Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

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bernholm
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Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by bernholm » Tue May 10, 2016 4:37 pm

I was hoping there would be someone here with experience who would be willing to give me a quick run-down of the basics. Thanks!
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by Barr » Tue May 10, 2016 6:52 pm

1. Go to a college or university

2. Learn about aerospace engineering

3. Graduate and become an engineer

4. Drown in student debt because NASA or any of its contractors did not hire you.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :D :D :) :) :shock: :(



Lol anyways what do you want to know? How to begin pursuing a career? It really all comes down to you taking the initiative and walking into a college/university and speaking with the admissions office. There they will help you find the path that best suits you
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by decaff_42 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:13 pm

Aerospace Engineer here. It really depends on what job you are looking for that will dictate what kind of things you need to know, but there are some basics that will be very helpful. I've personally found that also having my masters in mechanical engineering has helped with respect to job applications, but that may just be the flavor of jobs I was applying to.


Things To Know

---Know your math. Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Numerical Methods have all proven to be really helpful to me. Don't be scared by the names and horror stories you may here. While you may have to take the math (shudder) versions of such classes, engineering math is usually easier and more straight forward in the general terms, however the deeper you go (phd, etc) the more complicated the math will be.

---Learn Matlab. This tool is used almost everywhere in Engineering. Learning Matlab will help you also learn different programming languages if you need them for your job or another course (For me this was Python at my job). Learn the basics early and try to use it for your classes that may not require it, but it can be good practice. Orbital Mechanics is a great class to learn the basics of Matlab with. The equations are mostly the same with subtle tweaks and there are lots of repetitive calculations. Why not make the computer do them for you? :D For the longest time I thought I hated programming because of a bad class I took Freshman year. Come Senior year my first programming project was for my senior-year capstone class and a huge part of that. Now I'm enjoying programming when I have a goal in mind for the software I'm writing.

---Aerospace Engineering is really really broad. Some people say that Aerospace Engineering is Mechanical engineering with a whole bunch of fluids courses. There is some truth to this, but an Aerospace Engineering job could be anything from propulsion (rocket, jet, prop) design, thermal analysis, numerical modeling and simulation...the list goes on. You may even find work in a non-Aerospace industry (wind power, automotive, etc) because the applications of Aerospace Engineering is broad. I happen to have a job in the Aerospace industry, but it is a long way from the courses I took in school.

---Look for more than just an Aerospace Degree. Minors may not count for much after 10 years of job experience, but for that first job, having a relevant minor can be really helpful. Try to go for technical minors in something that interests you or you think may be useful for your target job.

---Internships/Co-ops. Getting practical (RELEVANT ENGINEERING RELATED) job experience is a great advantage. Even if you only get one internship, you are that much more attractive on a job application. It can literally be the difference between getting the post-graduation job you want. It also lets you see different companies (one option) or return to one and build your relationships there. It can prove to be a long job interview as that company may want you back after your graduate if you do good work. My internship was on the shop floor of a manufacturing plant making components for jet engines. I learned a little about the working dynamic between union members, engineering and management, got to see things that would only later make sense in my more advanced classes and in the end, got paid. Engineering internships are one place where you can get decent pay (I got 20USD/hr). A friend did an 8 month Co-op with Apple (mechanical engineer) and made nearly 40k by working extreme hours and traveling for work.

---Find what works for you It took me a while to figure out that I worked best in a group for both studying and homework. Keep in mind that copying is not going to help you and can cause you to fail a class or even get kicked out of the school. But learning the process and then applying it to the homework can be a great way to both learn from your peers and also help them out. While a job may have groups and teams you still have to do your own work. My motto when in a team/group is to try and contribute more than you need help with. You don't want to be the person who is a drain on the group.

Remember: Your objective when getting an Engineering Degree should not be the degree itself, but the job you want to have. You may find that the job you want does not exist, but by focusing on the end goal, rather than the process, you can tailor your education to make yourself more attractive to companies.

Apologies for the wall of text, but I hope some of this was useful for you.
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by bernholm » Tue May 10, 2016 11:27 pm

Don't feel obligated to apologize, I love walls of text.

Thanks so much for all the help! I'll probably continue this in PM because I have a little more detail to get into, so I hope you don't mind inquisitiveness :mrgreen: But I need all the help I can get, considering it's nearly that time for me.
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by AdityaB » Wed May 11, 2016 2:50 am

um.... thanks a lot bernholm for bringing up this topic.....me too is deciding what stream to choose.

i am also so damn interested and passionate about aviation and flying.....so i do not mind getting anywhere in the aviation sector...hence i thought of getting into Aero engg. but......
decaff_42 wrote: .............................

---Aerospace Engineering is really really broad. ........

---Look for more than just an Aerospace Degree. ...........
I have understood that keeping aero engg. means like you are decreasing your scope....if we have a broad base we can define scope our self.... so i am deciding whether to go for Mech engg. (Btech) then go for Aero (in Mtech) or the same procedure with Electro and comm.

something like:
AEROWHY.png
decaff_42 wrote: .................

Remember: Your objective when getting an Engineering Degree should not be the degree itself, but the job you want to have. You may find that the job you want does not exist, but by focusing on the end goal, rather than the process, you can tailor your education to make yourself more attractive to companies.
Good point, thanks a lot decaff :)
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by Richard Vo » Wed May 11, 2016 7:57 am

You have a same dream with me. :) The things here that you've to be very good at math as well as physics. :)
We can do it. I believe in you ;)
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Re: Looking to do aerospace engineering, what should I know?

Post by Mallet » Wed May 11, 2016 8:27 pm

Good stuff! I'm working on my Mech. Engr. degree myself, but I hope to go into aerospace with it (structures or propulsion). Having been an airframe mechanic for close to a decade I can appreciate having a good base, and how many different types of engineering go into an aircraft (take apart the flight controls on a modern fighter and you'll see what I mean).

I'm glad my suspicions have been confirmed in shooting for a broad degree up front.

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