Skip to comments.FRiendly advice humbly requested: regarding a young engineer.
Posted on 09/28/2012 6:55:00 AM PDT by golux
Dear FRiend, happy Friday. I am generally averse to vanity 'appeals' but... I need some advice, and maybe some help.
I have for some time been somewhat of a mentor to an extremely bright, diligent, young Christian man who will soon be taking a bachelors degree in engineering - specialty: aerospace - from a fairly prestigious college.
His grades are very good. He is a VERY hard working and bright man who has consistently taken the 'higher path' in his personal, family, and academic life. He overcame considerable adversity to become a star football player with great grades in high school, then continued to work hard and focus his energies to get where he is today: very near the top of his class in a highly competitive department.
And... He has asked me for advice on how, and where, to get a job. Evidently the "career guidance" folks are not terribly plugged in, as was certainly the case when I was a graduating senior!
I am from a family of physicists and engineers (Dad, grandfather) but sadly these men have passed on.
I would DEEPLY appreciate any advice you could give me regarding paths a talented young engineer with an interest and schooling in aerospace might take. He is a man for whom doors should open, but I am frankly at a loss as to how to help him.
Thank you, thank you in advance for your time, your thoughts, Freepmails or posts today or this weekend.
Find out who has contracts with NASA or private developers. Are the Thomas Registers still published? That might be a good source of names of companies to investigate.
He should be getting in contact with aerospace companies now. Not only will he be exposing himself to potential employers now, but he also can pick their brains on every one of his questions.
As a bonus, he could end up with some decent summer jobs.
He should look at interning during his summers with one of the private space projects.
The future for aerospace engineers in government employ isn’t very bright. NASA’s budget will be cut soon, one way or the other.
But the private sector space projects are just getting started.
Jobs in any field are hard to come by these days.
But there is always a place to go for help.
Ask God for wisdom, guidance and help will be soon forthcoming. Guaranteed.........................
Wish I could be more encouraging, but this is a particularly bad time to be seeking work in aerospace.
Obama has for all practical purposes killed NASA. And the defense industry is preparing for massive layoffs in the wake of potential budget sequestration and/or an Obama second term.
HR managers I know have inboxes literally overflowing with resumes from folks with 20+ years at NASA or in the defense industry.
Maybe he should look into companies that make unmanned drones. That appears to be one lone bright spot.
He should consider a graduate degree. With these kind of grades (and as an American citizen), he would easily be able to get a masters or PhD for free, with an additional monthly stipend, from an excellent school.
Engineering is an excellent springboard to high finance. That is where the money is.
And a talented person in finance can help himself and society more than a talented engineer can.
Remember the parable of the Talents!
my engineer sons both found permanent jobs through internship opportunities. the students who did not intern scrambled for jobs just before graduation. the college might not have a handle on jobs after graduation, but there are usually some internship positions advertised.
one son found his internship through his university - other son had to find his own. he looked for biggest companies in his field, sent his resume & applied online.
engineers are still finding jobs.
Yes, grad school at this time seems to be the best option. Hopefully the jobs picture will be clearer in two years when he has his Master’s. During that time, he can network and continue his job search. The MS degree will help him to stand out and shouldn’t add much to his loan debt as he can defer his undergrad loans and get a TA job to pay for Master’s studies.
What he said - internships. I was a comp sci major, and they were key, as they were for most of my friends.
Join the Air Force. Had a friend do the same thing back in the 90’s and qualified for flight school. It was a 2 year wait so they sent him to grad school and he did contract oversight on military aircraft projects at boeing
Norway needs on engineers, or so I’ve heard. ( No idea what kind)
Happy to give some advice ....my 87 yr old father who is sitting right next to me now has just heard your request and has some ideas. His background is: ‘47 grad from USNA; BS in engineering, No Carolina State; master’s in engineering for MIT; attended Cal Tech; PhD from Johns Hopkins in double E. He worked for Martin Marietta while at Hopkins and a missile he helped build is in the Smithsonian.
His immediate response was for your friend to subscribe to Aviation Week and look at ads in the back. Also, maybe, IEEE mag. Check with govt listings in SDI work or test pilot work at Pax River, MD. Drones are big these days in govt too. Be willing to go anywhere there’s work. Go to the obvious places like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, small airplane makers, Martin Marietta, even Airbus. Also, ancillary systems for aircraft like GPS navigation, control systems, etc. like SAIC. My father worked on a wind shear detection system back in the day at SRI in Menlo Park, CA.
