After working in entry level roles at Nike, Norman Jiang decided to enhance his career by studying the Master of Science (International Sports Technology) at RMIT.
Master of Science (International Sports Technology)
Footwear product engineer at Nike Manufacturing Revolution Group
It’s motivating and encouraging to see some of the world’s best athletes perform well with a product I’ve helped to create
I’m a footwear product engineer at Nike Manufacturing Revolution Group, based in Ningbo, China. Here I’m involved in all aspects of product creation, everything from development sampling to mass production.
I actually started my career in the food industry, joining Nestlé after graduating with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. After four years working as production supervisor and process engineer, I decided to change careers.
I’m passionate about sport, so I joined Nike (China) Sourcing Ltd, starting at entry level as manufacturing auditor, then moving on to roles in material and product development.
I wanted to further my career opportunities and increase my knowledge in sport and sportswear, so I enrolled in the Master of Engineering (International Sports Technology) at RMIT University.
The master program at RMIT is unique, providing students with a solid foundation in biomechanics and engineering to help you understand the science and theory behind a successful performance product.
At RMIT I had exposure to advanced technologies, such as smart sensors and wind tunnels: the future of the sports industry.
I stayed in touch with my former colleagues at Nike and was lucky enough to join them again after I graduated.
At Nike, a lot of my time is spent working with programmers and technicians on building sample products. I provide instruction, based on product creation team requirements. I also take into consideration the feasibility of mass production for our Asian manufacturing partners.
For the production of our key seasonal goods, I travel to manufacturers located in China, Vietnam and other countries to do product assembly trials and to confirm the technical specification of components.
One of the projects I recently worked on was the Nike basketball and football shoe for top athletes. I assisted in the development of processing methods for the new fabric which has significantly different physical properties to previous materials we have worked with.
Sports technology is directly connected to the end user. All your product development achievements are eventually out there for everyone to see – in the gym and sometimes even in the media.
It’s motivating and encouraging to see some of the world’s best athletes perform well with a product I’ve helped to create.
However the challenge is to get your technology and materials to mass production as quickly as possible in order to be noticed in a highly competitive market.
Getting your product fully tested and validated on limited time can be difficult, especially when you need to ensure you have approval from everyone involved at the company and you have met customer expectations.
To succeed in this business, you need to be a quick learner with a passion for discovery. Curiosity is the driver of success in any technology field.
Sports technology is a global business, and you are dealing with people from a diverse range of backgrounds – so good communication skills are really important.
Over the next few years, I hope to develop efficiency in the production work flow. I’d also like to explore my options to work in another country – and ideally, I’d love a lead product engineering role at Nike World Headquarters.
I’m excited about the possibilities and technologies that can be applied to sportswear. The industry has a bright future!