Name: Oana

Sponsor: Siemens Digital Industries Software

University: University of Southampton

Degree Course: MEng Electronic Engineering with Industrial Studies

Oana joined us when we were still UltraSoC, and continued her placement when we were acquired by Siemens.

What appeals to you about Electronics?

Electronics is incredibly exciting, shaping the future through innovation. It’s constantly evolving, offering infinite opportunities at university and beyond. There’s never an end to what I can learn or how far I can branch out; asking 100 Electronics Engineers what they do would get me 1,000 different answers!

Why I chose UltraSoC / Siemens

I wanted to learn what makes companies work, from the engineers, marketing, and even executives. A start-up, especially with a blend of hardware and software, seemed the perfect fit. I was also amazed by the spectrum of industry players working with the company. When I first met the team during my interview, I knew I’d made the right choice. They made me feel welcome, and I was already laughing with them while learning so much!

My placement and its value

My placements have been fantastic, the team make me feel truly valued, and a member of their team! Last year I developed customer demos for a new method of configuring Embedded Analytics modules. Combining high-level languages such as Python with hardware-level understanding of FPGAs was challenging and exciting, as I was ‘learning by doing’. Now, through my ‘Industrial Studies’, I’ve started a 12-month placement as Software Engineer, working on Secure-CAV. This is an innovative project investigating and mitigating cybersecurity threats to Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Although I’m a Software Engineer, I’m developing my Electronics skills, using C on SoCs to interact with Embedded Analytics modules through FPGAs. Besides Electronics, my placements have taught me that it’s people who really make a company special; ‘company culture’ is far more than a buzzword!

My interests

I see strong connections between engineering and art, as both encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Whether through life drawing sessions, creating mixed media installations, composing pieces on the piano, or designing fonts, art makes me a better engineer by making me pay attention to details (invaluable for debugging!) and appreciate the sociocultural impact of my engineering work. To give back to my community, I’m coordinating Southampton Hub’s ‘Invent Plus’ outreach programme, introducing disadvantaged schoolchildren to engineering through practical workshops, to narrow the STEM gap. I also go gliding, but not remotely! To maintain my interest in aerospace I joined the Spaceflight society, working on a CubeSat ground station.

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