The Career

In Conversation With…A ‘Quality Engineer’

This week’s featured graduate graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering less than a year ago, and has already formed a strong sense of loyalty to a newer company based on the challenging work she does and the supportive company culture. If you want to learn more about this superwoman in STEM, read on below!

The Struggling Graduate: Describe yourself in 3 words.

H: Passionate. Versatile. Optimistic.

The Struggling Graduate: What is your role and what is a typical day like?

H: I currently work as a Quality Engineer at a steel plant that produces long bar products which range anywhere from 15 mm in diameter to 63 mm and go up to 60 ft in length.  Everything from ensuring our produced product meets customer requirements and performing both internal and external audits falls within my jurisdiction. It is an extremely important part of my job to certify the material that is in demand, as well as ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place to provide credibility to the company’s products and values. You could call the quality department the “police” of the plant and it is a title we wear with pride. With appropriate protocols, the impact that research and development plays in the growth of the company is a continued increase in demand and proves second to none in all aspects of manufacturing. 

The best part about this role is that no day is the same. We could walk in one day expecting a set schedule and then multiple side projects and tasks will be assigned and that will determine the remainder of the week – it keeps things exciting!

The Struggling Graduate: Very cool! We’re curious to know, how did you get your job?

H: After taking a little time off after graduating, I started attending many networking events and conferences. During one of these instances, I reconnected with a colleague from university who referred me to their manager. I did a quick phone interview and an in-person conversation with the CTO, who recommended my skill set be applied to the incredibly thriving quality department. As a new graduate, it is daunting to go into a company that is relatively new and still growing, but it is so incredible to say that I got very lucky to be where I am in my role despite being a new graduate!

The Struggling Graduate: What skills do you need to be good at your role? Describe the kind of person who would excel in your role. 

H: In this type of role, the biggest skill to have is patience. Tasks and projects will sometimes arise last minute and without losing your cool, you must be calm, speak with respect and follow-through on promised ideas. The best way to fix a problem in such a busy environment is to provide a valuable solution to help fix the issue. 

You also must be quick to think and act. Sometimes the job will require you to participate or lead multiple time-sensitive tasks in one go and it tends to get overwhelming. It is important to get the job done but it is also very important as a quality engineer to prioritize tasks and complete them in an order that prevents stopping the operational and productional activities of the material.

It is also very important in this role to be flexible with people and job tasks. You must be willing to step in and take on unique roles without prior experience. Not only does it help improve the overall process of the task completion, but it also gives the individual a chance to train and learn a unique set of skills.

The Struggling Graduate: Last but not least…where do you see yourself in 5 years?

H: I foresee incredible changes occurring in the company in just 3 years so needless to say, I know I will stick around for many years to come. I see myself working within the plant at some point as a Senior Quality Engineer, maybe even management, and being cross trained in many different parts of the plant. My company invests in its young employees along with its seasoned and valued employees, which is why it will be extremely beneficial for me to help in building the foundation for the future of the company. It will be incredible to look back a few years from now and see all the changes I have witnessed and lead to get to the development of the plant and its highly demanded products.

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