‘As engineers, we need to be attentive and compassionate’

As an assistant engineer at Aurecon Hong Kong, Janis Chung’s main responsibilities are to provide geotechnical engineering tender and detailed design support for various infrastructure projects. She specialises in site formation, excavation and lateral support work, as well as slope stability analysis and temporary work.

“Being an engineer is a career that I’ve always wanted to pursue since I was a child, and this dream hasn’t changed since,” Janis says.

“Engineering is truly an admirable profession. To me, engineers are talented designers and builders who help shape the future development of modern cities. They create iconic landmarks through their creative and innovative designs.”

Joining Aurecon about three years ago, Janis has been involved in the Anderson Road Quarry project - where she spent almost a year on site - and also took part in the tender design for the Hong Kong International Airport Third Runway System infrastructure development project.

“I face different challenges every day, and I believe these are also the challenges faced by other young female engineers, for example: tight project schedules, speaking up with confidence in front of senior and experienced engineers, and accomplishing the assigned tasks independently.”

“I still have much to learn in this industry,” she notes, “but these valuable experiences can make me stronger and more well-prepared for the upcoming challenges, presented both at work and in my life.

“I look forward to participating in large-scale projects and contributing to the development of different cities, just like other experienced engineers who work to improve people’s ways of living and shape urban landscapes for a better future.”

Janis says she is also impressed with the way the engineering and construction industry has transformed. “As digital is becoming the new norm of doing business, the industry is adopting more and more digital technologies such as BIM, laser scanning , Civil 3D and other 3D computer programmes to present ideas and design solutions. Plus, 4D models are emerging too!

“Nowadays, engineers are just like scientists. We explore new boundaries, create new products, bring ideas to life and create a better future for communities to live, work and play.”

‘It gives me a strong sense of achievement’

Janis further shares her experience working in a male-dominated industry. “Over the last three years at Aurecon, I have observed that there are more female engineers joining the industry and they are gaining more respect from others. This is encouraging,” she says. “Female engineers looking to grow their career in this industry are just as competent as their male counterparts.

“At Aurecon, female engineers are also encouraged to voice their perspectives to a wider audience and have equal opportunities to demonstrate their experience, technical knowledge and skills in their work.”

For her part, Janis reveals that working in the engineering and construction industry “has always been exciting because it requires teamwork and gives me a strong sense of achievement.”

She also believes that besides technical skills, soft skills like communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for engineers to develop. “As engineers, we need to be attentive and compassionate, hone the ability to listen and communicate well, and find ways to better understand our clients and stakeholders’ ideas and needs.

“Having good teamwork and interpersonal skills would also help female engineers advance in their career and take on a leadership or management role.”

Janis is keen to see more women pursue careers in engineering and construction. “I would encourage them to take the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge through working with different stakeholders and on a variety of projects. This will help to build confidence and professionalism.”

Photos courtesy of Janis Chung and Aurecon