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Advice Needed for Career in Weapons

  1. Apr 3, 2013 #1
    I am looking for advice on how to enter the defense industry as an engineer. I will graduate this May with my B.S. in mechanical engineering with limited aerospace experience (aerodynamics, propulsion, orbital mechanics and fundamentals of flight). I will get a masters if I cannot get a job this summer, but I would rather save some money and avoid burnout before returning in a few years. Here are my options if I cannot get a defense related job after graduation(if there are any I have overlooked please let me know):

    Become an officer in the military (This will happen one day no matter what):
    Pros: It would elevate me to veteran status, give me experience with the defense industry end-customer and allow hands-on experience.
    Cons: Potential placement outside of interests and four years before reentering industry.

    Attend grad school for a masters of engineering or master of science in engineering
    Pros: Higher education and more expertise
    Cons: incurred costs and limited experience

    Find an engineering job:
    Pros: Positive cash flow and experience
    Cons: Not interesting nor relevant to later career

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2013 #2


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    Just a few quick notes on the military officer note.

    If this is a real track option for you, you're behind the curve right now. You need to be putting your OCS packet right now and it won't just be for four years, it'll be four years plus training, which depending on your branch and mos/rate it'll add up to 5 even 6 years.
  4. Apr 3, 2013 #3


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    Just a small point... I believe you have to fight in a war first, before you are considered a veteran (or does it work differently in your country). Most people would list that under con.
  5. Apr 3, 2013 #4
    1.) If you plan on entering military service, now is the time to do it. There is no point in working for a while and then doing it... you will be approaching age limits and hurt your chances in any competitive areas. Also, as Afghanistan winds down and budget concerns persist I will be surprised if there isn't a contraction of active duty military personnel in the coming years.

    2.) There also isn't much benefit career wise to joining if you only plan on being in for 4 years. You won't get any meaningful defense industry experience in that time.

    3.) With exception of a some of the large defense companies, most are located in pockets near the logistics/research bases of the branches they support. Examples like Dayton, Ohio because of Wright Patterson AFB or Huntsville, Alabama because of the Redstone Arsenal. So find those areas and look for job openings.
  6. Apr 3, 2013 #5
    Just a caveat: As someone who was drafted for mandatory service, I want to say that it was the most uninteresting stint of my life, and there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy it once you're actually in it.
  7. Apr 4, 2013 #6
    In the U.S. as long as you do 4 years and get out your considered a veteran whether you deployed or not.
  8. Apr 4, 2013 #7
    Makes sense otherwise one would need to start wars just to get veteran's benefits from the military.
  9. Apr 7, 2013 #8
    I've worked as a defense contractor. All care & no responsibility. It was a total blast, you get to see what the military does, how it behaves, fraternize with the troops (!?), and go home to my own bed at night.

    I would suggest working as a civilian in the Defense Dept if you don't want to enlist.
  10. Aug 8, 2014 #9
    Carlos- you could become a (weapons engineer) a way to do that is to go to college, and get a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering. If you still are in high school you could take classes like engineering design, welding and so on.
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