Bushair Ahmed works as an electrical engineer for WorleyParsons in the United Arab Emirates. He explains how the first weeks were tough, as he proved himself professionally, and what surprised him about working life.
After graduating as an electrical and electronics engineer from a university in Dubai in 2007, I began looking for my first full-time job. Unlike many of my classmates, I found it quite easy to get a job. This was primarily because a day wouldn't pass without me applying to a new firm.
I contacted companies regardless of whether there were vacancies or not, and this was how I got my current job. I actually found the job hunting process very exciting. It took three to four months for me to land this job but I felt like I grew up a lot in that time as I learnt something useful from every interview I attended.
I currently work as an electrical engineer at WorleyParsons in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an Australian engineering consultancy firm which deals with the design and engineering of oil and gas projects. These include offshore platforms, gas treatment plants, oil pipelines and refineries.
My primary activities focus on electrical engineering work including the preparation of deliverables such as engineering calculations, specifications, data sheets and design reports and providing input and guidance to design personnel during the preparation of these.
There's also coordination with other disciplines, including provision of data for routine project progress reporting and management of the overall project schedule and budget. I also participate in project closeout activities including the interpretation of lessons learned as part of the company knowledge management system and archiving all final project documentation.
Although I have a lot to do now, my first few weeks in the role were tough because there wasn't any work for me to do. I found this a little difficult especially being in the early stages of my career, because I felt I needed to prove to my team and boss that I was proactive, diligent and willing to take on roles. But because there was no work, I had to discover other ways in which I could prove myself professionally.
What surprised me most working here was how there is a protocol to follow for every task. Whether it's producing documents/drawings/calculation notes, sending emails or communicating with clients, there's a protocol and procedure for everything! This sometimes makes even the simplest of things very complicated and time-consuming, I have to say.
My work is filled with steep learning curves; technical, professional and personal. I learn something new each day, and because of the kind of projects WorleyParsons deals with, each and every aspect of a project goes through scrutinising checks, reviews and comment cycles.
I believe that I have become more responsible through my experience at work, that's for sure. In my university days, I used to bunk classes whenever I felt tired. But as a professional I look at things differently now. I take leave only when it's really required. Even when I'm on leave I'm forced to stay in the loop by regularly checking my emails and making necessary decisions. In my university days I'd never even bother to look at the university campus when it was vacation time.
Working in engineering is very different from finance or business. There is never a time in this career when you can become complacent and think you know everything. There's a whole wide world of technical concepts and work experiences that always come as a surprise.
But the greatest advantage of being an engineer is that you can shift jobs, jump into different industries and keep looking for better offers. If the engineering major you've chosen is vast and the field does not stagnate, opportunities just keep coming your way.
My next goal? I plan to work towards professional registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng)!