The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) recently presented Orla with its prestigious ‘Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award’. According to recent statistics women represent only 9% of the engineering workforce but Orla is one of few making a stamp with her ground-breaking work…
What do general tasks in your career as an audio engineer consist of on a daily basis?
I measure the acoustics within a car, help troubleshoot any problems with our development cars and I also listen to music in the cars to help design the best sound systems in our cars at Jaguar Land Rover.
Why did you decide to become involved in engineering?
My favourite subjects at school were Maths, Physics and Music and with engineering I was able to combine all of those subjects into a degree and now into a job that I love and enjoy!
When did you make a start on your career?
I entered a science competition called the BT Young Scientist at the age of 16, and from then on I knew I wanted to enter the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) field in the future.
What is the process of becoming an audio engineer?
You have to be interested in both Physics and Music for my job, which I think is a great combination. You need to also enjoy trouble shooting and thinking about what the customer wants, so that you can design a product that people will really enjoy using – listening to their favourite music on a day to day basis.
Who has helped you during your journey?
Lots of people helped me on my journey! Especially my secondary school teachers and career advisors at university when I was realising more and more about what engineering was and how diverse it is. And also my family and friends of course!
What have you learnt during your experience?
I have learnt that every day in work can be exciting, rewarding and different. I love the variety in my job and how many cool projects I get to be involved with. It is also great to use both aspects of my degree, with the measurements I am thinking about Physics and Maths but with the sign-off I am listening to music and depending on my musical experiences in Orchestras.
What advice can you offer to aspiring audio engineers?
My advice would be to try to get some work experience with local industry! And think outside the box when you apply – lots of companies need to measure noise or work on sound – not just recording studios!