Charles Suh | NAND Senior Design Engineer at Micron Technology
Our lives are so immersed with technology that it’s hard to imagine a day without it. A recent technology study of 3,000 college students and young professionals found that 2 out of 5 would accept a lower-paying job if it allowed access to social media or enabled employees to bring their own device to work. In addition, 1/3 of participants in the study believe the Internet it is as necessary as food and air.
Tech companies thrive on the increasing demand to develop growth in Internet and mobile computing. Micron Technology is a company that fuels the future with mass storage solutions, which are critical for a healthy tech environment. I visited with senior design engineer Charles Suh, who gave us a closer look at what’s inside your device: NAND flash memory chips. NAND flash contains bits of memory in the form of storage cells. Thousands of these storage cells exist in every device, including your Smartphone, for example.
As a senior engineer, Suh evaluates the functionality of NAND flash in chips. He designs platforms for testing flash and supports peers in doing their research to assess how well the memory cells perform. Even as an expert, Suh admits that he himself is amazed that flash actually works. He recognizes that it’s hard science, but in so many ways it can be magical. Charles shares why he’s so fascinated:
The tech industry is about creating things that function accurately when they’re naturally not supposed to, and producing them on a regular basis-in contrast to one-time occurrences as researchers tend to do.
Suh’s career focuses on the importance of evaluative research of NAND flash. He has worked project-to-project on the main product line to fulfill clients’ needs, including custom probing solutions for IBM and Intel Corporation during his first job with Agilent. There’s a lot of money that goes into developing flash – errors or omissions in a three-month project can cost the company upwards of half a million dollars! Why is the development of flash so crucial? Charles replied: “because you don’t want to lose your data. We discover what can be done to achieve the highest chance in recovering your data and minimize occurrences of data loss. All the while, making sure solutions work together so that a user never has to find out they lost something (and recovered it) since their last access”.
Suh recommends to Boulder 2140 Young Professionals:
If you can’t put your finger on what’s next, ask lots of questions. Ask for new experiences, because if your employer doesn’t know you want to make a next step, they will think you’re perfectly happy where you are.
- Commutes from Denver to Longmont and arrives at the office at 8:30am
- Becomes fully-functional (after his second cup of coffee)
- Focuses on his main project throughout the workday and fits in meetings with the lab team
- Typically leaves for home around 6:00pm
The world of technology is so dynamic that it’s difficult to make an accurate prediction of where Micron will go next. Nevertheless, Suh highly anticipates the rollout of his current project within two years. Since NAND flash is targeted to an end-product market, he’s excited to finally be able to tell his friends, “Hey, I made that!”
Outside of Micron, a possible step in Suh’s career involves studying IP (intellectual property) law. It’s clear he loves technology too much to leave the industry, so working with technology patents in the field IP law is a practical option that fits with his passion. He notes that tech and law are polar opposites, but together, they form an interesting mix of science that is precise with an art of conviction in which there are no absolutes.