Life as an Engineer

Working as an engineer for five years was an exciting part of my life. As a research and development technician in a pharmaceutical company, I tested the functionality and safety of auto injectors, nasal and buccal sprays, unidoses etc. Every week was different and brought new challenges. The two aspects I loved the most about my job were:

• The creative aspect: we were frequently creating new equipment and experiments to test new products and I was using a wide range of machines: force, pressure and sound sensors, leakage detection equipment, x ray machine, 3D printers, high speed camera etc.

• Working within a team and in collaboration with many people in different fields including health & safety, prototypes and material departments, chemistry labs, production, design engineers, packaging and advertisement teams, clients and suppliers from France, the US, the UK, Germany, Switzerland.

I am grateful to have worked as an engineer because it opened my eyes to all the tests needed before a product reaches the market. For example, for an auto injector:

• What is the force needed to pull the cap and to activate the device?

• How fast is the needle penetrating the skin/muscle? This allows evaluation of the degree of pain ´inflicted´ on the patient?

• At what depth is the drug delivered? The injection needs to happen in a precise place, and it is likely to start before the needle is fully inserted in the muscle.

• Are the end of injection indicators (visual and sound) obvious enough for the patients who need to use this device to make sure they receive their full dose?

• Does the auto injector still work after being dropped? Or stored in a fridge or stored for a long time etc.

Now, look around you and think about all the engineering work required to make the world function. From a simple teaspoon to an airplane, the possibilities are endless.

I’ll finish this piece with the advice from a colleague,

“Don’t wait for other people to notice your work. Be proud and tell everybody about it. Men tend to brag much more than women about everything they do so when a promotion is available, they tend to get it because managers are more aware of their skills and work”.

To my surprise, this was a quite accurate representation of what was happening in my company.

Be proud of yourself and of your accomplishments and tell everybody about it.

Juliette Gosselin

Engineer, Physicist, and Teacher