Becoming an aerospace engineer

  • Thread starter Chris_w
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am a highschool senior and plan to attend a FL college majoring in aerospace engineering. My ultimate dream is to work for a company around me like lockheed or raytheon.

My question is what steps should one in my postition take to achieve this? What is some good advice to surivive college and land a great career?

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
enigma
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Hi,

I'm a senior year aerospace engineering student, so my advice won't get you all the way to graduating and entering the workforce, but it's better than nothing, I suppose.

For surviving college:

Study the basics. Learn the basics. Love the basics. Everything is derived from F = m*a, so if you don't understand what they teach you in your first and second year physics classes, you're going to be doomed to failure.

Learn to program, and learn it well. Once you get into your third year, there will barely ever be a homework assignment which can reasonably be done by hand. Find out which languages your school uses early on and practice practice practice. My school's AE dept. uses Matlab and C++ almost exclusively.

Get at least rudimentary knowledge in a CAD package.

Form a study group with fellow AE students who you work well with, and stay with them. Joining a group like AIAA is great for this, especially early on when the classes are lumped together with the mechies and EEs.

For finding a career:

Figure out what focus interrests you. The earlier the better. Once you've figured it out, find a professor doing work in that or a similar field, and find out if you can volunteer or get hired to assist with their research.

That's my $.02. Your mileage may vary.
 
  • #3
drag
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Greetings !
Originally posted by Chris_w
I am a highschool senior and plan to attend a FL college majoring in aerospace engineering. My ultimate dream is to work for a company around me like lockheed or raytheon.
Hmm...
Working half a decade on some small specific part of some
specific design with a regular, though fine, paycheck...
Sounds boring ! :wink:

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #4
laurelelizabeth
[...]Study the basics. Learn the basics. Love the basics. Everything is derived from F = m*a, so if you don't understand what they teach you in your first and second year physics classes, you're going to be doomed to failure.

Learn to program, and learn it well. Once you get into your third year, there will barely ever be a homework assignment which can reasonably be done by hand. Find out which languages your school uses early on and practice practice practice. My school's AE dept. uses Matlab and C++ almost exclusively.

Get at least rudimentary knowledge in a CAD package. [...]
(well now i feel smart for being the first person in my class in the electricity chapter worksheet to see the question that says what is the acceleration of the electron and actually associate it with F=ma)

what is a CAD package?
 
  • #5
laurelelizabeth
Greetings !

Hmm...
Working half a decade on some small specific part of some
specific design with a regular, though fine, paycheck...
Sounds boring ! :wink:

Live long and prosper.
sorry for double posting here ...

is it really that boring?
 
  • #6
AlephZero
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Hmm...
Working half a decade on some small specific part of some
specific design with a regular, though fine, paycheck...
Sounds boring ! :wink:
Sure it has its boring moments.

But if you think watching the first flight of an aircraft or rocket where you designed some key part of the structure is boring, then I guess engineering is the wrong career option :rolleyes:
 
  • #7
what is a CAD package?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design

CAD stands for Computer Aided Design and as the name suggests, its used to make detailed mechanical drawings of products/parts before they are manufactured. (As well as architectural design etc, you get the idea though)

AutoCAD is probably the most popular 2D CAD package, but I am just a student as well so I am not 100% sure. I have heard that there are better alternatives to AutoCAD for 3D design(i.e. Pro/Engineer) but if you just want to get a feel for working with a CAD system, I think there is an AutoCAD 30 day demo available somewhere on the net and it would do you nicely.. I have done some very very basic stuff in AutoCAD and it is amazingly complex.

(Actually google ads up top says that you can get a 30 day trial edition of Pro/Engineer(http://www.ptc.com/offers/tryout.htm), so download it and try that out, it comes with a pretty good manual)

Heres some more info in AutoCAD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoCAD
 
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