When Michael finished his mechatronics engineering degree, he didn’t seek out his forever-job straightaway. He worked casually in retail and travelled overseas before starting an epic search for the right gig. “I was searching for mechanical, electrical and mechatronic engineering roles,” he says, “but I realised I had to increase my scope.”
Michael started hunting down big companies – not necessarily engineering firms – with graduate gigs requiring his broader skill set. And the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was the best fit.
“I straight up told them I had no experience and wasn’t sure what they were working on,” he laughs, “but they told me they were happy to teach me.”
Learn on the job
Michael’s lack of bank-based experience wasn’t a problem. Instead, CBA invested in Michael’s specialised engineering background that had equipped him with the knowledge needed to navigate complex IT systems, troubleshoot big-picture problems and provide diversity of thought to a wider team.
“They’ve always been really supportive,” says Michael of his co-workers at CBA. “I’m able to ask lots of questions and go through concepts that are new to me.”
If Michael’s gig is anything to go by, being an engineer employed by a bank involves a little system developing (“at the moment we’re working on building a cloud-based platform”) and a lot of coffee. And with CBA’s desk-hopping set-up, literally no two days are the same. “We sit wherever we like and move desks all the time,” he says.
When Michael’s not servicing the bank with his engineering skills, he watches Netflix and hangs out anywhere but an office. His advice for those looking to land an out-of-the-box engineering role? “Be patient! A lot of subjects in high school, such as maths and physics, seem irrelevant at the time but they definitely make sense later,” he says.
This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Engineering 2019.
Author: Cassie Steel
As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.