Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Don’t commit to too much! - Learning from two weeks' industry experience

Sam Casadei, Cohort 2019

Recently, I was fortunate enough to complete two weeks work experience at Tribosonics, a Sheffield-based company that uses high-tech embedded sensing technology to provide powerful and targeted data to its clients. Tribosonics is using its technology to drive transformation in the transport, power generation, and manufacturing sectors.

My experience was packed full of new learning opportunities, both with practical data analysis, as well as cultivating new spreadsheets to help keep inventory of stocks. Bridging the gap between academia and industry is a crucial opportunity, and being able to gain feedback directly from industry is the fastest way to learn which skills hold the highest priority.

‘It is better to land one concept well, than to fail to deliver on many’.

The most poignant take away for me was some feedback I asked for at the end of a presentation to directors and managers at the company. I asked for feedback on some of my practical project work. To try to add as much value to the company as possible in my short placement, I conducted background research, right back to the ideation stage of the project, to find new pockets of development I could tap into.

I thought this was the way I could make a great impression – to be able to conduct preliminary experiments as proof of concepts for new ideas. However, with only around 3 days of working on the project, I ended up with 4/5 half fleshed out ideas, with no tangible addition to the project. I had spent too much time on too many different ideas to fully develop one. In this stood a very valuable lesson. In life, we can find ourselves pulled in many different directions, and without real prioritisation this can lead to poor progress in the areas that truly matter.

For me personally, balancing university hours, SELA work, running my tutoring business, as well as career development can take a huge amount of time. So being able to take a step back, and prioritise which area requires attention to make progress in, is a vital skill. I use the word ‘skill’ deliberately, it can be learned, and improved upon. There are various methods for prioritising individual tasks, like the Eisenhower ‘Importance – Urgency’ matrix, that I use frequently within academic work.

Categorising tasks into different sections gives a structure on how to deal with them. Will you delegate a task? Can you schedule in time to complete the task? Does the task need completing right now? This is just one example of how being aware of how awareness of the requirements of a task influence the actions you need to take.

1 comment:

  1. Well written Sam. Good to see you using the Matrix.