Meet Ryne Rayburn (Ingersoll Rand), virtual guest for ECE400 Spring 2012

Ryne was unable to make it to our young alumni panel. We thus invited him to participate in a "virtual alumni panel". Please go ahead and ask him questions below. He will answer them directly on this page!

Ryne RayburnECE400S12.jpg

Name: Ryne Rayburn

Hometown: Attica, Indiana

Graduated from Purdue in May 2011 with a BS in Computer Engineering

Activities at Purdue:

  • PSEF (Active 2006-2011; President 2010, VP of Communication 2009)
  • PEPC (Co-President 2010)
  • HKN (Active 2010-2011)
  • TBP (Active 2009-2011)
  • Teaching Assistant for CS159, 2009-2011
  • Internship with John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa in summer 2010
  • Undergraduate research with Dr. Brown, ECE
  • Sports & other activities with friends

Post Purdue:

  • Professional Development Program with Ingersoll Rand (2 year development program)
    • You work full-time through the program, starting as a hardware or firmware engineer in New Product Engineering for the first year. After 12 months, you rotate into Systems Test or Sourcing for 6 months & then spend the final 6 months in product management.
    • Currently, I am working as a firmware engineer with the prospect of moving into Systems Test in Summer 2012

Ask your questions to Ryne Rayburn below

  • Mr. Rayburn, after working in the industry for about a year, do you feel the need to get a MS/MBA/Ph.D? -Bhakti Khandagale
    • Very good question Bhakti! During my senior year I considered continuing on to get a Masters & decided industry instead. Even now I am considering doing a part time Masters. Now that I have seen want industry is all about, I do not feel the need to return to get a post Bachelors degree. However, I will say that a post Bachelors degree will help set you a part from other graduates. I have not seen many jobs that request you do have more than a Bachelors in Engineering, but I have seen several job postings that state, "Masters highly recommended but not needed." With that, I'll leave it up to you to decide which level of education is right for you. The more educated you become, the more doors become open. But keep in mind, more education can close doors too. It just depends what doors you want opened in life.
  • Mr. Rayburn, even though you are still currently in your first rotation with Ingersoll Rand's Professional Development Program, have you seen some advantages to participating in a development/rotational program after graduation as opposed to a non-rotational position? Are there any disadvantages related to development/rotational programs? - Joshua Marchi
    • Good question. I may be slightly bias towards rotational programs as that is all I looked into when I was applying for full-time positions. To me, the advantage to these programs is you get to see first hand different areas of engineering rather than just the field you are hired into. The other huge advantage is that companies do not just host these programs without top leadership backing. The majority of the rotational programs will allow you to interact with some top leadership within the company & they will know you too (they probably had a hand in hiring you). The only disadvantage I can see is the possibility you would not see the project you were assigned all the way through to the end. But this is by chance based on the projects the company is currently working. Overall, I'm a big fan of rotational/development programs.
  • Mr. Rayburn, I know many people end up taking full-time positions with the companies they intern with. Why did you decide to move on to another company after you graduated? - John Jachna
    • Yes, several people do take positions with their internship employers & I could talk hours about evaluating companies (but I'll save ya the time :) ). There are many reasons people chose their internship employers for full-time. For me, there were two main things I was looking at upon graduation- a rotational/development program & the company's culture/work atmosphere. John Deere has a rotational program but I was not selected to be a part of theirs & their work atmosphere was just not for me. I was looking for a work atmosphere that was slightly relaxed & family oriented. Ingersoll Rand had both & much more. Be sure to be evaluating the company at interviews. The people present & the things done at interviews usually give a pretty good look into what the company atmosphere is.
  • Mr. Rayburn I have accepted a position in an engineering development program for after graduation and would appreciate your advice. In your first year in the development program, what are the best ways to stand out and exceed the expectations of your bosses? I know it may not be a competition necessarily but won't standing out help when it comes time for getting a concrete position after the program ends? - Marcelo Leone
