National STEM Day 202
Celebrating Our People In Engineering 

National STEM Day 2023 is a time to shine a spotlight on the incredible work being done in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s a day to inspire and encourage the next generation of innovators.

As a systems integrator in the manufacturing sector, we understand the pivotal role that engineering plays in the world of STEM. Today, we’re celebrating our people in engineering, the dedicated minds that drive our industry forward.

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Engineering: The Backbone of Innovation

Engineering is the beating heart of the manufacturing sector. It's what makes the magic happen. From designing automated systems that streamline production processes to creating cutting-edge robotics that enhance precision and efficiency, engineers are the architects of innovation. Their work doesn't just impact the industry; it shapes the future of manufacturing. 

Interview with Our Engineers

To truly appreciate the significance of engineering in the manufacturing sector, we sat down with some of our talented engineers. Here are snippets from their interviews:

Subin Cherian - Senior Software Engineer

Q. What encouraged you to get into engineering?

I was drawn to the field of software engineering by a combination of personal interests and influential experiences. As a child, I developed a fascination with technology and how things worked, particularly video games, computers and software. I spent countless hours tinkering with number of 8-bit video games and hand-held brick games (after which it never worked), trying to understand their inner workings. I believe, this early curiosity planted the seeds for my future in software engineering.

During my high school years, I had the privilege of being mentored by a dedicated computer teacher who not only shared knowledge but also instilled a deep sense of wonder about the potential of software to drive change. Their mentorship was instrumental in shaping my passion for this field. As I progressed through my academic journey, I actively sought out courses in computer science and software engineering. I collaborated with peers on projects that pushed the boundaries of what we could achieve. One particular project that stands out was when I created an application (my pet project) for a Metallurgy company to calculate the amount (weight/percentage) of metal needed to produce alloys. It was a transformative experience.

My motivation for pursuing a career in software engineering is rooted in the belief that software has the power to drive meaningful change. I am passionate about crafting clean, efficient code and using technology to solve real-world problems. The dynamic nature of the field, the constant learning opportunities, and the chance to be on the cutting edge of innovation are what excite me the most. And today, with AI, sky is the limit.

Q. What’s the most interesting thing you have learned so far?

One of the most intriguing things I've learned is the incredible potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning in transforming various aspects of our lives. These technologies have the power to revolutionise healthcare, enhance education, optimise industries, and tackle complex global challenges. Witnessing the rapid advancements in AI and its applications, from natural language understanding (like CHAT-GPT to autonomous vehicles, has been truly fascinating.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you at ATS?

Parallelly, I try to stay updated with the latest industry trends, attend to bug reports or support requests, and engage in code reviews to maintain code quality and ensure adherence to best practices. My day often includes brainstorming sessions, where I work with colleagues to address technical challenges or optimize existing systems.
Adaptability is crucial, as I may encounter unexpected issues that require immediate attention. Some days are clearly boring which typically involves documentation, preparing presentations, outlining project progress and so on.

Q. What advice would you give anyone who is wanting to do an engineering degree/ get into engineering?

If you're considering pursuing an engineering degree or venturing into the field of engineering, there are several key pieces of advice to keep in mind. First and foremost, it's crucial to have a genuine passion for problem-solving, innovation, and making a positive impact through your work. Building a strong foundation in mathematics and science is essential during your high school years, as engineering programs often require a deep understanding of these fundamentals.

Engineering is a diverse field with numerous specialisations, from electrical and mechanical to civil and software engineering. Take the time to research and explore these options to determine which aligns best with your interests and long-term career objectives. Hands-on experience is fundamental; seek internships, co-op programs, or engage in personal projects to gain practical knowledge and skills.

Continuous learning is a must in engineering, as the field evolves rapidly. Soft skills such as effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are equally important. Engineers often work in multidisciplinary teams and need to convey complex ideas clearly. Ethical responsibility is key; be mindful of the ethical implications of your work, especially in areas like safety, environmental sustainability, and social impact.

Embrace the concept of lifelong learning and build a network of professional connections. Finally, develop resilience, as challenges are common. Approach setbacks with a problem-solving mindset and determination.

Freddy Martins - Senior Software Engineer

Q. What encouraged you to get into engineering?

In the old days (I'm an old-timer, 28-12-1973), I spend a lot of time behind my computer writing applications in BASIC to control the LED's soldered onto my printer port connector. Writing software to control LED's, devices, machines, etc... this got me interested in engineering. The power of software in the industrial automation.

Q. What’s the most interesting thing you have learned so far?

Writing software is 'relatively' easy but writing software that solves the customers automation needs is difficult. Understanding the customer's needs is difficult and writing a user manual that explains how to use/operate your software is even more difficult.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you at ATS?

As a product owner, I discuss customer requirements with project teams, customers, and my team (developers and testers). Next, we translate these requirements into features and plan and execute them using DevOps. Throughout the day, I spend time reviewing user documentation and source code, I talk to co-workers and have brainstorm sessions with my team. I also organise knowledge sessions with the support team explaining them the latest features and teach hem the techniques used by our product. I also write code but only when time permits. But to answer your question, there is no typical day being a product owner.

Q. What advice would you give anyone who is wanting to do an engineering degree/ get into engineering?

Go for it and don't be afraid, don't be shy to ask questions. Show commitment, that is what is noticed first. Be prepared that you must learn every day, technology moves fast.

James Hatcher - Senior Software Engineer

Q. What encouraged you to get into engineering?

I have always enjoyed problem solving and drawn to the logical approach that engineering demands. It also helps that no day is exactly the same which makes each and every day interesting!

Q. What’s the most interesting thing you have learned so far?

My important piece of information I have learned is that what the customer says they want and what they actually need are usually two different things. The art of a great engineer is to bring these two things together.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you at ATS?

I think this is one of the benefits of my job at ATS, I very rarely have a ‘typical’ day. From preforming detailed requirement analysis to onsite deployments, each day is different. You have to be flexible and be able to think on your feet, but ATS give you the environment to manage this around your personal life.

Q. What advice would you give anyone who is wanting to do an engineering degree/ get into engineering?

You need to have a real passion for the field you are looking at pursuing. However, this is a difficult decision to make early in your career. Therefore, the best piece of advice is to try and be involved in as many different projects and roles as you can. Only with that experience can you truly understand where your passion lies.

The Journey of Innovation

As we reflect on the essential role of engineering in manufacturing, we see the journey of innovation unfold. It's a journey that goes beyond just creating systems; it's about crafting solutions. Engineers drive us closer to a future where manufacturing processes are not only efficient but also sustainable. They are the architects of change, transforming the way we produce goods, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

Inspiring the Next Generation

On National STEM Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating the engineers who are making a difference in the manufacturing sector. Their work paves the way for a brighter, more efficient, and more sustainable future. We also encourage young minds to explore the wonders of STEM. If you're intrigued by the world of engineering, take the leap. The possibilities are limitless, and you could be the one to drive the next wave of innovation in manufacturing.

A final word

In the manufacturing, engineering is the backbone of progress. National STEM Day is a perfect occasion to acknowledge the exceptional work that engineers do and to inspire the next generation of innovators. Together, we'll continue to build a future where manufacturing is not just about producing goods; it's about producing solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Happy National STEM Day 2023!

Want to find out about a career at ATS?  Get in touch today