About the Digital Signature Podcast
The Digital Signature Podcast was started in 2022 with a goal of better connecting people with the technology that surrounds them. There are so many pathways to becoming tech creators, and so many careers and skillsets that contribute to the world around us - so many that it is easy to become overwhelmed into a belief that it is too much to pursue. In fact, computing professionals and hobbyists specialize in a few areas of technology. In other fields, this doesn’t surprise us: we don’t expect the biologist to be an expert in String Theory, and we don’t expect the theoretical physicist to be an expert in geology. Math and the sciences have had centuries to develop their identities and specializations; computing is a relatively young field, and we have not publicized these nuances quite as well.
The reality is that each of us has taken a different journey into computing and technology. Some of us gained experience as children playing with gadgets and games, some had passions in the arts and humanities and saw connections with computing and technology, some majored in one of several computing fields in college, and some were curious about the devices and systems they use in their everyday lives. Whether you’re interested in building robotic systems and devices, writing software, testing that software, or working with the people who will use those systems to ensure that their needs are thoughtfully captured through design, computing systems can’t be successful without a plethora of diverse experiences, skills, and backgrounds. The Digital Signature Podcast hosts conversations with guests whose expertise and experiences span this spectrum, and offers activities you can try at home to experience a “day in the life” of each of our guests.
What is a Digital Signature?
A digital signature is file that represents your individual identity on the Internet. It’s often a couple of unique numbers that, when used together, can create an electronic “fingerprint” or signature value that only you could likely have created. Like signing a receipt or contract, this signature value (sometimes called a “certificate”) helps convince someone that you are who you claim to be. If you’ve ever seen the “padlock” icon on your web browser when dealing with your bank online or some other website, this, in part, represents that their digital signature has been checked to verify their identity for you.
Digital signatures are unique, like a fingerprint. So, too, are the journeys and pathways we’ve all taken to our careers in computing and technology. We named our podcast the “Digital Signature Podcast” to reflect that each person has a unique story to tell and a unique perspective to offer.
Bill Mongan is the host of the Digital Signature Podcast. He studied at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, USA, where he received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science, and his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Along the way, he developed a passion for teaching and science communication, and received the M.S.Ed. in Science of Instruction, along with a Pennsylvania teaching certificate in secondary Mathematics and in secondary Computer Science. He was a Teaching Professor at Drexel from 2008 through 2019, and is now a faculty member in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA. In this role, he works with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) on various educational initiatives, including this podcast.