Advice For Aspiring Engineers
Interested in a career in engineering? Whether you want to develop a new sustainability technology, engineer product solutions for the aerospace industry, or don’t know what aspect of engineering you’re interested in, we have some advice designed to help you get started.
First, here is a stat from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- 7% growth projected 2016 – 2026 in engineering occupations in the US
- 1. Start by assessing your skills and passions
Consider your strengths. What makes you unique? Are you great at explaining difficult technical concepts? Do you live, eat, and breath building machines? Are you a superior team project planner? Identifying your skills early will help you capitalize on them later. Many people don’t have one all consuming passion. Consider what you enjoy spending your time on. Maybe it’s reading articles on driverless cars or the latest company updates on aerospace innovations from Boeing or Airbus. Whatever it is, know that marrying your innate strengths with your interests is a great place to start for a fulfilling career.
- 2. Research degrees and industries
Engineering is a broad term. There are many sub branches for each of the four main engineering degree categories: Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, Electrical. If you’re wondering about the differences, take some time and research each one. You’ll get more detail about types of engineering programs and their relevant industries.
NOTE: Opportunities for engineering graduates aren’t only found in big companies. There are plenty of startups and niche employers as well.
- 3. Job shadow an engineer
Hearing about the real-world experiences of an engineering professional will be invaluable as you decide your own future. Ask your parents or school to help you facilitate an informational interview or job shadow experience with an engineer (in your area of interest) in your community. Write down the pertinent questions you have about their background, work and experiences. It’s always helpful to hear directly from someone doing a job you may want to do in the future.
We also asked two of Radiall’s Field Application Engineers what advice they have for someone wanting to pursue a career in engineering. Here’s what they said:
“There are many amazing ways to be a part of engineering that I did not know about until I entered the field. In addition to the design engineering roles (electrical, mechanical...) there are combination roles (sales engineers, project engineers, test engineers). Do as much research as possible about the different areas and industries to apply your engineering training. Have a couple ideas in multiple categories to start your search! Many smaller companies offer great growth potential and the ability to expand your work that may surprise you.”
Field Application Engineer
- “Learn to do your math the hard way, it will make you appreciate the easy way that much more.”
- “Engineering is 10% theory and 90% reality, theory is great until reality takes over.”
- “You can't spell geek without EE (electrical engineering) and ALWAYS do what they say is impossible.”
- “My inspiration comes from the ability to constantly create something new.“
- “Just because you don't design something at work doesn't mean that you can't design something wherever you are. Keep a pencil (or pen) handy.”
Field Application Engineer