A flair for mathematics since an early age, made me opt for a Bachelor of Engineering degree at the mere age of 17. I left my family and home to embark upon a journey of four years to pursue a Bachelor degree in Communication Systems Engineering at Pakistan’s top engineering school. So began a four year career in Communication Systems Engineering! The academics at the university were rigorous. A growing entrepreneurial culture at the university caught me in its web as well. As I concluded my undergraduate degree while I was 21, pursuing a postgraduate degree in the subject matter became my next choice. Swamped with admission offers, I chose to attend the University of Surrey, in Guildford, UK for a masters in Microwave Engineering & Wireless Subsystems Design.
The University of Surrey enjoys high rankings every year on the local and international charts. Of significance to me, is the fact that it has the largest academic research centre in communication systems in the UK known as Institute of Communication Systems (ICS). The facility conducts world class research in the areas of wireless, terrestrial mobile and satellite communication systems. The research facility houses 5G Innovation Centre which is the largest academic research facility in the world, contributing towards the development of future wireless communication systems. The institute also has a promising 100% graduate employability record which for me, was very attractive while considering postgraduate options. The modules in my particular degree were interesting and the lecturers ensured that they were striking the right balance between industry and research based knowledge. The modules were taught by field experts. As part of one of our modules, we had directors and managers from companies like Vodafone, Intelsat, Airbus Defence & Space and Inmarsat visiting for class lectures. A major part of our degree was the dissertation which allowed us to apply the skills ingrained during the modules, to be used to solve problems on the forefront of wireless communications technology. A postgraduate degree in the field from the University of Surrey has furthered my career options. Importantly, I learned to become fearless and use research-based approach to solve engineering problems.
During my time as a student at the university, I had the opportunity to travel and attend various technology meetups and events in England. Most notably, was a venture creation weekend on internet of things, big data and open data to help develop smart cities of the future. The event was held at Judge Business School in Cambridge. The event brought together hustlers, hipsters and hackers to brainstorm ideas and with the help of experienced mentors, use their available resources to come up with a minimum viable product. The teams had the opportunity to apply to Accelerate Cambridge thereafter, the in-house accelerator of the University of Cambridge where training, coaching and workplace are provided to churn out ventures from the University of Cambridge. My teammates and I worked on an idea, we called the ‘Internet-of-Cows’ for 54 hours, prototyping, shaping and crafting the business plan. The idea was to connect cattle to the internet with the help of sensors and monitor health/activity parameters. Analytics applied to the parameters should be then reported to the farmers for yield optimization across the English farms. We secured the top prize during the weekend and were admitted to Accelerate Cambridge.
At the moment, I am taking time off to study for the Wireless Communications Engineering Technologies (WCET) exam conducted twice a year by Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (IEEE). The exam is targeted towards wireless professionals in industry, academia and research. The exam covers in proportion major areas of wireless communications (signal processing, RF design, air interfaces, network management to name a few!). Therefore, it is a challenging test of my wireless knowledge.
I graduated from the University of Surrey on 7th April 2016. As I conclude the WCET, I plan to embark on an industrial career overseas in the wireless field.
Thanks to our guest blogger Rumaisah Munir! Follow her on twitter @RumaisahMunir