Nicola Asker
Mrs Nicola Asker
Network Analyst, National Grid
Leamington Spa, United Kingdom

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I am part of a team which designs the future gas transmission network for the UK. My particular role is maintaining our view of all the planned work over the next ten years and looking at how these are funded through our relationship with our regulator.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    I chose engineering because I really enjoyed both maths and physics but wanted to be able to apply them practically to make a difference to people's lives.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I went to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow to study a Masters degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    I usually work at a desk and use a lot of Excel spreadsheets but most of my time is spent talking to colleagues to get updates on what is happening for different projects.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    I like knowing that my job, though only a small part, makes sure that everyone in the UK has a safe supply of gas and electricity.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    As well as my main role, I look after the new graduates joining the company for our department. I am very proud of how they progress and my part in encouraging them and advising them.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    Studying for my masters took a lot of work as it was two degrees at once meaning we had a LOT of lectures as well as a wide range of project work. Thankfully, I really enjoy learning like that and came out with the highest level for my Masters.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I grew up in Scotland and have three younger brothers ranging from 23 to 9 years old. They all still live in Scotland so I don't get to see them as often as I'd like but stay in touch and encourage the younger ones to enjoy their science.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    In the short term, my priorities are to make some improvements with the systems I use and move into a role with slightly more responsibility as well as start a family. In the long term, my only goals are to continue working at National Grid in roles where I am challenged and enjoy my work.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    I was probably only aware of engineering as a career option because my step-dad is an electrical engineer but all the choices I've made have been based on what I enjoy doing.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    Don't make assumptions about the type of work it will involve as there are thousands of different things that engineers do and they can be creative as well as logical. Your skills are needed so if you want to make a difference to people's lives, this is a great way to do it.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    Your skills are needed so if you want to make a difference to people's lives, this is a great way to do it.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    I love writing letters and craft activities like making cards to send to my friends around the world. I read when I can and enjoy all sorts of different books from Terry Pratchett to Jane Austen and Agatha Christie.
Biography
I enjoy a challenge and studied for a joint degree in electrical and mechanical engineering. Taking my lead from my step-dad, and electrical engineer, I found my way into engineering because I enjoyed maths, physics and computing at school but didn't want to study any of these by themselves at University. I have tried out consultancy and research and had spent 18 months as a volunteer with 17 amazing Uganda children. I now work as a network analyst at National Grid, exploring how the gas transmission network will need to adapt to meet future needs in the UK. I joined the company through its graduate programme, which offered a great deal of training and experience in different parts of the business.
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Education
I studied for an MEng in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Latest Questions
  • Yulisa, Uplift Williams prep, dallas tx asked Nicola Asker, National Grid

    Added Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 6:26 AM

    Why did you choose electrical and mechanical? Did you ever have comments that those engineer roles were only for men?
    Related to Choosing a Degree, Electrical, Internships & Jobs, Mechanical, Opportunities/Challenges for Women
    Answers 1
    Nicola Asker, National Grid
    Answered Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 6:26 AM

    The main reason I chose to do electrical and mechanical engineering was that I couldn't choose between them and was told it was a much harder degree. I like a challenge. I chose engineering because I enjoyed maths and physics but wanted to use them ...

    Read More
  • John, Dar-es-Salaam asked Nicola Asker, National Grid

    Added Monday, February 1, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    My daughter is in her first year for a four year degree in Mechanical engineering. The class has two girls only and she is not yet sure if the degree is worthy for her future Your advise please
    Related to Mechanical, Opportunities/Challenges for Women
    Answers 1
    Nicola Asker, National Grid
    Answered Monday, February 1, 2016 at 11:57 AM
    Hi John. When I was at University I was the only girl in my course of 50 people. Luckily we shared lectures with other, similar courses which had a few more girls. It never really bothered me and it can be a plus since people are more likely to remember ...
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  • Khilawy, Egypt

    Added Friday, July 31, 2015 at 1:44 AM

    so i was just wondering if there is a linkage between communication and information engineering and software engineering, also the difference between mechanical design engineering and mechanical engineering, also the difference between electric energy engineering and electric engineering, I really need answers. Thanks in advance!
    Answers 1
    Nicola Asker, National Grid
    Answered Friday, July 31, 2015 at 1:44 AM
    Thanks for the question Khilawy. It seems like you already know more than most about some of the different types of engineering careers. It's hard to tell you more about these as they are still really broad. The type of work they each do will still vary ...
    Read More
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