An engineering career offers a lot of opportunities for growth.
Sheryl A. is a senior quality engineer at one of the world’s leading providers of electrical products and systems for applications including industrial equipment and automotive powertrain systems. The company is based in the town of Sto. Tomas in Batangas Province, Philippines. She graduated from Batangas State University with a degree in chemical engineering.
“As Quality focal person, my domain is the assembly of components for automotive customers. I am on top of any issue—be it internal or external,” explains Sheryl. “My day starts by catching up with emails from our US and EMEA counterparts. After that, I head out to check the line, especially when there are reported concerns needing immediate resolution.”
Her typical day varies. It may be a day full of meetings or a complete immersion in the production line. “There’s never a day with nothing to do—and I like it that way,” she says.
There are two things that Sheryl the likes most about her job. First, the organization values her role and makes her feel essential and value-adding. Second, the flexible working time provides her more room for a work-life balance. “I can clock in at a later time of the day to attend to my son’s school activities first, or I can go out anytime if I have urgent errands,” she explains.
Sheryl, however, is not fond of dealing with difficult people in the manufacturing line. “Those who are not a team player,” she explains.
One of the major challenges in Sheryl’s work is the manual nature of most processes. “The assembly line is 80% manual—the process is dependent on people’s skills and competencies; therefore, training is key,” she explains. “And with labor intensive processes, improvement is a challenge due to varying levels of operator skills.”
When it comes to manufacturing tips, Sheryl notes that you should always know the process.
“You cannot be tricked if you know the process. When doing failure analysis, I always make sure I have the same level of knowledge as the process and manufacturing engineers. This way, I can validate the facts myself so that we all arrive to a sound conclusion with robust action plans to resolve internal or external issues,” she explains.
“I think almost all industries were challenged at the height of the pandemic as no business continuity plan has ever been written to cover the likes of COVID-19,” says Sheryl. Her company likewise experienced raw materials shortages, higher costs in freight, and increased prices due to the restrictions in almost all markets.
“The pandemic opened my eyes to be very grateful for the job that I have,” she says. “While there were a lot of news about companies in many industries shutting down their operations, we managed to get through day by day despite significant market challenges.”
On engineering career and growth
Initially, Sheryl wanted to become a doctor, but her family cannot afford it. Fortunately, she was able to receive a scholarship from the Department of Science and Technology, which enabled her to finish a five-year engineering course.
For the young people considering what course or degree they want to take, Sheryl says a career in engineering is a good choice.
“This course may not guarantee a high-paying job at first, but it will offer a lot of opportunities for growth,” Sheryl says. “Do not chase titles or high salaries right away. Focus on self-improvement and learning, and the rest will follow. Remember, it is always a greener pasture where you water it.”
For her part, though, Sheryl notes her organization is very lean, therefore, a promotion is not available anytime soon. “But I don’t mind. Growth in an organization is not always upwards, it can also be lateral as there are so many things to explore and learn,” she concludes.
Stephen Las Marias is the editor of EETimes Asia. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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