Career Path: Devaraja Rajan, Ramboll

Devaraja Rajan is the winner of the IABSE Future of Design North Young Designer of the Year. He explains his career with Ramboll to date including his innovative design approach for the design of Tennison Road Overbridge.

How do you describe your main role?

My primary role with Ramboll UK Ltd is as a Civils design engineer, where I am responsible for designing Civil Structures such as bridges, retaining walls and gantries to client requirement/brief. Additionally, I assist in managing projects to ensure timely delivery of documents/drawings within estimated budgets. 

Why did you decide to go into engineering/infrastructure?

I enjoyed Maths and Science at school, which prompted me to choose engineering as a career path. I was attracted to civil engineering because of the opportunity it provides me to be a part of building something be it roads, railways, hospitals, schools or water network that would improve and benefit the society for years to come.

What prompted you to enter the IABSE competition?

Ramboll encourages its young engineers to share the innovation and technical excellence they have achieved through various internal and external forums. The IABSE conference attracts like-minded professionals from the civil engineering sector and provides a great opportunity for networking. My manager and I recognised that the Young Designers Competition would be a great platform to share my experience of using an innovative design approach for undertaking the design on Tennison Road Overbridge.

What did you study and how did that lead to this career?

I opted for Maths and Physics in high school to help me enrol for Bachelor of Engineering in the field of Civil Engineering. I completed both my schooling and undergraduate degree in India. I then studied for my postgraduate degree in the field of structural engineering from the University of Sheffield, later securing a graduate structural engineer role with the civils team in Ramboll.

Who was your first employer and why?

I’ve worked with Ramboll UK Ltd (previously Gifford) since graduating. I came across Ramboll at the university careers fair and was quite taken by the prestigious projects that their civils team were involved in. On being successful at the graduate assessment day, I was provided with an opportunity to meet the team, which further increased my desire to work with them.

What is your brief CV since that time?

Since starting with Ramboll, I have worked as a team member and lead designer on a number of projects, undertaking design of a variety of steel and concrete composite structures to British Standards and Eurocodes. I have undertaken designers’ site liaison/supervision roles on major D&B schemes, involving new roads in environmentally sensitive areas and bridge replacement over railway. I am currently working towards further improving my project management and commercial skills. 

What is special about the point you are in your career now?

I’m able to contribute positively to the projects that I’m involved in by producing a sustainable and economical solution. Additionally, I am able to mentor graduates and share my experience in various aspects of the design.

Who has the most influence over your career and why?

I would say my Manager has had the most influence in my Career since I started working. The reason I say this is because he has been my mentor throughout my working career and has continuously encouraged me to participate in varied events to help me improve my soft skills. Additionally, he has had positive influence in my design abilities since he has either been the project manager or technical advisor in the projects I’ve been involved in.

What do you like about your employer?

Ramboll provides me with the opportunity to work on interesting projects and contribute towards its success. They value employee development and help towards their development at both personal and professional level. The multidisciplinary approach helps to promote knowledge sharing and communication of ideas across disciplines.

What most interests you and keeps you interested?

As a civil engineer, I’m required to find solutions to engineering problems in a project considering the environmental, social and economic impact of the solution. This sometimes can be challenging and may require collaborating with engineers across all disciplines and think outside my specialisation. Each project is distinctive which keeps the job even more interesting. Above all, it is the sense of accomplishment and fulfilment I feel when my design is turned into reality, which keeps me interested.

What is the one thing you have done that has been fundamental to your career?

I always try to understand why things are done in a certain way and question myself or try to find out if there is a better way of undertaking that aspect of the work. This has helped me improve my knowledge and understanding in the field I work in.

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