    • To be completely honest, it depends on your program. With the ones I interviewed for, most planned to give me a full-time position after rolling off program. If your employment status after the program is questionable, then I can believe their would be a certain level of competition. I am slightly more laid back & conservative when it comes to this; therefore, to me, I wouldn't get caught up in standing out. I would let your work do the talking. If you work hard & make sure to go above & beyond expectations, you're bosses will notice (even if it doesn't seem like they do). One big thing you could do to stand out is to be personable. As engineers, there is a stereotype most of us fit well into- we're shy, quiet & prefer to just work alone. If you fit into the "typical engineer" description, break this shell & venture out at work- be social-able, personable, and a team player. This will get you noticed faster than anything, especially if you work to do cross-functional things, such as getting to know marketing, HR, finance, etc.
  • Mr. Rayburn, given your undergraduate research experience, what factors helped you decide to pursue your professional career after graduation as opposed to continuing research and obtaining higher education? - Jeff King
    • This is good question. I had never considered the factors in this comparison before. I loved the research I did with Professor Brown, but to be honest, the comparison for me to do full-time or do higher education came down to money (I hate that education comes to this, but it is reality) and the idea of not having homework & exams. For me, I needed a change of scenery after graduation and I felt higher education would not give me that change. Hence, I'm in industry now & I love where I am! Though, if the opportunity ever presented itself for higher education, I would end up taking it now that I have had a chance to relax away from schooling.
  • Mr. Rayburn, I'm guessing that your extracurricular activities helped you get your internships and job offer, but do you think your experiences have helped you in your day-to-day work? - Brian Kelley
    • I'm sure the extracurricular activities I had on my resume helped the process, but they did something more than just help me on my resume. They allowed me to network with individuals. I can honestly say that about 90% of my full-time offers and internships over the years had more to do with who I knew through my extracurricular activities than what I had on a resume. Networking will help you tremendously. As for your actual question, I feel my experiences have helped. My internship at John Deere introduced me to how industry operates (each company is different but the general theme is there) and how industry handles the project process (similar to class projects just on a much larger scale). I would say the two experiences that has helped me the most in industry were the team projects in classes like the final project in ECE337 & senior design and then my time in PSEF. Now, brace yourselves for this one- I highly recommend taking some sort of English class your senior year whether it be business writing or even better, another communication class to give speeches. Learning how to talk, portray your ideas & be a team player will take you a long way after graduation. Believe it or not, the professors were right about learning to work as a team & be able to explain our ideas :)
  • Mr.Rayburn,how did the undergrad experience prepare you to find a job, and if you can redo your undergrad, which part will you pay more attention on? I heard many peopel says that GPA is the most important thing to get an entry level job, is that true? - Xi Chen
    • I wouldn't say GPA is the most important thing during your undergrad experience but I would rank it in my top 3. Your GPA can open several doors when looking for a job & it can close certain ones too. Several companies have a minimum GPA requirement before they will even look at your resume. The better the GPA, the easier it will be to get your foot in the door for an interview (at least in my opinion). That being said, if your GPA isn't great, it won't necessarily keep you from getting a job. Networking & leadership opportunities are other great ways to get jobs. As for my personal undergrad experience, I felt the classes and my extracurricular activities both prepared me well. ECE prepared me for the work I am doing today & PSEF helped make me comfortable speaking to anyone at anytime & in front of crowds. If I could redo my undergrad, I would personally pay attention a bit more in a few of my classes & even take a couple different courses. I wish I had taken compilers instead of OS and the Data Structures class I wish I understood more now. But overall, I am happy with my undergrad & wouldn't change too much.
  • Mr.Rayburn, what would you suggest to international students who want to get a job in the states? What are the main advantages, or disadvantages from hiring international student? -Sungsoo, Kim
    • I cannot speak to the advantages or disadvantages to hiring in general as my experience with recruiting & interviews is minimal. As for getting a job, I would suggest a good GPA, leadership experiences & work experience. I would suggest this regardless of your background as these are the first several things companies are usually looking for in applicants.
