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Rain Irshad: Autonomous Systems Group Leader


Rain Irshad: Autonomous Systems Group Leader

RAL Space — Didcot

"I love exploring and wanted a job where I would be able to explore space"

(Credit: STFC)

What do you do in your job?

I manage a team of engineers who design, build and test robotic and autonomous systems for space and terrestrial applications.

If you had to summarise the impact your job has on everyday life – what would you say in two sentences?

Autonomous Systems have a wide range of applications both in space and on Earth. The technology my team and I develop can improve lives by allowing us to do and see things we couldn’t before.

What’s the best thing about your job?

It’s being able to tackle problems that no one else has resolved before. It’s challenging and can often be stressful, but it’s also varied and exciting. I can be working on a project to test instruments going to Mars or looking at using the same technology to improve the efficiency of farming practices in China.

What did you study at school?

At GCSE I did separate sciences, maths, English language and literature, music and languages. At A-level I studied maths, further maths, physics and chemistry. Then I did a degree in physics, a master’s in instrumentation systems and a doctorate in atmospheric physics.

What inspired you into a career in science/engineering?

I love exploring and wanted a job where I would be able to explore space. If I couldn’t go there, the next best thing is sending instruments and satellites to see what’s out there.

If you like the sound of the work Rain does:

Find out more about big telescopes.

What top tips would you have for people wanting a job like yours?

  • Make sure you’re doing something you’re interested in. Every job has aspects that can get dull but if you’re doing something you are passionate about then you’ll always be motivated to succeed.
  • Look into what qualifications you need for the job you want. It’s never too early to find this out and, once you know, you can start planning. Use the internet and ask people you know to find out what careers there are in the fields you are interested in and then find out if you need a degree or other qualification. Then see what you need to do to get those qualifications.
  • Get in touch with other people doing what you want to be doing. You can ask them for information, advice, or even work experience. If you can get the chance to spend a week or two working alongside someone in the field you want, you’ll know whether it is something you really want to do and you’ll gain valuable experience for your CV.
  • Don’t be discouraged if there are problems along the way. You won’t succeed at every step but each failure or drawback can comes with important lessons and help you to do better next time. Never give up.
  • If you are committed and motivated, you can do anything. If you put in the work and hours to improve your skills, gain qualifications or just do well at what you’re doing then you will eventually get to where you want to be.

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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