My first job as an engineer
Preow Bäckström is a trained mechanical engineer and out on the first assignment of her life as Mechanical Design Engineer at a large Swedish industrial company. Her interest in engineering and mathematics came early in life and Preow describes herself as a problem-solver who likes to look at things from a different perspective.
My mom and I moved from Thailand to Sweden when I was eight years old so that I could have a better future and the opportunity for a good education. And now I’ve got my first job as a fully trained engineer, so you can really say that the plan worked!
I’ve been working alongside my studies since I was sixteen and I really like having a lot going on and having varied work tasks with a lot of responsibility. My last job before I started at Semcon was as a serving manager at a restaurant, where I was responsible for the restaurant as a whole. A job that required an excellent feel for quality, customer understanding, and organisational skills.
Curious about technology
It is perhaps a little unusual for someone who has worked in the restaurant business for seven years to switch over to the engineering industry. But I’ve always been interested in technology and engineering and this interest first originated from my dad. It was he who inspired me to become an engineer. He has a background in engineering and has always been good at technical stuff, and he’s very solution-oriented. When I was little, I was always fascinated that he could, for example, fix the computer when it broke down, get the TV going again when it was on the fritz, renovate the entire apartment, and so on. There isn’t much that my dad can’t fix. This made me curious about how things worked.
My greatest interests are in engineering and mathematics – that’s something I’ve had since childhood. I’ve always pushed myself to improve and develop in the areas that interest me. I’m a problem-solver who constantly sees the development possibilities of products in my everyday life. A constant interest in finding better or more effective solutions by thinking outside the box.
The mix of theory and practice
I studied engineering in upper-secondary school, although there it was in architecture and sustainable spatial planning. It was during my architecture classes that I realised I liked to sketch and design. This led me to the Jönköping University School of Engineering, where I studied mechanical engineering in product development and design. Here, I got to sketch, CAD and develop new things – and always with maths courses in parallel with the practical courses. It was a perfect match for me! During the programme, I acquired both theoretical and practical knowledge about all parts of the product development process.
Construction, design and project management
Now I’m out on my first assignment ever as an engineer. My role is Mechanical Design Engineer at a big company that develops different types of machines and tools and I’m involved in two projects concurrently. One is about designing and making CAD adaptations to communication equipment, and in the other project, which also deals with communication equipment, I’m a project manager.
What makes me develop at work is when I get to challenge my skills and learn from my colleagues’ knowledge. And being allowed to make mistakes so that I can learn from them and develop to get better. No one is perfect. I would say that where I am today is one of my dream jobs. I get to be involved in creating and developing products that are not yet on the market. Finding better and more effective solutions. Here, I can mix working with engineering, CAD, design and project management, which is what I want to do. The team possesses so much knowledge that I am just so fascinated by, and I feel quite proud that I get to belong to this team. Another dream job, besides the job I have now, would be to design aeroplanes. I think it’s so cool that we humans have developed aeroplanes that can transport people and things to the other side of the globe in just a few hours.
Title: Mechanical Design Engineer
Education: Mechanical Engineering in Product Development and Design, Jönköping University School of Engineering
Worked at Semcon since: August 2022
I have the most fun at work when: I get to use my creativity and talk to my colleagues during coffee breaks!