Education Technology

Alex Gronbach

HVAL Product
Marketing Enigneer

Hi there! My name is Alex and I am a product marketing engineer for High Volume Analog & Logic (HVAL). High volume means we ship A LOT of products, as in billions with a “B”! Most of these HVAL products we use on a daily basis, like smartphones and cars.

On the job
I am responsible for 150 out of the 100,000 products that TI makes. I work closely with our field sales representatives and help them sell my products.

The coolest thing I've gotten to do is help design TI products into all of the latest technology — from smartphones to cars and even in some toys. My job also allows me to travel around the world to meet with engineers in China, Japan and Germany. It is a really fun, challenging environment to work in that never gets boring.

How does coding play a role in your job? 
I work with large amounts of data, so I will code a macro in Excel to speed up my analysis. A macro is a type of program that will automatically do the tasks I program it to do, rather than me having to do each of them by hand.

How did you learn to code on your calculator?
I was in math class in middle school learning about the Pythagorean Theorem. It was very tedious to type in A² + B² = C² over and over again, so I thought there must be a better way. I knew my TI-83 Plus graphing calculator could store programs, so I looked up how to write one. In a short time, I had written a program where you could enter A, B and/or C and it would solve the equation. It made my homework go by much faster!

When it was time for me to go to college, I knew that I was going into engineering, but I had no idea what I wanted to study. I took a required programming course in college and it came very easily to me because I had already learned the basics from my experience with my TI calculator. This helped me discover my passion for programming and computers, and led me to change majors from general engineering to computer engineering, which eventually led me to my current role at TI.

Why do you think learning to code is important? 
Computers are everywhere today: in our cars, in our pockets, and even in our homes. All of these computer systems use software (running on TI parts) to make the world a better place. Learning to code can not only strengthen your analytical/problem solving skills, but also can help you connect with the world around you.

What is one piece of advice you would give to students?
You can do anything you set your mind to. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at a skill or subject today (like coding), all that matters is how much time you want to spend learning how to be better at it. Find a way to make studying and practicing fun, and before you know it, you’ll be really good at it.

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