able to make these types of decisions, and the level of responsibility that we are given is great because I get to learn more by being tasked with solving these problems.

Question: What’s your favorite quote, or personal motto?

Answer: “Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.” — Louis L'Amour

Question: Do any of your hobbies outside of work relate to your job, any technical trades, or anything having to do with engineering?

Answer: I play with microcontrollers like the Arduino and the Lego NXT Robotics platform to build small devices and work on personal projects for fun. I like making home automation machines.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answer: I want to see myself running my own industrial automation and robotics company.