The lessons Venkatesan Narayanaswamy learned as a chemical engineer have served him well throughout his diverse career.
Venkatesan Narayanaswamy trained as a chemical engineer, but his career has taken him through a rich variety of industries, from mining to risk consulting to project management.
Today he is working with Western Australia’s Public Transport Authority delivering projects including Perth’s Morley–Ellenbrook Line and the Bayswater Station and Turnback.
He believes that it is his mindset that has permitted him to adapt to a broad range of engineering work.
“I’ve worked all over the place, but the important aspect of process engineering is how you work through processes,” he said.
“How you gain efficiencies in terms of improving the process — that concept applies everywhere.”
And no matter the industry, Narayanaswamy said, it is important to identify and anticipate what knowledge is at hand about a project.
“How we anticipate the unanticipatable things,” he said. “That’s the first question that you would ask as an engineer: what are the known unknowns that we are managing here? What are the unknown unknowns and [how do] we engineer solutions in such a manner that we narrow that space as much as possible?”
Narayanaswamy’s response is to provide better information to all the stakeholders involved. It was in chemical engineering that he first learned this approach.
“They’re all concepts that we have borrowed from the chemical and petrochemical industries,” he said.
“That gave me an edge in a holistic understanding of those tools, those processes — how we can facilitate those processes and how we can create solutions together by working collaboratively with other disciplines.”
As a Chartered engineer, Narayanaswamy values the self-discipline and self-organisation involved in maintaining his status.
“Chartered status offers opportunity for continuous professional development,” he said. “That gives me an opportunity to get out and meet people in the conferences and seminars, and to be able to listen and engage in contemporary debates in my profession.”
Narayanaswamy said it also allows him to track the latest knowledge.
“There are some real cutting-edge things happening — how we can embrace that best-practice in our discipline,” he said.
And it ensures that he never gets complacent.
“That keeps me on my toes all the time,” he said. “Every day I get up and say, how can I do things differently? What are the things that I could learn; how can I contribute differently?
Venkatesan Narayanaswamy’s tips for success:
- Involve more stakeholders in your work and engage in a collaborative manner.
- Participate in and contribute to industry and professional body meetings, seminars, conferences, and webinars. Make the most of them.
- Pursue Chartership to improve your self-discipline and self-organisation for a goal-oriented career progression.
- Networking is a valuable path to continuous professional development.
Interested in learning more about the Chartered credential? You may already have what it takes to become Chartered. Find out more here and start your pathway to Chartered today.
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