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Route into engineering
I studied a degree in Music Technology and Audio Systems after A-levels in Music Tech and Physics (amongst others). During the degree, I developed an interest in electroacoustics (think loudspeakers) and decided to study for a MSc in Acoustics. To do this I first had to take a Further Maths course with the Open University. I started a graduate role as an Acoustic Consultant 10 years ago and have gained expertise in both environmental and building acoustics.
Senior Acoustic Consultant at Ramboll UK Ltd.
I design the acoustics of buildings, which means how noise and sounds are controlled. This varies from measuring traffic noise so we know how much sound insulation a building's windows need to provide to be quiet indoors to designing the room acoustics (different surfaces) of performance spaces so that concerts and plays can be heard properly by everyone.
I could be in the office running environmental noise models or 3D models of room acoustics in a building. I could be out on-site measuring noise and vibration for a new development or inspecting details during construction. I could be in meetings with architects and other engineers to discuss the acoustic implications of all areas of building design (building materials, ventilation noise, noise impact on neighbours, how a room will sound as well as look). The list goes on!
You don't always have to follow a typical route into a career, there are many options and nothing should be treated as a closed door. And... it is OK to change your mind!
The best thing is that the work is varied and I work on many different projects at the same time. It is rare for me to be in the office every day. The worst thing is that some of my work is dependent on good weather (noise surveys can't take place in the rain) and I've occasionally sat in the car waiting for rain to stop in the middle of the night!
Being registered as a Chartered Engineer was a proud moment for me as it was recognition of all I had learnt since leaving University. In my role, there is always opportunity to learn more, not just about technical aspects of the work but how to work better as a team, how to put a larger focus on sustainability and much, much more.