Opportunities in the Life Sciences Sector for Software Developers
An unwelcome trend has emerged over the past number of months for software developers working in the tech industry. That trend is one of job cuts, tech companies scaling down investment plans, and general uncertainty. This is resulting in many developers looking for alternative career options. The life sciences sector is not just an option, but a significant opportunity.
Speaking last year when he was Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “When it comes to big expansions and the big new jobs, it’ll be more in life sciences and more in manufacturing than in the tech sector.”
The predicted growth of life sciences is backed up by research. Take, for example, the medical device industry, which is part of the life sciences sector along with the pharmaceutical industry. According to McKinsey, 25 percent of the medical device market is projected to grow by at least six percent a year between 2022 and 2025.
Software Development Roles at SL Controls
At SL Controls, we see this growth every day as we specialise in providing technology and software solutions for companies in the life sciences sector, including many of the largest global pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
Eamonn McManus, Operations Manager at SL Controls, said: “We are currently growing as a company to meet the demands of our customers, so we are actively recruiting people with a range of different skills. For many of the roles we are recruiting for, software development skills and experience are at the top of the list of requirements.”
SL Controls provides systems integration solutions to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. This means software is at the heart of our business and drives everything we do.
Eamonn said: “The systems integration solutions that we develop power the manufacturing environments of some of the biggest pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the world.
“We know this is a period of contraction in the technology sector, and many software developers might be looking for other opportunities. Those opportunities exist in the life sciences sector, including with us at SL Controls.”
Positively Impacting Patient Outcomes Around the World
“SL Controls is looking to add strong software developers who would like to move into the exciting and growing pharmaceutical and medical device industries,” said Jess Delahunt, Talent Acquisition Consultant at SL Controls. “If you are looking for a new challenge and are thinking about moving on from the tech sector, you will find a stable environment with unrivalled career development opportunities in life sciences. The work you will do for SL Controls will have a meaningful impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Some of the skills we are looking for at SL Controls include:
- SQL Server
- Automation Testing
Jess said there are various opportunities available: “Some roles are remote, some are hybrid, and some will require an onsite presence. However, we can discuss your requirements and preferences at interview, as we always work to find the best solution for suitable candidates.
“Strong software developers with over three years of experience and based in Ireland will be considered. I would encourage you to apply to find out more.”
14 Tips for Your Engineering CV
Writing a compelling CV will help you land the ideal engineering job – one that pays well, challenges you, presents opportunities for career progression, and strikes the right work-life balance. How do you write a great engineering CV, though? Here are our (updated) 14 tips:
1. Make It Relevant
Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for as engineering roles are varied, even within disciplines. By tailoring your CV, you can show you have knowledge of the industry as well as highlighting specific skills and experience that will be beneficial to the role.
Tailoring your engineering CV could be something as simple as re-arranging the information to make certain points more visible. For example, if you are applying for a Control Systems Engineer position, you should make sure you give weight to your control systems experience. Also, you could replace part of your summary at the top of the CV with points that are control systems specific.
2. Research the Company
It is difficult to make your CV relevant if you don’t first research the company you are applying to. Look at the types of jobs they are recruiting for, the projects they have worked on, and the services they offer. Blog sections and mentions of the company in the press can also give you a good insight into its priorities and areas of focus. Also, if you know someone who already works in the company, talk to them.
3. Ensure It Is Easy for Recruiters to Read
Your engineering CV should be as easy to read as possible. The aim is to ensure recruiters reading your CV can quickly and easily identify the most important information.
So, state your engineering skills and experience explicitly. You can do this by highlighting projects you’ve worked on, responsibilities you’ve had, and tasks you’ve performed.
It is also important to get the layout right, with sections clearly labelled with headings.
4. Focus on the Most Important Points First
Focus a lot of your efforts on the beginning part of the CV as first impressions count. This is the section before your work and education history, where you highlight your main skills and experience, creating a short profile.
You can go into more detail later in the CV but make sure you list the most important and relevant points in this section. For example, you should include points tailored to the role you are applying for.
