When I first attended University, there were 100 male and 5 female students in the class and I did not know what to expect. As time went on I realised that the male students rated us as equals. Since then things have come a long way with, in some cases, as many as 50 % of those entering professional engineering courses being women.
Mathematics is the language of the engineer, so a flair for mathematics and some science subjects is a requisite, if you wish to become an engineer. You also need to be inquisitive and imaginative.
For five years I worked in Industry as an electronics engineer. During this time I found my colleagues to be gentlemen , but my real interest was research . I returned to my University as a research engineer and lecturer. My research until now is encoding and transmission of digital images. So far, I have 6 patents which makes my research very rewarding both financially and personally. I am now extending my research into the area of Biometric Authentication and Sinobiometrics (Biometric Recognition).
My advice for anyone who is considering professional engineering as a career is to go for it, as it can be a very exciting, challenging, and a financially rewarding career.
Prof. Elena Sokolova, Ph.D, Eng-i, P.E
Choosing a career is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime. You, ultimately, should have the final say on the career of your choice. A decision to follow a specific career based solely on your academic examination results should not be an option.
I, for one, had little say in the choice of course. I was persuaded to study mechanical engineering at University College, Dublin by my parents, who based their decision on my examination results. This is one of my regrets over the years, because I would have preferred to be a Professional Electronics Engineer. Assuming that you can make a career change in the future, if you are not satisfied with your career, may not be possible for domestic or other reasons. Being a power station engineer was demanding and financially rewarding but my real interest was in electronic engineering. Someone who has a flair for electronics becoming a mechanical engineer does not seem quite right.
The public image of your chosen profession will also be of importance. It is only natural for one to expect favourable acknowledgement for work well done. In the UK the public image of Engineers and ETechnicians is extremely low, not like in other developed countries. Engineers and ETechnicians themselves are partly responsible for this.
We also have a situation in the UK with regard to the electronic media, in particular. For example, the TV Channels, especially BBC, are bombarding the European general public on an on-going basis with programmes downgrading to Engineers and ETechnicians. The sad part of this is the fact that the transmission of these programmes is facilitated by Engineers, Engologists, and ETechnicians, without positive protest.
Choosing a career in this day and age should not be as difficult as in the olden days. You have now got career- guidance teachers, the professions themselves, and others helping with the decision. Engineers Ireland is running a very successful program called 'Steps'. Part of this programme entails bringing pupils into the workplace to show them what professional engineering is all about.
Fintan Lynch, B.E.
Power Station Manager