Saki Kajita

 

 

Applications Engineer, Engineering Leadership Program, National Instruments
B. Eng. Computer Engineering 2016

 

 

Briefly describe your path to your current career

I grew up helping out in my dad’s restaurant as a waitress and I really enjoyed talking to the customers. Since I did my degree in computer engineering, I wanted to have a technical job in an innovative engineering field. However, when I was looking into engineering jobs, most of them were not customer facing and were in the R&D department. I heard about the Applications Engineer position at National Instruments from my friends who interned there and from Julia, a previous ECSESS [Electrical, Computer, Software Engineering Student Society] president. As Applications engineers, they answered phone calls and emails from customers who used National Instruments products and helped them out if they were having any issues while using these products. This seemed like a perfect fit for me since I wanted a technical job that allowed me to talk to customers directly, help them out and, most importantly, being part of big projects that our customers are working on.

How has your engineering education at McGill contributed to your success?

 

My engineering education at McGill contributed greatly to my success, because what I learnt at McGill was beyond what was in textbooks. The biggest thing that I learnt from McGill was how to work in teams. Most engineering classes at McGill had a portion of the class that we had to work in team, which allowed me to be more comfortable working with other people and asking questions when I didn’t understand something. Collaboration is a big part of my current job and being able to seek help and to help others is a big step towards being successful. My McGill education not only provided me with the technical knowledge I needed to understand the products of National Instruments, it also taught me the soft skills I needed to work with others. 

What advice do you have for current students in the Faculty of Engineering?

Get involved! Find something you like and dive in! I was part of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering Student Society (ECSESS), because I was passionate about the students in ECSE [Electrical, Computer & Software Engineering]. I think ECSE students are all great people and wanted to do something to give back to the community. This not only allowed me to improve my communication skills and team management skills, ECSESS also allowed me to meet Julia and Thuy-Anh, who both work at National Instruments. By getting involved, you get to meet great people, work with them and gain more social skills.

Do you have anything else to add?

Learn to ask questions because it will save you time in the long term. I learnt during this job that it is crucial to ask questions. Whether it is to get explanations from an expert co-worker or to get more information from the customer, it will take less time than trying to learn everything by yourself.