5. Use Relevant Engineering Words and Phrases
You should include engineering skills keywords in your engineering CV. You can do this in a list or throughout the content as you describe roles and achievements. Below are examples of the types of keywords you should include:
- Your technical skills
- Your software skills
- Programming languages you know
- Your hardware knowledge
- Your systems knowledge
- Processes you have experience with
- Frameworks you have experience with
- Compliance experience
Highlighting your industry experience through the words you use is also important, especially if the job prefers or requires specific experience.
6. Prove Your Skills
Following on from the last point, don’t just list your software and technical skills. It is also beneficial to explain how you have used those skills. The aim is to prove your competency. You won’t have space to do this with all the skills you have, so focus on those that are most important to the role you are applying for.
7. Include Achievements
Staying in the same topic area as the previous two points – remember that responsibilities are important, but achievements are crucial. Also, achievements provide evidence for your skills and knowledge. After all, it is easy to create a list of all the things you can do. The more impactful information will be evidence of how you have used your knowledge and skills. Therefore, focus on achievements as much as possible.
8. Highlight Your Soft Skills
Focusing on achievements will also highlight your interpersonal skills. This includes things like communication skills, leadership abilities, and teamwork skills. These are known as soft skills, and they are different from the hard skills you have as an engineer.
Don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills. Interpersonal skills, in particular, let the potential employer visualise the roles and duties you can perform, not just the technical capabilities you have.
One final consideration with this point concerns working from home. In this post-Covid-19 era, many engineering roles potentially have a work-from-home element. Mentioning your capabilities in this regard can be beneficial. For example, highlighting time management skills and your ability to work on your own initiative.
9. Add Some Personality
Adding personality to your engineering CV will make it stand out from the rest and help to grab the attention of recruiters. Adding personality is not as easy as listing your qualifications and experience, so here are some tips:
- The cover letter that accompanies your CV is a great place to add some personality to your application.
- Talk about what you are passionate about professionally. What motivates and inspires you in the industry?
- Showing enthusiasm and passion for interests outside of work is also helpful. So, instead of listing some outside interests, explain why one or two of them are important to you.
- Don’t be overly formal in your cover letter. It needs to be professional, but it should be written in the first person with a conversational tone, and you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself.
- Avoid business jargon as much as possible in your CV and especially in your cover letter.
10. Keep It Concise
Your CV should include detail, but make sure you write succinctly. It is important you strike the right balance between presenting an accurate picture of your experience and capabilities while not going overboard.
The more concise and comprehensive you can make the CV, the better. If you stray into a third page, you probably need to cut back a bit to two pages.
If you need to cut your CV back, the first thing you should look for is repetition. Anything you have said before can probably be removed.
Photos are also unnecessary, and they take up space, so they can be removed too.
11. Include a Project Page
If you have experience on multiple projects over several years, you may find it difficult to include everything important in two pages.
In this situation, you should include the main and most recent projects on your CV and then add a third additional page that contains a project list. This list should have the name of the project, the employer/client, and a brief, one-sentence summary/description of what you did, including the outcomes that were achieved.
12. Replace Paragraphs of Text with Bullet Points
Use bullet points instead of paragraphs as much as possible, as bullet-point lists are easier to read.
13. Include Non-Engineering Achievements
Include your achievements and experience outside engineering. This is particularly important if you are a new graduate without much engineering work experience.
Volunteer work, sporting achievements, or participation in community organisations can help the employer better understand who you are.
14. Check, Check, and Check Again
Check for and remove all mistakes. Of course, mistake-free CVs are necessary for all types of jobs, but the nature of engineering work makes it even more important that you pay attention to the details and check for errors. This means proofreading the CV.
After you proofread it, you should then get someone else to proofread it again to spot mistakes you may have missed.
Another proofreading technique is to leave the CV for a few hours before you proofread it again. Also, temporarily changing the text’s font to something completely different can help you spot mistakes you may have missed.
Keeping Your Engineering CV Up to Date
Your engineering CV is about selling you as a professional engineer. It should be a fluid document that you amend and customise for each role you apply for.
What You Need to Know About Technical Engineering Roles at SL Controls
As SL Controls continues to expand, we regularly have technical engineering vacancies to fill. What type of work would you be doing if you were recruited into one of these roles, and what is it like working at SL Controls?
This blog will give you an overview, but we are also available to provide you with information and answers to specific queries. Get in touch today.
