Amazon to Generate

Last June, I began my second Coop at Amazon Robotics. I was thrilled to have this opportunity in the first place. To work for such an impactful company has inevitably made me grow as an engineer and more importantly as a person. I was part of the Firmware team that was in charge of developing the next generation of robots, or like they call them over there, Drive Units. On my first day, I was introduced to the engineers I would be working with on my team and was directed to my cubicle, which, as some claimed, was located near no-mans land; where the mechanical engineers were clustered. I didn’t feel comfortable and wondered how it was going to turn out.

As days started passing, and responsibilities started coming my way, I began to enjoy it more and more. It started sinking in. The technology, the people and that start-up feel that AR had, all began to make me feel more and more interested and less pressured. I was then introduced to my main task during the co-op period: help design an obstacle detection system to be deployed on the Drive Units. Shortly after, I found myself writing a lot of code, working on network design and doing a lot of testing. To work on such a complicated system made me go through a process very similar to product development, everything from defining goals and requirements to design, implementation and testing. I had an exposure to the different areas and steps of product design and system integration that not many people have the opportunity to experience at my age. I was heavily involved in the mechanics and the details of this complex system, from algorithm optimization to testing efficiency. This kind of exposure really made me think differently about product development and how challenging, yet uniquely engaging it can be.

I was introduced to Generate during my time at Amazon by a very good friend of mine, now the technology director at Generate, Bailey Kane. As a growing build studio with a start-up feel, I was instantly attracted to participating in it and applying what I had learned at Amazon to developing the freshest products Northeastern has to offer. I applied for the Build Studio Engineer position right away and was thankfully given the opportunity to be part of Generate. I was assigned to the TrailTag project this current semester, which is possibly the most software heavy project that Generate has adopted as of yet. Luckily, because of my experience at AR I was able to apply many of the skills in firmware design I learned to this project, from protocol design to network communication and writing software that controls hardware.

I came to realize how Generate represents the essence of product development among the NU entrepreneurship ecosystem. The opportunity for students to work on real world problems and solve them using their class and co-op experience is very powerful. I was astounded to how applicable the knowledge I have collected at Amazon was to developing TrailTag and help in designing a product that is useful, reliable, and most importantly solves a problem in the most efficient way possible.

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