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Aerospace Careers for Non-Engineers

  1. Apr 12, 2015 #1
    Hello Everyone.
    Most of you are professionals in various related industries so I am asking you for your help with some brainstorming.
    I am currently 34 years old, have been involved in entrepreneurial things (real estate, marketing, Microsoft Sharepoint systems, food & beverage) since graduating college, but am set on starting a new career path.
    I have found through my experience I work much better in a group as a part of a whole than at the top of the ladder and I want to work for a medium to large company. I want to work within the aerospace industry as I love the idea of helping problem solve issues for our next frontier.
    I need some ideas from people like you who are in the industry (or similar industries) and to help shed light on other careers available other than going back to school for aerospace engineering. What are some certifications & fields I should look into?
    Depending on scheduling availability at my local university or online courses, I am willing to spend the next couple years getting certified or possibly attaining another degree if needed, but I am an adult with adult responsibilities and don't have time to be a full time student so some kind of non-alternative educational degree would be the only option.
    My original college degree is in public health and I've never actually used the degree so there wouldn't be much carry over there. My math skills are likely too low for something like engineering, but who knows.
    Being completely out of this realm it's hard for me to know and understand the possibilities. I do live in Reno (Sierra Nevada Corporation, Tesla), but am open to moving anywhere. I speak fluent Chinese and also lived in China for 8 years while building a real estate company.

    I appreciate your time, energy, and insight.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2015 #2
    Anything related to software development is likely to be useful, and it's a broad field with many specialisations that don't require a lot of high level math.
    There are areas such as system analysis, where the task is mainly to assess a complex system, and propose methods for breaking it down into efficiently co operating subsystems.
    You would need to be able to program competently but not necessarily expertly.
  4. Apr 13, 2015 #3


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    Gold Member

    What do you consider a career? Is manufacturing an area you could enter. Engineering and design are to late for you. Truthfully, you need to be not just an engineer, but a smart engineer with a good GPA or some needed experience to break into the aerospace industry. Especially in a down era of budget cuts. (keep in mind, my comments might be biased with prejudice of being snubbed by said industry)

    If you can broaden your target, you could pursue various types of certifications such as CEM (Certified Energy Management) or several ASQ certifications. Either of which could be gained fairly quickly and could lead to other opportunities. Perhaps you could emphasize a technical management tract ie you can guide tech teams. Usually works only in the most dysfunctional large companies. Smaller tech companies promote from within and the tech groups only perform for leaders who can gain peer tech cred.
  5. Apr 14, 2015 #4
    I was thinking I'd be better suited to something with computers. A few programming friends of mine have always wanted me to get involved as they said my language acquisition and critical thinking skills would fit the bill. What useful computer related areas would consist of the least amount of staring at a screen and sitting? I don't mind half half; it's just that I think my eye sight has already suffered a few degrees from previous computer work with SharePoint infrastructures and the idea of staring at endless amounts of code for the rest of my life is a bit unsettling.
  6. Apr 14, 2015 #5
    A career would be long term, with advancement opportunity and enough pay and free time to raise a family.
    I agree I'm a bit too late for full engineering. I did take a lot of science classes in college and I was originally pre med so my GPA was ok but this was all a decade ago.
    Manufacturing would be interesting, but definitely not welding or something that required serious labor. I've been more of an office person and manager. I've always been somewhat fascinated with efficiency and automation but no idea where that would lead or if any formal certifications exist or would be useful.
    I will definitely look further into the areas you mentioned. As I said before, without knowing the various departments and interworking's it's difficult to know where my skills could fit and what's needed.
  7. Apr 14, 2015 #6
    Network administration?
    For a career with good balance of technical knowledge and people skills.
    It can be the kind of work though where you get faced with some kind of demanding situation at 5pm on a Friday, and you really have no choice other than to at least set in motion a plan to fix it..
  8. Apr 16, 2015 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    Do you need the career to be a direct contributor to the core product or does a secondary support role at an aerospace company qualify in your mind? Most people who work at any large company work in secondary support roles and those roles are the same for every company; Business, marketing, HR, operations, even food service and landscaping.
  9. Apr 16, 2015 #8


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    also look into proposal development, business development, project management, and customer interface posititons
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