Ben Craik headshot photo

Ben Craik

Data Engineer

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

My responsibility is to make sure that the instruments and sensors we deploy collect scientific data during our exploration and mapping expeditions. Once the data has been collected, we process and package the data in various ways so that it can be used in future research, exploration, and education. 

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I've always loved building and taking things apart. In my early teens, I discovered the joys of programming and open source software. After graduating from high school, I decided to study Audio Engineering, which was the perfect marriage between my two passions: technology and music. 

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My parents are my best friends and have always supported me in my pursuits. I owe everything to my loving family and friends who have been there for me during the good times and the bad. My mother continues to inspire me to ask questions and seek out knowledge, rather than wait for it to appear. My father taught me the importance of character, integrity and hard work.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

I think exploring the unexplored depths of the ocean with robots is about as cool as it gets. 

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Previous to joining the Corps of Exploration team, I worked as a software developer, computer repair technician, audio engineer, and systems administrator.

What are your degrees and certifications?

A.S. Video and Radio Production - New England Institute of Technology 2007

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I love to write music, design video games and go fishing. 

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

I grew up during the genesis years of The Jason Project; a program started by Dr. Robert Ballard designed to inspire young students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Many years later, I met Ethan Gold, a former OET data engineer, who introduced me to the Ocean Exploration Trust. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

If you would like to go into Data Engineering, I would recommend learning a programming language. There are many freely available online resources at your disposal to help you get started. Most of the skills and practices you'll learn will be portable between languages. This makes learning subsequent languages a bit easier and certainly more fun. You may need to try out a few different languages until you find one that speaks to you. 


Ben participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: