How to use your Engineering skills in any career
Got an Engineering degree, but no longer interested in becoming an engineer?
Don’t panic. Those useful, dynamic Engineering skills won’t be going to waste. We’ve found seven successful career professionals with Engineering skills that changed career paths. You could take your skills to politics, robotics, journalism, or even become an astronaut! Where will your Engineering skills take you?
Take your career goals sky high
Josh Richards, astronaut candidate
Researching a stand-up comedy show led engineer-turned-astronaut-candidate Josh Richards to apply for the Mars One program. Before comedy, Josh studied applied physics and psychology at Curtin Uni and worked as an Army engineer, mining explosives engineer, and British Commando. Problem solving skills helped Josh reach the final 100 candidates in line for a 2031 Mars launch. “Engineering is about breaking a problem down into its components to find a solution,” he says.
Head up a team
Christine Chen, global solutions & delivery manager
After a Masters of Electrical Engineering at Uni of Sydney, Christine Chen worked in telecommunications, defence and medical devices before becoming the global solutions and delivery manager at IoT company Thinxtra. “It looks like a very wide range of industries, [but] they are actually all in the radio frequency space,” Christine says. Christine’s engineering skills help her manage teams and projects, “I am able to understand the constraints and limitations of engineering,” she explains.
A unique career path
Liam Wilkie, head of operations
Liam Wilkie went from third year mechanical engineering studies at RMIT Uni to acting Head of Operations at Once Alike. He has recently finished public testing of their prototype fully automated robot barista in Melbourne. Liam’s role combines experience in the coffee industry with his engineering knowledge of process optimisation and quality control. “If you want a great customer experience, you need to hit tight benchmarks for consistency and quality,” he explains.
Tim Kannegieter, knowledge manager
A love of writing took Dr Tim Kannegieter from electrical engineering to a career in journalism and knowledge management. “My goal is to share knowledge from experts with people who are trying to apply that knowledge,” Tim explains. At Engineers Australia, Tim runs online communities for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Risk Management. Tim’s technical background makes him different from other journalists. “Everything I do is very structured and purposeful,” he says.
Lead by example
Trish White, former government minister and executive director
The Hon Trish White was a South Australian cabinet minister between 2002 and 2005 after a career spanning broadcast engineering, infrastructure, defence research, and international oil and gas. “My engineering training really assisted me in leading large government departments full of engineers and delivering infrastructure projects,” Trish says. In her current role as an executive director of professional services at Slingsby Taylor, Trish says her analytical thinking skills add a lot of value.
Kimberley Clayfield, executive manager
During her PhD at Uni of Adelaide, mechanical engineer Dr Kimberley Clayfield also completed a multi-disciplinary Space Studies Program, specialising in space law and policy. Kimberley’s combination of technical and policy skills led to government space policy roles and her current position as CSIRO’s Executive Manager Space Sciences and Technology. “My engineering training has given me the critical thinking, project management and research skills that I exercise in a broad range of applications every day,” Kimberley says.
Skillset for career diversity
Dorothy Krajewski, online business manager
Dorothy Krajewski studied chemical engineering at Monash Uni, then joined the Victorian Public Service grad program and moved to education, training and justice roles. During a career break to start a family, Dorothy began a successful blog. This led her to digital marketing and online business management. “My engineering training helps me stay focussed on the process and see the big picture as well as the detail,” she says.
– Nadine Cranenburgh
Author: STEM Contributor
This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.