Univ Dates: 2012-2016
Degree: MEng Engineering
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Analog IC Design Engineer at Socionext Europe
Biography: Lydia Kirkham spent a year living in Dubai following graduation, where she worked as an Educational Consultant. After returning to the UK, she started working as an Analog IC Design Engineer at Socionext Europe, a leading global provider of System-on-Chip Solutions. She has worked on cutting edge 5nm and 7nm nodes, designing data converters at transistor level for networking technologies, which followed on from her research project during her final year at university. At Univ she was Boyle Society President and a student ambassador.
Did you have any preconceptions about Univ before you started? Were you right?
I had participated in Univ’s Engineering workshop during the summer before applying to University. I loved the college and the people I met, it really felt like home so quickly and so I knew that this was where I wanted to be. We worked till around midnight on the evening we stayed over, which gave me a fairly accurate representation of what life as an undergraduate would be like.
How did you find your interview?
I remember during my interview at Univ, Professor Steve Collins commented on the fact that he’d never seen someone smile so much during an interview. I assume I must have enjoyed it despite it being nerve-wracking.
Who was your biggest influence at Univ?
I was very close with the other Engineering students in my year at Univ. We used to spend considerable amounts of time working together on tute sheets and revision. They had such huge impact on my time at University and shaping me as a person. Professor Steve Collins was also very generous with offering us help and support throughout all four years. My answers seem very Engineering-heavy, but we did work quite a lot!
How did your time at Univ shape who you are now?
I used to be very shy as a child. Univ really brought me out of my shell, gave me a sense of belonging, and threw plenty of challenges and curve balls that taught me important skills that I still use today. Most of my close friends now are people I met at college, so it contributed significantly to my life today. The process of completing tute sheets and having tutorials, being organised, presenting your solutions and ideas; it gave me transferable skills that are crucial for any workplace I may find myself in.
Tell me about your work at Socionext Europe…
Since specialising in electronics at University, I’ve always had an interest in the semiconductors industry and loved designing transistor-level circuits. The job, however, is not all it’s cracked up to be and I have already decided to pursue a career outside of engineering in something better suited to me. I am currently looking into finance and data science/analysis, though I’m still trying to figure things out. Even after moving jobs, I don’t expect to suddenly know my long-term career goals, but as long as I enjoy the work, take advantage of every opportunity, and enjoy the journey, that’s all that really matters.
What do you think the importance of the Young Univ Gallery project is?
It’s important to make people aware of the vast opportunities you can have after graduation and the many career paths that are available. But it is even more important to demonstrate how it’s ok to not really know what you want to do after graduation. It’s ok to not enjoy a path you’ve taken and it’s never too late to change that path. It is daunting at times, but it’s a journey, and everyone’s journey is different.