Good luck to your friend...even in this economic environment, once he gets his foot in the door, he should do well.
This may not be the best time to be an aerospace engineer. Since he has a strong basis in the structural aspects of civil engineering, he might have better long term prospects in pursuing additional courses, if needed, to be able to seek work as a structural engineer working in building or bridge design. He needs to remain proficient in the current software.
Designing radars and missiles to shoot down other missiles is a hoot!
Mountain View, California has a huge aerospace presence, as well as higher education.
Santa Barbara, California, UCSB works with many start ups in the Goleta area - my husband calls it brain trust central.
Houston, Texas big aerospace area.
Colorado Springs, Colorado lots of engineering and aerospace companies.
When our national sovereignty is sufficiently eroded, we’ll be in more trouble than our system will permit us to address.
BTW-subverting our system is continuing apace, anyway!
Just as the time to start planning for college is at the start of high school, the time to start planning for a career is before starting college. Bit late in this case...
The best advice I have is devote energy towards finding a career, but absolutely get a job first. Any job held during college time is a massive leg up on the competition - it shows someone who can juggle workload, prioritize, and accomplish goals. Don’t wait to graduate, get it done now.
It is always easier to find a job while working than to find one while unemployed.
If I were a young Aerospace Engineer just starting out, instead of an old Mechanical Engineer in mid-career, I would pack all of my stuff in the old jalopy and drive out to Edwards Dry Lake and start passing out resumes to SpaceX and Scaled Composites.
These guys are hiring, and they are looking for people willing to relocate to the middle of nowhere.
U.S. weapons maker Raytheon reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings July 26 and raised its forecast for full-year profit despite a drop in revenue, saying it is well-positioned to weather tough U.S. budget pressures. ...
But he said the company was well-prepared to weather the budget crisis, given strong and growing international demand, and its strong position in missile defense, cybersecurity and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. The strength of our overall portfolio suggests that we are well aligned with the priorities of the (Defense Department), the classified community and international customers, he said. We believe that positions us well for the future, irrespective of how things play out from a sequestration standpoint.
Do NOT work for General Electric.
Numerous job openings in North AL, at Redstone Arsenal, Marshall Space Flight Center and contractors in the Huntsville area.
With the impending cuts in military spending I suspect there will more aerospace engineers looking for positions.
Not advice but my experience has been that taking a job of any kind in the area a person wants to work is useful. It provides some hands on experience and can provide leads to better jobs.
I’ve also found many employers will be quite helpful if a person is right upfront with them about their plans and willingness to work for a lesser wage in return for gaining experience.
He’ll need to move to a city with aero engineers, such as Colorado Springs, Huntsville, Seattle, Phoenix, Charleston, etc.
Dice.com, Indeed.com, and Monster.com contain many of the engineering jobs that are advertised. Use them.
Most companies also hold job fairs at the better schools and in those aero engineering cities.
“I would DEEPLY appreciate any advice you could give me regarding paths a talented young engineer with an interest and schooling in aerospace might take. He is a man for whom doors should open, but I am frankly at a loss as to how to help him.”
Tell him to learn Chinese.
Doors will open.
What college? I’m surprised the college doesn’t have a career center. That’t how I got my first engineering job.
plus....the students who interned usually had an offer by early spring, so they were free to study for finals. ones who did research for professors during the summers were interviewing and trying to study too.
Finally, he should be open to relocating, even to a liberal hellhole like California. If he's just starting out he has maximum flexibility in his career. The first job out of college usually lasts only a few years anyhow.
Our son is finishing up in Computer Science at a local state University. He got an internship through the college with a local company; when he finishes in Winter Quarter (God willing and the creek don’t rise) this man wants to keep him on.
I would talk to the department head at his university? Here in Los Angeles there are Tech Temp agencies that place technical people; often the big tech companies have lids on hiring quotas and hire extra people from the temps.
Yup, SpaceX is a great place to have a career. My brother is on the team there over in Hawthorne, CA. He tells me that they are always on the lookout for good talent. Their most recent venture is the Dragon Capsule, which a few months ago made the first commercial docking with the Space Station.
He should expand his network of contacts to include potential employers. If he doesn't know exactly what to do buy him a book on the topic, such as "The Start-Up of You"
Tell him that even in a tough economy there is always a job for a hard working motivated engineer. He may have to work for less money than he wants, or initially in some less than exciting projects, but there is always a way to move forward toward your goals. If nothing else pans out find a start-up that needs an aerospace guy and sign on - you might as well work for stock and a shot at some money instead of being unemployed. And getting the coffee and working in the shop at someplace like Scaled Composites or SpaceX will lead to top tier jobs within a few years, even if you get paid next to nothing for the time being. Look for other smaller aerospace related businesses too, places not everyone thinks of looking.