  • Mr. Rayburn, as an engineer who is relatively new to the work force, do you feel like the work you are currently doing is meaningful or is it a struggle to make an impact in a large company with a lot of experienced engineers and several projects? Also, now that you are in the industry how do you feel about moving into a management role? And if you feel like it is something you would want to do, how long do you think it will be until you make the jump? - Kevin Baumgartner
    • In a way, I relate a large company to Purdue. If you think about it, Purdue is a business & has to make money. The students help Purdue do this by showing up each & every day to study. As a student, it is easy to become just a number in the system (your PUID), but if you become active outside of academics, then you are no longer just a number. It is the same to me in industry. I feel like your experience is what you make it & during my time in industry so far, I've really enjoyed everything. I do feel like my work is meaningful and will have a large impact on the next launch of our product. I've been fortunate to be handed a single piece of the product & therefore it is entirely on me to get it working. If it does not work, our product doesn't launch. The experienced engineers have been great because they have always been willing to support me as I learn the product & Ingersoll Rand's processes. As for management, I feel like that is a high possibility. Management is something I've consider but for the most part, I haven't worried myself about how long it will take to reach that role. I look at it as no matter where I went in industry, I would have to do my time at the bottom to learn the company, the systems, and the work. It is all a part of a cycle. If I had to estimate, I would say 3-5 years, maybe shorter or longer depending on your situation. In a way, I've already had some minor management roles through projects. I see these as an opportunity to learn how to be a leader in industry.
  • Mr. Rayburn, What factors went into your decision to specialize in CompE over EE or CompSci? -Justin Lindley
    • Great question- one that many ECEs & CSs ponder. For me, I always knew I wanted ECE over CS for the simple fact of hardware interaction. I didn't want something that involved only writing software. Within ECE, I really chose CompE because it had the most hardware & software interaction. I enjoy a little of both.
  • Mr. Rayburn, what would you say was your most valuable experience in your undergraduate career now that you've spent some time in industry? -Stephen Edwards
    • Another good question! As I think about my most valuable experiences, I am not able to pick just one. It is three different things to me. The first was my time in PSEF. The organization helps recruit high school students into engineering; therefore, as members, we were always speaking to a group of people either by giving a tour of campus, speaking on a panel, or chatting one-on-one with the students and their parents. This challenged me to become a better speaker and to not be nervous when speaking with people I did not know. The second experience I would say is the final project in ECE337 ASIC Design. This project really showed me for the first time what a project looked like that was longer than a 1-3 week lab. The challenges you face in this relate to industry. The third experience was senior design, ECE477. ECE477 was challenging but gave a vary good perspective on what was to come in industry.
  • Mr. Rayburn, how did you manage to handle all of your extracurricular activities with the ever demanding schedule of a computer engineering? -Calvin Mwesigwa
    • This is a good question; one I have never really thought about. Looking back, I would say I was able to handle it do to slowly adjusting to the lifestyle. Starting out freshman year, I was only active in a couple extracurricular activities and then toward my senior year, I became active in more organizations as well as more active within them. This allowed me to train myself to become used to the busy lifestyle. And having good friends around to support you is huge too. I had a good set of friends within CompE to study with and some were also a part of the same organizations. Oh, and not much sleep :)
  • Mr. Rayburn, looking back at your Purdue education, in your opinion which skills you've obtained while in Purdue helped you stand out from countless other engineers in the field trying to find jobs. -Berke Karakus
    • The biggest skill would be the ability to stand out in a non-technical way. Recruiters already know that all the engineers coming out of Purdue can handle the technical aspect of our career. They really want to see what else you know- can you talk to random people, are you a team player, can you think on your feet, can you be social at a dinner? Finding a way to stand out in a non-technical way will help. For me, this was obtained by being a part of PSEF & talking to high school students & their parents on a weekly basis.
  • Mr.Rayburn, since you went the computer engineering path for your bachelor degree, do you think it would be very difficult for a student who went the electrical engineering path (such as myself) to get into the same sort of field as a computer engineering student once they graduate? For example, I'm an electrical engineering student but recently I've just come to realize that I am much more interested in the few computer engineering related courses I've taken than the many other electrical engineering related courses. What kind of advice would you give to people in that sort of situation? - Jitbhat Patmastana
    • I honestly do not think you'll have troubles finding a CompE job as an EE. A big part of industry sees EE & CompE as one field. This means they really expect us to be able to do the same jobs whether that be EE or CompE related. So my advice would be to go for the CompE job & be passionate about the job. If you want it, you should be able to find it out there.
  • Mr. Rayburn, since leaving Purdue what skills have you used most from your undergraduate career, and what elective engineering courses would you say have helped you the most? -Manish Pati
    • I would say my engineering skills from ECE477, skills in engineering in general, and the ability to discuss ideas are the skills I have used the most. And when you mention elective engineering courses, my mind goes to the non-ECE electives such as ME, IE, CE courses. In my opinion, ME413, MSE230, and CE355 might have been the best choices.
  • Mr. Rayburn, what according to you is the most fundamental difference between the kind of jobs offered to a computer engineer and those to an electrical engineer, if there is any difference at all? -Krishna Jhajaria
    • To be completely honest, there isn't much difference at all. The only minor difference is that a CompE might be expected to have more programming skills than an EE. Other than that, our jobs are similar.
  • Mr Rayburn, I have TAed CS159 with you over a few semesters, and it's heartening to see someone I've seen so closely do so well. I see that you were involved in many other extra-curricular activities. In your opinion, how much of an advantage did that provide you from a job perspective and otherwise? Do you think it's better to focus on maintaining top-notch grades or would you rather let your grades slide just a bit to get involved in other activities? - Upsham K Dawra
    • Upsham, it is good to hear from you! Hope your semester is going well & if you are still with CS159, hope that is well too :) I would say that being involved in extra-curricular activities had a small advantage for getting a job. Being involved gave me perspective from outside the classroom as well as networking opportunities. Letting my grades slide just a little bit to be involved was okay with me & most employers are okay with this too. They would like to see that you were involved and learned how to communicate rather than achieved a high GPA and did nothing outside of academics. Remember however, each employer is different and most will list what they are looking for on their career website or through the career fair pamphlet. For example, on the Ingersoll Rand careers website, for one of our early talent full-time programs, we specifically list the requirements- 3.0 GPA or higher, at least two leadership experiences, and at least two internship experiences.
  • Mr. Rayburn, did any of the software you used in undergrad reappear in your employment? - Ethan Price
    • This is a good question and my answer- yes & no. Let me explain. Yes, software I used at Purdue is in industry. It will depend on where you are hired & what the company uses to know how much will reappear. The reason I say no is because for me personally, I have not used many of the programs I learned at Purdue in industry. There is a catch however. While the programs I am using in industry were not at Purdue, they are similar. At Purdue, you are learning to learn; learning to adapt to use programs you have never seen before. You will be expected to learn new programs in industry and if you already know them, then you are able to start much quicker.
  • Mr. Rayburn, it is listed here that you have accomplished an Internship at John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa in summer 2010. I know that the company works in agricultural machinery and doesn't involve hardware or firmware programming. Now you are working as a hardware or firmware engineer. Why did you change your path in the career and what influenced you to change it? - Artyom Melanich
    • Artyom, you are correct that I did an internship at Deere in summer 2010 and that the company works with heavy Ag machinery. But, don't be fooled by this big machinery. It still has electronics and firmware inside of it- what else lets the electronics work on the tractor dashboard or the equipment connected to the tractor communicate how it is functioning? During the summer of 2010, I worked with a CAN system that Deere uses as one of its communication buses. My project was to design a specific CAN sniffing tool that would allow engineers fast parsing of the CAN bus data. By this tool, engineers were better equipped to parse the CAN data into various spreadsheets or other tools in order to debug various information. So overall, I didn't change my path from my internship to my full-time role :)

--- Back to ECE400 Spring 2012

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