A Day in the Life of a Project Engineer

Jia Xian is a Project Engineer at Rohde & Schwarz Asia. He has a B. Eng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, 2016.

6.30AM

I wake up at 6.30am daily, have breakfast, walk the dog and leave for work.

8.30AM

I typically reach work at about 8.30am. I take this time to check and reply my emails as the office is still relatively quiet at this time. There is a light-hearted joke that engineers are better known for their technical craft than their communication skills. However, when there is an exchange between two non-native English parties, like between a German engineer and a Chinese engineer, I noticed they would still managed to understand each other.

I also check if I have any meetings, teleconferences or trainings scheduled for the day that I need to prepare for. Finally, I cannot forget about my cup of coffee – a vital component for me to kick-start my day.

9.30AM

This is the time for the daily morning department brief, where we update one another on each department and project status. Every engineer will also share his or her tasks for the day. This is when we discuss and address technical issues; for instance, any hardware impediments faced during project implementations, software glitches and unexpected client requirements. As my work experience broadens, I often find myself adding context to these discussions.

10AM

My engineering tasks include design, test, implementation and commissioning of electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) projects. EMC can be broken down into four parts – radiated emission (RE), conducted emission (CE), radiated susceptibility (RS) and conducted susceptibility (CS). I review the project technical requirements and devise a solution. Most EMC projects are related in one way or another so it is common to modify current project designs to fulfil new technical requirements. Although our engineers work individually on these projects, it is common practice to discuss our work and share ideas with one another, especially if we hit a roadblock.

12PM

At 12pm, I have lunch with colleagues at nearby malls and coffee shops. I am based at our Loyang plant where we have a bus catered to take us to different places for lunch every day. This is great so we would not get bored of having lunch at the same place everytime!

1PM

After lunch, if I have no meetings, teleconferences or trainings scheduled for the day, I get started on a factory acceptance test (FAT) for an EMC project. All EMC projects must pass the FAT before shipment from factory to client. A typical FAT for an EMC project includes the process of delivery checks for hundreds of items, functional tests for individual equipment, electrical safety tests for system racks, cable calibrations, amplifier tests and dozens of system operational tests. Depending on the size and complexity of the EMC project, an FAT may last anytime between three days to up to three weeks.

Apart from our EMC projects, every engineer specialises in an area of wireless communications. I specialise in radio frequency (RF) amplifiers. RF amplifiers are key components in a RS/CS system and may take up to 30 to 40 percent of the total project cost. Hence, if a colleague needs me to aid him in an amplifier issue, this will typically take an hour or two of my time.

5.45PM

Around 5.45pm, I clean up my office desk and FAT area in line with the 5S methodology – Sort (Seiri), Set (Seiton), Shine (Seisou), Standardize (Seiketsu) and Sustain (Shitsuke). I typically leave the office for home at 6pm.

7.00PM

At 7pm, I have dinner with my family and walk the dog around the estate. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I join Tampines Safra Running Club for their bi-weekly runs to stay healthy. I usually turn in at 11pm.