Just by making a call from Chicago to Seattle, you make use of today's networking technology. Many telephone companies' central offices are using digital cross-connect systems to transmit information, including phone calls, across the country. Digital cross-connect systems allow an increase in the number of data lines to end and/or be switched in one telephone company's central office, enabling the company to increase its transmission capacity while decreasing the requirements for floor space, cables, and equipment. These computer-controlled switching systems are operated by complex software programs. Producing the software requires a large number of developers working together.
Barbara Szabo Doulas is a software engineer at Tellabs Inc. in Lisle, Illinois where she develops system software for the TITAN 5500 digital cross-connect. Her current project involves implementing an optical interface to the TITAN system, enabling transmission over fiber-optic cable. Barbara's work involves her in several stages of the software life cycle, including high- and low-level design, coding, and testing. Her job involves a good mixture of teamwork and individual assignments. "I rarely spend my days only writing code at my computer. Software development requires many skills outside of basic coding ability, specifically, problem-solving abilities, good communication skills, general system knowledge, and organizational skills." Barbara works in a diverse environment that allows casual attire and fairly flexible hours.
Prior to working at Tellabs, Barbara held several positions while attending college--as a computer site consultant for the college, a software developer for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, and a system administrator for a university research group. Her diverse background helped her decide on her career: "I was able to sample a wide range of software-related jobs, and I found that I was most interested in software development, which is what I do at Tellabs."
Barbara grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied computer science in the College of Engineering. "Growing up, I never thought I'd enter the computer field, considering we didn't have a computer at home and I hadn't written a single line of code prior to college. I first considered it when applying for college and needed to specify a major. Computer science seemed to offer what I was interested in: A career in the sciences, the use of problem-solving skills, and a large variety of jobs. I thought I could always change if things didn't work out." Barbara never changed her major and received her B.S. in the spring of 1993. She plans to continue her education at the graduate level after gaining more experience in industry. For now, a recent marriage and a challenging career are keeping Barbara busy.