What does a…If you look at our job landscape, you will see special functions. A field service engineer, a lab technician or an assembly worker: we obviously need them badly, but for what and why? In this series, each week someone tells about his or her profession. Today: Kaya Hartwig (26) from Hengelo. She is a microwave engineer at Thales.

    Do you often get the question if you do something with microwaves?
    Laughing: ,,I have the idea that people often think that. To avoid that, I often say that I am a radar engineer and that I studied electrical engineering. I am often asked if I am an electrician.

    But what exactly do you do?
    ,,I develop and test radar systems. At Thales, we make sensors that are used, among other things, on ships of the navy. I have days when I work in the measurement room, lab or office. I design prototypes of radars or antennas in the office, assemble them in the lab and test them in the measurement room.”

    What are the radars used for?
    “The radars we make here are almost all mounted on ships. With the radars you can see everything that happens on the water and in the air. Our radars are also smart enough to see if something is wrong or suspicious.”

    So you contribute to the safety of others?
    “That’s how I see it myself. The people who use our radars are trying to keep the world safe and stable. They prevent all kinds of crime, such as piracy. Many of the products we use here come by ship. The water has to be safe for that.”

    How did you become a microwave engineer?
    “I was studying electrical engineering when I met someone from Thales halfway through my education via LinkedIn. At the time, I worked in different departments of the company and found out how much I liked this. From an early age I have been concerned with how things work. When I was 9 I disassembled my parents’ television because I wanted to know what was in it. Luckily it was an old TV.”

    What’s the best thing about your job?
    ,,Those are the office days on which I can design. I make calculations and use formulas to optimize my designs. Then I do a simulation and see if it works out the same in practice as on paper. If that works, there’s something magical about it.”


    I rolled in here quite by accident and discovered what I like: designing

    Kaya Hartwig

    And what’s less fun?
    “In the measuring room we have a part that consists of a lot of cables. Normally when you put something on it, it says click. But sometimes the connection is not good. Then I spend hours trying to get everything up and running again. I’ve experienced that twice now and then you are really sweet for a while. Although it also secretly has something relaxed. I then listen to a podcast and don’t have to think about anything else.”

    How do you want to continue to grow?
    ,,I rolled into this place quite by accident and discovered what I like: designing. I want to develop that more in the coming years. But it also seems very interesting to me to be involved in chip design. I would have to learn that. But Thales also has a company in Cannes where parts of the International Space Station are made. I would like to go there too. I think space travel is very cool. I think it’s cool to work there. But I do see it. I can go either way.”

    Mechanical engineers wanted

    If you have been trained as a mechanical engineer, then you can choose the jobs these days. It is a versatile position in which you are involved in designing, finding solutions and testing your design. For example, you can become an engineer in the field of sustainable solutions, but also in the production or food industry. On the National Vacancy Bank you will find relevant vacancies in your region.

    Would you prefer to work at Thales? Then take a look at the ‘work at’ page from the company.

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