Annmarie Nicholson works as a design engineer at Dyson.

I'd like that job: Annmarie Nicholson, design engineer, Dyson

Annmarie is a member of Dyson's New Product Innovation team. Working as a design engineer, her role entails conceptualising new ideas and sketching solutions to existing product problems.

What’s your name?

Annmarie Nicholson.

Age?

26.

Where do you work?

Dyson.

What's your job title?

Design engineer.

How long have you been doing that?

Two and a half years.

How did you get there?

When I started researching degrees, I came across product design and knew straight away that was the path for me. I studied product design and innovation at Strathclyde University and spent a year at Mars Chocolate before joining Dyson as a design engineer. I work in the New Product Innovation (NPI) team, where I conceptualise and create new ideas.

What's the day-to-day experience like?

On a day-to-day basis, I am typically sketching out new product ideas or sketching solutions to existing product problems. The most exciting part of working in NPI is turning these 2D sketches into reality by physically creating working and visual prototypes. Using these prototypes to communicate how an idea might work or feel to use is really satisfying, especially when I get to review these concepts with James Dyson.

What did you expect when you started work? Did anything surprise you?

I found the amount of freedom that graduates are given surprising, considering the limited amount of industry experience that the majority have. Graduates' opinions and suggestions are listened to and taken on board. They are perceived as fresh thinkers, rather than inexperienced.

What's the best thing about the job?

We are encouraged to use a wrong-thinking approach – naturally, thinking how something can work differently and better keeps me constantly challenged. It’s exciting to explore new innovations every day!

And the worst?

With any design role it is essential to document your ideas: sketches, prototypes and all of the testing and outputs after each task is complete. This means a lot of admin and paperwork. It can be quite time-consuming.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Seeing an idea that I came up with be taken into production. It’s so exciting to think that, after lots and lots of hard work, your idea will end up on shop shelves.

How would you describe life as a working engineer?

Life as a working engineer is challenging. Your brain goes at 100mph all day, every day, and you have to balance a lot of different projects, which can be hard. But the work is far more rewarding than it is frustrating.

Do you think there’s enough being done to promote engineering to girls? Do you go into schools yourself?

I love volunteering with the James Dyson Foundation, Dyson’s charity. It tries to encourage all young people to consider a career in engineering by sparking their passion for invention. Among lots of other initiatives, it runs workshops in secondary schools, where students make prototypes for their own inventions out of spare Dyson machine parts. I help with those workshops whenever I can and I’d like to think seeing a real-life female engineer challenges a few outdated stereotypes.

Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?

You are going to be given a lot of responsibility from day one, so make sure you are mentally prepared. There will also be lots that you don’t know, but you shouldn’t worry about it. Ask questions, listen to the people around you and make the most of every single opportunity.

What do you think you'll do next?

It’s very difficult to say! Dyson is a global technology company with a lot of opportunity. I don’t know where the next few years will take me, but I know it will be exciting.

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