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  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Jeff Zhou

As a structural engineer, your career prospects are endless. From skyscrapers and stadiums to cranes and conveyors, every facet of infrastructure in the world requires structural engineers.

Where did you grow up? What have been some memorable moments in your life?

After my parents immigrated from China, I was born in Brisbane and have lived there my whole life. I would have to say my most memorable experiences have included travelling. I’ve been to most countries in Asia, with China being one of my favourites. In fact, it was when I went to Shanghai and watched China’s largest skyscraper (at the time) being built, that I really started to consider engineering as a career.

How did you get to your current job position?

I applied for AECOM’s graduate program after hearing about it from an industry night at QUT. I was fortunate enough to be offered a structural engineering job and took it immediately. I’ve been with AECOM since January 2019, so six months.

How did you choose your specialisation?
Honestly, I chose structural engineering because of my love for Lego as a child. I just loved building whatever I wanted and this naturally branched out to various different structures. I don’t think I could do anything else really. 

What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?

AECOM’s interview process was quite different from anything I’d experienced before. I remember thinking how cool it was that they started the process with a puzzle game, but in all, it wasn’t as daunting an experience as I thought it would be. I thought they would ask more technical questions pertaining to each role, but the questions were more about getting to know you as a person. 

What does your employer do?

AECOM helps people realise their dreams. They do it in a way that makes you feel involved at every step, developing and implementing solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

What are your areas of responsibility?

My areas of responsibility include designing structures that reflect a client’s needs and wants. 

Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?

I start my work day at 7.30 am. My day is usually filled with a lot of design projects with meetings scattered in between. The last project I worked on was a steel structure to support a large magnet. One of the best things about working at AECOM are their flexible work hours. I’m able to start my day early and finish early, which allows plenty of time in the evening to go to the gym, play some video games and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. 

What are the career prospects with your job?

As a structural engineer, your career prospects are endless. From skyscrapers and stadiums to cranes and conveyors, every facet of infrastructure in the world requires structural engineers. You never know where it might take you.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

I don’t know, maybe a doctor?

What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?

I love the fact everything I work on is different and I’m not funnelled into doing the same thing over again. I enjoy anything that requires collaboration, as its fascinating learning from others with different experiences.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on the weekends? Are the stress levels high?

I don’t really think there are any limitations to my job. If I feel something is limiting me, AECOM is the type of company that will ensure I get another opportunity. Of course I bear responsibility for the designs I produce, that’s just the nature of the job, but I have never felt overwhelmed. I have not worked on weekends as AECOM really encourages a work-life balance, which is also why my stress levels are at zero.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  • Network
  • Seek out opportunities
  • Have fun!