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A day in the life of…
Graduate Electrical Engineer at Aristocrat Technologies
Tiernan Vanecek studied Electronic Engineering at Macquarie University in 2017 and is now a Graduate Electrical Engineer at Aristocrat Technologies.
The alarm rings and I spring out of bed. Half an hour later I am showered and dressed so I drive 5 minutes down the road to catch my bus. It takes about an hour to commute to work. It will get better when the Sydney Metro Northwest is completed.
The electrical engineering team are a mixed bunch. Some like to get to work from 7am then a few of the team arrive around 9am. At my desk, I make some breakfast, check my emails and then prepare my to-do list for the day. Lucky for me, I only have one meeting today at 3pm. I usually have 1-2 meetings a day.
The first of my agenda is looking at designing a Power-On Self-Test (POST) board for one of our projects. After a bit of researching, schematic reviews and some datasheets, I draw up a concept design and organise a review session with some electrical colleagues.
With my concept design completed, I look to stretch my legs and decide to do some hands-on work. Over the weeks I have been testing various speaker and subwoofer configurations. On one of the prototypes, we want to achieve a 4dB boost on the subwoofer channel. With the calculation made and confirmed with one of the senior electrical engineers, I head to the lab and modify a prototype amplifier.
With our North Ryde office being the central hub for our next generation gaming machines, the engineering lab is very well equipped. I source my components and start soldering some surface-mount device (SMD) resistors. Sound testing will be done later this week.
Lunch time is the best time of the day. I love the lunch area because the atmosphere is so laidback and inviting.
The electrical team always like to bunch together on a small table; the more the merrier! Working with many older colleagues always provides a wealth of knowledge. We generally don’t talk about the projects we are working on but the conversations are always interesting.
Following lunch, I decide to review my concept POST schematic design with another graduate engineer. He pulls up a previous schematic that he has worked on and provides some great advice. We discuss my approach and come to a compromise.
Wanting to diversify my work, I decide to work on our storage device requalification. Many companies pitch and send samples to us as they want their product in our gaming machines. As such, it is necessary to test these devices, so they meet our requirements.
I run a few tests looking at device specifications, read/write performances, data retention, and system readable parameters. It is best to chip away at this work due to its lengthy process as I want to test each storage size twice and test through the 8GB to 128GB family.
We have a room called ‘The Backyard’. It’s essentially a gaming room featuring a ping pong table, videogames and egg chairs! I have a quick coffee break with another graduate.
I have many questions about my POST schematic and I wanted some clarification about my approach. Setting meetings is a great way to learn because you receive constructive criticism. I was little nervous however the engineers at Aristocrat are very friendly and everything is kept professional. I am glad the review went smoothly!
We have a quick half-hour meeting with our graduate coordinator and some of the first and second year graduates. Since we have been working on some side projects, these meetings are for feedback and to see how we are going.
As I approach end of the work day, I work on some emails and briefly discuss my individual development plan draft with my manager. We plan to look further into my draft in our monthly 1-on-1 meeting.