Intern Turned Full Time Team Member

Intern Turned Full Time Team Member

Derek Roberson, BSEE and BSCPE (Double Major) from NCSU joins Device Solutions Inc, Cellio product team after successful internship.

Derek has always been prone to think two to three steps ahead.  From his early years in Colorado, travels through Ohio and ultimately choosing North Carolina as his home, Derek has been on a path of self-improvement and self-actualization.  While his peers were mostly focused on just the next step, Derek was always thinking about where he was headed and the steps and commitment it would take to get there.  He is now there.

In his teens while living in Colorado, Derek was drawn to technology – video games, coding, and hacking electronic devices.  Open coding platforms and terminal access to consumer products provided the motivation to learn coding skills like C, Java, and C# programming.  One of his earliest projects was modifying a PlayStation2 console to add customization to the embedded code – at the time he didn’t realize he was delving into firmware (foreshadowing).

From Colorado, Derek moved to North Carolina to finish high school and continued to excel in courses that led him into computer networking and almost achieving a CCNA certification before finishing high school (more foreshadowing).  Around this time he was also working at Radio Shack – advising customers on technologies, installing equipment in people’s offices and homes, fixing various electronic products, and leveraging his technical knowledge.

Derek had aspired to getting a University degree.  He assessed his options and the pre-requisites for getting into North Carolina State University (NCSU).  Ultimately he determined that he could go to Martin Community College, Pitt Community College, and Wake Technical Community College to earn the pre-requisite credits that would meet entry requirements for NCSU.  To make sure he had the means to pay for college, Derek decided to leave Radio Shack and work for the Electronics Department in Walmart – which provided the path to transfer to a Walmart in the Raleigh area when he eventually transferred to NCSU.  Those years were mostly all work and no play as you might imagine.

NCSU accepted Derek’s application to transfer his credits and his education from the community colleges he attended, and Walmart accepted his work transfer request as well.  Everything was playing out as Derek had planned – almost.  Eventually the coursework and standards to which he held himself were strained and pushed him to choose to quit work and find another way to fund tuition, room and board.  Again, thinking for the future, Derek applied to Diebold Inc. out of Ohio (with an office in Raleigh) and was accepted into their Co-Op program in Ohio for a year. His successful track-record of project work in hardware design, software design, and embedded design ultimately led Derek to choose embedded systems and firmware engineering as his specialty.

Working at Diebold helped him save enough money to finish his courses, however, Derek found out that Diebold had closed its offices in Raleigh which led him to investigate an internship he had heard about from his Professors and TA’s – at a local company called Device Solutions.  He was pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness and respect he received from the internship application submission process.  While working with Device Solutions as part of his Senior Design requirements (by choice, not required) he was highly impressed with the Device Solutions team, the variety of embedded projects and the fact that the CEO offered him a job even before he was finished with his coursework.  And although Derek checked out a bunch of other offers before saying “yes” to Bob’s offer, he realized that the bar was set pretty high for the other offers – he already liked the engineers and managers at Device Solutions and appreciated all the little fringe benefits that come with working at Device Solutions.

As he reflects on what he is doing now, he acknowledges that he kind of knew all along that Device Solutions was the place that would meet his requirements – a team environment, challenging projects, knowing all the people in the company, respect from his peers for his contributions, and some flexibility to both work hard and play hard.  As a young professional engineer in a technology focused city like Raleigh (living downtown), personal and professional opportunities are increasing in abundance daily.  Derek, for the first time in years, has no immediate plans for making any more professional or educational changes – now it is time to reap the rewards of hard work, a great education, a great work environment, and lots and lots of personal pursuits outside of work.  I think everyone would agree that he has earned it!