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How to become an engineer (and what to expect)

5 Mar 2021

As another Engineers Week comes to a close, we explore the skills and insider knowledge that can help you break into the industry.

Read more Engineers Week stories.

Does the world of engineering interest you? The industry is going from strength to strength in Ireland in spite of the pandemic, and new career opportunities are opening up all the time in different parts of this broad field.

As this year’s Engineers Week comes to a close, this is your chance to catch up on some of the stories you might have missed on Siliconrepublic.com over the past few days.

What skills will you need?

Coding is a useful skill for everyone, according to Hays’ Steve Weston, but it can be especially important for a lot of engineering roles. With so many coding languages and frameworks to choose from, where should you start? Go, Scala, Kotlin and Python are just some of the languages in high demand.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

Along with technical expertise, engineers need to hone their soft skills, too. Workhuman’s Ronan O’Dulaing told us why he looks for self-motivation in new engineering hires, and MSD’s Brad Holstine explained the importance of being passionate.

Where could you work?

There are many career paths somebody with engineering skills can take. In this guest article, Hays’ David Burke outlines what he believes will be the five most in-demand roles in tech engineering this year, from software engineers to those with knowledge of cloud infrastructure.

We also heard from Jimmy Nguyen, president of the Bitcoin Association, about the emerging area of bitcoin programming. Bitcoin Script engineers are a new category of professionals he believes are about to take off.

And if you’re decided on your path but unsure about your next steps, our list of companies that are hiring engineers right now could help. It features 27 companies all looking for engineers in Ireland, from Mastercard to Patreon.

Insider insights to help you become an engineer

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success when entering into a new field is to learn from people already working in it. We spoke to plenty of engineers this week in different science and tech sectors and at all different levels of their careers.

If you’re just starting out in the field, the experiences of an engineering intern might be useful. Brandon Caffrey, a computer engineering student, told us how he has gotten on in his internship at Viasat.

Verizon Media’s Karla Maria Garcia filled us in on what she enjoys in her role as a software developer and Accenture’s Ross Manning took us through a typical day in his life as a data engineering consultant.

We also learned what it can be like for an engineer to move across the world for their career from chemical engineer Caroline Poovelil. Originally from Bahrain, Poovelil fell in love with pharmaceutical manufacturing during her internship with MSD Ballydine and now works as a technical group engineer at the company.

For those wondering about career progression in the field, Dun & Bradstreet’s Paul Hitz shared his journey moving from software engineer to manager, and Fidelity Investments’ Cora Ryan talked about her role in leading engineering projects to completion. Paul Fitzgerald of PwC spoke about his slightly different journey, moving from Formula 1 engineering to strategy consulting.

And while engineering may still be a male-dominated field, we got some important insights into what the industry is like for women. Both civil engineer Eve Cassidy of Kirby Group Engineering and NASA datanaut Fionnghuala O’Reilly, who is also the ambassador for Engineers Ireland’s STEPS Engineers Week, talked about the importance of women role models and the idea that ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’.

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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