Sofia works for Sweden's most popular employer among young professionals
Sofia Gutierrez from Guatemala graduated from the master’s programme in Naval Architecture in 2018. She now works as a consultant for ÅF in Stockholm.
Hi Sofia, what are you working with at the moment?
I am currently working as a consultant at ÅF, an engineering and design company in the fields of energy, industry and infrastructure. Currently I am working as a Commissioning and Qualification Engineer in a new project at AstraZeneca Gärtuna. In this position, I am part of a big team of engineers who are working to guarantee that new production lines are ready for testing and eventually for high-quality product manufacturing.
What can a regular day look like at your job?
It depends on the stage of the project, currently it involves a lot of documentation that will help us to do some testing. This is a combination of working as a team and asking a lot of questions to people that have a lot of experience with the processes I am working on, and some research by myself. This is where the research skills come in handy, since there are many processes or specific equipment I have not worked with before.
Eventually, all this documentation will form the basis for me to do some testing, mostly with the team that I work with. This is why the documentation needs to be as good as possible, so that the test also goes as smoothly as possible.
It’s only been a year since you graduated, but do you have any career plans for the future?
Between finishing my bachelor’s and my master’s I worked in the food industry in Guatemala for a couple of years. There I did some work that is similar to what I am working with now, so it feels good to be a little familiar with the processes considering I am working in a different country with other cultures.
As a consultant and engineer at ÅF I can take on projects at different companies and in different industries. In the short to mid-term, I would like to move to projects in the maritime industry and hopefully work with sustainability. I am very interested in energy generation using the ocean so that would be very interesting for me. For now, I’m learning as much as I can where I work and travelling and enjoying my new life in Sweden.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I chose Naval Architecture because I am very passionate about the possibilities that the ocean can offer. This not only includes shipping, but energy generation and water sources among others.
What do you take with you from your time at KTH?
I think the most important thing as an engineer is that we learn to learn. Even if we specialize in a specific subject, which of course is an advantage, where there’s a will there’s a way. Not all of us will get our dream job right out of school, but any job we get is an opportunity to learn and grow as people and scientists, so don’t get discouraged. Even so, always have a short-term goal in mind in case you do decide you want a major change.
One of my favourite parts of my studies was the chance to study with so many different people. We all came from different backgrounds, cultures and even spoke different languages. This gave a little perspective to what we were studying, and it gave it a little depth to the discussions that we had. Because of my classmates, the hard times were much easier.
What is your best memory from your time at the universities?
All the discussions we had in class and even after school. And of course, all the socializing after school! It definitely gave moving to the other side of the world a very positive expereince and made me feel at home in a new city.
What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
It will be difficult, and it will be the most enjoyable time you will spend. The programme is relatively small, which gives you the opportunity to be active and have a lot of group discussions. It also gives you the chance to interact closely with the teachers and learn a lot from them. They actively work in the industry which makes it very interesting when discussing different subjects in the classroom. You’ll spend a lot of nights and weekends working, but it is definitely worth it.