Alumni profile - Tania Milinkovich

Tania MilinkovichBE Civil Engineering with Architecture, 2011
Facade Engineer, Arup

Arup are an independent global and multidisciplinary firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services.

My job today

At the moment, I am predominantly working as a façade access and maintenance consultant. This involves working closely with architects, clients and other engineers in the design phase to come up with strategies on how a new building façade will be accessed in order to carry out routine maintenance work. This can be quite a complex task which requires coordination with many different parties to work out spatial requirements, costs, safety, workability and structural adequacy to support the systems which must be installed. Most of the projects I am working on are very large scale buildings and developments around the world and working with some of the most well known
architects globally has been the most exciting part for me thus far.

How my degree benefitted me

I learnt all the technical skills and established my foundations as an engineer (excuse the pun!), but at the same time I was exposed to how architects are taught to think and ultimately come up with designs for buildings. I engaged with this process myself and learnt how the creative process happens. I am able to appreciate where an architect's design has come from and the reasoning behind it, and I feel that I can communicate and collaborate with architects more easily as well.

My advice to current or prospective students

To current students: My number one piece of advice is to really try to get out there and get some work experience as soon as possible in your degree. I found uni so much easier after I had gone out and seen how things are in the real world, just by going out on site and seeing how buildings are put together. Everything you learn at uni gets put into context after doing work experience and then it is
so much easier to approach problems at uni logically rather than just memorising a method and trying to re-apply it to new things in exams, which never works out!

To prospective students: As an engineer, the opportunity to do this degree is invaluable. Particularly if you think you would like to work as an engineer on building projects, this degree is for you. You will have the opportunity to learn all about the creative design process as well as the technical and problem solving skills you need to have as an engineer.

Conversely, be warned of the level of mathematics involved in engineering. I feel lucky that I was interested in both arty and creative things as well as the technical/problem solving side. It feels empowering to be a woman in an industry which is male dominated. I feel that people respect and admire you for doing it.

Personally this degree was a huge challenge for me and there were times where I questioned my decision to do it, but looking back now I don't think I would have done anything else!