A Day in the Life of a Product Engineer


Rise and shine

The typical day usually starts anywhere between 07:00 -07:30; I’m usually one of the first people to get into the office.

Being a morning person usually helps with roles such as this because many of our suppliers are based in China/Taiwan, allowing a period where our far eastern contacts are still contactable.

The first thing on the to do list – Make the first hot drink of the day, to fuel the brain and kick-start my projects!

The power hour

The first hour is highly productive. I call it my power hour. Being one of the first in the office, it allows me to focus and respond to queries from our far eastern supply chain and complete the most critical tasks before the typical office environment’s hustle and bustle begins.

Being a company that builds solutions for a number of markets, defence, automation, transport, etc, keeps me on my toes, so communicating with suppliers from different industries is a great way to keep up to date with the latest tech.

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Morning stand-up

At 09:00 each day, we have our stand-up meeting, an opportunity to go through any new tasks.

The stand-up meetings also allow us to have a team discussion on any new challenges we are facing on certain projects. Working in the engineering department is very collaborative, so the stand-up is a great opportunity to ask questions and provide information for others.

Working with the sales team

No two days are the same; the best thing about working in specialist computing is that each quote is unique, and each one has its challenges. One day you will be working on a specification that requires the unit to be fully submersible; the next day will be a military spec application.

We are responsible for dealing with customers directly; building these relationships is an essential aspect of our role here at Captec, and we pride ourselves on taking the technical challenge of our customers and providing a solution that resolves these issues.

There is a lot of room for growth, and you are constantly challenged to maintain knowledge of current and upcoming market trends.

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A chance to relax and refresh. Lunch feels a little different at the moment because of COVID. We’re looking forward to when we can round off the week with a team pub lunch but until then we make the best of socially distanced chats across the canteen.

Project focus

An exciting part of my role is product development. I seek to analyse trends and launch innovative products in markets where there isn’t a solution currently.

No single person can handle this task alone. Here at Captec, we have a host of mechanical and electronic engineers along with the project team to make this happen.

Typically, when we take on a new product development project, we will first ensure the concept of the solution is planned out and the market is analysed. We then create a business case and review our market proposition.

After thorough analysis, and ensuring the product has a competitive price point and a high market demand, we then continue with the design phase. We will create the drawings to support the product’s technical aspects. This is a critical aspect in shaping the technical solution.

Things we will consider when designing a new product include the core requirements, mechanical and electronic functionality, thermal management, ingress protection, shock and vibration protection, EMC, compliance and certification. I will work with the team to ensure the product spec fits the market requirements.

Next up would be prototyping – the exciting part is seeing your technical solution take shape in front of you. This is where we iron out any technical issues and get them ready to be released to the sales team.

At this point, we will involve our NPI department; they will create technical documents ensuring our production department can build the products consistently.

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Final hour

If there are any pressing customer deadlines or meetings with our Canadian office, we tend to stay later, but where possible, the remainder of the day is now dedicated to the all-important family time, relax and unwind, ready for the next day.

I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into a day in the life of a computer engineer.

Thanks for reading.

Rich Phelps.

To learn more about our products visit our industrial computers or embedded computers page. To learn more about our services visit our computer engineering page, or to learn more about Captec careers and current vacancies visit our careers page.

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