What We Do at SL Controls
At SL Controls, we provide advanced technology solutions and services to companies in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, and biotechnology industries. This means we work with global companies in the life sciences sector both in Ireland and internationally. We also work with exciting and innovative Irish companies in the life sciences sector.
All the companies we work with are industry leaders in the development and manufacture of treatment, diagnostic, and medical device products – products that positively impact patient outcomes around the world.
Our expertise is in the provision of equipment systems integration and smart manufacturing solutions that improve workflows and production line processes. Achieving Six Sigma and OEE targets are often essential objectives of the work that we do.
In other words, we help companies on their Industry 4.0 journey as they implement projects and initiatives to remain competitive, improve productivity, and deliver efficiency savings.
The projects we work on also help life sciences companies take advantage of the opportunities that innovative technology solutions make possible. We help our clients overcome challenges, too, including in areas like supply chain security, labour shortages, and regulatory compliance.
Technical Engineering Roles at SL Controls
The types of technical engineering roles that you might find on our job vacancies page include:
- Automation Engineer
- DeltaV Engineer
- SCADA Engineer
- POMS Engineer
- Install & Commissioning Engineer
- Controls Systems Engineer
- Systems Architect
- Controls Software Developer
What’s It Like Working in a Technical Role at SL Controls?
At SL Controls, we provide a supportive working environment where knowledge is shared, and everyone works towards the same goal. That might sound like hyperbole, but it reflects comments made by members of our team. Here are some examples:
- Meet the Team – Adam Barriger, SL Controls Systems Architect
- Meet the Team – Niall Malone, SL Controls Systems Engineer
We offer a comprehensive salary and benefits package to employees with a focus on work-life balance. We also have a policy of offering staff the opportunity of working fully remotely or on a hybrid basis. The exception is roles where fully remote working is not possible because of the hands-on nature of the project.
Who Are We Looking for in New Technical Engineering Recruits?
You will need to be qualified to bachelor’s degree or masters level in a relevant discipline. Experience in the life sciences sector is also an advantage.
We also look for people who have a passion for:
- Creating innovative technology solutions
- Solving challenging problems
- Working with pharmaceutical, medical devices, and biotechnology companies
If this sounds like something you are interested in, check out our recruitment page. You’ll find more information on working at SL Controls as well as details on our current vacancies.
What You Need to Know About Validation and Quality Systems Engineering Roles at SL Controls
Validation and quality engineering are a core part of the services that we offer to clients. This means we have a large team of validation and quality engineers at SL Controls. That team is growing, too, as our company grows and expands into new markets.
If you are considering taking on a new role in validation or quality engineering, what opportunities are there at SL Controls, what sorts of projects will you be working on, and what is it like working for us? Maybe you are starting out in your engineering career and want to know if there are opportunities available for you.
In this blog, you will find a general overview of validation and quality engineering roles at SL Controls. If you have a specific query, however, please get in touch.
Validation and Quality Engineering Roles
The validation and quality engineering roles that we regularly recruit for to expand our growing team include:
- Computer Systems Validation Engineer (CSV Engineer)
- Validation Engineer
- Equipment Validation Engineer
- Software Quality Engineer
- Lab Systems (LIMS) Validation Engineer
- CQV Engineer
- Technical Writer
- Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer
You can find a list of current vacancies on our All Jobs page.
Who We Are and What We Do
At SL Controls, we provide specialist technology solutions to clients in the life sciences sector. This includes multinational pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies. We specialise in the delivery of equipment systems integration projects with the aim of achieving objectives such as increased productivity, optimised OEE, and more efficient regulatory compliance.
We work with our clients to modernise their manufacturing and quality control processes, helping them do more with less while also ensuring they are ready for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
What’s the Working Environment Like at SL Controls?
The working environment at SL Controls is one of innovation and problem-solving. We have a strong team culture where staff at all levels are ready to offer help, advice, and support wherever it’s needed. We also have a strong knowledge-sharing and learning culture that includes structured continuous professional development and training programmes.
The Skills Required for Our Validation and Quality Roles
You will need a degree in a relevant discipline to apply for one of our validation or quality engineering roles. Experience working in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, or biotechnology sectors is an advantage, although it’s not strictly necessary.
There are then often job-specific skills and experience that we look for. However, we do have roles where experience is not required or can be substituted with academic experience.
