Jack first joined Cambridge Consultants during his gap year as part of the company's Tech Scholar Programme. Through his placement he was able to get involved in several wireless engineering projects and decided to apply for a full-time role on graduation.
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
What's your job title?
Wireless digital signal processing engineer.
How long have you been doing that?
How did you get there?
I first applied to Cambridge Consultants through the Tech Scholar Programme for gap year work (between leaving sixth form and starting university) and was given practical training as a wireless engineer, which I found really useful both before and during my time at university.
Cambridge Consultants then extended this scheme with summer work for each year that I was at university. After university I re-applied to Cambridge Consultants for a full-time graduate role.
What's the work and day-to-day experience like?
Internally the company is organised by discipline i.e. DSP, Software, RF Systems etc. I am a digital signal processing engineer working on wireless products and I’m part of the Wireless DSP group.
Each project the company undertakes draws its teams from these internal groups, as each project will normally span across several of these groups.
Within the DSP group there are a number of projects running at any one time and engineers are chosen for projects based on their availability and skill set. This means that I’m always working with different people and have the opportunity to learn a great deal from them, and there’s always an interesting topic to talk to other group members about.
What's the best thing about the job?
The work at Cambridge Consultants is very varied. The company works for many different clients in a range of application areas. So far I have worked on a range of projects here that few others with my number of years in professional employment would have.
I like the project-based nature of the work because I don't get stuck doing one thing all the time. I enjoy working on different projects and with different people and the work always provides different challenges that keep me interested and thinking.
Since joining the company, I have also had the chance to mentor a Tech Scholar myself. This was a really enjoyable experience for me because I got to teach someone else how to do things and provide them with guidance.
And the worst?
The work can get stressful sometimes especially when we are working hard to meet a deadline. But the reward of seeing the project working always makes up for that.
What standout things have you had the opportunity to get involved with?
As a Tech Scholar I got involved with the Sidewinder project, which is a software defined radio base station (BTS) in a tiny form factor. I was asked to design and write a number of the software applications that run on the platform and these have been used to sell and demonstrate the capabilities of the design. I feel proud of what we achieved and the fact that it is still frequently used within the company for many different reasons, including prototyping.
One of the other activities I was asked to get involved with was a BBC Radio 4 interview on engineering degrees. I felt privileged to be able to represent the company externally and to promote the company image. I also felt proud that the company had confidence in me to speak live on national radio even though I had no prior experience of doing such a thing!
How would you describe life as a working engineer?
As a development engineer I get involved a huge range of challenging work. As well as doing the hands-on implementation, I also get involved in system-level discussions that can influence the overall architecture of the design.
Even though I am still relatively junior, my opinions are heard and respected by others and I enjoy the autonomy and responsibility I am given.
What did you expect when you started work? Did anything surprise you?
When I first joined the company as a Tech Scholar, I had no idea what to expect. I found over the next few years that I really enjoyed the work and the team. That's a huge advantage of the Tech Scholar programme - I got to try out the job before I joined full-time!
Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?
Try and learn from the engineers around you. In the six years I have worked with Cambridge Consultants I have learnt a huge amount from my co-workers. It proved invaluable to me as I studied at university and I still use what I learnt in my day-to-day job.
What do you think you'll do next?
I'm happy working for Cambridge Consultants. The work is challenging and engaging and I am part of an awesome team. To be honest, if the last six years are anything to go by, I can’t see any reason why I’d want to work anywhere else. Every few years, we do spin out new companies from exciting developments, however. If an unmissable opportunity came up, I might consider it.