From Industry to Academia: Professor with Industry Experience Prepares Graduates to be Ready for Industry 4.0

Carl Albing spent many years working in the industry before going into academia. As an industry veteran, he has had the opportunity to write textbooks on programming language for prominent tech learning company, O’Reilly Media. Albing joined Bethel’s faculty during the pandemic in 2020.

By Marcus Dip Silas S’25, student writer

November 18, 2022 | 11 a.m.

Carl Albing, associate professor of math and computer science at Bethel University

While his experience comes primarily from being in the industry, Professor Carl Albing is also a published author and has written four computer science text books.

Carl Albing’s value for life-long learning has set him on a unique path in life. The associate professor of math and computer science has degrees in mathematics, business, and computer science. “I like to tell people that I am the poster child of life-long learning,” Albing says. “It’s been a case of feeling like I never know enough!”

Albing’s fascination with mathematics began early on in his life. As a child, he learned how to calculate the height of a flagpole from its shadow. “I remember being fascinated by the fact that I did not have to climb a flagpole with a tape measure to figure out its height,” Albing recounts. “Mathematics was a good place for me to start my education because it explains how the world works.”

In college, Albing discovered computers and it was his first hands-on experience with the machines. He describes the experience as formative to his career in computer science. “Even though so much of computing has changed over the years, what I learned as an undergraduate student is still relevant to my work,” he says.

After graduating from college with a degree in mathematics, Albing searched for a graduate program in computer science. At the time, computer science programs were few and far between, but he found one in Maryland which helped launch his career in the industry. Albing has had an illustrious career with big companies like Honeywell, NCR Corporation, and Cray Inc. Always seeking a challenge, he moved around in the industry, feeding his love for learning. Then, when his children went off to college, he grew interested in academia. “I became really excited about academia and realized I had a wealth of information to share from my experience in the industry,Albing says. “It was right around the time of the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, and I saw it as an opportunity to change fields.”

Albing approached some friends in academia who told him that enrollment in computer science was stagnant as a result of the turn-of-millennia stock market crash. From his own experience, Albing knew that infusing excitement into academia was key to keeping up people’s interest in computer science. As he explored the possibility of moving from industry to academia, a colleague suggested he speak with a couple of her favorite computer science professors at Bethel. They all met for lunch where Albing learned he would need a doctorate in computer science in order to teach. He sought out a Ph.D. program that would allow him to keep his day job and found an online option through a university in England. He enrolled and then earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2012.

Professor Carl Albing at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Professor Carl Albing (left) began his career in academia at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Albing started his career in academia at the U.S. Naval Academy as distinguished visiting professor, then became a research professor in the Data Science and Analytics Group at the Naval Postgraduate School. His time as a civilian professor with the Navy gave him his first taste of academia and his love for teaching has only grown.

“In 2019, my wife and I decided that we wanted to come back to Minnesota and so I sent my resume to Bethel,” he recounts. “As it turns out, there was a vacant faculty position in the mathematics and computer science department and I was hired for the role.”

His most recent book Bash Idioms was published last spring. It is his fourth technical book and his third book on Bash, a programming language for most Linux and Unix computer systems that is also available on Windows and Mac systems. His book takes a look at some of the unique and peculiar ways Bash expresses computing ideas that may be foreign to those familiar with other computer languages.

“Though we are small, it is a gem of a program with great reach and we teach industry standard ACM curriculums where students learn topics that experts think are best.”

— Carl Albing, associate professor of math and computer science

Albing came to Bethel with many years of industry experience and he feels Bethel is a special place for students to study computer science. As an industry veteran, Albing knows exactly what companies are looking for in their hiring process and he believes that Bethel is capable of producing Industry 4.0-ready graduates. “Though we are small, it is a gem of a program with great reach and we teach industry standard ACM curriculums where students learn topics that experts think are best,” Albing says.

Students are taught up close and personal and build long-lasting relationships with their computer science professors. “There is a strong culture of helping one another along the journey in our CS Lab sessions,” he says. “Coupled with the emphasis on Christian faith and principles, Bethel’s computer science is truly a unique and meaningful program.”

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