Want to know how best to store things? Be an engineer!

By May 18, 2017Current

TL:DR – Be an engineer, they said. 

There’s a very good chance you are reading this on a smartphone. Now before you read more, look at your phone. Look closely at it. Look at it in awe and wonder. Don’t take it for granted. What you can do with it may seem normal now. But if you were able to travel back in time, say… just 100 years ago, and bring someone from that era back to today, and show him what you can do with your mobile phone, he’ll think that you are performing magic.

As the renowned science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

That’s what we hold in our palm of our hands so often. A piece of really advanced technology. Of course, to us, it doesn’t seem all that magical to us. Because we didn’t get to this piece of technology suddenly. It evolved over the years. It’s the culmination of the painstaking work of many people through the decades.

These, my friends, are the scientists and engineers.

And it’s engineers like those at Micron Technology that make the smartphone possible.

Specifically, Micron makes it possible for you to store information on your smartphone. It is an American global corporation that produces many different types of semiconductor products that store data. These products allow us to store large amounts of data in really tiny pieces of chips.

If not for semiconductor storage devices, then we would have to rely on hard disk drives (HDD) to store data. And HDDs are… not small. They also have moving parts. So it’s far easier to damage a HDD than semiconductor storage devices, which don’t have moving parts.

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In other words, if we had to rely on HDDs as storage, our smartphones will be quite thick, sure cannot fit into your pocket. And if you have butter fingers like me, smartphones with HDDs won’t last very long.

But engineers like those in Micron aren’t satisfied with their awesome achievements of giving us such amazing technology in our hands. They know they can do better. Just as how they have continuously done so.

Think back to just nine years ago.

Do you remember what happened in June that year? That’s right. That’s when the Apple released the first iPhone.

Back then, the highest storage capacity on that first version of iPhone was only 8GB. Can you imagine trying to store all those wonderfully happy photos you took on your holiday on that iPhone with just 8GB? How did we live in those primitive times? Today, iPhone7 can put 256GB of data storage capacity in our hands. Now that’s what we’re talking about!

How did that happen?

That’s right. Engineers made that happen. They weren’t satisfied with the measly 8GB of storage space. They got down to work and designed semiconductor storage devices that are just as small in physical size, but allow you to store  32 times more data than what we had just nine years ago. They also came up with the processes to produce those devices at affordable prices. And because humanity’s appetite to store selfies will keep growing, the engineers will always have work to do.

But wait. Aren’t engineers just boring people who merely apply formulae and crunch numbers?

No. Nothing can be further from the truth. Instead, engineers are dreamers, who marry imagination with deep mastery of technical skills and knowledge to creatively come up with solutions to problems and products that benefit humanity. They are great explorers who dare to venture a little past the possible into the impossible, charting the way for the rest of us to follow. They are the source of our magic.

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So, if you want to know how we can store more data, be an engineer. Or, if you’re just curious by nature, love to find out how things work, and want to have an intense sense of satisfaction at work everyday, be an engineer. Or, if you are more ambitious, and want to do things that would change the world for the better,


And if you want to be an engineer, going by this article, Micron’s as good a company to work in as any other. It has numerous facilities all over the world. In Singapore, it has a four facilities hiring a total of about 7,500 people. It recently opened its new expanded 3D NAND flash memory fabrication facility here in September last year. That created 500 new jobs in Singapore.

So if you want to create some magic, go be an engineer!

(Cover image via)


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Jake Koh

Author Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.

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