Degree subject BA BAI Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, MSc DIC General Structural Engineering
Job title Design Engineer
Deciding to study engineering at university was an easy choice for me as I had always been fascinated by buildings and their design. Being an engineer also seems to run in the family, as both my uncle and grandfather worked in this field.
After getting an engineering degree from Trinity, I applied for a job at Arup and also for a masters at Imperial College London. When I was offered a place at Imperial, Arup encouraged me to accept it and to re-apply for a job with them afterwards. This was a risk on my part as there was no guarantee of a job. However, they interviewed me again a year later and offered me a position. I think having a masters made me stand out, as all the applicants will have had at least a bachelor’s degree.
As a design engineer, my main role is to solve problems. I do a lot of number-crunching as well as report writing, sketching and reviewing designs. I meet regularly with clients, architects and contractors and I visit sites every two weeks. I work on both small and large-scale projects, which range from replacing a single member in a steel roof truss at the Guinness Brewery to assisting with the analysis and design of a skyscraper to be built in Korea.
My first day working at Arup was a highlight; I found out I was going to be working in a small team reviewing the design of a 270m skyscraper to be built in Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes it is stressful knowing you are designing something that people are going to use, but it is really satisfying seeing the structures once they are built.
I have been working at Arup for nearly a year now, and throughout this time my colleagues have been really supportive.
Advice for graduates
When applying for jobs, the most important thing you can do is to make yourself stand out. Emphasise the things that make you unique, even if they aren’t directly career-specific, like having an unusual hobby or speaking a second language.
Michael was interviewed for gradireland Engineering 2013.