Steve Sun

BEng Mechanical Engineering, 2019
Data Platform Engineer, Apotex

I construct data pipelines and connectors between data platforms to ensure the business team gets the latest company data on time. I maintain these pipelines to ensure the quality and integrity of the data. I am also responsible for developing AI solutions to automate certain tasks using machine learning algorithms, big data and cloud computing platforms.

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

Since I've graduated from the University, I've moved on to complete my graduate study in Canada and found my way into a pharmaceutical company, working here as a data platform engineer. Toronto has a strong IT and finance industry, it saw a huge demand in machine learning, big data, and data platform automation. Automation was my focus during my study at UoB, influenced by the market, I saw the potential in AI and machine learning and thus decided to take a leap from mechanical engineering to big data and machine learning.

What made you interested in your current role?

Most of the data engineering positions are responsible for building data pipelines only. The fact that I am not restricted to this but also able to develop AI solutions is the key to my interest.


What is the best thing about what you’re doing now?

As a mechanical engineer, I've always been quite keen on programming and computers. Being able to practice my computer skills and utilise my engineering knowledge on sensors and manufacturing has been the best thing about my current role.

What motivates you?

I've always been curious about the things I don't know. You can find me reading a textbook on neuroscience right before the final exam on fluid mechanics. This attitude has been the main driving force in both my life and my career.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

After spending four years in America, I thought I needed to see the world from a different perspective. The University of Birmingham was well-ranked for engineering studies and that is why I decided to come here. Amongst the great ranking institutes, UoB is the most affordable (including living cost) with decent utility as Birmingham itself is a very vibrant city.

What are your fondest memories of the University?

My graduation project was my fondest memory at the University of Birmingham. I had to sleep on the floor for a couple of nights in the lab but it turned out really well. I was a total nerd back in UoB, so all my fond memories would involve some form of rough sleeping in any of the 24/7 academic buildings. These will always remind me of how determined I can be for my dreams. I do also miss going out with my flatmates, it hits real hard every time I realise I can no longer go to the pub with my close friends from the UK anymore

We Are (Third Width)

How did your time at University help you start your career? 

My time at the University really shaped my personality in terms of resiliency. Sometimes you would be amazed at how far you can push yourself towards a goal and seeing your hard work paid off was perhaps the most satisfying experience that I've ever had. This has certainly helped me in becoming a data engineer and it is the number one reason why I am still very much attached to the University.

Advice from Steve Sun

“Decide on your career path. Or as we say in Canada: please, decide on your career path and have an idea of where the industry is going, and learn as much as possible to help you adapt to that shift in your industry.”