System engineer with dreams of flight
Newly employed as system engineer at Semcon, Aya Fadhil is looking forward to exploring the work in several different areas and industries. In her Semcon Story, she tells of how her interest in flight led to her studying for a degree in engineering and what it’s like to work in an industry still dominated by men.
In my role as system engineer, I am responsible for a system’s requirements specification. This means that I translate the customer’s ideas for a particular function or product into different requirements that are then used by the team that builds the product or system. The customer specifies what a system needs to be able to handle.cOn that basis, the system engineer then works in a structured way, following standards and using different methods, in order to draw up requirements according to which the system (or product) is built, and which allow it to comply with the rules, standards and requirements applicable within a specific area or industry. Among other things, the requirements must be testable, not open to interpretation, and allow an individual requirement to be changed without affecting the other requirements.
So how did I end up here? Well, I have nurtured an interest in technology for a long time. I have always been interested in flight and space, and when I was younger, I spent a lot of time playing with aircrafts and I dreamt about becoming a pilot early on. If it turned out that I fell short of the requirements to become a pilot then I could become an aeronautical engineer. After that, it was my family who thought that choosing something with a broader scope could provide better opportunities in life. It would still be possible to become a pilot by earning a private pilot licence. Now I’m glad I listened to them and chose an education whose knowledge can be applied in several different areas, among them flight.
But it was still my interest in flight and space that led me to choose the education from which I have now graduated. The course is called the “Degree programme in Reliable Aerospace Systems”, but the knowledge can be applied to different types of systems with high requirements for reliability. Examples include the automotive industry in the development of autonomous cars, medical technology, trains and space flight vehicles. Once I’d started my studies, I realised how varied and enjoyable it was to work with safety critical systems and to be part of building the right system from the beginning, to draw up requirements, and to minimise the risk of errors in order to save money, time and resources. It gave me a broader perspective of the area and broadened my interest further than just flight.
I am a positive and high-energy person who always tries to look on the positive side. I enjoy varying tasks and to be able to work in a variety of roles. What attracted me to accept the job here at Semcon was that as a consultant I would get the opportunity to try out different things and find what I found enjoyable and stimulating. Now I look forward to finding my place at work and, in a few years, I want to find my specialist area. My dream project is to work with flight at some point in the future, but I enjoy working with analysis, and I am passionate about using different analysis methods. Time will tell whether my role will be verification and validation engineer, system engineer or something else, regardless of whether the application is in the automotive, aerospace or railway industry. For me, it’s important that tasks are challenging and that there is always the opportunity to learn new things.
I knew before I started studying that the industry was male-dominated and I was one of only two girls on the course, with none the previous year. But I would really encourage more girls to take this type of course. I think many girls choose not to study or work in this area precisely because they know that there are only a few girls in the industry. But if more girls enter the tech industry, with a better gender balance, the image of who can study engineering and work in technical professions will also change. I like to tell young people that it’s a profession with equal opportunities. The actual working climate in the companies I have had contact with has been good. I felt that we were listened to and that there was an interest in taking on board what we had to say and our ideas, and this changed my perception of the conditions in the industry in a positive way.
To young people who are thinking about education and training in this industry, I would like to say that they should not be afraid to start taking these types of courses, to take them on as a challenge. Regardless of whether you are a young woman or a young man, if you devote the time to studying, you will succeed. I have noticed how many people shy away in the belief that only a certain type of person can succeed in this type of education and training. They have their images of what is and is not possible, and that’s something I would really like to change.
Title: System Engineer at Semcon’s office in Västerås
Education: Degree programme in “Reliable Aerospace Systems”
Worked at Semcon since: September 2022
I have most fun at work when I…: meet colleagues and have discussions with them about both work-related things and other things.