Hannah, PhD in Engineering Design


Hannah Forbes is currently a PhD Student of Engineering Design and former Developer and Analyst at Sky & Now TV. She holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Manufacturing and Management. Read on to hear how she started her career in STEM, where she sees the industry going, and the three things she couldn't live without on Mars...


What drove you to pursue a career in engineering? Reflect on 1 - 2 crucial decisions/events that led you down this path.

I first considered a career in tech during my final year at University. Through my final year project, I worked with several tech start ups and found these environments to be really collaborative and exciting. This led me to begin learning to code using free online resources. The first time I created a (very simple) website, I felt like a magician and discovered that coding was a new and exciting way for me to be creative. From that point onwards I looked forward to seeing what else I could create and what else I could learn.


What top tip would you give a woman looking to start a career in engineering?

Don’t be afraid to Google, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try lots of projects! I find that the nature of the developer role allows constantly for the opportunity to pursue new projects and solve new problems. I also think the best way to learn is to find something you want to create and try to build it.


What are your favourite resources for building engineering-skills, either for beginners or continued learning? 

Code Academy is definitely a great gateway into coding because it really shows you that coding is accessible to anyone. For really developing your coding skills, however, I recommend just trying to create something. Go on GitHub and browse open source projects or simply come up with a problem you want to solve and start googling away to see where to start. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll learn!


Who is your STEM hero and why?

I think it has to be Simone Giertz because she epitomises what being a maker and creator is about and really shows how easy, exciting and fun being an engineer can be. 



How do you see the world of STEM developing in the next 5 years and what are the key topics you hope to see the industry exploring?

The movement within STEM that most fascinates and excites me is the involvement of the arts (officially known as STEAM). It’s the recognition that creativity has many outlets and it’s redefining engineering as a way to express ideas and solve problems outside of perhaps what would be regarded as stereotypical. I’d like to see this movement replicated in industry and I think a more recognised relationship between engineering and the arts would overall make the industry more inclusive. 


You've been selected to join the 2050 mission to mars! What 3 things that you can't live without would you take?

A pack of cards for keeping the gang entertained. Some good quality tea (although maybe this would be deemed an essential? I hope so) and finally, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s an incredible book but a heavy read so should keep me busy.