One thing we do look out for in the candidate selection process is passion – passion for working with life sciences companies, as well as a passion for innovative technologies, problem-solving, and delivering on client objectives.
What Should You Do Next?
A good starting point is to visit the Recruitment page on our website. It has more information about working at SL Controls, including the extensive benefits package that we offer. You will also find out more about our approach to helping our employees achieve a positive work-life balance.
Details of our current vacancies are also on our recruitment page. And remember, if you have any queries, please get in touch.
Renaming the SL Controls HR Department – Why and What it Means
The HR function in companies like SL Controls has evolved considerably. The traditional style of HR was largely focused on compliance and recruitment. Both areas are still incredibly important, but modern companies now have a much broader range of requirements.
As a result, we recently began an exercise to clarify the list of activities that we are responsible for and undertake as an HR team. The aim was to explore the option of changing the department’s name to make it more reflective of a modern workplace.
Was our assumption correct that the term HR is out of date? Does the term reflect what we do, and does it have relevance in a modern and forward-thinking company?
Review and Decision
We listed about 35 different activities that we are responsible for or are directly involved in as an HR team. Those activities include traditional HR tasks like record keeping, leave administration, employment law, and talent acquisition.
However, there is also a wide range of other activities that don’t fall neatly into the category of a traditional HR task. Those activities include things like employee wellbeing, manager coaching and support, community involvement, and training.
In fact, traditional HR tasks were in the minority on our list. As a result, we started brainstorming ideas for a new name for the department. That new name is: People and Culture Team
People and Culture Team
Those within the People and Culture Team (formerly known as HR) also have new titles to reflect the wider scope of activities that we are involved in.
Shauna Ryan, Director of People and Culture at SL Controls said: “Less than a third of the tasks that we do in what used to be the HR department are traditional HR tasks, so it makes sense to change the department’s name.
“Our roles in the company centre around people, culture, and development as we provide support both to the business and to individual employees. We believe the new name for the department – People and Culture Team – is the perfect fit.”
Norma Mulligan, People and Culture Team Executive at SL Controls said: “We looked at a number of different names when going through this process, including keeping the old HR name. However, the People and Culture name just clicked as it perfectly describes, in a nutshell, the various activities, tasks, and responsibilities we have within SL Controls.”
Keith Moran, CEO of SL Controls, said: “We have always been a people business at SL Controls, and that is even more true today than it was when we started. The days of companies operating with an old-fashioned HR department are long gone. So, it is right that we should rename the department, not only to reflect what the team does on a day-to-day basis, but also to ensure there is sufficient emphasis on areas like supporting and helping our people in SL Controls and continuing to strengthen our company culture. So, I am fully behind and supportive of changing to the new name People and Culture Team.”
Employee Benefits at SL Controls
It’s not that long ago when salary was the main, if not the only factor, to influence a decision to accept a job offer at another company. Today, there is an increasing focus by employees in all sectors on the full package being offered by prospective employers. This includes salary, of course, but it also includes the wider employee benefits that are part of the role.
Jess Delahunt, Talent Acquisition Consultant at SL Controls, explained that continuously refining and improving our employee benefits package is a high priority for the company. Jess said: “We are acutely aware of the importance of an employee benefits package at SL Controls, so it is something we are constantly thinking about and reviewing.
“From my time working in the recruitment industry, benefits have become far more important, and they are now a far bigger differentiator when a prospective employee is deciding to move jobs or accept a new role. Where previously benefits were added as a small attachment to the overall offer, today they are now a point of competitive difference.
“The typical employee benefit 15 or so years ago would have been a pension. Then healthcare started being offered by many companies in Ireland.
“Fast-forward to today, and the employee benefits package that we currently offer at SL Controls features many more elements. It’s also about the quality of what is being offered, particularly in areas like pensions and health cover.
“As the HR and recruitment team at SL Controls, we continuously work with senior management to ensure the benefits package that we offer is competitive.”
One employee benefit that has been catapulted up the list of priorities recently is remote working.
“Benefits like health cover and pensions are now a given across most companies in Ireland,” said Jess. “Remote working is now the most asked for employee benefit, and it is front and centre in the mindset of candidates.
