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My Professional Training experience – Hashim Shamsi (MEng Electronic Engineering) at National Instruments

“My experience on placement has inspired me to seek out client-facing roles where I can interact with people on a daily basis and solve their problems.”

Spending his Professional Training placement year with National Instruments (NI) has given Hashim Shamsi the opportunity not only to work closely with customers, but also to pursue his own creative technical project: a digital pedal which enables electric guitar players to create their own unique sound effects.

Working within the Applications Engineering department at NI, Hashim’s primary role was to provide customers with consultative advice on their applications, while he also had plenty of opportunities to go out and teach courses in NI software and hardware at other customer sites.

“During my placement, I developed broad technical skills relating not only to NI products but also to real world industrial applications – from industrial communications protocols to networking.

“I also learnt how to better identify customer needs and manage customer expectations, and – by teaching customers about our software and hardware – I improved my communication and presentation skills. In fact as a result of my presentations over the year, NI has asked me to teach similar courses to students now that I’m back at Surrey,” says Hashim.

He adds: “My digital guitar pedal project was a significant achievement because it allowed me to develop my digital signal processing and programming skills while also pursuing one of my passions – playing the guitar.”

Hashim, who is studying on Surrey’s MEng Electronic Engineering programme, applied for the placement in the second semester of his first year, and was invited to attend an assessment centre. “I applied early, having been convinced during various talks at Surrey of the importance of doing an industrial placement year,” he says. “It was the first assessment centre I’d attended and although I felt nervous on the morning of the interview, in reality the day was very relaxing and the people very welcoming.”

Now back at Surrey, Hashim has firm ideas about his future career. He says: “My experience on placement has inspired me to seek out client-facing roles where I can interact with people on a daily basis and solve their problems. Technology consulting springs to mind.”

He adds: “Industrial experience is really important when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. Because of the broad range of skills it enables you to develop, in some cases it can be that key thing that differentiates you from other applicants.”

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