Left: Ang Liang Sheng, a Senior Engineer of Avionics Engineering Services at ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector, works on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft components. She is a recipient of the ST Engineering Local Scholarship and holds a Bachelor in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Nanyang Technological University.
Right: Sia Han Wei coordinates R&D reporting in his role as Senior Engineer at the CTO Office. He is an ST Engineering Overseas Scholar, and holds a Master of Engineering from University of Cambridge. Han Wei is pursuing a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering part-time at National University of Singapore.
ST Engineering is a truly global technology giant with specialisations in many key sectors ranging from aerospace to smart city projects. Its network of subsidiaries spans more than 20 countries stretching from Asia to the United States. As such, it is home to engineers of many disciplines, and one of the top companies to aspire for if you are looking to become one.
When Sia Han Wei and Ang Liang Sheng were looking to become engineers, ST Engineering was high on their list; not for just the calibre of the company, but also for the wide range of possible roles available. Indeed, as an aspiring engineer at ST Engineering, the world is in your oyster.
Inspired by Spacecraft
Han Wei hadn’t planned on an R&D role, but it was something he grew into during his journey. A keen student of physics and maths, he gravitated towards the field of engineering.
Following a scholarship presentation at school, of which ST Engineering was one of the participants, Han Wei proceeded to visit the Brightsparks portal to search for companies that offered engineering scholarships. “I knew at the time that I wanted to study engineering and I got a place in a school overseas. ST Engineering is one of the biggest engineering companies, so I applied for the scholarship,” he explained. “At the time, I wasn’t sure which field of engineering I wanted [to specialise in] and I thought that ST Engineering was very diverse with a lot of sectors and fields and it would be a good choice.”
It was only in his second year in university that he came to realise that he wanted to specialise in electrical engineering. “I found an area that I liked – Control Systems,” he said. The Space X landing, which took place while he was in his third year, had been a defining moment for Han Wei, and actualised his interest in the topic. “Control Systems is using sensors as a feedback mechanism so you can control the system to behave in some way that you like. For example you can look at the Space X rocket when they land – it’s an unstable system by itself – but through controlling the actuators, grid fins, and throttle they can manage to stabilise it and control it to land exactly where it took off from,” he elaborated.
Fits like a Glove
After graduation, Han Wei’s transition to working life could not be more seamless. “I work closely with a colleague who is about the same age, and we work well together. Our boss lets us take ownership of our projects, and he doesn’t micromanage us,” he said. Reporting to the Chief Technology Officer’s (CTO) office, Han Wei coordinates R&D reporting and works on two data analytics projects. One involves predictive maintenance, which is working out a means to accurately predict when an engine will fail and take action before it does, and the other being inventory management, where they utilise past data to accurately predict inventory use to optimise restocking schedules and reduce costs.
Han Wei hopes to move into a more technical role in future to further the breadth of his work experience, but he need not have to worry about a lack of opportunity, as he would be given the chance to move around after his third year at the company. Presently, he is very comfortable, and he reflected on the consideration prospective scholars should give to finding the right fit.
“You need to make sure that the company is aligned with your interests, because you need to work there,” he advised. “Take a look at the companies’ portfolio and attend the scholarship sessions and what they do and see if the work is in line with what you want to do. Do internships if you can during your holidays.”
Even from an early age, Liang Sheng knew that she wanted to join the Aerospace industry.
“When I was a child, I had the opportunity to visit the air show, which was because of it, I got interested in the aerospace industry,” she explained.
While most would understandably dream of being a pilot after a visit to these shows, Liang Sheng found the idea of being an aircraft engineer to be attractive. She would eventually be drawn to a career in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), after experiencing the workings of MRO in China during an exchange programme.
Liang Sheng concluded early on that she preferred physics over the biological sciences and decided to continue her education at a polytechnic as it offered aerospace electronics in its curriculum. There, she discovered the ST Engineering Scholarship through a scholarship outreach.
A Window of Opportunity
Fully aware that her ideal career was niche, Liang Sheng recognised that a scholarship was an excellent way to enter the industry and accorded many learning opportunities as well. “ST Engineering also provides internship offers during my undergraduate days for me to learn and understand the various sectors and businesses within the company,” she explained. She added that throughout her course of study, scholars under the programme would have regular meetups and various CEOs were invited to share about their respective industries.
Now settled into her role as an Avionics Engineer at ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector, Liang Sheng works on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft components. “I develop repair capabilities for new avionics components. We will bring these components in to see how we can have capabilities to repair them so that in future we can get customers to send us these components instead [of back to the manufacturer],” she explained. She is also a Continuous Improvement Project Manager, heading projects that improve efficiency and productivity to make their products and services more competitive.
Feels like Home
Liang Sheng was also effusive about her working environment. “I feel like it is like family. Whenever I have issues I will just ask around – I get to interact with different personnel who have great knowledge in their specific area; who will explain to me what is going on and help me learn,” she added. When we spoke, she was on the verge of moving on to a new role as a project manager focusing on production, which was a role that Liang Sheng had requested, and the company was happy to oblige.
For most people, the unrelenting sound of passing aeroplanes may be overwhelming. But for Liang Sheng, it is music to her ears as it gives her a sense of satisfaction that her work keeps these planes flying safely. For prospective scholars, it is also a reminder of how important it is to find your calling.
“The career opportunities and development are what await as the scholar steps out into the workforce. It is especially important for one to choose a scholarship where the career opportunities that entails are in sync with one’s interest. I would advise aspiring scholars to seek the chance to speak to prospective in the industry to understand their field of work.”