After finishing the one-month experience in pre-sales, I will be starting a new position in project engineering this month. Which I would say it might be the most familiar department to me since my current supervisor himself is the project engineer manager, and the placement student who is a year above me chose PE in his final phase. So, I am basically starting from PE department to be honest! Even if it was just shadowing besides the project engineers in my first month, I can already feel their heavy workload! Unlike in pre-sales that I was just basically constantly watching, but in PE I have got projects that needs to be done from day 1!
First and the most important bit to do in project engineering department is learning how to use AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a design software that can be used in architecture or schematics etc. which is also the key tool for project engineers to plot out their AV system design and layout for a project. Before actually learning it but just literally looking at others using it by zooming in and out and doing all that typing and dragging, I was like ‘Wow this is such a complex software’. Once I started to get my hands on the software, I still found it quite awkward while trying to familiarise all the functions and operating methods. However on the second day of using it, I can move around the entire drawing and using the common commands pretty smoothly. The first thing I got assigned to was to re-draw the previous design in the current standards also added on some new equipment to the existing system. As a person who just learnt to use AutoCAD for two days, it was quite a big drawing. But since it was just a re-drawn, which basically means what I need to do is to copy everything that was on the old schematics without doing any new design. By doing so, I can get a chance operate and use AutoCAD more smoothly and understand the standard layout and spacing which should be on the drawing. I think the most part that I got stuck on was to fully understand each of the connectors and cable types that are on the entire system. From USB, HDMI to 8-pin and 15-pin, you have to be very clear with every cable that are going to be put into the AV system. Since if one cable type is wrong, the whole system couldn’t work, which means your whole design is failed. Therefore, PE is the department that should know the whole system inside out.
I have spoken to a few PE and they always said one of the reasons that makes them enjoy their role is learning a new system or technology fully to carry out the functionality properly. Once they have done the design, they have got the transportable skills and knowledge to deal with any other similar projects. At the same time, to ask for help and help out the colleges within the team whenever they have come across problems. As I mentioned while in pre-sales, I have put together a solution summary for each common video conference systems. By the time, I was just simply sketched out what should be connected such as a codec into the display and using a extender in the middle etc. Since I have had a clear idea of how the system should be connected and routed with these kind of system, I am more confident to carry out the entire design for the similar system in PE but of course, using AutoCAD to sketch every single detail within the system.
What I really like about following through the project lifecycle is the process of building up myself from nothing to be able to draw out the smallest connectors that needs to be used in the system. Although there must have some red pens on my first few drawing but I really enjoy using AutoCAD to plot out the entire system after all the tiny bits adjustment that you need to make to let it look prefect. There should be some more cool stuffs for me to look at next week, and of course, I will bring the contents for sure! See ya then!