Computer Science and Engineering
Class of 1990
“Obviously, the learning and education at MSOE was a good foundation for me. The focus on the lab work pushes you to get your hands dirty on all projects, whether you’re an engineer or a manager.”
When MSOE Regent Dwight Diercks ’90 was hired by NVIDIA in 1994, he was employee number 22. Today, the computer hardware and software giant employs more than 8,000 people; 2,600 of whom report to Dwight in his role as senior vice president of software engineering. “When I joined NVIDIA I was writing code,” he said. “The company was small back then, but as we grew into different markets my role expanded and there was lots of opportunity for growth.”
The MSOE computer science and engineering graduate felt well prepared for his career, which included positions at Compaq and Pellucid before NVIDIA. “Obviously, the learning and education at MSOE was a good foundation for me. The focus on the lab work pushes you to get your hands dirty on all projects, whether you’re an engineer or a manager. It also helped me to form connections. I have worked with more than 10 people at NVIDIA who went to school at MSOE, many of whom were my former classmates, including two of my closest friends and lab partners from my time at MSOE.”
The software engineering team that Dwight manages is one of the largest at the company. “We build software for all of our products, ranging from cell phones and tablets to PC graphics cards, automobile dashboards, gaming machines and more.” While he uses his engineering foundation every day, his minor in business management helps, too. “We have to be outwardly facing to understand the customer and their problems. We may sell a semiconductor, but what we really sell is a solution to a problem they might be having.”
Dwight wanted to pursue the computer field because he was hoping to do something exciting, and to make a difference. A scholarship that covered half of his tuition costs enabled him to attend MSOE, and is partly why he remains so connected to the university. “I don’t think I could’ve attended MSOE if the scholarship wasn’t available to me. If I can help to give back in the form of my time, my knowledge and also financially, I feel it’s the right thing to do.”
Dwight was named an MSOE Corporation Member in 2002, a Regent in 2005, and added to MSOE’s Alumni Wall of Fame in 2006. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Dian and their dog Foxy.