Tell him that there are thousands of older engineers out there who get great satisfaction out of helping the next generation of engineers succeed. He should find a couple of them to help him out.
My husband is an engineer in the aerospace field. He got laid off six months ago. We’re still looking.
Be willing to go where the job is.
Consider contract work, there still seem to be some contract opportunities and those can be great for a young man starting out.
Eglin Air Force Base, FL
- 53rd Wing
- Contracting companies that support the 53rd Wing's test mission
Edwards AFB, CA
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
- Air Force Research Lab
Get all over LinkedIn and check out the military engineer profiles listed there. Check their backgrounds to see where they've been, then “connect the dots.”
First he should convert to Islam, or possibly, become gay or transgender. He will have to cover his car in OBAMA 2012 bumper stickers. If this doesn’t help he should learn Mandarin or Korean asap.
After re-reading your post and taking a little more note of what you said about the young man’s other interests and values, I’d strongly suggest you advise him to take a careful look at the Eglin Air Force Base opportunities, and Niceville, Florida, specifically.
The Eglin area is in the ‘Bible Belt,’ and it’s a very family-oriented area. If you PM me I might be able to offer more help “off-line.”
- Ball Aerospace
- Jacobs Technology
- Lockheed Martin
- Northrup Grumman
- TKC Aerospace
Consider having him get an MBA rather than a master’s in aerospace engineering. An engineer with an MBA should have lots of opportunities even outside the aerospace industry.
I suggest that he pull up stakes and move to Everett, WA or another city where Boeing is BIG. He’ll have a job in jiffy, I can almost guarantee it.
Bonus skills are: 1)Computer Aided Design using CATIA and/or Solidworks. 2) Manufacturing processes especially composites. 3) Six sigma.
He can apply online. www.boeing.com
Good for you for helping the guy out...
First, have him look at the unemployment rate of aerospace engineers. With the shutting down of the space shuttles, I predict he will find employment hard to come by in aerospace. Encourage him to look at structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers. All of these fields are much broader and even overlap into the aerospace fields.
What I would suggest is a dual-major in math and physics. Math and physics are the foundation of engineering. They are the hard part. If you know the math and physics, the applications are a piece of cake.
With good enough grades he could get an aerospace job with that alone if NASA is resurrected.
If not, he has a lot more flexibility with that combination. Any field of science or engineering would be within his grasp.
Grades would be everything.
Don’t look at the Eglin area. It’s nice, lovely country, but there aren’t jobs here. The company my husband worked for laid off several hundred people back in April, we’re trying hard to get something somewhere else. If there are any jobs here, there’s plenty of local unemployed engineers trying to get in.
Surprised NOBODY has said apply to USN as Engineering Duty Officer (USN Nuclear is advertising for junior engineers in ALL of the engineering technical/student magazines I have subscriptions to (Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society), ASME, Nuclear News, Texas A&M alumni association, corps of cadet association, etc.). My older brother went to USN Officer Training School (90 days) with a degree in physics, that’s another option for a 6 year commitment; I was NROTC and a direct enrollment right after school. I was nuclear construction, nuclear repair, and submarine repair. Wasn’t on sea duty, lots of shipyard days.
USN is advertising for aero engineering duty officers, see www.navair.navy.mil They won’t fly, but do maintenance and design and weapons analysis and support.
My younger brother just retired from the USAF with duty as (non-flying) communications, computers, flight scheduling, crypto and intercept, aero maintenance squadron officer, and NATO duty, etc.
There are unemployed engineers all over the country. But as someone who used to supervise dozens of what I consider to be the “best and the brightest” in the DoD, I can tell you that not all engineers are the same, and not every unit and/or contractor is looking for what you might assume they're looking for in an engineer.
I'm sorry to hear that husband lost his job. But the fact is that Eglin is exactly the type area it sounds like this young man might be looking for. And if he's as sharp as his “friend” indicates he might do very well for himself.
I doubt that he'll be moving his furniture before he's received a job offer anyway. So why not advise him to look to the best option, rather than the “safest” option?
Most of the aero-engineer jobs in Phoenix have gone to India.
True, many have but Phoenix still has some good jobs. It’s one of the major cities for aerospace. On the aircraft avionics front, many jobs are coming back as the foreigners have really made a mess of things.
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