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Aspiring Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineer

  1. Mar 14, 2005 #1
    Hey guys, I’m currently in the military, and about to get out in July. During my time in the Army, I was in aviation, as an AH-64D Longbow weapon system/avionics/electrical repairer. In August, I will be starting college as an Aerospace Engineer. What I wanted was some input from industry professionals as to career availability upon completion of my degree. Since my education is paid for, I plan to take at least to Masters, and possibly to Ph. D, if that is necessary in this field. What do companies like NASA, Lockheed’s Skunk works, or Boeing look for in employment? Specifically, I plan on moving toward Astronautical engineering. I will be attending The University of Texas at Arlington, if any of you are Alumni, I would like some input on their program as well. Thanks Guys.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2005 #2
    I am an aerospace major, and from what I understand, the job market is great right now. Your experience in the Army will be helpful too.

    I would advise joining clubs freshman year though, learning the construction side. That will be important too, how to lay up composites, how to use computers to build an aircraft from the ground up...

    Basically, learn the construction side of the business, that will be key as you progress in your academic life.

    Oh, and prepare to be writing reports all night. Write EXACTLY what the professors want. Learn programming, MATLAB, Mathematica, C++ (optional).

    That is all the advice I have.
  4. Mar 16, 2005 #3
    that sounds like a kl idea,im gonna do the opposite im doing all i can i engineering than plan to move to something like the navy or something and do engineering there
  5. Mar 16, 2005 #4
    I'd be a defense contractor. More money.
  6. Mar 16, 2005 #5


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    If you have the stomach for canceled budgets, lost contracts and feast or famine working conditions. These days, being a defense contractor does not mean the same thing as it did back in the 70's and 80's. ANYONE related to the aviation field works in an extremely cyclical industry. One should understand that before entering the field.
  7. Mar 16, 2005 #6
    True about the cyclical.

    Actually, I am planning on working at NASA or CIA after college. And I guess if the market has dried up for work, OCS is a good option.
  8. Mar 16, 2005 #7
    Whats the OCS?
  9. Mar 16, 2005 #8
    OCS is Officer Candidate School for the various branches of the US Military.
  10. Mar 16, 2005 #9
    Nasa is what I was looking at too, although I have connections at Lockheed, Boeing, and Northrup, from working on Apache/Longbows (If I want to do field work)... What's the CIA do that needs Aero-Engineers?
  11. Mar 16, 2005 #10
    The CIA uses aero guys to analyze foreign aircraft and weapons systems. They are used really to look at foreign stuff and decide what it really can do.

    Also what threat it poses to the US.

    But I think NASA would be cooler.

    Yes, I also have connections at Lockheed and Boeing. Those are nice indeed.

    Oh, use them to get internships. Those equal more money and experience.

    And about grades...I know a guy who just got hired at Boeing for 56K a year with a 2.4 GPA.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2005
  12. Mar 17, 2005 #11
    What's the average salary for a BS vs. MS vs. Ph.D? My school is paid for pretty much forever, just trying to figure out how far i should take it...
  13. Mar 17, 2005 #12
    If you are getting an education paid for, go all the way for a Ph.D.

    Honestly, it really depends on your experiences and your knowledge. For you, I'd guess you will make about one degree higher than your degree.

    But it really depends on the company and your knowledge and experience.

    Starting pay for bachelors is usually about 50K a year.
  14. Mar 17, 2005 #13


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    If you're talking the GI Bill, you should look into that statement before you enroll.
  15. Mar 18, 2005 #14
  16. Mar 18, 2005 #15


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    That's pretty cool. However, one thing about the GI Bill...You have some amount of money, say $15,000 or whatever. When I went through college I was not able to pay for each semester as it came along using MGIB as a type of account (like I thought it was going to be). What the really happened is each semester I submitted my schedule to financial aid and each month I got $400 or so. That went on for as long as I was enrolled. In the end it still worked out to my promised amount, but it meant I had to pay some fees, etc... up front and then get slowly reimbursed. Just a little tid bit that was a bit of a surprise to me when I first enrolled. You might want to check on it for your situation. It may mean having to rearrange some finances.
  17. Mar 31, 2005 #16
    I am curious: what schools are you considering? MIT and Caltech are probably the most prestigious, but there are several others that are very good.

    Yes, you should at least continue your studies to a Master's Degree, better to get a Ph.D.. Graduate studies is when you actually specialize in a particular aspect of research. And a Ph. D. usually involves quite a lot of industry collaboration; in other words, your Ph. D. research will help your networking and bring you into contact with many of the people in a position to offer jobs. If you stop your studies at a Bachelor's degree, you will have been exposed to a few basics of the aerospace sciences but, honestly, you won't be very good at any one of them in particular.

    Also, you might consider an alternate approach into the Aerospace industry: electrical or mechanical engineering. It seems that many aerospace companies hire specialists in fields OTHER THAN Aerospace Engineering (for example, mechanical engineers for the landing gear and fluids, electrical engineers for sensors and controls). I rarely see posting for Aerospace Engineers. And especially with the latest cut-backs and shut-downs at NASA, an Aerospace Engineering degree might not be as practical as one in, say, electrical engineering.

    My advice:
    Check out the jobs boards such as monster.com, hotjobs.com, and careerbuilder.com. Pretend you are seeking a job NOW. After a few days of surfing these sites, you'll get a pretty good idea what employers are seeking.

    Also, if you get chance, get some exposure to CATIA. It seems to be pretty popular in the aerospace industry. You might also want to get some exposure to the Satellite Toolkit (stk.com); in fact, they send out free CDs to student and industry professionals.

    Here's another small tip, a website I find very handy:


    It lists several resources intended for students.

    Whew!! That's about it. I guess I should mention that if you ever have to choose between employment with Lockheed Martin and Boeing, go with LM. They seem to have a better environment and more devotion among employees. I have heard of Lockheed Martin men, but I have never heard of a Boeing man (I guess Boeing is more about money and treating people as expendable company assets).


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