On 2nd series of 1st Hand Experience, we have decided to interview a Project Manager in telecommunication field in which serving dedicatedly for an offshore environment. He is currently working with one of the top global telecommunication provider in the world. Hopefully his willingness to share experience with young engineers in Malaysia may be a beneficial insight. Let’s have a look at his thought, shall we?
What is the background needed to be an Engineer in telecommunication field that serve to O&G sector, specifically?
Diploma/HND/Degree in related engineering field; electrical, electronics, computer system.
We hardly heard about telecommunication works in O&G other than onshore works. Would you mind to elaborate further what day to day like from your perspective?
Telecommunication is the underlying and critical infra that enables the collaborationbetween remote locations; onshore and offshore alike and/to supply base/main office/HQ. Although an essential component in the daily operations; from exploration to production, the significance of telecommunication system are often overlooked.
A system that are not designed optimally, which otherwise should be redundant, resilient and robust, will cause unplanned interruptions that requires immediate rectification. It is often noted on the criticality of telecommunication system, when the remote site lost the connectivity back to its base and/or other sites.
Serving multitudes of clients, there have been instances where certain clients are frequently facing/fire-fighting multiple issues on their current telecommunication system, whereas others are allocating their resources to look beyond the current system and improving operational efficiencies. System architecture that are dynamic and designed for future tech and expansion plays significant role, especially in the digitalisation initiatives.
What motivate you to carry on working in telecommunication world since your graduation days?
Technologies and advancement in telecommunications have changed our lives significantly in almost every aspect; from e-commerce to personal health, and this will also certainly be the case for O&G industry.O&G is a high-tech industry, although in certain areas, are not highly adaptive to new technology, unless it is proven in the field.
The new approach in increasing productivity, requires new, effective way of communications. As an engineer, having the knowledge and skills to facilitate the necessary adoption of new telecommunication technologies for O&G industry constantly motivates me.
Have you been to overseas doing ground works (non office works)? What made this differ to Malaysia background?
On multiple occasions; covering Africa, Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, SEA and Oceania. The cultural diversity plays a significant role for personal and career growth. Working with workforce around the globe provides you with multiple, dynamic and critical thinking in approaching various situations; projects and operations alike.
One of the most noticeable differences are the power distance within organisation and/or countries. Understanding and able to work around the differences is key for an internationally recognized engineer/workforce.
What is your opinion on telecommunication with regards to IR4.0 in Malaysia? Do we still lagging behind?
We are lagging behind significantly. IR4.0 requires not just technology implementations in certain industry, but rather across industries with common framework. Industries in Malaysia are segmented, including energy. With fragmented approach, the cost for implementation sometimes are prohibitively high / significant enough, creating a high entry barrier.
Common infra that can be used across industries in various geographical areas is key and appropriate security and network design architecture have to be applied to ensure robust system to cater multiple users; corporate and personal alike, simultaneously. Unless the industries main players and/or agencies starts to collaborate with various stakeholders, it is a monumental task.
Graduates these days are facing enormous amount of challenges as compared to your days. Labour market is so competitive. Is it adequate to have Bachelor degree today in order to secure an employment?
A degree provides the academic assurance of the candidate. However, employers look for qualities beyond that; the attitude to pursue knowledge. Although in some cases the degree do plays a role, often a passionate and ‘street-smart’ candidate is chosen over for a position offered.
An engineer is to offer the future employer a reliable hand for exploring options in resolving engineering issues and not just a mere executor. As such, critical thinking and being resourceful are skills that are looked upon by employer, beyond the degree itself.
Malaysia is sitting on top of Power Distance Index, how do you foresee communication challenges in Malaysia as compared to other nation that you have been to? What effect it will bring to national economy?
Exposure to cultural diversity is crucial to equip the local workforce. We are in a global economy era, having to work with people of various cultures and background. It is not a matter of choice. It is rather the current reality and for the foreseeable future. Power Distance Index is merely an indicator. Nothing more. It is how the workforce anticipating such situation to their advantage that will help them to propel further.
Does MBA is a good 2nd degree education to pursue for engineering student right after their graduation?
Get your hands dirty and learn the trick of the market, opportunities and career prospects first. Learning is a lifelong journey. Definitely not just for a piece of paper. No right or wrong answer to pursue for an MBA and/or second degree. Learn what you want and need to advance your career. It can be formal degree, professional certification, or even just for personal knowledge.
It is an investment for yourself. Look at it from an ROI point of view; be it monetary, career progression or personal achievement. Chart your own path. There are various courses that are offered for free by reputable, top universities in the world. Pursue that, if knowledge is the ultimate goal. If in doubt, ask yourself.. “What about this degree/certification/etc, that is so important to me?”
What is the best thing about MBA to complement Bachelor degree in engineering?
The methodological approach to compliment and enhance the engineering skills into business/management.
Do you have any advise for young generation prior to their graduation?
Learn to live your life outside the campus life. Get involved with the society. Get in touch with reality. Explore options way before graduation.
We would like to express our gratitude to Project Manager for his thoughtful engaging session. Hopefully young mind in Malaysia may keep a note on his advises.