Our STEPS Ambassador Orla Hartley, Engineering Excellence Manager at Johnson & Johnson, believes that engineering is like the real-world application of the sciences and this is what encouraged her to go down the engineering pathway.
Read all about how Orla got into engineering below:
I did the BT Young Scientist competition when I was in Transition Year, and that really encouraged me down the science and engineering road as I had such a good experience of completing a full-scale scientific project while still at school.
My project came first in the Maths, Physics and Chemistry section of the competition which was a huge encouragement to seriously consider science and engineering going forward.
I was strong in maths and science subjects, but I also loved music. When it came to choosing a career, I was very torn between the two fields. Then I discovered a degree in Electronics with Music at the University of Glasgow.
The Engineering degree was one third physics, one third maths and one third music. I thought it was a perfect fit and meant I didn’t need to choose!
I always liked all the sciences but didn’t every specifically pick out “engineering” until I began looking at university courses.
I don’t think I understood enough about engineering until I really started researching what types of jobs scientists have.
When I looked into it, it seemed to me that engineering was like the real-world application of the sciences and this really encouraged me to go down the engineering pathway.
After studying Electronics with Music at the University of Glasgow, I looked for a role where I could really use the skills and knowledge I had gained from the course within a company. Luckily, I found the perfect job, I started a Graduate Scheme in Jaguar Land Rover, working in the Audio Calibration team. In this role I designed and optimised the sound systems in the vehicles.
After a few years in that role I broadened my experience outside out of the audio team and started working in Manufacturing on “squeak and rattle” problem solving. This was still applying acoustics knowledge but in a very different environment where the cars are actually being built and produced.
Then I started working on more and more problems, and eventually moved roles to work on problem solving full time within the Electrical Quality team.
This role was more of an Electronic Engineering and problem-solving role, and it was the first time I left acoustics behind.
I was analysing and solving problems reported by our customers, working to help find the “root cause” or the technical reason why that problem existed, and then releasing a fix to those customer problems.