Siemens Healthineers engineer Rebekah OConnell is thriving

Siemens Healthineers engineer Rebekah O'Connell is thriving

 June 15, 2023

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Rebekah O'Connell works as a Systems Engineer (Electronics) for Siemens Healthineers within their Healthcare Diagnostics Manufacturing facility in a town called Swords which is on the east coast of Ireland, about ten kilometres north of Dublin City. Rebekah comes from County Cork which is some three hours drive southwest of Dublin.

Siemens Healthineers Swords

Siemens Healthineers has been active in Swords supplying medical diagnostic equipment to hospitals and laboratories since 1966. Job roles at Swords include careers in Engineering, Production, and in Research & Development (R&D).

SWORDS siemens

Rebekah's career is truly thriving at Siemens Healthineers, and she's highly motivated about her exciting future ahead.

"If you had told me a year and a half ago about what I do today, about how much I have developed as an engineer, and what I can now accomplish on a daily basis, I wouldn’t have believed you," claims Rebekah. She attributes much of her development to her network of supportive colleagues at Siemens Healthineers in Swords. Her confidence in herself has grown no end, and she says that she is becoming a much better engineer as a result of that. "Since starting at the Swords site of Siemens Healthineers, my confidence in myself as a person and as an engineer have grown drastically thanks to the support network I have in place and the various challenges I have encountered and overcome along the way," she says.

Rebekah believes that being genuine and kind to others, and actively networking, can certainly help one's career thrive at Working at Siemens Healthineers. "This is my first job out of college, and I have a lot to learn from the people around me. I am very lucky to work with a lot of very technically knowledgeable people, and I learn from them every day. Having a good base knowledge of your field is of course necessary, but the people around me are helping me to grow and build on this, and they're helping me to develop into a better engineer," says Rebekah who describes herself as being someone who is friendly, diligent and dependable.

From a Bachelor of Engineering to Systems Engineer

So how did Rebekah move into the role she is in now as a Product Engineer for one of the most innovative companies in the world?

After completing her Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Limerick in Ireland that saw her graduate with a First Class Honours BEng degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering as one of four girls in her class of around 60 people, Rebekah saw an advertisement for a Graduate Electronic Engineer at Siemens Healthineers and it caught her attention. "I am an electronic engineer by trade, but the job specification included areas that I hadn’t encountered before such as fluidics, biochemistry, and manufacturing engineering. As someone who had just graduated from college and taken a few months off, I was eager to get back to learning and I wanted to expand my knowledge. I wanted to be challenged, and it looked like the perfect job for me to use my electronics knowledge, while also developing further areas of expertise and becoming a more rounded engineer," explains Rebekah.

She successfully secured the Graduate Electronic Engineer role at Siemens Healthineers and moved to Dublin to try out the city life and to see where the job would take her.

Since starting her career at Siemens Healthineers as a graduate, Rebekah has been promoted to a System’s Engineer which sees her draw upon her current knowledge to solve problems and troubleshoot issues on a daily basis. "I am constantly challenged to push myself and expand my knowledge as the work I do is always changing, and new problems arise for me to solve all the time," explains Rebekah.

"Having a base knowledge in your field of expertise is an essential starting point," says Rebekah as she comments on some of the key qualities and traits looked for by the company. "The ability to be flexible in your work also helps. Priorities can change quite quickly here as based on customer needs, supply chain issues, etc. Our work requires us to be highly organized and diligent, so we can switch our focus accordingly in order to tackle various problems head on in a tactical manner. Also, having the desire to learn is useful as you will always be exposed to different areas that you may not have encountered before. As I mentioned, I am an electronic engineer, but I have learned about fluidics, biochemistry, manufacturing and more and continue to expose myself to more areas as my career is developing."

Salient career advice from colleagues

Since starting work at Siemens Healthineers, Rebekah has received lots of salient career advice from her colleagues. And she finds herself frequently reminding herself of these positive mantras. 

Sharing the best piece of career advice she has received, Rebekah suggests: "There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Never be afraid to ask questions. Always try to have confidence in yourself because you're more capable than you think. Always apply for a job you want even if you think you might not get it."

"As someone starting a career, I have found it reassuring to constantly be encouraged to ask questions and not worry about whether what's being asked may seem like a stupid question. I remind myself of this often, and it has certainly stood me in good stead. Sometimes, a quick explanation about something that could be deemed quite basic is incredibly helpful in forging a deeper understanding of picking up something more complicated, much faster. So always try to be confident in yourself and in asking questions, any questions," affirms Rebekah. 

Impressive support for women's career advancement

According to Rebekah, Siemens Healthineers has a strong focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and its support for women's career development is improving all the time. "I have seen more women hired or promoted into senior roles here at Siemens Healthineers," attests Rebekah. "When I started here a couple of years ago, there were fewer women in the office. Over the past while, however, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of women working here, and now we have quite a strong female presence coming through. The women here are very supportive of each other. While we're still in careers whereby the number of women is still outnumbered by men, we do all make an effort to look out for and support each other."

Rebekah acknowledges that positive improvements can always still continue to be made regarding women's career advancement, however she believes there is greater understanding and awareness gender equality in the workplace and that the company is certainly making sound progress in the right direction. "Generally, I'm treated like any other engineer, and I really appreciate that," says Rebekah. "There are some occasions where I have encountered a few extra challenges, but overall I'm valued and included as an equal member of the team and that’s a great thing."

Keen to see more women joining Siemens Healthineers

Rebekah is keen to see more women applying for roles with Siemens Healthineers. "If women have an interest in a specific job role at Siemens Healthineers. I most definitely encourage them to go for it," suggests Rebekah. "I have been promoted since joining the company, yet I was hesitant to apply for the role as I thought I would have no chance of securing it. Yet, here I am, and I really love my job."

Enjoying her downtime

Siemens Healthineers Rebekah O'Connell

Rebekah often spends her well-deserved downtime visiting her family and friends. She also goes horse riding once or twice a week. Many of her family members are located in and around Dublin, so she always tried to make the most of getting to see them since she moved to Swords from Cork.

When she has a bit of extra time, Rebekah also enjoys travelling. She has travelled to China, Morocco, and also quite a bit around Europe including a three-week trip around the Balkans enjoying lots of activities along the way such as white-water rafting, swimming in caves, and ziplining.

Siemens Healthineers has many fabulous jobs on offer 

Siemens Healthineers fosters an environment that places employee engagement at the heart of everything it does and ensures its culture is one where people trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with.

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