University of Sussex Digital Hardware Engineer
UP UNTIL NOW
University is great for giving you a theoretical knowledge of engineering, but if you want to put that theory into practice, Thales for me is definitely the place to be. My first practical experience involved fixing a demonstration console’s keyboard and dealing with various other faults. Then I was involved in choosing components and reviewing the circuit for an electronics board. Since then, I’ve designed the digital parts of an RF electronics board, including a field-programmable gate array (FGPA), clock distribution and power supplies, and tested a large development project’s board.
POOLING DIFFERENT SKILLS
I’ve spent much of my time recently working on a satellite communication system for our Avionics division, from a design, review and testing perspective. Having had such a wide remit, I’ve learned so much about development processes and good design practices related to electronic engineering. It’s also been fantastic working with other Hardware Engineers. Collaboration is the name of the game and everyone adds their own particular expertise – some Engineers have done designs on electronic boards; others have coded Firmware for FGPAs. I’ve also worked with Software Engineers when testing a system involving a microcontroller.
I’m really enjoying my career at Thales. The work is interesting – there is always something around the corner to challenge you – and very diverse, so you can always try out new things. We work on large projects at the very pinnacle of technology and it’s been fascinating getting to grips with how the projects are structured. I’ve really been able to understand the different thought processes at design, development and manufacturing stages. The training provided on the graduate programme has proved invaluable, too. This covers many aspects of engineering and project management, giving me a rounded understanding of how the company operates.
WHAT IT TAKES
Team players thrive at Thales. Most of our projects are multi-disciplinary, so you not only have to be able to work effectively with people doing the same job as you, but other teams as well. You’ve also got be someone who loves solving problems, often under pressure, and enjoys taking the initiative. And of course there’s no substitute for breadth of engineering knowledge – Thales is very diverse, so the more you know, the greater the opportunities available. Take a tip from me: make sure you revise your theoretical knowledge before your interview, but also use the interview as an opportunity to find out as much as you can about our projects and products.