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Dipendra Mistry, Head of System Test

When Dipendra was young he dreamed of becoming an astronaut and being sent on a mission into space. He also loved K'nex and Meccano as well as looking at everything he could under his microscope! In his current role, Dipendra is developing the technology which sends radio waves from satellites in Space to the Earth. 

Age: 28

Job title: Head of System Test

Company employed by: Phasor Solutions Ltd.

When you were a child, what did you dream you’d be when you grew up?
Either a scientist working in a research lab, or an astronaut on a space mission…

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
Allowing people from around the world to communicate with each other on-the-move at high speed.

What excites you most about STEM?
We live in times of dramatic change, and in most cases, technology is driving this change. A career in STEM puts you at the forefront of this revolution…what could be better than that?

What do you love about your job? What would you change?
I love the constant learning I get to do each day, whether it be which type of adhesive to use to stick metal to wood, or how to write software in a new language to automate a test.

The one thing I would like to change, is to see more women in STEM careers. A lot of progress has been made in this area recently, and I think we as a “profession” have more work to do yet. In my company I enjoy working with such a diverse team it really helps to build morale and boost productivity.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?
Testing our prototype hardware in various labs, taking data and discussing that with other engineers to find solutions to difficult problems. Once we find solutions, I love to implement them as features to make our product work better.

What does a typical day at work involve?
Each day is completely different. But typically, I have a meeting with my team in the morning to plan our tasks for the day and review any challenges. This is normally followed by a refreshing cup of coffee, before I do some hardware testing in the lab and analyse data. Over lunch a group of us catch up on our progress and normally discuss random topics such as sci-fi movies, 3D printers making other 3D printers or even how to get drones to deliver our coffee to our desk in the office…

Post lunch I normally continue writing reports, testing and supporting other teams to meet our project milestones.

What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?
Solving new problems daily which are at the cutting edge of engineering, often with limited time and across multiple disciplines of engineering. It could be anything from writing computer code to testing a printed circuit board (PCB), or even something as simple as fixing a water leak.

Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
Yes many of them…Most of my inspiration came from watching any Sci-Fi movie where a group of scientists saved the world from impending doom, some examples include “The Core, Armageddon, The Day after Tomorrow, 2012 and of course any Marvel Movie”. My favourite has always been Ironman.
Aside from movies, my Physics Teacher and in particular my parents have always been there for guidance, and by discussing my thoughts with them I eventually discovered my passion!

Any influential toys during childhood?
The top three would be K’nex, Meccano and Lego. I also enjoyed science kits and looking at things around the house under a microscope.

Your favourite subjects at school?
Maths, Science, Design & Technology.

Qualifications (school/college/university):
A-Levels: Maths, Physics, Chemistry & English Language and Literature
Degree: BSc (Hons) Physics with Medical Physics from University of Nottingham.

Your reason for choosing this career?
The opportunity to do work which directly contributes to the betterment and advancement of society.

Tell me about your career path to date?
After completing University, I worked for a large electronic manufacturing company testing products which are used in over 90% of the world’s radiotherapy machines. I stayed at this company for over 4 years, learning various aspects of RF engineering and how to deliver successful R&D projects, examples include high power RF components for cargo and vehicle inspection, to designing a laser experiment to test a miniature atomic clock.

In my current role, I’m developing the next generation of electronically steered antennas, which can send and receive radio waves from satellites in space whizzing around Earth, so that you can watch Netflix on a plane, or even play Fortnite on a train…

If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
My job is great and I wouldn’t change it! I feel like I was always meant to be doing this…

Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
First and foremost keep a log of everything that you do and have done as you go through university, include all clubs/societies and part-time jobs. All of these skills are valuable for any engineering job and will demonstrate team working, communication and leadership skills. I had little engineering experience when applying for jobs but as long as you can show evidence of the desired competencies through other activities then this should be fine.

Life is a journey and choosing a career path can be difficult with so much information available today. The most important thing is to choose something you really enjoy and are passionate about, just remember you will spend a good third of your life working, so make sure it is something you like!

Oh and one last thing… take each failure as a learning point and use it to move ahead.