At Lockheed Martin I am part of a team that manages a radar system. As a hardware engineer, I’m responsible for maintaining and upgrading the mechanical and electrical systems of the radar. I work with software, systems, quality and hardware engineers. I use a computer program to create 3D models of our products and with these models, I can check the fit of a part within an assembly, create manufacturing drawings and run a finite element analysis (FEA). FEA is used to simulate how a product would react in a certain situation. By predicting the behaviour of our products I can determine if the design will meet our standards. An example of this is when I used structural analysis to understand if a new part would be able to withstand transportation on the back of a truck. I learnt the foundations of FEA at university and improved my knowledge at Lockheed Martin, through training courses and on-the-job training.
I grew up in Newcastle and graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2015 with a double degree in mechanical and mechatronics engineering. I became interested in pursuing an engineering career after participating in the Science and Engineering Challenge when I was in high school. The challenge was run by the University of Newcastle and was designed to encourage students to choose a career in STEM. As part of a school team, I cracked codes, came up with a system to power a city, designed and built an indestructible doll’s chair out of paper and built a Styrofoam plane that we had to try to fly as far as possible. My favourite challenges were the ones where I could design and build a structure to solve a problem and this led me to choose mechanical and mechatronics engineering.
I completed a general elective on astronomy while studying abroad in New Zealand for Summer School. While doing this subject I discovered a passion for space systems and I began to research companies that work in the aerospace industry. Lockheed Martin stood out as a company that was on the leading edge of technology and I applied to their graduate program during my last year at university.
To do my job you need a grounding in mechanical and electrical systems. Throughout my degree, I gained industry experience by working as a trainee engineer in freight rail. I found this work experience invaluable as I could relate what I was learning on the job with my university studies. I would highly recommend work experience during your degree as it will show you what an engineer does outside of university and will teach you skills that you will not learn at university.
My favourite thing about my job is delivering the final product to the customer at the end of a project. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into getting a product from initial design to manufacturing. It is very satisfying to see something you worked hard on being used in real life.
What are the limitations of your job?
One of the things about engineering is that it never stands still. You always need to be ready to learn new things and stay on top technological developments. I still use my university textbooks and keep them on a shelf next to my desk.