Name: Antonio Espingardeiro
Degree and university: BEng. Industrial Informatics (EST/IPS, Portugal), MSc. Robotics and Automation (Distinction) (University of Salford, UK)
Job title:Command and Control Engineer at SIEMENS
What do you actually do?
The Power Transmission and Distribution team develops control and protection systems for electrical substations, which in basic terms, allows electricity to be controlled and reach your house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a Command and Control Engineer my projects are divided into three distinct phases: the initial stage consists on developing the SIEMENS software which will
then be installed on the control units (hardware). The next step is testing that software in a factory environment to check if everything works as expected (simulation phase). The final stage (most fun) is installing and configuring the hardware with your embedded software on real control units at an electrical substation.
What skills do you need to do that?
The skills needed usually range from software programming (paramount) to control theory and basic electrical knowledge.
How did you know you wanted a career in engineering?
Even as a kid I was always fascinated by machines, whether they were computers or rally cars! In the middle of my Bachelor degree I started to develop a special interest for automation (a direct application of software). This field of engineering actually allows you to see the things you have programmed move. Believe it or not it is an amazing feeling to be able to create something abstract and then give it life…
What would you like to be doing in ten years time?
That’s a tough question. In 10 years time, I see myself continuing to work and be involved in the industry, perhaps looking online casino more specifically at engineering for healthcare. Apart from that I want to develop my (second) career as a public engagement writer, educating people about engineering and the wealth of opportunities out there…so be prepared to buy my books!
What’s the best thing about your job?
One of the greatest experiences of being an engineer is the ability to create, maintain and upgrade the things around you. I really value the feeling of being able to make a visible difference to the way something works (whether is on a computer, a car or a plane)
And the worst?
One of the worst moments is when you can’t find the error in your own software program – that is pretty embarrassing! Also, on a more serious note because the projects I work on are always in different locations, we have to travel a lot and that means spending considerable time away from our families.
What advice would you give new graduates who want a career in engineering?
If you are the type of person who is always tinkering with this or that then stop experimenting in the back garden and go for it! You just have to make sure you select the right course. Universities offer considerable amounts of information about their courses before the start of every academic year in their students’ prospectus so make sure you use these to find out as much as you can about a course before apply for it. If possible, visit the university and talk to existing students for their perspectives on the course. You should also make the effort to look into the future careers opportunities related to your area of study, which companies are out there and what skills they might need in the near future. Don’t worry about the salary – it’s usually high compared to other professions.
Note: SIEMENS offers a high number of engineering training schemes every year. So contact the nearest branch near you for more information http://www.siemens.co.uk/careers/en/.