Written by Marie Overman, Winters Mill High School Class of ’23
Robert Jaffe is the newest team member at MAGIC and has taken on the Duckietown curriculum development.
For most, if not all, of his career Mr. Jaffe has worked for defense-related industries to improve existing platforms. A few years ago a truck hit the side of Mr. Jaffe’s car. The accident left him with a traumatic brain injury that only allows him to work eight hours weekly. The Carroll County Workforce Development, which helps people find jobs in the community, reached out to MAGIC to help him find part-time work in robotics and engineering. He has been with us since December working on Duckietown.
Mr. Jaffe has a Master’s in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. These are great fields of study for working with DuckieBot. Here’s a short look into Mr. Jaffe’s experience as an engineer and some advice to incoming students.
Mr. Jaffe’s journey as an engineer
Since he was young, Mr. Jaffe knew that he wanted to be a technical engineer. He started working for his fathers company at 14 in order to gain experience. Throughout his career he worked as a software engineer, system engineer, project engineer, and system director, accumulating a wide variety of experience and working with several different mediums.
Mr. Jaffe has accomplished many interesting and impressive things. He took an eight hour test time and cut it to two hours by designing test philosophies that avoided user ambiguity and displayed the results right on the screen. He worked with missiles and drones as well as an Aegis phased antenna, which is a tracking antenna for aircraft.
A lot of Mr. Jaffe’s work has connections to aircraft, for example working with UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) systems and missile optics. Many of the projects he had a part in are helpful to the military, such as working on the B-52 (a strategic bomber jet) and Star-Wars (a satellite tracking system used to take missiles out of the sky).
Mr. Jaffe’s advice to incoming engineering students
New jobs in the computer science and engineering fields are introduced constantly. That means that many of the jobs that exist today didn’t exist 20 years ago. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working as computer software engineers has grown 100% from 2000-2010. This is why it is important to consistently better yourself so that, when these changes occur, you are ready to face them.
As new jobs come up, people need to fill them. Employers are not looking for education that doesn’t exist yet–they care about soft skills. Adaptability, ambition, conflict resolution, and enthusiasm are more important than many people realize. Mr. Jaffe’s advice is to think out of the box–”your future is a blank page”, and you can mold it into whatever you want.
Check out Duckietown!
All of us at MAGIC agree that the Duckietown curriculum is in good hands with Mr. Jaffe. It will allow many students to have an opportunity to have hands-on experience with robotics and AI.
To stay updated on the progress of Duckietown and other related events you can visit the ARIC homepage.