By Laura Boness
An engineering degree can take you anywhere.
Engineers work in a wide range of industries in Australia, including telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, mining and information technology. Engineering was traditionally divided into four broad groups – chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical – but sub-groups, like environmental, mining and software, are emerging as the profession evolves.
Christine Chen, recipient of the 2015 Sydney Young Professional Engineer of the Year award from Engineers Australia, works as an electromagnetics and radio frequency engineer at electronics and systems group Thales Australia. She supports multiple projects, such as designing radios for the military and developing radar for warships and tanks.
Christine loved physics and maths in high school and applied to study architecture, engineering and medicine at university. She was accepted into all three courses but chose engineering because of the flexibility – she says you can work in a startup or multinational company, in a range of industries such as software programming, telecommunications and defence.
“It’s a profession that’s very mobile, found in different countries around the world. It’s unique because science and technology are universal.”
Engineering is not only evolving all the time, it can also lead to other careers – Christine has seen engineers who, after finishing their undergraduate degree, have become investment bankers or editors.
“It’s a flexible career that is always evolving, so it’s important to have a keen interest in learning and advancing yourself,” she says.
“You’re not just being trained to be an engineer, you’re also being trained to become a good problem-solver, and many industries appreciate that.”
Christine says it’s important to be mentally prepared to work hard for this career, as studying engineering is a full time job, sometimes with long hours.
“It’s a very challenging and interesting career, but you know that you’re building something with a purpose, to improve people’s lives, and you’re working at the forefront of technology,” she says.
The requirement for a professional engineer is a four-year Bachelor of Engineering course, available at most major universities in Australia.
“You’re building something with a purpose, to improve people’s lives, and you’re working at the forefront of technology.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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