I Am NI: Easton Davis

published

01.18.2022

A future-forward thinker with a passion for staying up to date on the latest technologies, Easton Davis is accelerating his career and honing his technical skills here at NI.

Name: Easton Davis
Hometown: Marion, AR
University: The University of Alabama
Department/Role at NI: Rotation Engineer, Generation NI XRP
 

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Why did you want to intern/work at NI?

In my undergraduate and graduate studies, I worked closely with a professor who used LabVIEW. Because of that experience, I was somewhat familiar with NI, but I didn’t know how many technical domains and market segments it operated in. After I graduated and began to apply for positions, I saw a posting for Generation NI’s Cross-Functional Rotation Program. That led me to research the company in more detail, and that’s when I discovered NI did more than I realized. The company culture, combined with the ability to work in many areas, is why I ultimately decided to join NI.

As a new grad, tell us how Generation NI’s Cross-Functional Rotation Program has impacted you.

This program has taught me to be agile. Over the past two years, and to this day, I’m consistently working on new teams, leading my own projects, and communicating project status to stakeholders. Because of this process, I am honing my interpersonal skills and acquiring new technical abilities. Without Generation NI, I would not have reached this level of professional development.

Almost everything we interact with daily involved some level of engineering. Because of that, we must include multiple perspectives when making engineering decisions.

-Easton Davis
Do you have a passion outside of “work”?

I have many interests, and I’m always trying my hand at new hobbies. However, my passion for hunting and conservation remains constant. I was fortunate to grow up in an environment where I could spend a lot of time outdoors. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how hunting game animals contributes to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. In the fall and winter, I spend my weekends either hunting or preparing for an upcoming hunt.

How do you Engineer Ambitiously™?

When I start working on a new project, I begin by thinking about the end goal. I establish the minimum viable product (MVP). Then, I think about what could go above and beyond the MVP. I also spend a lot of time reading and researching new technologies related to my current work, such as electrification and autonomy, as well as technologies that could impact my work one day, such as Web3 and AI. By understanding what can help me exceed expectations, I’m better able to set progressive project goals and Engineer Ambitiously.

Who is your biggest inspiration and/or mentor (at NI or otherwise)?

My biggest inspiration is my father. He has always encouraged me to pursue my passions, and he’s a great sounding board for life decisions. I often find myself remembering relevant lessons he’s taught me.

With the transitions to remote school and work in the past year, share some lessons learned along the way.

The transition to remote work taught me to be intentional. I’ve found that having a set of outcomes for the week and planning my activities for tomorrow yield consistent results. Additionally, I’m intentional about the timing of my work. Current research indicates that analytical and critical decision-making should occur early in the day. (See Daniel Pink’s When.) I devote my mornings to important meetings and/or work that requires critical thinking. As I move into the afternoon, I focus more on administrative-type work, like answering emails, working on project plans, and developing visual aids for presentations. Of course, I want to be agile to account for unforeseen activities that pop up each day, but planning and timing have been key to my success in a remote environment.

During your time at NI, what’s been the most significant lesson you’ve learned? (This can be anything from a life lesson to a skill/best practice you use in your career.)

During my time at NI, I’ve come to realize that it’s OK not to know everything. I was initially intimidated by working with cutting-edge technology, and I felt like people wouldn’t respect my opinions due to my lack of tenure. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone at NI respects each other’s opinion, no matter their experience level.

As you enter the workforce, tell us why diversity and inclusion (especially in engineering) matter to you.

Engineering has a profound impact on everyone’s lives. Almost everything we interact with daily involved some level of engineering. Because of that, we must include multiple perspectives when making engineering decisions. Focusing on diversity and inclusion gives everyone a voice.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about you that doesn’t fit on your resume?

I love to think about the future. Whether I’m reading science fiction, listening to a podcast about technology trends, or thinking about what life will look like in 10 to 50 years, I’m often looking to the horizon. The future is a topic that’s always interested me, even if it doesn’t have a place on my resume.

How would you describe the culture and connections you’ve experienced with other NIers?

If I had one word to describe NIers, it would be “authentic.” Authenticity is such a valuable quality to have, especially in a remote world. Being authentic has enabled me to quickly develop deep connections with those I work with, and I think it’s a common characteristic among all NIers.

How have your skills developed at NI, and what has been the impact of those skills on your work and life?

Working at NI has taught me to be learning agile. I now realize that I don’t have to understand everything at every moment. It’s OK to learn as I go. This discovery has caused me to be more self-reliant. When it’s time to start a new project, I’m confident that I can learn the necessary skills over time. I approach other aspects of my life in the same way. Now, I’m much more open to trying new things because I’m confident in my ability to learn and grow.

And just for fun: What is your go-to song right now?

Since it’s the holidays and I like to have background music, I’ve been listening to Gary Alesbrook’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It’s a lo-fi take on the song, and I’ve really been enjoying it on loop!

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