Q&A on Engineering Science (insightful blog!)

Hello! Today I’ve brought in some experienced campaigners to inspire you on why you should choose Engineering Science. I have been in touch with people from all cohorts and they were all willing to share their Engsci experience including Engsci’s previous Part II blogger, Michael Sewell! Make sure you check out Michael’s blogs, his blogs are better than mine!

Special thanks to Serena Yu and Nikhil Banerjee representing Part II, Callum Lee representing Part III, and Vignesh Nair and Michael Sewell representing Part IV!

 

Serena Yu (Part II EngSci)

Serena Yu

Why did you choose Engineering Science?

I liked how broad it was. I really enjoy Engsci111 and Enggen131 in first year so I thought that engineering science would be a good application of these two courses. I also wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do with my future, so the idea that I can tailor my degree and career to what I want was very appealing.

What have you enjoyed the most about your journey through Engineering Science?

The thing that I have enjoyed the most about my journey through engineering science is the friends that I’ve made along the way. I’ve also enjoyed the challenge and academic growth that I’ve experienced but I’ve met a bunch of really cool people and they are what make engineering science most enjoyable for me. It’s really great (when uni was in person) to look forward to uni to see friends and study together and free tutoring.

What are your top tips and advice for upcoming Engineering Science students?

Put yourself out there, the friends you make along the way are much more important than the content you learn. BUT the workload in engineering science is quite big so do not underestimate the amount of time that you’ll spend trying to study and understand concepts that are being taught. Try and stay on top of due dates as they often all come at you at once and lead to lots of stressful late nights.

 

Nikhil Banerjee (Part II Engsci)

Nikhil Banerjee

Why did you choose Engineering Science?

I really enjoyed maths, stats, and physics throughout high school. In 1st year engineering I really liked coding but wasn’t prepared to give up studying physics and higher maths that choosing software engineering would entail. Engineering Science provided the perfect compromise for being able to study the subjects I like with good career prospects in software engineering, data science, and other industries (there’s too many to list them all).

What have you enjoyed the most about your journey through Engineering Science?

I really like the community of Engineering Science. The part 2 trip is unique to biomedical engineering and engineering science out of all specialisations. The trip has resulted in some great friendships and it a great opportunity to get to know all the people in your specialization. The freedom to choose electives (as early as 2nd year) has been great as you really get to study what you like. I am currently studying a Data Science course from the Statistics department and Programming course with 2nd year Mechatronics Engineers!

What are your top tips and advice for upcoming Engineering Science students?

  • Make friends on the part 2 trip
  • It is ok to be unsure about what exactly you are going to do after completing your degree at this stage. As you learn more you will understand what you like and specialize accordingly with your electives
  • Talk to Kevin Jia (lecturer you will meet soon regardless of specialization in ENGSCI 211) for best tips and tricks relating to EngSci

 

Callum Lee (Part III Engsci)

Callum Lee

Why did you choose Engineering Science?

I chose Engineering Science as it provided me with flexibility in the path I could choose in the future. It gives you a set of transferrable skills that can be applied across various roles and industries. I was also interested in programming, data and math, which worked well with Engineering Science.

What have you enjoyed the most about your journey through Engineering Science?

I have enjoyed all the learning opportunities throughout the courses and the practical applications of the skills. One minute, you could be learning to build a forecasting model for a Geothermal field and then you could be designing a wind turbine the next. There are also heaps of ways of approaching these problems, which makes it even more interesting.

What are your top tips and advice for upcoming Engineering Science students?

My first advice is to become close with your cohort. You’ll find that everyone is friendly and willing to support each other, which will make your journey a lot more enjoyable. Secondly, I would say to be prepared to learn quick and fast. You never know what you will be getting, but that’s part of the beauty of Engineering Science and real-life too.

 

Vignesh Nair (Part IV Engsci)

Vignesh Nair

What have you enjoyed the most about your journey through Engineering Science?

The people. EngSci often has some of the most interesting and sharpest minds throughout Engineering and more broadly through university; so getting to know a good chunk of the cohort is very rewarding. Also, the lecturers across the board are well and truly experts at what they do and rarely miss a step, so I’ve really enjoyed getting to know some of them personally and forge those relationships.

Overall, how did you find part IV and the part IV project?

The final year is well-known as being the most challenging and it certainly lives up to it. That being said, it is also perhaps the most enjoyable, given the hallmark year-long project and the relatively smaller class sizes lending itself to better camaraderie and more “personalised” learning.

As someone who recently sat through it all, here are three key things to note though as you head into your toughest year yet.

