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A day in the life of…
Junior Project Engineer at Schneider Electric
Chris Johnson studied a Mechanical Engineering/Commerce (Finance) at University of New South Wales in 2017, and is now a Junior Project Engineer at Schneider Electric.
My alarm music begins to sound. Room lights gently fade in. Often, I am already on site by this time, but today I am in the so office there’s a little more time for sleep. I fix up some breakfast as the morning sun begins to fill my apartment. Dressed and out the door, I swing my backpack over my shoulder and jump on my electric skateboard.
A combination of crisp morning air and dodging through traffic wakes me up quickly. Door-to-door is 10 minutes, a great perk of living so close and not having to sit in rush-hour.
7.30 – 10.00 AM
We hotdesk in my team, so you never know where you’ll find a free spot unless you like to get in early. For some reason, no one likes to take the free desk situated amongst the managers; I grab that one.
My team designs building management systems (BMS), which are essentially control systems that make sure everything in a building turns on and off when it should. This morning I am working on some engineering drawings, which contain all the different points we monitor and control in a building. These can include heating, ventilation and cooling components (HVAC), power, hydraulic, lighting, fire, and anything else particular to the job.
The task involves using the mechanical consultant’s drawings and schedules to create a list of devices that will be monitored and controlled by an automation server. A drawing is created for each field device illustrating its general layout, with monitored points assigned to an input, and controlled points assigned to an output in our board. By assigning these points we can create an overview schematic of our board that is later used when our equipment is installed on site. From these drawings we can also create a points list, which will be used when writing our program logic, and designing the graphical user interface (GUI) for the client. For these reasons it is critical to ensure the drawings are done correctly.
10.00 – 11.00 AM
I quickly grab a coffee from the kitchen before walking into a meeting with the other engineers on this project. Short term project objectives are discussed to address any current concerns and adjust timelines if necessary. This is a good opportunity for myself to get feedback on work I’ve completed, so I hook up my laptop to the projector to go over some of the graphics that I have been designing for this client. Everyone collectively gives feedback as I quickly jot down all the changes that need to be made.
11.00 – 11.15 AM
A friend of mine has just got in from site, and I manage to catch her for a coffee. The café downstairs serves perhaps the best coffee in the local area, so it gets busy as everyone takes their morning break. It’s a nice day outside so we escape to the courtyard which is much quieter. Sometimes we discuss work, but today we chat about our mutual love of motorbikes.
11.15 – 12.15 PM
It’s on to those graphics changes that were suggested earlier. Graphics are usually a lot of fun as they are visually rewarding, and are also very important for the client as it is what they see when interacting with our system. The changes I’m doing today, however, aren’t the most exciting; I plug in my headphones to keep myself amused.
12.15 – 1.00 PM
At exactly 12:15pm, most of the graduates and interns gather on the 7th floor for lunch. I take the stairs; gotta get that step count up, though it’s only one floor. There are about 15 grads in each year’s cohort, so we tend to form a large table off to the side. It’s a good chance to catch up with everyone, organise our Friday night plans, and play some table tennis.
1.00 – 3.00 PM
I’m on site later this week where we will install our automation servers and commission our boards. Before this can happen, they must first be tested in our staging room here in the office. This involves loading up all our programs and graphics to the servers and testing to make sure they all work together. This can be tedious, but it sure is a lot better than arriving on site to find things not working.
3.00 – 3.30 PM
We have a room called the green room. No one seems to understand its purpose except the grads, meaning it’s always free for us to use. Another BMS grad joins me on the bean bags so we can have a chat about what I am up to at work. She’s like my unofficial buddy as she has been through it all before.
3.30 – 4.30 PM
The day is coming to its close. Not all the graphics changes were as smooth as I had predicted so I need to review a few more things tomorrow morning before it is submitted to the client. I finish responding to the last of my emails before packing up my desk for the day.
4.30 – 9.00 PM
My team typically starts early, finishes early, especially when on site. This means I often have plenty of time in the afternoons to get my own stuff done, or just relax back at my apartment. Today, however, some of the grads are attending a networking event at the University of New South Wales to run the Schneider Electric information booth. We carpool together and join the slow crawl of Sydney rush-hour traffic.
9.00 – 10.00 PM
After a fun night of talking with potential future employees and reminiscing about uni days, I catch an Uber home. I get everything ready for tomorrow and head to bed.
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