Priyanka Tirkey is a mechanical engineer working in New Delhi, India. She joined Bechtel in 2016 after graduating from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India. 

What was your first exposure with engineering? 

I remember the first time I saw a Natural Draft Cooling Tower in one of our family road trips. Being so tiny, the majestic structures and the clouds forming on top intrigued me. My father, who is also a mechanical engineer, explained to the best of his effort and in a story-telling manner, how a power plant works and how we get the electricity! This led to my interest in science & technology, and with my father as an inspiration, I landed in the Power Engineering Department of my university. From there, it was a steep learning curve involving the technicalities and a lot of field trips to different types of power plants consisting of both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. 

What’s the coolest part of your job? 

With my inclination towards data and the opportunity to explore it as my path forward in career, I’m able to collaborate as a part of a team where we have brainstorming sessions to find solutions, discuss current trends, new technologies, and how we can incorporate it in our work. The main part is learning. We get to learn from the experiences we share through these interactions and inspire each other. 

It’s 2042 – how has the profession reimagined the possible? 

My take on this is that the future jobs will be an amalgamation of engineering and data. Utilization of predictive modeling, data-driven designs based upon the data collected from the existing resources will contribute to the sustainability of both environment and requirement.  

The future will be about the symbiotic relation between environment and engineering where data will play a pivotal role to make it successful. So, the existing profession will be reimagined (or rather, it is in progress) in a way where the domain knowledge of both aspects will be desired. For example, requirement of a power plant and availability of natural resources can be handled efficiently through AI and predictive modelling of big data in energy and utility sectors. 

What makes you proud to be an engineer?  

In a world where we thrive on the creations that materialized from the effort of a team, it indeed is an accomplishment to be a part of the process. The amount of effort that went into the creation, providing solutions to every problem, the contentment of a job well done and the impact it will have towards the betterment of a society or the world is what makes us “Proud to be an Engineer.” 

Why should today’s students consider an engineering career? 

Today’s engineering career is vast compared to what it was 5-10 years back. It is evolving at a very fast rate. It is not limited to only mechanical, electrical, civil, and chemical engineering. Today’s students will uphold the true essence of engineering with better judgement and reasonable nature. We have made remarkable advancements in many fields thanks to engineers and there is yet a lot to explore. So, it will be a good career option to pursue with a zeal to bring positive changes.   

Visit DiscoverE to learn more about Engineers Week and download your celebration materials.