CEng - Proving yourself professionally

Dr Andy Troup is a physicist at Cambridge Design Partnership, a consulting company that develops new medical, consumer and clean-tech products.

Here he explains his route to becoming a Chartered Engineer.

“I applied for chartered status for a number of reasons. Firstly, to continue my professional development: it’s important to me that I strive to improve myself professionally, and be seen to take my career path seriously. CEng status is an additional means to achieving this goal.

Practical applications
Secondly, as a physicist in an engineering environment, I sometimes have to explain to clients that I am a practical physicist. I see myself as sitting on the fence between physics and engineering, and I have chosen a career path that allows me to pursue both of these areas without pigeonholing myself as a physicist.

Sometimes clients, especially those with non-technical backgrounds, will assume I am only academically minded – that I work at a blackboard with a chunk of chalk writing equations. I therefore also applied for CEng status to ensure clients and other professionals realise that I work in a practical, professional environment.

Thirdly, I applied for CEng status as it allowed me to meet similar-minded professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. You never know where you will end up in your career and it is always important to network with as many people as possible.

Competitive edge
My employer was very supportive. As a product development company, we regularly deal with professionals in the medical, industrial and consumer sectors who appreciate that a chartered status represents a certain level of skills and experience. It’s therefore another tool to market the company’s skill-set.

I found out about the CEng status originally through my father, who is also a Chartered Physicist and Chartered Engineer. This was yet another reason to get chartered, as I tend to be rather competitive with my father!

Demonstrating your skills
Experience in an engineering environment is very important to achieving chartership. This includes experience in team leadership and dealing with clients. It’s important to build up a series of case studies where you can show people how you have contributed professionally to the engineering sector.

In my case, this was through discussions of products I have helped develop in the medical, industrial and consumer sectors. Having amazing academic qualifications is all well and good, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t use that knowledge in the real world. I know plenty of people who have hardly any qualifications to their name, but they are incredible engineers because they have years of experience to call upon.

The application process
The application form was not difficult, but it took time to assemble the right information and acquire supporters for my application. The interviews in London were fun and I enjoyed chatting about my experience and that of the examiner. I had originally assumed it would be like my PhD viva, but it was far more laid-back and amiable. If you’re in a similar position to me, then I can highly recommend applying.

About Andy Troup
Andy Troup, 31, is a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist. He holds a PhD in Physics from Cambridge University and an MSci in Physics from Bristol University. Between his PhD and joining Cambridge Design Partnership he worked as a device physicist for Hitachi Europe Ltd.