BEng Computer Systems Engineering - Alex Rattigan
How would you describe your job to a friend or family member with no experience of the role or company?
My main role is producing and reviewing code that runs on the Lotus Evija EV hypercar, controlling everything from interior mood lighting to main driving controls. I also assist with testing this code on real cars and produce reports on the results.
On a day-to-day basis, what do you do in your job?
I update the team on my progress and any roadblocks or concerns in a daily stand-up meeting, before starting on any assigned tasks. These often include using MATLAB Simulink models to review or produce code, assisting with testing on prototype cars to ensure that system requirements are being met, analysing logs to determine the cause of any unexpected behaviour, and writing reports on both these results and the code reviews to share with the team.
What skills do you need for this role?
- Programming knowledge – I specifically use MATLAB Simulink but knowledge of any language is transferable.
- Pair programming – Experience gained through collaborative coursework helps a lot with debugging with colleagues’ assistance.
- Communication skills – Being able to explain what you are doing to someone not familiar with the situation.
- Independent research – Experience researching problems for myself during my dissertation has enabled me to solve problems faster at work.
Did you have any previous jobs or roles that are relevant to your current job?
Prior to my placement in EV software engineering, I worked in the IT department for 4 months. In two months’ time, I will be in a variety of other departments allowing me to gain a range of skills across a large proportion of Lotus’ operations.
Did you have to do any further study or qualifications, in addition to an undergraduate degree, for this role?
No further study was strictly required, but it helped that I already had hobby-level experience in some of aspects of the job. On the job training has been provided on the specific software and processes that Lotus use.
How has your degree influenced or helped your career?
My degree was critical in deciding what area of computer science I wanted to go into. It was during my studies that I found a love of embedded systems programming, which is essentially exactly what my current role is.
What do you enjoy most about this job?
My favourite part of the job is being able to make code changes, upload them to a car, and see a real-world effect.
What are the challenges of this job?
There is just always so much to do. Being able to prioritise tasks is very important to ensure that the most critical things are completed on time.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your role?
Joining a graduate scheme with rotations in different parts of Lotus has been a great opportunity, and is allowing me to gain experience in a range of different types of roles to ensure I am best prepared for a permanent position at the end of the scheme.
If you would like to know more about Alex’s experience, connect with Alex on LinkedIn.