YoE: The Summer of Engineering
Joining Thomasons in July as an intern, Melissa is in the midst of a master’s degree in engineering. For the summer of engineering, we asked her a few questions about her ambitions and views. In this special interview, Melissa provides insight into engineering from the perspective of someone at the start of her career.
Why are you interested in engineering?
I feel that a career in engineering will allow me to usefully contribute to society while doing two things I enjoy: maths and physics. I also like to understand how things work. Additionally, site visits mean it isn’t a job where you’re always in an office all day.
What is your ideal workplace like?
Friendly and productive with good collaboration between colleagues.
What are your future plans?
After finishing my master’s degree in engineering, I want to find a graduate job in the profession. I will then work towards becoming a chartered engineer.
Do you think your teachers did enough to encourage you to pursue a career in engineering?
Engineering was highlighted for me as one of a variety of potential career paths due to my enjoyment of maths and physics. I wouldn’t say I was explicitly encouraged to choose engineering, but simply to pursue whatever I was most interested in.
In general, I think teachers and parents need to make school students more aware of the fact that engineering exists as an option, and that it includes such a wide variety of paths. I don’t know that students always realise the multitude of different avenues the term engineering covers.
What do you believe the current public perception of engineering as a profession to be?
I think it is well respected and recognised as an important job, even if people don’t always realise just how much they are surrounded by the work of engineers. There is also a distinct public perception that more female engineers are needed.
Do you feel that enough is being done to encourage women to pursue a career in engineering?
I think there is enough effort being put in to encourage women to pursue engineering, but that effort isn’t always best directed. Personally, I think awareness of engineering as an option should, ideally, be developed earlier. The emphasis should be on pursuing engineering because you are good at and enjoy maths and physics, not because you are female.
What would you say to someone considering a university engineering programme?
I would definitely encourage them to do so. Even if they aren’t certain they want to pursue engineering as a career, I think it is probably easier to do an engineering degree and then choose not to pursue a career in engineering rather than to pursue engineering after completing a different degree.
I would recommend doing an integrated masters if they are hoping to become chartered and to check that the degree is certified by the relevant engineering institution.
If somebody enjoys maths, physics and problem solving, I think an engineering degree would definitely be a good choice.
To read last month’s article on engineering in sport, click here.