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Kieran Fleming

Product Development Engineer, Intel
If you are unsure about what job to apply for, keep an open mind and look at the skills used in a position, rather than the job title itself.

Degree subject Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Electronic & Computer Engineering, NUI Galway, 2014
Job title Product Development Engineer
Employer Intel

Could you provide us with a summary of how you became interested in a career in the engineering sector?

I have always had a desire to understand how things work, and became interested in computers at an early age. Engineering seemed a natural fit, as I wasn't sure what I'd like to do after college, but felt that engineering would keep as many options as possible open to me. Many of the skills learned are transferable to other roles, and it has given me more time to consider what area I’d like to specialise in.

My degree afforded me an excellent foundation for a career in hardware or software engineering. Besides understanding the physics behind computers and learning to build basic circuits, I developed programming skills, and my project work often combined software and hardware in a complete system. While considering applying for my current position, I saw that the skills learned in my course were highly relevant to the role, and this helped the interview process. After an initial phone call where I was invited to the interview, I knew it was a job I wanted. I was confident that I had the required skillset, which I aimed to demonstrate in my interview. Fortunately I received an offer within a couple of weeks.

What’s been one of the biggest challenges so far and what did it teach you about yourself?

Time-management is among the more difficult aspects of my job. Working with several different processor families means I’m helping multiple groups involved in the manufacturing and testing of individual products. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to do everything for everyone and requests for analysis or root-causing an issue can come at the same time from separate teams. It’s important to be able to prioritise tasks, and to let people know if I can’t do something. These experiences have shown me that I’m a good communicator – I do my best to understand what’s needed, and if I find I can’t help, I try to find out who can.

What advice would you have for students and graduates seeking to pursue a similar career path?

If you are unsure about what job to apply for, keep an open mind and look at the skills used in a position, rather than the job title itself. Choosing something connected to an area of your course which you particularly enjoy definitely makes things easier. Engineering is so broad that there's no need to be very specific in what you want to do straight after college, and there are enough diverse roles available in Intel alone to ensure that there will be opportunities throughout your career to try something new.

How do you hope to see your career developing over the next few years?

I would love to gain more experience working abroad. It's something I did in college, and really enjoyed it. Intel has sites all across the world, so I feel there is scope for being assigned somewhere for a few months or even years. I'm looking forward to continuing to meet new people and expanding my network. All the while I will gain insight into other roles, which I might find myself pursuing.