Career Advice Archive

GEO engineer boring ahead with link project

Joseph Fisher Man-king joined the Civil Engineering and Development Department’s Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) as a geotechnical engineering graduate after finishing his master’s degree in civil engineering. Currently working on the Sha Tin to Central Link railway expansion, he tells Wong Yat-hei how he is determined to use his engineering knowledge to benefit the public.

What is your academic background?
I graduated from Imperial College London with a master’s degree in civil engineering in 2011.

How do you start your day?
I don’t have a specific routine. I prioritise my tasks according to the required deadlines and available information, which allows me to work efficiently throughout the day. Each day is different and can include various meetings, site visits, and the undertaking of calculations, drawings and reports.

What does your job entail?
I am undergoing a three-year “Scheme A” training programme in the geotechnical discipline offered by the GEO and approved by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, from which I will gain well-rounded engineering experience by working in various organisations and departments.

I am currently working on the Hong Kong Island section of the proposed Sha Tin to Central Link MTR project. My role is to assess the impact that ground movement caused by tunnelling works has on existing buildings and highway bridges. The link is an interesting engineering project which will provide greater convenience to the public when it is completed by providing direct access to the east side of Hong Kong.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The development of major engineering projects is by nature very complex and it requires a number of different disciplines to work together as a team to create the best solution. The biggest challenge for me as a graduate is to make a positive contribution to the project by practically applying the fundamentals that I learned at university. However as I gain more experience in different procedures and works, and receive more advice and encouragement from my colleagues, I am able to effectively develop the skills required.

What are your future plans?
When my three-year training programme ends in 2014, I hope to obtain my professional chartership. As a qualified engineer, I will be able to step up to the next level and take on more responsibility in different projects.

What advice can you give those interested in the industry?
This is a challenging, yet interesting, field. I joined this profession simply because I love contributing to our society. Good time management and being able to think laterally are both important, as you are constantly required to apply engineering theories to different situations in a set time period.