Page 48 - Engineering Career Guide for UT Austin
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If you want to start your own business, a good first stop is engineering school.
In an engineering career, there are always new areas
for problem-solving and new settings in which to apply skills. While engineers have options in well-known,
large corporate and research organizations, they can also work independently, launching products that come to have a big impact. That’s the story of Apple, of course, but also the story of a toy company called littleBits.
Ayah Bdeir is originally from Lebanon, a country with a strong entrepreneurial tradition. She was eager to pursue engineering in college but didn’t see herself working in traditional corporate engineering settings. She knew she wanted to do something to show how technology en- hances creativity, something that would make technol-
ogy appealing to people who don’t typically see them- selves as tech-oriented. People like artists and...children.
Harnessing engineering know-how to entrepreneurial drive, Bdeir invented littleBits, electronic components that children put together to invent machines that work to do whatever they decide they want a machine to do — blink, beep, blow bubbles, and more! The component bits are high-tech building blocks allowing kids to decide what to build and then figure out how to build it. The company keeps expanding offerings: kids can now construct a ro- botic gripper arm, customize a synth guitar into hands- free air drums, or build a space rover. There’s even a kit that helps kids learn how to code, one of the basics for engineering in cyberspace.
The littleBits kits have earned more than 150 awards
in tech, education, and toys — including The Toy Associa- tion’s 2018 Creative Toy of the Year—and have sold in the millions in over 70 countries. And kids keep finding new way to be creative with the products: more than 1.5 million projects have been uploaded to the DIY community in sub- jects such as astronomy, pizza making, and woodworking!
Bdeir’s primary focus has always been on getting little- Bits into schools, so that kids of all income levels have ac- cess to them. Over 2000 schools now make playing with littleBits part of what Bdeir hopes will become life-long learning and life-long imagining in the best tradition of engineering!
 start a business

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