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Flavourmag hosted its second series of Google’s Top Black Talent live on air hangouts on July 29th. The live on air monthly hangout is a series of hangouts which was launched to enlighten young black students, graduates and early career professionals to help them kick start and further their careers.

A panel of established career professionals take to the stage in each series to discuss career prospects ranging from vital industries such as technology, law, marketing, PR, music and fashion.

In this segment a panel of engineers joined show hostess Annika Allen to discuss engineering as a potential career prospect, the rewards and challenges that they face in their line work.

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Ade Oshineye, a developer advocate with Google and co-author of ‘Apprenticeship Patterns’, was involved in the ‘I was here’ photo booth project at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford which was launched to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics. The photo booth became extremely popular with former footballer David Beckham making a surprise appearance and even taking snaps with fans in the booth.

Joseph Quashie is a project engineer with Network Rail who trained as a mechanical engineer and is currently part of a team involved in the Thameslink Programme. The programme aims to increase the capacity on the network rail within the central London area.

Rodney Lendore is a network solutions engineer with communications corporation company, SAVVIS and chairman of Berkshire’s The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Bode Sharp of Bode Sharp Coaching is a motivational speaker who shares helpful and simple tips such as what to do when applying for a job. For example the importance of how you can clearly put forth suggestions to a company on how they will benefit from having you as their employee. Bode also gives advice on minor but critical advice such as how important a simple act of a firm handshake can make a big difference when attending interviews.

Also joining the panel via video link was Debbie Sterling, a United States based engineer and CEO who launched her company GoldieBlox after spotting a lack of educational engineering toys for young girls. GoldieBlox is an educational toy range that features Goldie, the girl inventor who uses toys that are designed to help the user solve problems by building simple machines.

Marie Amouzame is an associate product marketing manager based in Google’s Paris office.

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Below are some of the questions that the panelists answered:

What do you love most about your job?
AO:
I love the autonomy to create and to extend the job in many ways that no one else has done before.

And the biggest challenge about your job?
AO:
The biggest challenge is that the people that I work with are sprawled all over the world so you have to be adaptable with the world, flexible and you have to be willing to travel. For example last week I was in Milan.

When did you know that you wanted to be an engineer?
JQ:
When I was about nine-years-old I always enjoyed making things and understanding how things worked, I had a creative side to me as well.

How hard is it for a woman working in the engineering industry?
MA:
When I arrived at engineering school we were only five girls out of a hundred people. The first few weeks were really hard but then we learned how to use our femininity into your work because we see things from different sensitivity and using that in the engineering world has really helped.

DS: For me it was a challenge, I definitely felt like a minority. There were not a lot of women which is how I actually found my passion creating construction toys to get little girls interested in engineering with the hopes of increasing our numbers.

What were the key skills that you needed to break into the engineering industry?
JQ:
I would say definitely having an analytical mind, the ability to solve problems and having mathematical skills.
RL: I think it also helps to have a good imagination because sometimes solutions that you are looking for don’t always present themselves in a normal way. So probably with what happens here at Google, you are thinking outside the box and it looks crazy but when you start to apply the mathematics and a bit of physics behind it you’ll think ‘actually this is an a plausible solution’.

Flavourmag presents Google’s Top Black Talent live on Air Hangouts next event is scheduled for August 28th. To be part of the live studio audience please sign up at http://www.flavourmag.co.uk/tbt/

Words: Denise Mubika

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