Kamran Zubairi


Kamran Zubairi


Advanced PICS Engineer






Technology and Bionics 

Degree programme 

Bionics, M.Sc.

Date of the interview 

November 2023


What motivated you to pursue your master’s in Bionics at HSRW?

I always wanted to pursue my master’s in a foreign country and was interested in Europe from the start. An uncle of mine had done his postdoc in Germany in the 1980s and he suggested the country to me. One thing led to another and I ended up in HSRW in the Bionics/Biomimetics programme.

I found the correlation between nature and engineering very interesting and wanted to explore that further, which formed my biggest motivation to study Bionics. Since my bachelor’s in Electronic Engineering, I had been interested in industrial automation and control systems, which is nowadays referred to as Operations Technology (OT). I found the flexibility in Bionics to pursue projects and my thesis in the field of OT quite attractive, which is what I ended up doing.

You started at HSRW in 2011, two years after the university was founded. How did you experience your student life?

Student life was pretty interesting at HSRW. When I started there, the campus in Kleve was still being built and we studied our first 2 semesters at the old military barracks in Emmerich! Kleve and Emmerich – like much else in the Lower Rhine Area – are pretty quiet places, but I had a great time there nonetheless. Student parties, get-togethers and cookouts were really fun. HSRW is so diverse, it just amazes me. Meeting people from different cultures, countries and regions in Germany was a surreal experience which I treasure to this day. HSRW is a very close-knit community and the time that I shared with my fellow students led to some lifelong friendships. I am still in touch with a lot of people from Kleve and regularly meet up and reminisce about the good old days.

What was the topic of your master’s thesis?

In my master’s thesis, I created a software tool with which one could develop a web-based human machine interface (HMI) application. It was conducted in cooperation with a German company and using the model driven development (MDD) approach.

Today, you work as an Advanced PICS Engineer at 3M in Düsseldorf, Germany. Please tell us more about your tasks and responsibilities.

As I mentioned before, I have been interested in industrial automation for quite some time. After graduating from HSRW, I joined a company that sent me around the world to commission production lines for automobile manufacturers. This really deepened my knowledge and passion for the field of automation and control.

In 2021, I started working at 3M as an Advanced PI&CS Engineer and got the chance to delve into OT Cyber Security and Data Automation. This was, for me, the next logical step in my career. I am now the Subject Matter Expert in EMEA for this field and have taken over the OT Cyber Security portfolio for 3M in this region. I am involved in project-related work as well as standardization in EMEA and also globally for 3M.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Hands down, the challenge of it all. Cyber Security in OT and IT/OT Convergence are relatively new fields, so the challenges involved are immense. Each project is different and I need to apply the knowledge and engineering in a unique way to fit that solution. Standardization of structures, solutions and technologies is a big ask as well, which my colleagues and I deal with and accomplish. 3M has a diverse and talented team of engineers and we solve problems so that we can churn out great products for our customers to use.

Looking back, how would you evaluate your degree programme in Bionics?

I think studying Bionics opened me up to new ways of thinking and finding solutions to engineering problems. Taking inspiration from nature with millions of years of evolutionary problem solving has given me new insights.

Which advice do you have for our engineering students?

My advice: keep an open mind. There is an ever-increasing number of opportunities out there for engineers today, fields which are really nascent and only just maturing. Try to dive into new fields and learn new approaches to solving problems through internships and working student programmes, as they are a great way to get to know companies and their inner workings.

For international students, my biggest advice would be not to underestimate yourself and sell yourself short. You have come to a foreign country and made a life for yourself. You have what it takes to excel!