Fellow presentation and intro to your career path
My name is Hamide Mohseni and I am originally from Afghanistan. When I was young, I moved to Denmark with the hope of a better future. In Denmark, it is easy to be accepted into a university, but one issue can be to find the major you are most interested in. In 2015 I started studying biomedical engineering but after one year I felt the major was not my cup of tea and I decided to listen to my gut feeling. As I was interested in painting and design, I started studying industrial Design, but unfortunately this was not my cup of tea either. Therefore, I decided to take 6 months break and I worked as a waitress while thinking about and researching different majors. I tried to get to know myself and my interests better. Finally, I chose chemical engineering, and I am very happy with my choice of study as it has provided me with a wide range of job opportunities, from the pharmaceutical industry to the energy sector.
Although I studied chemical engineering, I currently work as a materials engineer. The two fields are closely related because materials are often used in chemical processes and chemical engineering often involves the study of the properties and behavior of materials used in those processes. For example, chemical engineers might develop new materials for use in chemical reactors, or they might optimize the properties of materials used in catalysts or membranes. Materials engineers might work on developing new materials with specific properties that are required for use in chemical processes or to improve the performance of existing materials used in those processes.
Materials Engineer career options
Please bear in mind that the list below is not at all exhaustive, but rather an overview of the materials engineering field.
- Design engineer
As a design engineer you're involved in the initial concept, design, development, and management of projects in a range of sectors such as construction and the built environment, materials, software, components, machinery, and vehicles.
- Metallurgical engineers
As a metallurgist you'll be concerned with the extraction and processing of various metals and alloys. You'll investigate and examine the performance of metals such as iron, steel, aluminum, nickel, and copper and use them to produce a range of useful products and materials with certain properties.
- Product and process development scientist
Manufacturing companies need development scientists to improve the efficiency and profitability of products that we use every day and the processes used to make them. This includes a range of goods ranging from food and medicine to cosmetics and paint.
- Research scientist
As a research scientist working in physical sciences, you'll typically specialize in one discipline and will design and conduct experiments to further knowledge in the area and possibly to develop practical applications.
- Analytical chemist
As an analytical chemist, you'll use a range of methods to investigate the chemical composition of substances. Your aim is to identify and understand the substance and how it behaves in different conditions.
- Quality manger
As a quality manager, sometimes called a quality assurance manager, you'll coordinate the activities required to meet the quality standards set for certain products or services. You'll ensure that this quality is consistent and meets both external and internal requirements.
- Ceramic engineers
Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.
- Plastics engineers
Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.
- Semiconductor processing engineers
Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.
- Composites engineers’ aircraft, automobiles, and related products.
Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.
Main hard skills you use on daily basis in your current job
Materials engineers should acquire knowledge of many different materials through education and training. The academic engineering program during bachelors and masters introduce an aspiring material engineer to the various fields of metallurgy & materials engineering. Concurrently, laboratory experiments and industrial internships help comprehend the concepts better. When a person starts to work as materials engineer after graduation, the person learns about the know-how to run an organization. During various stages of education and profession in the materials engineering field, an individual develops some or all the following skills.
- Laboratory skills
The material engineers are responsible for planning and execution of tests, analysis of test results and their documentation. At the same time, they are responsible for all the equipment in the laboratory, their maintenance, and calibration. There are several testing methods to determine the different properties of the materials. The determination of these properties decides the suitability of a material for a specific application. The properties of the materials are broadly categorized into two groups: physical properties and chemical properties.
- Data Analysis
Every engineer must be conversant with the handling of data. Specifically, it means that they should be able to extract valuable information and solve a problem. For instance, material engineers need to analyze the numerical data after conducting the tests on the materials. So, to analyze this data, it must be represented in the form of curves, bar diagrams, pie charts etc. The following figure shows the various diagrams of data representation. An engineer can use software like Microsoft Excel, Origin, Python, and MATLAB to accomplish these tasks. The application of these software in the context of materials engineering is one of the interesting skills for material engineers.
- Interpersonal skills
Material engineers may work on more than one project task at a time. During this process, they come across suppliers, customers, team members, superiors, juniors, and cross-functional teams. Therefore, an engineer must have interpersonal skills to express himself in front of persons of varied interests. Interpersonal skills are the traits that one possesses to interact and communicate with individuals and groups. There are several interpersonal skills, most of which depend on the organization. Employers are always looking for engineers with interpersonal skills such as communication skills, team player, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, time management skills etc. So, let’s discuss some of these skills briefly.
Soft skills you use on daily basis in your current job
Communication skills: Firstly, good communication skills allow individuals to convey their thoughts and information more accurately and quickly. Secondly, these skills can deepen the relations in personal and professional life. Moreover, according to the survey conducted by LinkedIn in 2016, communication skill is the most in-demand soft skills by employers.
- Problem solving skills
The engineers need to step up in an unexpected or difficult to handle situations with level-headedness and resilience. They need to identify the underlying problem and then implement a solution.
- Time management skills
Engineers must follow a timeline to complete the tasks and utilize their time effectively. They can achieve it by goal setting, organization, planning and prioritization of tasks, and stress management.
- Team player
Employees must commit themselves to ensure that their team succeeds with all tasks, duties, and projects. To achieve this objective, an engineer should help team members, respect their opinions, and resolve a conflict by fairly listening to both sides. These are also the qualities of an ideal team player. Therefore, employers prefer team players over egoistic, self-centered, and impatient employees. Moreover, team players maximize the work productivity and contribute to the growth of the organization.
Your personal path
During my job search, I have learned that applying to multiple jobs can increase the chances of landing a job offer, but networking and leveraging personal connections can also be very effective in finding job opportunities. I reached out to people in my network. I talked to friends, family members, former colleagues, and others who work in my field. By the end of the day, one of my friends introduced me to MitraChem where I work as a material engineer now.
Final tips and insights
- Make your application easy to read
Often, your application will only be given a quick once-over before it is put forward or tossed away. Therefore, it is important to make it easy to scan-read. The more information you can get across during that glance, the better. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Use the words the reader is scanning for – the ones in the job specification. Try to avoid sounding long-winded. Nobody is looking to judge your literary talent. Remember, it is not ‘dumbing down’. It is being respectful of someone else’s busy schedule.
- Tailor your cover letter to the job
Environments like job fairs require you to repeatedly give the same documents to multiple companies. However, if you are applying for a specific job in person or online, you will want to tailor your cover letter and resume to suit the application. Before writing or editing your cover letter, look through the job description and pay attention to the kind of employee they are looking for. The job description has information that includes the required educational background, what type of personality fits the position, and the skill set they would prefer a candidate to possess.
Draw on the information in the job description and write a cover letter that frames you as the perfect candidate. Keep your sentences concise but impactful. Include as much relevant information as you can efficiently fit into a page’s worth of paragraphs. If the employer likes what they read, they will use the interview process to learn more about the goals or skills you mentioned in your cover letter.
- Tips for job interview
Before the interview, take the time to research the company and the position you are applying for. This will help you understand the company culture and what they are looking for in a candidate. During the interview, make eye contact, sit up straight, and exude a confident and positive attitude. This will make a good impression on the interviewer and demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. This shows that you are engaged and interested in the position, and it also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the company and the role.
In conclusion, finding a job can be a challenging and competitive process, but by utilizing a combination of strategies, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you're applying to jobs, networking, or utilizing online resources, it's important to remain persistent and proactive in your job search.