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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 Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:
If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.
Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....
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Denis Canty, Electronic Engineer
Denis Canty is an Electronic Engineer and works with Alps Electric (Ireland) Ltd., which is based in Cork. He studied Electronic Engineering in Cork Institute of Technology to Degree level, and then did a Masters in Microlelectronic Design in UCC. His work involves supporting the manufacturing process at the plant, image processing, developing tests for new products and representing the company abroad.
My main subjects were Maths and Physics. Primarily because they teach you a lot about problem solving. Also a transition year course in electronics and work experience in an electronic company also helped.
One aspect that I would change was that I did pass English as I thought I would not really need honours level. But I spend time on writing reports, for work and college, and emails, so good structured English writing is a key hidden skill.
I chose Electronic Engineering in Cork Institute of Technology as a Degree. It took four years, with 6 months work experience.
I then did a Masters in Microlelectronic Design in University of College Cork. This area is very challenging and always evolving.
I am now studying a part time Masters in Image Processing in Dublin City University. This is sponsored by my company, Alps Electric. It is a remote access Masters and I complete everything online. This is the future. I have been to three colleges and this is something I did intentionally as different colleges broaden your horizons.
The nature of all courses aim and develop you towards being a problem solver and teach you how to become an engineer. They all have certain modules that are beneficial and you will have ones that won't be directly necessary, but overall most of what you learn in college will be relevant at some point.
Also courses will teach you about the ethic of being an Engineer, whilst developing the ability to be comfortable explaining ideas to colleagues and demonstrating confidence at presentations etc.
I am currently studying a part-time Masters in Image Processing in Dublin City University. This is to satisfy some extra training in an area I work in daily. Image processing is the study of using cameras to replicate human vision. We use them to inspect parts for defects.
Training is very much a big part of our company and it is encouraged that some form of training is completed annually. All relevant training is funded by the organisation. This is common in the engineering world. I am spending a week in Japan soon for further training in Image Processing with a Japanese Engineer