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Why planning ahead is the secret to this engineer’s success

Accenture data engineering manager Piyusha Saboo shares her productivity tips and explains why she loves using Post-it notes so much.

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Within the tech world alone, there are a multitude of engineering roles available to those with the right skills and mindset.

As part of Engineers Week, we looked at 24 companies that are currently hiring for a wide range of engineers right now, including professional services firm Accenture.

Piyusha Saboo is a data engineering manager for the company, having worked her way up from a data engineering consultant. She gives us an insight into what a career in her field is really like.

‘Something I cherish is when your engineering project is live and running successfully’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

Typically, my day starts around 8:30am with a coffee in my hand as I check my emails and messages before I dive into client work. This is followed by a daily stand-up call where I speak with my teammates about progress, blockers and actions.

Most of the time, I have client and team meetings lined up throughout the day. Some days/weeks can be exceptionally busy, so I manage them by carefully reshuffling my tasks based on priorities.

The resources I find extremely useful for this are One Note, Microsoft Teams, any Kanban board and good old Post-its – my wall is usually filled with neon colours!

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

What types of engineering projects do you work on?

I have been part of many engineering projects in Accenture, primarily on the data management side. This has included some regulatory reporting programmes in the financial services sector.

I particularly enjoyed working on a GDPR compliance project. Data privacy is something I value a lot, and through this work I was able to learn how to balance an individual’s privacy with regular business processes, as you don’t want one to negatively impact the other.

Most recently I started working on a cloud analytics platform set-up for a bank – again something I have been enjoying tremendously as it’s a steep learning curve with the latest tools and tech stack.

What engineering skills do you use on a daily basis?

One of the most important things that engineering has taught me is anticipating the potential issues and finding an array of solutions to tackle them.

I am often managing the engineering teams for different platforms and technologies such as data warehouses, cloud platforms, data lakes etc.

So, the problems and solutions are different each time. Every time I find myself in a new tricky, puzzling situation, I love to draw myself out of it by applying a problem-solving and strategic-thinking mindset.

What are the hardest parts of engineering, and how do you navigate them?

The hardest part is managing how to effectively start and stop working, especially when working from home. I used to check my emails at odd hours, so I had to take a decision to turn off those pesky notifications.

Humour aside, the hardest part of my role is often agreeing the right requirements between the client and the Accenture engineering teams and getting that appropriately channeled and documented.

It’s crucial to set the right expectations at the beginning, with a clear list of actions and a plan for achieving them. It’s key to plan for contingencies as well – more strategic planning equals better outcomes!

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?

Plan ahead! It’s really important for my own productivity and I always encourage my team to plan their time in advance too. Nowadays, many organisations use agile methodologies, which is really helpful as it gives you that chance to divide and plan your work.

For me personally, writing down what I need to achieve also helps, plus the feeling of crumpling the Post-its when finished is rewarding!

Also, make sure to schedule your breaks, be it a coffee or tea break, a scroll on Instagram or a quick walk. Take those 10-15 minutes to boost your productivity for the rest of the day.

What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?

At Accenture we work with the amazing Microsoft suite. Microsoft Teams has it all – calls, chat, file sharing and countless add-ons. This can change for different clients, as we often work on their infrastructure, so I have used Skype and WebEx as well.

The key with remote communication is bonding and networking. Something as simple as turning on the camera and speaking about something other than work for the first five minutes helps establish healthy working relationships.

I’m hoping to get more in-person team sessions over coffee though – I have missed being able to stand-up and head to the conference room.

LinkedIn and Medium are my other work-social platforms to stay updated with industry trends.

How has this role changed as the engineering sector has grown and evolved?

It’s different every day! An engineering manager role has transitioned from status reporting and people management to a servant-leadership role where I need to be involved with daily tasks with the team enabling them to achieve our planned goals.

Our clients have different expectations now also. They want their data platforms to be implemented with the latest tech stack and low-maintenance cloud platforms with a cost-effective solution.

It’s an amazing time as we’re constantly on our toes learning new skills and un-learning the old ways of working.

What do you enjoy most about working as an engineer?

Something I cherish is when your engineering project is live and running successfully. That’s the greatest satisfaction for the months you have poured into a project.

Also, I have had great client stakeholders who are just as happy (if not happier than I am!) when the project is a success.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in engineering?

Never stop learning and exploring. I know there’s vast amount of knowledge out there with something new emerging in the market every day but take one step at a time and learn one thing at a time. It’s important to have the concepts clearly understood rather than a vendor or a tool name.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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