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Meet: Rod David

Senior Software Engineer

Who I Am
I'm a senior software engineer at the Wind Tunnel Systems Branch. I write software programs, train new programmers, and provide technical support for the wind tunnel tests here at NASA Ames. For the Wright Flyer, I helped write the software that helped the engineers and scientists study the aerodynamic performance of the plane. I work in a team environment, working with the instrumentation engineers, test directors, and other programmers in troubleshooting any software-related problems that may come up.

My Career Path
I majored in Computer Engineering at San Jose State, although I originally started in Mechanical Engineering. When I started taking computer classes, I realized that I enjoyed working with computers more than tinkering with mechanical things. Growing up, I was good in Math and Science, so engineering was something that I've always considered since then. My oldest brother was also an engineer, and he inspired me to continue pursuing engineering.

Why I Like My Job
The best part of the job is working on very interesting projects such as the Wright Flyer. It's a historical project and I'm glad to be a part of it. I also worked on a project in Holland as part of a joint partnership between NASA and the Dutch. It was one of the highlights of my career so far since I was able to see Europe for the first time and see beautiful sights from London, Paris, and Holland.

The negative aspects of the job involve working long hours sometimes in order to finish the project on time. But, it's all worth it when the projects go so well, knowing that I was able to help in the projects' success.

As A Child
When I was growing up , I enjoyed going to the library and read the science magazines there, such as Science Digest or Popular Science, or any news related magazine such as Time or Newsweek. I also enjoyed reading about the solar system and the outer space. One memorable science project in high school was when we built our own model rockets and let them take off. It taught me a lot about aerodynamics. In high school, I took my first computer class using the Radio Shack's TRS80 computers, which were very basic back then, but what they could do amazed me and gave me a sense of wonder.

Computers is the way of the future. It's a very interesting and rewarding job. I would tell them to watch educational TV shows such as the Discovery Channel and shows on PBS to learn more about the world around us and the technology that's shaping our future. They would need to do well on their math and science classes, and take as many computer classes as they could.

Early Influences
It was my older brother who suggested that I pursue a major in engineering. My parents also reinforced that by supporting me in my education and giving me moral support. In high school, my Geometry teacher and Chemistry teachers made me realize that "I can do this!", and gave me self confidence.

Future Goals Computers and software keeps on evolving, which makes it an exciting future. I see myself continuing to learn about the new developments in the computer field by taking classes or reading magazines. I consider going into a supervisory position or management in the near future.

I'm still single, but I'm hoping to get married someday and have 3 kids, a dog, a tennis and basketball court in my backyard, and a big aquarium filled with tropical fish such as Angelfish, Betta fighting fish, neon tetras, swordtails, and catfishes.

Credits and Contacts


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