  1. The stress and difficulty is heavily skewed towards the back end of the year. If you plan on having fun, do it during the first semester because time is of the essence in the second. Your part 4 project can be especially stressful if you haven’t paced it well through the year (which most wouldn’t have), coupled with systems week and traditionally more difficult papers in semester two, be ready for a heavy workload.
  2. Talk to supervisors and do the due diligence before picking your project. The project is the highlight of the year – make sure it doesn’t become something you dread. You’ll be spending a lot of hours (potentially with a partner) putting in the work on the same topic through the course of a year, so make sure that you enjoy the subject matter before diving in. This may be through talking with the supervisors helming the project or through general reading. I personally, had an excellent project through the year and working alongside a close friend to tackle problems with help from our expert supervisors served as excellent learning.
  3. Find the time to enjoy yourself. For most of you it will be your last year university, so make time to get to know the wider EngSci collective and get amongst it!

What direction are you planning on taking Engineering Science in the future?

Another great thing about EngSci is its massive scope. Along with the core focus on OR and CM by the end of the degree you really build a solid foundation in advanced mathematics, statistics, data science, physics, and programming. From there, there are several avenues where you can take a career. Personally, as a conjoint student, studying finance and economics alongside EngSci, I’ll be continuing a career in finance, more specifically in Investment Banking with an aim to put the arsenal of skills learnt through EngSci to good use.

 

Michael Sewell (Part IV Engsci)

Michael Sewell

Why did you choose Engineering Science?

At the end of first year, I chose Engineering Science for three main reasons:

  1. It seemed to strike a good balance between enjoyment and ability. I found that I enjoyed computer programming from my experience in first year, and I have decent ability with mathematics. Both programming and mathematics are fundamental to Engineering Science, so really consider your enjoyment and ability in those two fields.
  2. It seemed to develop a wide range of engineering and data science skills that are super relevant to industry (I was right about this). I wanted as broad a specialisation as I could get, and the breadth of Engineering Science did not disappoint.
  3. There were lots of opportunities to tailor the degree with elective papers (more so than any other specialisation). This felt like it gave me a better chance to experience more and find what I specifically enjoyed in the field.

What have you enjoyed the most about your journey through Engineering Science?

For me, it was overcoming the massive intellectual challenge of the degree and proving to myself that I can do it. Despite every paper feeling like a daunting challenge, I always managed to get through them and do quite well. Engineering Science is tough, and it requires specific competencies that can be really hard to develop if you don’t have a natural ability (e.g. pure mathematics). If you’re up for the challenge, however, an Engineering Science degree can be an incredible formative experience.

What are your top tips and advice for upcoming Engineering Science students?

Brush up on your mathematics, develop your perseverance, find your guiding motivations, form bonds with your cohort, get broad industry experience through your internships.

Overall, how did you find part IV and the part IV project?

My P4P was a massive challenge; we needed access to a laboratory to collect data and build deep-learning models, but the most recent COVID-19 lockdown made this impossible. Despite the final outcomes being massively compromised, I still gained a lot of in-depth knowledge in my research field, which was cool. My advice is to follow this four-step process for approaching P4P:

  1. Find a partner that you would be willing to work closely with for a whole year (this isn’t necessarily your best friend).
  2. Figure out as best you can which University staff you absolutely would not want to have supervise your P4P.
  3. It’s impossible to fully understand what you’re getting into at the start, so choosing your project preferences can be a massive gamble. The best thing you can do is choose your project based on how interesting you think the topic is and how good you think the respective supervisor is.
  4. Once you’ve got your P4P confirmed, set up regular meetings with your supervisor and start researching ASAP!

Looking back, how valuable were your internship experiences over summer?

I had three internships: one over each summer period of my degree. All three were quite different in nature, so I got a broad level of industry experience. This broad experience was valuable as it helped me gain a clearer picture of opportunities in industry.

For the specific internship experiences I had, they didn’t really develop my technical skills, but they helped me develop my professional soft skills. Don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t getting much technical development in your internships too, I think it’s more about getting a feel for working in a professional environment anyway.

What direction are you planning on taking Engineering Science in the future?

I still don’t know where exactly I want to go or what exactly I want to do with my Engineering Science degree, and I’m ok with that. What I do know is that Engineering Science has given me a broad toolkit that can be applied in many ways, so my options are open. I haven’t got any graduate role lined up for 2022, but I didn’t intend to have one lined up anyway. My plan for 2022 is to research into my options and decompress from what has been a stressful 4 years at uni.

Although I don’t know specifics for my future, I do have strong guiding principles. I’m massively into sustainability, conservation, and innovation for tackling the climate crisis and minimising humankind’s impacts. I know that whatever I do in the future, I want it to focus on sustainability, conservation, and innovation. I think there are lots of data science, environmental modelling, and optimisation opportunities in these fields that I will explore further in 2022.

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