Author: Andrew Bacon, 2010 graduate and Space Systems Engineer at Thales Alenia Space -
Most space engineers will tell you that ‘space is cool’ which is true and this mainly comes from the fact that most things you do in space have never been done before.
In my current role, I'm involved with the design of a number of future space missions that will help us understand more about our atmosphere. It's so rewarding knowing that the data our satellites collect will be used for generations to come in the battle for Earth’s future. I now have the additional pleasure of being the innovation point of contact for the UK which means I am responsible for maintaining a culture of innovation in our office. It's a career I really enjoy and something I'd encourage others to pursue if they love the unknown.
Here are my top tips for making the most of your time at Bath:
- Take the opportunity to give a technical presentation when you can, no matter how scared of public speaking you might be (I used to be terrified of it, but now find it easy). Not only will this really help you with interviews, it is also a great way of advancing your career if you are always willing to stand up and talk about your work to others.
- Embrace the group working aspects of your degree. Few great things are ever achieved alone in engineering, making team working and communication two of your most vital skills.
- I cannot recommend enough doing a sandwich placement. Combining professional experience with your degree knowledge will help you to get the job you want.
- Finally, I would definitely recommend joining groups that are closely aligned to your future career. For me it was the UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). Being involved with these two groups gave me opportunities to attend conferences and enter competitions that helped me to meet future employers and also to stand out to them. They were an excellent way of making friends as well, many of whom have gone on to work in the same industry giving me contacts all over the world, which leads to some great opportunities!