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Incorporated Engineer (IEng)

Gabriela Balas IEng MIET

Published: 26/11/2020

Gabriela BalasEducation and qualifications:
BEng Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Technical University, Romania

Job title:
Senior Electrical Engineer

Employer:
Crookes Walker Consulting

What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I wanted to become an engineer since I was a child - spending a lot of time with my father taught me how to use tools safely and I was very curious about how electricity works. My aunt also inspired me to become an engineer, so after studying Computer Science at High School I decided to go to a technical university. At university I enjoyed using Autodesk software to produce drawings of both electrical motors and buildings, but also found it interesting to go on site and see the project brought to life. By the time I had completed my degree in electrical engineering I knew I wanted to start my career in building services where I could do both design and on-site work.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
My duties as Senior Electrical Engineer include agreeing project deliverables with project managers, carrying out detailed designs, writing reports, planning the delivery of projects and monitoring progress on-site, as well as attending internal, client and site meetings. I take ownership of every activity undertaken and self-check all outputs. I attend site and produce site inspection reports to identify any issues on site, monitor the contractor’s standards of installation, workmanship and materials, and record progress against the overall construction programme.

Can you describe a typical working day?
I would say that no day is the same as every day I face new challenges. My typical working day consists of team meetings, internal and external conversations, and client discussions as I believe communication is important in delivering a great project. I also write reports, produce drawings and other documentation and delegate tasks to other members of my team. On other days, I attend site inspections and surveys to monitor the progress and quality of work on site and liaise with the contractor to ensure the client requirements are met.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Working on a variety of projects makes my work interesting and challenging as every project has something different and I get to learn something every day.

As an electrical engineer I have to ensure that the designs I produce can be constructed safely, as well as be maintained safely in accordance with the Construction Design Management (CDM) regulations. I have to ensure the electrical systems will be installed, maintained, tested and replaced easily, cost-effectively and most importantly safely. Working on Grade II listed buildings is more challenging and requires knowledge and expertise.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I enjoy bringing buildings to life. It is satisfying seeing a successful scheme that can enhance productivity, improve wellbeing, and can enhance the built environment. Being an electrical engineer helps me appreciate how important a good lighting design or a well-coordinated system is. I also enjoy meeting and working with different people and learning from other engineers.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I have been working on my professional registration application and I was thrilled to achieve Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status few months ago.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Professional registration has a great value for me as it is a recognition of my professionalism and hard work, demonstrating that I have reached a standard acknowledged by my peers. I wanted to go to the next step of my career ladder and IEng status was a step closer to achieving Chartered status, which is my main goal.

In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Professional registration has opened the door to a wider engineering community and I am glad to be part of it. I have recently achieved IEng and I am looking forward to seeing where this significant milestone as a professional engineer takes me!

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Professional registration is a recognition of professionalism and gives confidence that the people working within the organisation are competent engineers.

The skills and competences gained while working towards professional registration are of great benefit to myself and my employer. As a professionally registered engineer I have to continue my own development through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and research, so my employer can be assured that I keep up to date with fast-moving technology.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
I would say it’s never too late and there’s no better time than now to achieve your goals. Professional registration not only offers confidence and professional recognition, but it also makes you feel accomplished.  

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In the next five years I want to become a Chartered Engineer (CEng). Gaining professional registration as a CEng will be recognition of my engineering achievements. Achieving this will involve taking on a management role and contributing to the company’s financial planning. I am fortunate to work in a company that supports young engineers with their professional registration. I will be focusing on developing my management skills through work experience and continuing to work on challenging projects.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
Whenever I have free time I like to volunteer and help people with their professional registration. I am Secretary for The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Professionals Manchester group and apart from my secretarial role I organise events and CPD for members and non-members of IET.

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