“At SL Controls, we are client-driven in terms of our approach, so we are client-driven in terms of the level of remote working that we can offer. However, we are a major advocate of remote working, so a significant number of our employees have remote or hybrid working arrangements.
“Where remote working is possible, it is something we fully support.”
Continuous Professional Development and Skills-Based Training
Jess also highlighted continuous professional development (CPD) and training as another area where SL Controls stands out from the competition. He said: “In our industry, there is always a need to upskill, so continuous professional development is a huge area for SL Controls. It is a large part of our focus, and we are strong advocates for employee training – we continuously promote CPD and skills-based training to our employees.
“We also believe we go over and above what is standard when it comes to CPD and training, both financially and in terms of time.”
Other Employee Benefits that We Offer
The other main employee benefits that we offer at SL Controls include:
- Wellness benefits with multiple ongoing initiatives to promote good physical and mental health in the workplace
- Financial wellness seminars and independent employee one-to-ones with a Financial Advisor
- Employee Appreciation activities and initiatives
- Strong ESG focus and employee involvement
- Generous employee referral scheme
- Attendance rewards
- Income protection
- Additional annual leave based on service
Jess said: “One of the things that is very important to us at SL Controls is that everyone on the team experiences the benefits package that we offer. So, when we add, update, enhance, or improve one of our employee benefits, it applies across the board.
“Generally, our approach to employee benefits is forward-thinking and innovative. This has helped us attract the talented team that we have today.”
To find out more about working at SL Controls and to see the current vacancies that we have available, please visit the recruitment section on our website.
New Year – Time to Reflect on Your Career
New year, new career is a commonly used phrase. In fact, job websites often report a spike in activity over the New Year period and into January as people look for new opportunities. Whether you are thinking about changing jobs or not, the New Year is an ideal time for an exercise that we should all do more regularly – taking time to reflect.
This can be reflecting on any aspect of life, but for this blog, we are going to focus on reflecting on your career.
Assess How Far You’ve Come
There are many things that influence the direction of our careers. The economy is one, including the differing nature of the economy in various parts of the country. Technology can also influence career direction, particularly in industries like the one we work in at SL Controls where the pace of change is incredibly fast.
Personal ambition, changes in society, and personal factors also have an influence. Then there are times when career events happen because you were in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time.
The above makes it important to assess how far you have come in your career. Some questions you can answer include:
- What goals have you achieved?
- What goals are you still working on?
- What knowledge have you acquired?
- What new skills have you learned?
- Are there any good habits you have gained or bad habits you have dropped?
It is also helpful to answer the above questions in relation to the past year alone.
Other things you can reflect on include:
- What were your biggest challenges over the past year?
- What are the main positives you take from the year?
- What do you want to change or leave behind?
This reflection on your career to date and the past year specifically will help clarify what you want to do in the future.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Where do you see yourself at the end of the coming year and beyond? You might want to change job to work in a different field or different type of company, or you might want to move to a different part of the country. Maybe you are living abroad and want to return home.
It is then important to believe that you can do it, and you can do it now. One of the biggest differences between those who achieve their career goals and those who don’t is simply getting started.
So, get started by setting goals for your career and developing a plan. Maybe you need to acquire new skills or request an increased level of responsibility from your employer. Maybe you need to reach out to your network for new job opportunities or identify companies currently recruiting. The New Year period is the ideal time for making these plans.
Careers at SL Controls
If you decide you want to change jobs or progress your career at another company, we might have the position you are looking for here at SL Controls. Visit our recruitment page to find out more about the benefits we offer, what it is like to work here, and the vacancies we currently have available.
9 Soft Skills Engineers Need to Maximise Career Success
There has never been a better time to be an engineer. In many sectors, new technologies mean there are a growing number of opportunities for individuals with the right training and experience.
Therefore, it can be frustrating when you think you’ve got the perfect CV but don’t get that call back after your interview. The same applies when you don’t get a promotion you think you’re ready for. After all, you’ve got the right qualifications and technical abilities, so why didn’t you get the job?
Technical skills alone are no longer sufficient for many employers. Furthermore, technical skills alone will only take your career and levels of job satisfaction so far. So, what can you do?
One Common Career Mistake Engineers Make
Too often, engineers focus only on their technical skills and abilities, largely ignoring soft skills. Soft skills, however, are very important in almost all roles and industries.
