The future of engineering is bright

Naval Group’s estimated $50 billion deal to build 12 Attack-class submarines for the Royal Australian Navy has proved a boon for acoustic engineer Siobhan Giles. The 31 year old with a double degree in engineering and science has been working first-hand on the submarine project in Cherbourg, France.

1) What appealed to you about the job?

When I heard that Naval Group had won the contract to build Australia’s next generation of submarines, I was instantly compelled. I was working on the government side of the project at the time, but felt drawn to get involved in a more direct way and see the design take shape firsthand. Working on this program with Naval Group also gave me the opportunity to work in Cherbourg, France, amongst my French colleagues. The challenge of packing up my life, moving overseas to learn a new language and culture was too great to pass on – what other job can set you up for an experience like that?

2) What does the job actually entail?

In my role, I ensure the overall design for the Attack class submarine meets the acoustic signature targets. Each element of the deign must operate while emitting as little noise as possible. Along with the other acoustics engineers, I interface with the other engineering teams to ensure their designs meet acoustic requirements and everything interacts together, as quietly as possible.

3) Where do you see engineering heading in the future?

Any new technology or design challenge is a potential project for an engineer. For those who are inquisitive, creative and enjoy problem solving, there is always a new engineering challenge, a new technology to imagine, something to be created in a new, innovative way. The future of engineering is heading toward whatever new technologies we’re using and whatever new problems need solving and for this reason, it is always and exciting and diverse field.

As the engineering workforce diversifies, I think we will benefit from new ideas and approaches to old problems as well. New perspectives will bring fresh thinking and enhanced creativity to engineering problems, which will be a great advantage to the industry.