Here are some of my thoughts about the past summer 2022 and my summer job as a process quality engineer in testing at Murata!

Journey from operator to trainee engineer

Last summer, I worked four months in assembly as an operator on the day shift on weekdays. For the winter, I returned to Aalto University to continue my master’s studies in electrical engineering. At the beginning of the year, my previous summer job experience inspired me to begin my search for summer jobs on Murata’s careers page, where I found a few interesting vacancies. Around the same time, I got an invitation from my manager of the previous summer to come back to assembly for a summer job. It was nice to know that I had the chance to go back to the same familiar summer job, but I decided to see if I could advance in my career and apply for new positions.

I submitted applications for two different positions and received a reply for one of them very quickly. I got an invitation to a job interview that turned out to be, much like the one I had the previous year, surprisingly laidback and focused on broader themes, interests and motivation instead of small details. Shortly after the interview, I got a cheerful phone call: I had got the summer job in testing as a process quality engineer trainee! My official job title would then be trainee, process quality (PQ).

It was a great to see how many useful skills I had already learned while working as an operator in assembly. Seeing with my own eyes how sensors are built helped enormously to gain product knowledge, and in hindsight, I’m really happy with the assembly experience as my first job within the company. Even though the equipment used in testing is completely different, I was able to quickly catch up with my new work duties as I already had general knowledge of products, product flows and basic principles. The work environment itself is similar in many ways, except for the clean room classifications.

Work duties of the past summer

In practice, there are two sections in the testing premises: calibration and packaging. I was placed mainly in packaging, i.e., on the machines that detach each component from the frames coming from assembly into separate parts and pack the finished, calibrated and tested products into a package for dispatch to customers.

In the summer job as a PQ engineer in testing, my main work duties included support tasks in PQ: supporting production, updating work instructions, hold processing and, for example, performing MSAs on production equipment. In addition to everyday work duties, I also got some investigation tasks of my own. As the summer went on and my skills improved, I got more responsibilities, tasks to solve on my own and my own projects. Doing things on my own initiative was also easier when I knew where to look up information and what tools to use in the investigation.

At first, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of new information, and I thought I couldn’t possibly keep up with it—new devices, software, premises… I spent the first month mainly learning basic things, and I needed a lot of help from others and couldn’t avoid getting lost in the building either. Even though I was well introduced to the job by both my manager and my teammates, independent investigation and learning have of course been a major part of the job.

In this job, you will learn extensively about the operations of production and its devices. To resolve all kinds of situations, you have to understand how operators use each device and you also have to have general knowledge about the structure and operational mechanisms of the devices in your own production area. Data from the devices is used on a daily basis to help troubleshoot problems, and maintenance services are cooperated with closely.

At the beginning of the summer, I was most nervous about the clusters we had every morning where we discussed the status and problems of devices and production. From the first working week on, these situations required some talking in front of other employees. The best way to get used to this was to just try and do it – my coworkers supported me and helped me with even the smallest of my questions. However, I got used to the clusters surprisingly quickly, and soon they were a totally ordinary part of the workday.

The best thing about this job has been the detective work, that is, finding the root causes of defects and problems, both by statistical means and by asking other people who know about the matter. Having my own projects has also been really motivating!

Towards the end of the summer, I have realized more and more how much there is still to learn about this job – learning will certainly never stop here!

Plans for the future?

Based on this summer, I could definitely see myself in the same or a similar job in future. I was positively surprised by the variety in the job, and there were no boring days. Personally, I would look forward to working for Murata again, hopefully no later than next summer!

Hold processing = Management of suspected non-conforming material, e.g., suspected defect or problem in product handling.
MSA = Measurement System Analysis. The analysis ensures the reliability of the equipment in production, meaning that the measuring devices measure correctly.

Maria Kaunisaho