Omer Ali (MEng Design Engineering 2020) knew that Imperial was the right place for him to begin his career in design engineering.

At Imperial, Omer describes encountering a learning environment that inspired curiosity, helped him to push boundaries, and encouraged him to consider how his knowledge could be applied to benefit people around the world.

Now graduated and working as Design Engineer at ABB, Omer shares his story so far. 

Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?

I studied Design Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering. At the time this was a relatively new course at Imperial, and I was thrilled to be developing a career in this area.

Design Engineering is the culmination of design thinking and engineering fundamentals from various industries - ranging from robotics, software, aerodynamics, mechanical to mechatronics. The course gave me a strong engineering foundation that allowed me to be familiar with multiple concepts so I could further deep dive into specific topics of interest.

The great highlight for me was applying design principles in the background to everything we did. We were taught to design products that meet user needs while also advancing the technologies and engineering solutions our world relies on. I see design engineering as the perfect combination of principles for creating innovative products and experiences.

What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?

At Imperial, I was able to develop myself as an innovative thinker. I was encouraged to take risks, try new things, and explore my passion for design engineering with my peers.

Imperial inspired curiosity within me and helped me to push boundaries. I was taught to question how things work and to consider how my knowledge could be applied to benefit people around the world.

Pursuing new challenges has since become a habit for me, due to the dynamic learning environment I was exposed to at Imperial.

Who did you find inspiring at Imperial and why?

Professor Peter Childs has been a great inspiration for me, both while studying at Imperial and now going forwards in my career. His way of thinking and vast knowledge about products and their development processes encouraged me to be practical and ensure that my designs are manufacturable and environmentally conscious, while also being marketable.

I’d say that Professor Childs helped me to understand what it means to be a design engineer in the current world and led me to consider the responsibility of the profession. Professor Childs’ teaching encouraged me to keep reaching for new and innovative technologies, with a focus on developing products that will have a positive impact on the world - even the smallest of impacts matter.

It may sound cliché but being a part of the Imperial story feels like a great privilege, which I think comes with great responsibility.

Do you have any fond memories of your time here?

Honestly, every day at Imperial was a great day for me. I loved my time at the College from the first day to the last.

Even if I struggled to keep up with my courses, the journey was so inspiring and motivating that my passion never wavered. If anything, all the challenges encouraged me to try harder and become a better student, designer, and engineer.

Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.

I am currently a Design Engineer at ABB, specifically in the Robotics division. I am working on new projects every day and I am a part of two teams, Mechanical Design and Project Engineering. I help the teams develop new concepts and solutions for existing and new customers, I work on mechanical design, develop technical drawings and CAD, and much more. It has been a rewarding and exciting time so far with ABB, and every day it is thrilling to create new products and solutions in robotics!

How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?

Imperial enabled me to develop the skills and experience I need to work as a design engineer. During my studies, I was constantly exposed to new challenges and opportunities to learn from the real world.

Imperial gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from the best researchers, teachers, and classmates from around the world – their energy and excitement was very motivating. I found that everyone wanted to help each other grow and achieve their goals.

What have been your career highlights and lowlights so far?

I feel lucky to have had many highlights in my career so far. The most memorable to date was having the opportunity to work with ABB on my Master’s project in fourth year. I was responsible for developing and testing a new robotic solution system for ABB and had great success with the result. ABB was pleased with the proposed solution and work. I was personally happy that I was able to succeed in achieving the goals and expectations for such an intricate and challenging project while I was still studying.

What does a typical day look like for you now?

My schedule varies depending on the current projects the team is working on. I could be working on new concept designs for new clients, or I could be on-site with customers.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to progress on my current career path as a design engineer and I endeavour to continue taking on more exciting projects and challenges. I am determined to stay working in the industry; however, I would like to complete a PhD alongside my work at some point.

What would be your advice for current students? 

My advice would be simple: find something you are passionate about or simply care about and see how you can contribute to that industry. We all have the potential to do something great, and we may not remind ourselves of this as often as we should.

Imperial was that motivation and inspiration for me when I was just 16 - I knew that the College would help me to achieve my dreams and could enable me to help others. You just need to find that one thing that sparks a fire in you, regardless of what others think. Just try your best and keep learning from your mistakes and the world around you.

What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?

I am extremely grateful to be a part of the Imperial community. Learning, collaborating, and engaging with countless innovative members of the Imperial community will always be an experience that I will cherish. It's our willingness to make a positive contribution to the world and always question the boundaries of what's possible that distinguishes us as a community.

What one word or phrase would you use to describe Imperial alumni?

Relentlessly innovative and responsible practitioners of knowledge!

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

"People think it's this veneer - that the designers are handed this box and told, 'Make it look good!' That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." - Steve Jobs

Where can we find you?

If you are interested in having a chat or want to reach out, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and visit my website to see what I am currently working on!