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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 Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:
|With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.
There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.
Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.
One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.
Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.
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Sinead Kenny, Design Engineer
Sinead Kenny works with Creganna in Galway as a Design Engineer in the Medical Device Sector. She did a degree in Material Science from the University of Limerick where she continued with her studies and was awarded a PhD in Biomedical Cements.
I wasn’t 100% sure that I would end up in the science/engineering sector when I was at school. I found doing transition year really helped me to explore the various options that were available. This helped me to decide the subjects for my leaving certificate. I chose physics, chemistry & accounting, again keeping my options open. At the moment I am doing a masters for which I have to do aspects of accounting & economics so the accounting I did for my leaving has come in handy!
Secondary School – St Vincents Convent, St Marys Road, Cork – Leaving Certificate. University of Limerick – Materials Science Degree University of Limerick – PhD – biomedical cements. University of Limerick – currently doing a Masters in Project Management.
The aspect of my education that I have used most often is the ability to question. I have always viewed education like a set of encyclopedia, it shows you where to find the information you may need in the future. Practical hands-on experience is invaluable. Therefore if you do have an interest in something particular, its good to do summer work, hobbies etc that expose you to practical application.
During my FYP & PhD I designed the types of testing I needed to perform to allow me to answer specific questions in the research. This has been invaluable as I now use this approach to ensure that a design we create meets the original specifications that were set out.
I am currently studying Project Management.