Episode 11: The Importance of Failure Analysis and Quality Assurance

Kash Momodu is a Failure Analysis and Quality Assurance Engineer who worked at FitBit and Square. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from San Francisco State. While the hype is all about Software Engineering and Programming the products we use today would not be possible without a solid Quality Assurance approach. Even the best engineering teams need to have their products tested both before release and after to ensure that there is consistent functioning of all the parts that make up an engineered product.

What is Failure Analysis

When an engineered product fails there is something faulty in the electronics, programming, design or hardware of the product. In Failure Analysis, reports are generated by studying each failure and finding the root cause of it, then creating a synopsis of how to fix it by bringing the various teams together that might be necessary. This includes management to get the approval, software programmers if it is a coding problem, electrical engineers or even designers. Kash talks about his experiences as a Failure Analysis and Quality Assurance Engineer doing just that. He is really an unsung hero because our favorite products might crash, break or bug out that much more without his help. Perhaps this is an argument in favor of planned obsolescence as a natural flow of the lifecycle of the engineered products we use today.

Unabashedly Bad at Programming

Kash is an Electrical Engineer not a software engineer and by his own admittance he doesn’t get along well with programming languages. Although, he does try to learn them as part of his strategy to stay current in his career knowledge. Today so many software engineers are needed and their skill level must be high. The career pay rate is great and it is probably the most hyped career track in the tech industry after being an Entrepreneur. Also, because there are so many programmers who enjoy sharing their knowledge with the world, the internet is the perfect place to do this which compounds the chances of coming across something programming related. As an Engineer Kash feels all too well the necessity of programming skills although he doesn’t use them on a daily basis on the job.

Google is kind of overrated, but having companies like Google […] on your resume can make you look really good to prospective employeers

Season 2

It’s not that Google is just overrated, they are definitely innovators and have a unique culture and philosophy behind them. It is the fact they have created an identity as the internet. I have heard many people who do think that Google is the internet. So in season 2 we will explore this phenomenon. The next season will be focusing on culture through the lens of technology and this idea of “Google as the internet” falls well within that umbrella.

Kash and I also talked at length about working at Google as well as about being Black in the tech workforce. It was a discussion about how diverse the companies he worked for were and how much he learned from working with the different types of people in different settings. But even with this diversity he did find that there was a lack of African-Americans on his teams. Unmotive Show won’t have time to release this supplementary discussion during Season 1 but there will be an inclusion of this unreleased content and it’s topic of being African-American in the tech workforce in Season 2. Stay tuned.

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