STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Jeffrey C. Dunnihoo of Bertram found a creative way to explain to his children what he does for a living. He wrote a book.
Now available online and in bookstores, “SOIC and SOT – The Microchips” uses illustrations and simple language to explain what Dunnihoo has been doing for the past 30 years as a semiconductor engineer and system developer.
In the book, microchips SOIC (Small Outline Integrated Circuit) and SOT (Small Outline Transistor) are friends who become separated on an assembly line. Their journey back to each other shows children the inner workings of high-tech electronics such as TVs, tablets, and smartphones.
The book explains what happens on an electronics assembly line, including the smoldering process, assembly, tests, and shipping. In return, the chips learn about the outside world.
While he had his own drawings, Dunnihoo credits illustrative artist Simona M. Ceccarelli for bringing his characters to life.
Ceccarelli, who lives in Switzerland, was a microbiologist with a doctorate degree. She quit her job to become an illustrator. Dunnihoo gave her his drawings and outlined what he was thinking. What he got in return was incredible, he said.
His toughest editors — his children — thoroughly enjoyed Ceccarelli’s work.
“Yes, Daddy. This is good,” they said.
Even parents of Dunnihoo’s adult friends who also work in tech development have read the book and learned from it. He noted that one friend’s 90-year-old mother told her: “You’ve been doing this for a number of decades, and I’ve never understood it until I read this book.”
While Dunnihoo appreciates the approach of many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics-related curricula, he said a career in electronics is not limited to knowing how to write code.
His career path began when he realized how much he enjoyed building things with Lego toys and blocks as a child. That sparked his imagination and drove him to continue creating. As he got older, he became curious about how different types of electronics worked and would take them apart to study and rebuild. A favorite was repairing CB radios.
Dunnihoo’s father, Clayton, was a big influence, too. The elder Dunnihoo worked as an engineer for Lockheed Martin Corporation in Dallas, which specializes in aircraft manufacturing.
“I thought everybody had old crash missiles in their garage,” Dunnihoo said. “I was surrounded by it. Kids should be able to access that kind of stuff.”
He hopes the book will help readers see the possibilities of a career in technology by illustrating how a computer needs thousands of different parts made from around the world to become a finished product.
“There are so many (jobs) that don’t require a Ph.D.,” he said. “You can still contribute to technology in the 21st century, and you don’t have to be the greatest coder on the planet. It’s OK to be a blue-collar technician. If it’s just one kid who takes apart Mom’s laptop and I get a nasty letter, I’ll be happy.”
The book is sold at Books-A-Million, Amazon.com, Indie Bound, and Barnes and Noble and available in English and Spanish.
Two more books, “MSOP & DPAK — One Hot Day” and “TSSOP Gets Zapped – With Static Electricity,” will be coming soon.
Go to soicnsot.pragma.media for more about the books.