Sven Dietrich

IEEE Senior Member, IEEE Computer Society

Q: What inspired you to become an engineer? Were you always interested in technology? If so, why? If not, when did you become interested and why?

A: Growing up, my family had a strong influence on my interest in STEM. Early on, they encouraged my curiosity in technology, despite not even having a TV when we were living for several years as expats in a sub-Saharan African country. Later, in a STEM-focused high school in the Maghreb, one teacher founded a computer club with a stash of 6502-based Apple Computers and taught me how to program in BASIC. Switching to my Commodore 64, which had a similar CPU, I learned how to tinker with the C64 memory banks and their shadowed contents.

In college, I avidly explored the early Internet and its various challenges, alpha tested high-speed dial-up modems, learned to program in C, became a fan of Star Trek and its technology, ran an Internet-connected bulletin board System, and worked in an on-campus technology laboratory led by an inspiring mentor and engineer. By then, if not before, pursuing computer technology, and eventually cybersecurity, became my career choice.