Convenient travel links helped Ramsey decide to swap holidays in Scotland for city life in Edinburgh and a job at the forefront of photonics.
Why work in Scotland
Scotland has a very strong reputation in photonics, with leading companies and excellent research institutions based across the country. Such a strong photonics community attracts talented individuals from around the world.
Scotland is known across the globe for producing engineers with a very strong track record, which partly comes from the sector’s long history here.
Edinburgh’s James Clerk Maxwell, for example, formulated all of the equations that we use today for mobile telecoms.
For me, it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the story that Scotland is writing in the optoelectronics sector. As far as Europe goes, it’s one of the best places for photonics.
Working at Kaiam
Kaiam, with facilities in California and Scotland, is very well known in the photonics industry for being a global leader in multiple technology platforms. As a result I’d been following them for a while. When I noticed there was an opportunity to join the team in Scotland as a Senior Design Engineer, I didn’t hesitate in applying.
The Scottish branch of Kaiam specialises in a particular kind of silicon-based photonics called planar lightwave circuits. In my previous role in England I’d worked for five years on multiple platforms including planar technology, silicon photonics and monolithic integration, so my experience and skills were well-aligned to the role at Kaiam.
I get a real buzz from identifying the needs of the industry, and developing innovative new products by leveraging the strengths of different technologies. The opportunity to influence cutting edge technology with a new idea is why I love what I do.
As soon as I arrived, colleagues were inviting me for lunch, answering my questions and showing me round their labs. Joining such a friendly, helpful and welcoming team made a big difference.
There are colleagues with two years’ experience working alongside those who have been in the industry for 20 years, but everyone has the chance to learn and contribute.
Living in Scotland
I grew up mostly in the Middle East, but after completing my degree in Electrical Engineering I moved to Britain to finish my education and start work.
My mum is Scottish, but I’d never lived here before – it’s always been a holiday destination. Coming to Scotland we decided to live in Edinburgh, a compact and cosmopolitan city with a rich heritage. There’s so much to do in Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland to the Botanic Garden and the year-long schedule of festivals. The city and country is steeped in history, which I love.
My wife’s got a great job in Edinburgh working for one of the city’s oldest charitable trusts, helping young people make the transition from being looked after to living independently in the community.
We used to live in the middle of the countryside, so I’m really enjoying the easy access to cafés and bars along with the variety of social activities right on our doorstep.
It’s also really easy to travel, whether you want to enjoy a city or countryside break, or just enjoy a short walk along the beach. The international airport is also very accessible.
Lots of people say it, but it really is the people that make Scotland a great place to live. You feel like you’re part of the community straight away.