Mechanical Engineer

Tommy Yu says a degree from the University of Auckland is an awesome springboard to launch a career. He now works in Australia designing life-changing respiratory devices.

Key facts

Career: Mechanical Engineer
Programme: Bachelor of Engineering (Hons.)
Specialisation: Biomedical Engineering

“I came straight out of school into a Bachelor of Engineering. I had always liked doing science, and trying to do new things in science which led me towards Biomedical Engineering. Knowing that Biomedical Engineering was one of the newest fields that they were offering really got my curiosity.

“I really liked the choice that was on offer. Doing Biomedical Engineering in my final year and having the ability to choose what fields I was interested in really helped. I was interested in medical devices and did a lot of papers on them, and that really led me to my future job.

“Doing the entire Part IV project was the most beneficial thing - being able to learn and think freely on your own, being able to experiment courageously, and having a good professor - so starting off with best practices and learning from there - was one of the most important things I got from the project.

“My Part IV project involved measuring sarcomere links with laser diffraction, which is really interesting. Muscle tissue has got little bands in it and is very sensitive to shining a light through it. You can use the patterns it makes to determine the size and the length of the muscle, so it was a really cool project to work on.

“I also did an exchange to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), which was a good eye opener to see how people on the other side of the world approach Biomedical Engineering. It was also good to see what it meant to other students and the different fields that are open.

“After leaving university I got my first job at ResMed - a world-leading connected health company - in its two-year rotation programme. I rotated through different departments such as manufacturing, product development, software development and research. At the end of that I was promoted to Design Engineer, and then after a few years of that I was then promoted to Mechanical Engineer in a different department, in the respiratory care department. That's where I am now.

“An everyday job I would do there is be assigned a design brief and follow that through, touching all subjects across clinical, marketing, supply and manufacturing specifications. I’ll design my product or my component to fit all those requirements.

“Throughout my career I've been able to be a part of many inventions for the company. So I have been able to be part of I think five different patent applications for the company, which I think is an awesome achievement. All of those have been published, so that's even greater.

“In the future, I'd like to grow my capabilities as an engineer, not just in terms of technical ability, but in the broader marketing and project management fields as well. I hope to undertake further education in the near future.

“For current students, I think the main thing is to find something you are passionate about, and really show that off, and really strive towards it. The University of Auckland engineering degree is an awesome springboard to launch your career. Doing Biomedical Engineering where there's only a few companies around the world - having that engineering degree from the University of Auckland really does put you on the same playing field with everyone around the world, which is awesome.”