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Old 11-14-2019, 07:14 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,346

There are often jobs out of aerospace engineering that are open to aerospace engineers. Some of these are in research and development, pointing systems, optics and similar.

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Old 11-15-2019, 08:28 AM
Steve Steve is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Roy, Utah
Posts: 1,132

1. If you go to work for one of the major companies, you may be the "washer guy" for a bit, working up to be the "bracket guy" some day. If you sign on with a smaller company (less pay and bennys) you may have the entire project.
2. To prove yourself, ask the boss about the most unloved machine, process, or project and then step up to take it over. Research this one carefully beforehand.
Five Sierra Fox
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:34 PM
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rmartingt rmartingt is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 1,013

Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
Yes, I think, based on my experience, the ME degree is desirable to a larger market of businesses...
I've heard this as well, from guys much closer to my age. And it's not just engineering--my wife was turned down for a job that she had previous experience in, in favor of a fresh college grad, because her degree wasn't the specific one they were looking for. So I'm not sure how much is really the degree, and how much is HR just not understanding what they're looking at.

Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
He said that I might make it there after about 30 years with the company...and they wonder why the GA designs haven't changed in 50+ years...
I plant that one at the feet of the FAA and market forces. The way the rules around certification and cert basis are written really disincentivizes lots of new designs and encourages maximum use and production of existing designs as long as possible. Couple that with low sales volume (read: high per-unit R&D cost) and you don't see much change in the GA field.

Originally Posted by rocketman1988 View Post
Summary of another experience with a structures group at a big company that's starts with a B. They said, "Every engineer knows his nut or bolt", meaning that is about all you get to see of a project. Kind of like the guy designing the shelf...
To be fair, someone has to do that job; plus, many people lack the desire to do the overall conceptual work and many (most?) lack the skill to do so well. I know I'm not a good designer, but it took me several years designing test facilities (which was more of a big-picture cross-discipline job) and struggling with my own design tasks (workshop, electrical system, panel layout) to realize that. I'm much more suited to my current position, where I do troubleshooting, investigation, and operational stuff. It's more along the lines of what Paul refers to, and I love it for the same get-to-do-a-little-of-everything reasons.

Originally Posted by plehrke View Post
We (big company that starts with a letter early in the alphabet) now specifically put young engineers directly into adv design since they have great ideas not been tainted by 30 years of Working the details.
My first job, fresh out of college, was doing the test facility design I mentioned above. For all practical purposes, I was the senior "mechanical" engineer, doing stuff we'd never really done before at this company. I can't tell you how many mistakes I made and bad habits I picked up that I wouldn't have had I spent a bit of time "paying my dues" in another department, or had a mentor/graybeard around to show me the error of my ways. Of course, that position also afforded me the chance to get my hands a little dirty and do/learn things most engineers never have a chance to, so perhaps that colors my view that engineers should spend at least a few months on the shop floor and a year or two in production/service support before they ever sit down at a CAD station. Of course, I'm probably also still a little salty from dealing with a former coworker who followed my path into lab development, but seemed to think he was God's gift to engineering and refused to listen to or learn from anyone who didn't sign his timecard.

In the end, engineering seems to be one big exercise in learning how much you don't know. As a friend and colleague put it, you get done with your first year of college and think "man, I know stuff!" and look for a co-op or internship. Then you work there, and find out that you didn't know as much as you thought.
Then you graduate, and think "now I know stuff, and I can do things!" And you start your first job, and (hopefully!) find out how little you know, and how much you don't know how to do.
Then you work a few years, and start thinking "ok, finally, now I know stuff, and I know I can do things!". And you move up, or change jobs... and find out how much less you know and how much less you can do.
Then you work a few more years...
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There are two kinds of fool in the world. The first says "this is old, and therefore good"; the second says "this is new, and therefore better".
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:36 AM
Pilot8 Pilot8 is online now
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: California
Posts: 37

It's hard to find a good job in engineering. The jobs most sought after, such as design in a hot field, are even more selective. When you graduate, the options you have are relatively wide open; when you accept that first job offer, the options begin to narrow based on your work experience going forward. That's why it's really important to understand what you'd like to do professionally. Once you have a resume, the only way to change the narrative is to go back to school to get a graduate degree. The most bang for the buck- and effort- is to get a master's at one of the top (1,2,3,4) universities in your field. If that doesn't work financially, you can work full time while pursuing your passion while getting a degree part time- many companies have work study programs. It's amazing how many doors open when you have that masters from a top school. If you don't quite know what your passion is, attend seminars given by top professors at those top universities- figure out how others look at your field. The mantra is never give up- believe in yourself! Best of luck to your son.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:50 PM
dwranda dwranda is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Jamestown,NY
Posts: 615

Such great advice from everyone! I really appreciate it! The applications are continuing to go in, but no bites yet. Like in many peoples lives I'm sure there's the chance he won't figure out exactly what he wants to do for many years. The first step is getting that foot in the door though.
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:29 AM
Lux Wrangler Lux Wrangler is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 110
Default Merit based hiring, are we using best practices?

I often agree with Paul, and his experience at NASA in Houston is his. But my experience in university, private enterprise and manufacturing is different. It seems to me that more and more, it is increasingly difficult to change one?s career path into a different field. During a dozen years as a hiring supervisor, which included hiring Mechanical Engineers and interviewing hundreds of people, I can?t recall any other supervisor bringing in an Aeronautical, or Aerospace Engineer for a face to face interview for a Mechanical Engineer position. I have applied for aeronautical positions and been interviewed. But whenever I have been able to get useful feedback, I?ve been told they hired an aeronautical, for an aeronautical position.

There was a time, years ago, when I have benefited from merit based hiring, to work in new areas based on what I can do; rather than exactly what I have done. But mostly now, unless you have worked for a competitor, doing the exact same job, you are just one of hundreds of applicants who don?t even get a rejection email. H-1b visas also have a profound effect in Silicon Valley opportunities for talented citizens, but I don?t think I should launch into that Vietnam on Vansairforce.
Jim Peck
San Francisco Bay Area
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