Mazvydas Mark Narvidas
- Course: Mechatronics and Robotics (Industrial) MEng
- Job title: Applications Engineer
- Company: National Instruments
Describe a typical day.
As an Applications Engineer at National Instruments your key role is to work with, and support, customers from major engineering companies and UK universities. However, one could hardly call it a typical office job due to the many opportunities to go out and deliver seminars, teach, participate in conferences and events and meet customers. This made working at National Instruments interesting, dynamic and rewarding.
What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any projects?
I really enjoyed the versatility of the job. Besides being able to travel and teach training courses and seminars, I also had the chance to work on two separate projects: colour detecting rover and a draughts-playing robotic arm. I have also greatly enjoyed my rotation to the Technical Marketing department where I was able to develop a different, but just as valuable, skill set and got involved in co-organising the company's second largest conference – Automated Test Summit 2014.
Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?
Being a promising student who is on the Dean’s List for academic excellence, motivated me to go and apply the knowledge I have gained at University into practise. Not only that, realising how competitive the current job market is, I felt that a year in industry would help kick-start my career and give me a competitive edge. Little did I know at the time of applying how beneficial the placement year actually was. Not only do I know exactly where I want to be after I graduate, but there are numerous new opportunities for me to pursue, due to connections and expertise I have gained.
What did you hope to get out of this experience?
I hoped to get my foot in the door and have the opportunity to showcase my skills and potential. Most of all, by doing a placement so closely related to support and social interaction, I hoped to increase my formal communication skills as much as possible. Therefore, after proving myself as someone who can handle a heavy workload and assist engineers with advanced projects, I was moved to key support, the first time an intern had been given this role at the company. The same quarter, I was also awarded the exceptional customer feedback award, having the highest customer satisfaction score in the whole department.
Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?
Start thinking about your career early. Develop your interview skills by exploiting the fantastic employability facilities that our University has to offer. Build confidence by getting engaged in extra-curricular activities or personal projects. Being able to talk about these additional undertakings will enable you to stand out from the crowd and make a long-lasting impression. Most of all, never be afraid to ask questions during the interview process and the actual placement. Communication is the key to success.