By paying attention to the following nine important soft skills for engineers, you’ll make yourself more attractive to employers. You’ll also become a more rounded engineer, enhancing your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, and improving your overall engineering abilities as soft skills work.
Essential Soft Skills for Engineers
Communicating complex technical solutions in a way that clients understand is becoming increasingly important.
For example, as an engineer, you might have a tendency to focus on the technical detail when clients are often more interested in finding solutions to their specific problem and understanding the benefits to their business, i.e., they are not necessarily interested in abstract theories or high-level science, particularly at management level.
So, practice delivering highly technical information in as simple a way as possible while keeping your client’s perspective in mind.
Another thing to highlight when discussing communication skills is the fact that this is a category rather than a specific or isolated skill. In other words, improving your communication skills will involve improving a range of other soft skills. You may not need all the soft communication skills in the list below, but they include:
- Active listening skills
- Writing skills
- Presentation skills
- Non-verbal communication skills
Problem-solving usually involves successfully considering the pros and cons of each solution and finding the path with the least risk involved.
Interviewers often consider problem-solving skills during the recruitment process because they show how candidates deal with challenges. After all, project managers and other leaders like having team members who don’t bring every small difficulty to their doorstep.
Problem-solving skills can also help projects run more smoothly, as well as helping to improve the business overall.
You should also explore possibilities for improving other soft skills that are closely related to problem-solving skills. Examples include:
- Innovation skills
- Brainstorming skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Research skills
Having intellectual curiosity can also help improve your problem-solving skills. Being intellectually curious will help you think out-of-the-box, find solutions, and question why things are done the way they are.
In some situations, you can classify organisational skills as technical rather than soft. For example, good code needs to be well structured and organised. That said, there are also organisational skills you should improve that are non-technical.
These include punctuality, task management, and not taking on more tasks than you can handle.
Specific skills that come under the organisation soft skills umbrella include:
- Time management skills
- Goal-setting skills
- Planning skills
- Prioritisation skills
Finally with this one, there are apps available that help you stay organised, complementing your soft skills development.
A good definition of leadership as a soft skill is taking responsibility for yourself and also for the people you work alongside. Remember, you don’t have to be in a managerial position to be a leader. Leadership is also about things like keeping the right distance from a task (so you can see the bigger picture), setting the right example, and motivating others when things get tough.
Hone this skill, and don’t forget to celebrate your leadership successes. Remember them as best practice examples, too, so you can use them as a stepping stone for promotion.
Areas you can work on in relation to leadership skills include some already highlighted, such as communication skills and organisational skills. Strategic thinking, personal development, and team development skills are also important.
There are many engineering tasks that you will do alone. Writing code is a good example. Individuals can’t complete large engineering projects alone, however. Instead, they require teams and, by extension, teamwork.
As a result, teamwork is usually a non-negotiable soft skill in engineering. In other words, employers want you to be just as committed to successfully achieving team and company goals as you are to personal goals.
With rapidly advancing technologies, the reality of clients changing requirements, the increasing use of agile development techniques, and other factors, adaptability is an essential soft skill to improve. In fact, being willing and able to quickly adapt to situations is a skill highly valued by employers.
In engineering, creativity is about finding new ways of looking at things. By developing this valuable soft skill, you’ll be able to, for example, develop innovative products or project solutions. Creativity can also help you solve a problem or successfully deal with an unexpected situation.
Interpersonal Skills and Emotional Intelligence
Interpersonal skills are, in a sense, an umbrella term for several soft skills, including active listening, social perceptiveness, and being able to handle feedback. They all centre on emotional intelligence.
While it may not be possible to have great relationships with colleagues and others in all situations, developing your interpersonal skills will help you, those around you, and the company you work for.
Finally, giving customers more than they expect helps to nurture long-term and loyal relationships. After all, customers are crucial to the success of most businesses. As a result, companies are more focused on customers than ever before. Developing your own customer service skills will help you contribute to the company’s efforts.
How to Improve Your Soft Skills
You can complete training courses to improve your soft skills. Experience is important, too, so be open to taking on leadership responsibilities while also being adaptable and flexible. For example, be willing to take on new roles or projects, even if they are outside your comfort zone.
