Graduate engineer at e2v
What does your job involve?
The e2v graduate scheme gives me the opportunity to experience many different departments within the company. I am currently working in the project management office for the High Performance Imaging department. There are about 50 Imaging projects running at any one time and we are about to introduce a new project management system which I am currently assisting in rolling out across the whole department. I will then be responsible along with the rest of my team for planning and coordinating the projects in the future.
What interested you in working in the space sector?
I studied Astrophysics as my degree so I have always had an interest in space. The idea of being able to understand more about our universe using the physics and maths we have on Earth has always appealed to me. It is incredibly exciting to know that products that my department make will end up in space on a satellite taking amazing pictures like the ones I always used as my computer desktop backgrounds!
What do you do in a typical day?
After a morning meeting to discuss the projects that need focussing on each day, I then spend most of my day finding out from many members of the various project teams eg managers, engineers, operators how each project is going and to check that everything is running according to plan. I then have to update the sections of any project plans that I am responsible for appropriately and inform the relevant project managers of any changes. It involves a lot of communication with many members of the team and also the understanding of the technical aspects of each to task to follow progress accurately, so I have a lot to learn.
Are there any other interesting aspects to your work?
There are many opportunities for travel in my department as our customers (eg space agencies such as NASA, ESA, JAXA and CSA) are located all around the world. Also, as well as space imaging, the devices that we manufacture in our department have many other interesting applications. Many are used in low light level cameras that can see in the dark or in life science imaging cameras than can image to minute detail inside living creatures. It is exciting to know the wide range of uses.
What is it about your job that fascinates or inspires you?
I enjoy the excitement of working with projects that will eventually end up in space and are often heard about on the news and that friends and family might have heard of (eg the Hubble space telescope). Seeing the images of the Earth and space that are taken using our devices is brilliant. Also, the scientists and engineers in the department are incredibly intelligent and interesting people to work with and I am thoroughly enjoying contributing to the projects that are running at the moment. I also enjoy the wide range of experiences I am able to have and skills I am able to learn by moving departments and working with new people regularly on the graduate scheme here.
Why is what you do important?
Some of our CCDs are used to obtain vital data about our universe as well as images. This data can reveal information about the earth’s atmosphere to monitor climate change or about the sun to monitor space weather and solar storms which are things that could affect us all the time. I also think it is important to continue to expand our knowledge of our own planet, solar system and universe so that we can have a better understanding of everything around us, and my role in delivering our projects helps to achieve this.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in space?
I would suggest studying a science or engineering based subject at university as this will give you a good grounding to work in any sort of space or science sector in the future. However, remember that there are many options for careers in space besides technical ones; I had never really thought of working in a non-scientific role such as project management before I worked here, but it has been excellent so far and goes to show the range of options you have besides the purely technical.