Graduate story: Merott Movahedi

merottMerott Movahedi is a senior software engineer at CompareTheMarket, part of the Marketing IT team, responsible for updating and maintaining the content management system of both comparethemarket.com and comparethemeerkat.com. He graduated from QMUL with an engineering degree in 2010, and shares his story below.

When I was a child, I wanted to become an adult, finish studies, and go to work, so that I wouldn’t have to study anymore… Such naïve thinking!

Just over 10 years ago, my mum and I left Iran and moved to the UK so that I could build a better life here. I was 17 years old, and I couldn’t even speak English beyond very simple phrases, so the first thing I had to do was learn English. I studied English for about 9 months, before I started my Bachelors studies at QMUL. Following three years of university studies, I graduated in 2010, and immediately started working full-time.

Despite my childhood hopes, working full-time hasn’t meant that I’ve stopped studying or learning. I don’t take exams any more (I hate exams), but I continue to learn new things every day. If you want to be successful, you’ll want to study and learn for the rest of your life, more so than you did during school or university. When you’re a junior on the job, you’ll be mentored and guided by your more senior colleagues. When you become more senior and experienced, you’re expected to mentor and support the new juniors, for which you must learn first. You’ll be expected to share knowledge and help your senior colleagues too.

Knowledge sharing, mentorship, learning and development will always be around, and are applicable to every field of work. Whether you intend to set up your own business, work in a startup, or in a massive corporation, you’ll be continually learning and improving yourself while helping others. At QMUL, you have a massive opportunity to give yourself a head start in that direction.

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Guest blog: MSc Engineering conversion courses at the University of Exeter

You don’t need to have studied Engineering to begin a career as a professional engineer

Why should I consider an engineering conversion course?

An engineering conversion course can be a great way to learn new skills, build on your existing knowledge and increase your employability. In an ever competitive job market, the demand for engineers only continues to rise. Employers are placing increasing value on graduates with well-rounded professional skill-sets and a broader knowledge base – gained from transferring from a different undergraduate specialism. All of this, plus the introduction from 2016 of postgraduate student loans of up to £10,000, make now a great time to consider a career in engineering.

How are the programmes delivered?

The programmes are delivered in short, intensive teaching blocks, enabling you to quickly build new knowledge in each individual area before moving on to the next. Some teaching takes place in conjunction with the University’s Business School. The structure of the courses mean that some modules are taught in conjunction with other programmes, enabling you to network with students from other specialisms and build professional contacts for the future.

What career opportunities are available following an Engineering conversion course?

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Women in Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths

Take a look at this recent article in the Guardian about women working in Stem and the effects of Tim Hunt’s recent comments. I like the nice, positive aspect to it.

“…anyone considering a career in technology or science should be encouraged by the uproar that followed Tim Hunt’s comments that made one thing clear – stereotyping will not be tolerated in Stem any longer.”

Diversity in STEM Careers

There has been a wave of concern recently regarding the way in which women and girls are highly under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. The lack of women within this sector has been the basis of contentious argument and many initiatives have been set up on the back of this. Nevertheless, it is also important that we continue to look at the bigger picture and remember that the lack of diversity within STEM careers exceeds further than a gender issue, since disabled people, ethnic minorities and socially disadvantaged groups are also marginalised in this industry – more significantly within the most senior roles within the sector.

A report conducted by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) highlights some very insightful facts and figures in regards to the lack of diversity within STEM for example:

  • Only 8% of British engineers are women and only 13% of all STEM jobs are occupied by women
  • For STEM subjects, 94% of UK national physics, chemistry and mathematics academics are white
  • Physical and mathematical sciences degree courses show significantly low levels of socioeconomic diversity which has decreased since 2004.

Why is diversity in STEM important?

Other than the grounds of fairness and equal opportunity, there are many other reasons why diversity within STEM on a wider scale, is worth pursuing. For one thing, it is important that as a society, we develop and make use of the talents which can be found in different sections of our societies. This is especially if we are to continue to encourage the sciences to grow and excel on a global scale. In addition, the potential benefits to businesses cannot be undermined as a lack of diversity essentially can mean a loss of talent. With diversity comes a mix of ideas, skills and approaches and therefore it is important to have diversity if we would like to continue to have creative, innovative and effective working environments within STEM.

There is a long way to go before ensuring a fully diverse STEM sector but there are indeed steps that can be taken in the hopes of reaching this goal much sooner. In a climate where science and technology is used to improve lives and develop the economy, it is essential that barriers are broken down enabling the most capable candidates to shine.

The good news is that this issue is gaining increasingly more coverage in the media and in the popular conscience, hopefully making it more and more possible for barriers to be broken down. If you have a love for STEM subjects, don’t let your gender, race, religion, social background or physical capability stop you from pursuing a career in this sector. And remember, if you need advice on any issues you face with employment, you can always talk to one of our Careers Consultants.

Green Engineering

With the rising interest in renewable energy, and increased focus on the issue of energy security, there is a growing demand for engineers with specialisation in this field.

According to the Guardian, ‘in a study of 350 senior engineers, more than 57% of respondents believe renewable energy will be the main growth area for engineering in the coming years’: http://careers.guardian.co.uk/engineering-energy-sector-opportunities-skills-trends?CMP

While this may be great news for engineering students looking to get into this growth area, it does not mean that getting a job will be easy. One of the reasons there are many vacancies in this area,  is that employers are struggling to find candidates with the skills they require. Graduates need to show that they have knowledge of the energy sector and the transferable skills which means that they could adapt to this area of work.

While engineering is largely a technical profession, there is an increasing demand for candidates to also possess ‘softer skills’ like communication. As well as being good communicators, engineering candidates need to, among other things:

  • Have good organisational and negotiation skills
  • Be able to demonstrate commercial awareness and an understanding of business in general, as well as the energy market
  • Show project management skills
  • Possess initiative and the ability to recognise emerging problems and pro-actively develop solutions.

What this all means in a nutshell is that if you want a job in the renewable energy sector, you have to make sure your CV is finely tuned to demonstrate the skills and abilities employers want.

Have a look at the following websites to get a better understanding of careers in the energy sector:

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/energy_engineer_job_description.htm

http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/industries/energy-environment-and-sustainability

And if you would like to make sure your CV is up to scratch, make an appointment to come and see one of our Careers Consultants.

Heather Campbell
Careers Information Assistant
QM Careers Centre

Jobs in Robotics

A MILLION NEW JOBS IN ROBOTICS

Although the UK labour market faces a ‘slow, painful contraction’ amidst current economic turmoil, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15715460) the outlook isn’t all doom and gloom.

For students with the right skills, robotics is expected to create a million high-quality jobs over the next five years, opening up work in areas such as solar power, wind power and consumer electronics.
(http://www.theengineer.co.uk/production-engineering/news/report-points-to-robotics-as-a-major-driver-of-job-creation/1010863.article)

A report issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has explained that expanding high-tech industries like the pharmaceutical and electronics sectors have been substantially helped over recent years by robots, which can carry out work unsafe or impossible for humans, as well as work that’s unviable for people in high-wage economies.

There’s a world of different opportunities out there for engineers. Explore some of the many areas you could work in by reading some of industry profiles on the Institution of Mechanical Engineers website.