You should always be ready to learn, embracing constructive feedback from wherever it comes from. Building strong relationships and regularly communicating with those who can help you grow and develop will help too.
Developing a Continuous Improvement Mindset
Becoming a master of the soft skills above is a lifelong objective, so don’t expect to have all of them figured out quickly. Instead, focus on those you consider are your weakest, set goals, develop a plan, and constantly review your progress. The reward will be increased engineering success.
The Importance of Mechatronics Engineering and How to Become a Mechatronics Engineer
Mechatronics engineering is currently one of the most important fields of engineering in terms of Industry 4.0 and the ongoing technological advances this latest industrial revolution is bringing. Mechatronics engineers are pushing boundaries, enhancing productivity, and driving efficiency savings in a range of industries and sectors.
This includes the life sciences and technology manufacturing sectors. What exactly is mechatronics engineering, however, why is it so important, and how do you become a mechatronics engineer?
What is Mechatronics Engineering?
Mechatronics engineering involves the integration of electrical, mechanical, and software components to develop products, systems, and solutions. In other words, it is an interdisciplinary field of engineering.
Previously, you would have had mechanical engineers who would work on mechanical components and products, electrical engineers who would do all the electrical elements, and computer engineers who would look after the computer hardware and software aspects.
Modern solutions require much deeper integration of these engineering fields, creating the need for engineers with mechatronics skills.
It isn’t just electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, however, as mechatronics engineers also need expertise in a wide range of other technologies and specialisms. This will vary from company to company and project to project, but examples of the other technologies and specialisms that are commonly part of mechatronics engineering include systems engineering, robotics, controls engineering, data science, and software engineering.
Why Mechatronics Engineering is Important in Industry 4.0
There are many reasons why mechatronics engineering is important in Industry 4.0. Six of the most relevant are highlighted below.
Moving Towards the Smart Factory
Mechatronics engineering is essential for advancing automation in manufacturing and making factories smarter and more efficient. It also helps to optimise workflows and processes on production lines, improve OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), and deliver a range of other production and business benefits to manufacturing organisations.
Mechatronics is a field of engineering that advances and innovates on a daily basis. In the past, for example, automation might have involved automating and improving single production lines or parts of a production line. Today, however, automation technologies can involve a much wider range of business areas and processes. This includes automating decision-making and enhancing integration through all parts of the business, in addition to integrating operational technologies.
Mechatronics engineering is also important in Industry 4.0 because it is multidisciplinary. In the factories and industrial facilities of today, modern challenges require engineers with a broad range of skills. The field of mechatronics engineering provides companies with the engineering skills they need.
Reducing Labour Challenges
Mechatronics engineering is also helping to solve labour shortages in various industries. It is doing this by helping companies automate, reducing the need for staff to carry out repetitive tasks. This results in efficiency savings, but it also solves recruitment problems where companies struggle to hire and retain the staff they need.
Focus on Adding Value
This point follows on from the above point. Traditionally, manufacturers would employ staff to carry out manual and repetitive tasks. These tasks were essential, but they were not about adding value to the business or driving the business forward.
Solutions developed by mechatronics engineers allow staff to move away from these repetitive and manual tasks to instead work on tasks that are value-adding.
The field of mechatronics engineering helps companies remain competitive in a world where technologies are making it possible to do more with less, faster than before, and in a more personalised way.
For example, smart technologies exist that allow the integration of factories across multiple sites, as well as technologies that maximise output, flexibility, and reliability. This is the competitive environment faced by manufacturers across most industries, highlighting the need for continuous modernisation and improvement. The field of mechatronics engineering makes this continuous push to modernise and improve possible.
Becoming a Mechatronics Engineer
The starting point for becoming a mechatronics engineer is to get the right qualifications. An example is a mechatronics engineering bachelor’s degree. Another common route into the field is to get a mechanical engineering or electrical engineering degree first before moving into mechatronics. This could be through on-the-job training and experience or through further studies, including studying for a master’s in mechatronics.
You then need to gain as much experience as possible. Employers value experience as it demonstrates you have the multidisciplinary skills that are essential in the field of mechatronics engineering.
Finally, you need to commit to continuous professional development. Most engineering fields develop and change over time, but none more so than mechatronics engineering. So, constantly broadening and improving your skills is essential.