Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Kerrie Horan from Intel to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Kerrie Horan

Engineer - Process

Intel

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  Kerrie Horan

A day for a Process Engineer at Intel can range from spending all day in what we call our 'bunny suits' or space suits as most people would recognise them as or a day of juggling meetings with working on long term projects that have a quality improvement for your product or have a cost saving for the factory. The key thing is to be adaptable, be organised and be able to communicate your plans clearly and concisely. You will be your own boss in many instances as an engineer and it is up to you to get the job done and do it well, while at the same time meeting goals and challenges that are set for the factory.

The great thing about a process engineer at Intel is that much or your work can be done remotely, which means you don't have to sit at your desk all day allowing you to get in to the machines and get stuck in. One should also be aware that you will be continuously learning in this sort of environment. Because our technology is so up to date we are always making changes to make this possible. Our products will range from mobile phone chips to top of the range computer chips so we need to be able to make changes to meet the demands of what the market is looking for.

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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Colin Keogh - Research Engineer

Colin Keogh is a research engineer. He works in the area of alternative and biological fuel sources. He’s currently working on three EU-funded research projects in DSSC (dye-sensitized solar cell) solar panels, algae biomass and traditional Biomass.

What are your main tasks?

I mainly evaluate newer forms of energy technology in areas such as environmental sustainability, energy balance and emissions. These evaluations help develop new technologies, inform governmental policy and help companies decide which technologies to use.

What’s your typical day like?

There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. One day I could be writing up an algae technology report, the next I could be conducting energy feedstock testing in the lab or travelling overseas to meet research partners.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

Sourcing information can be a nightmare. A lot of your time can be taken up with trying to get the information you need. Another challenge is trying to relay a technical opinion to people with a non-technical background.

Have you always wanted to be an engineer?

My childhood definitely was the biggest influence in my career direction. My father was a car mechanic so I was around cars and machinery, helping out around the garage. I developed an interest in how things work and problem solving, which lead to me studying mechanical engineering. The skills I learned in college, combined with an awareness of the importance of renewable energy, lead me into developing new advanced energy technologies.

What education/training have you gone through to date?

I completed an honours degree in mechanical engineering in University College Dublin followed by a master’s degree in energy systems engineering (focusing on renewable and biological energy systems). I’ve also taken many short courses in technical management, presentation skills and technology commercialisation.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career in your area?

Don’t be too worried about being a maths expert. Maths is a very important part of engineering but so is a logical brain. Once you’re comfortable with maths, you will be fine. Don’t be afraid to ask to take part in something you’re interested in while in college, be it a lecturer/research group project, skills workshop or voluntary group – you could get the chance to gain experience others would kill for. Tell us something surprising about your work.

Every hour, the sun radiates more energy on to the earth than the entire human population uses in a year. The ability to harness a fraction of this energy efficiently would solve the global energy crisis and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, engineering is the most common undergrad degree among Fortune 500 CEOs!

Article by: Smart Futures