So here’s to the next 10 years and where engineering will take me

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I’m a professional engineer and I’m currently teaching engineering at Cape Breton University. I always liked being creative and solving problems, and only by fluke did I come to learn that engineering would provide me the opportunity to pursue a career that allows me to do both.
Coming out of high school, I knew that I wanted to do something in the maths and sciences. Engineering appealed to me because I knew I could start working as soon as I graduated with degree. I did my first 2 years of school at Cape Breton University and finished my degree at Dalhousie University. Upon graduation, I moved across country to work in Fort McMurray.
When I started on the path to become an engineer, I totally did not understand what it means to be an engineer. It’s still very hard to explain to other people what an engineer does. The reason for this is because very few engineers do the exact same thing. And we continuously change roles. In the 9 years since I’ve graduated, I’ve had 7 completely different roles and job titles. I’ve lead investigation teams to look into high profile incidents which have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. I’ve climbed around the insides of multi-story distillation towers to perform inspections. I’ve run trials and troubleshooted chemical reactors. And now I’m helping bright young minds discover their potential. The long list of vastly different things that I’ve gotten to do because I’m an engineer makes me so happy that I’ve stumbled on this career path.
Being an engineer has also transferred over into my personal life. It has given me confidence to take on challenges. It has given me the skills to know how to approach any problem that arises in my life. If not for this confidence and these skills, I would never have taken a year off from work to sail around North America. My fiancé and I completed a 10 month long trip last year from Vancouver to Cape Breton (via the Panama Canal) on our sail boat, visiting 14 countries along the way. As an engineer, I had experience with planning big projects and mitigating risk, which is exactly the experience I needed to be able to safely navigate this undertaking.
If you would have told me 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago the things that things that I would get to do, then I would have been shocked. Probably, I would not have believed you. So here’s to the next 10 years and where engineering will take me.

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