Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Career questions

  1. Mar 2, 2006 #1
    I'm working on a paper on certain careers and one of the careers is in the aerospace industry.

    I have a simple interview that could be applied to anyone in the general aerospace/engineering industry.

    If someone in the industry would volunteer to answer these questions for me I would be most thankful.

    Any help on this would be appreciated. I also hope that I did not post this in the wrong forum. I made sure to look around before posting and this seemed like the best place for my query.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2006 #2
    Is no one willing to fill this out? There has to be someone visiting these forums that has a job in the industry.
  4. Mar 8, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Many engineers obtain a professional engineers license to practice engineering. Otherwise a MS or PhD generally qualifies one to work in industry.

    That depends on the work/projects. Stresses can be enormous when working a project that has problems while approaching a deadline, or when a system fails, particularly when lives are at risk. Competition for contracts in the industry is stiff, and with consolidation in the industry, the potential for unemployment provides great stress.

    Some could get away with about 40 hrs a week, 50-60 hrs or more could happen, such as when a project deadline is approaching.

    In the 50's and 60's, one could be study engineering physics, mechanical engineering, or aeronautical engineering. Aerospace engineering took off with the space program.

    http://www.aero.psu.edu/dept.html [Broken]

    To advance in aerospace or any engineering discipline, one would need at least a MS, and certainly a PhD would help. There are continuing education programs offered by organizations like AIAA. And to go into management, one would likely need a degree in management (MBA or MOT). Many/most companies have internal training programs.

    Otherwise, experience comes with the job and one will rise according to performance. Certainly some politics is involved, which is the case in most organizations.

    Competency in mathematics and applied science.

    This might be of interest - http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=260 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Mar 8, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I worked in the aerospace industry for 8 years supporting the launch industry at Cape Canaveral and Vandenburgh AFB. I left aerospace to get a better job in industry. Aerospace generally pays slightly less and gives you less real world experience IMHO than other industry areas. I've been working for a chemical industry company for 10 years now.

    No - I had a BSME, never got my PE, and found it fairly easy to get an aerospace job. Also, although an MS or PhD may make it easier to get a job, I think there are fewer places you can find those jobs. You become more speciallized which means there are fewer companies that will hire you and fewer opportunities. Luckily that's compensated by the fact there are fewer people going after those jobs and you can always take a job that would otherwise be filled by someone with a BS so the end result is that you can find a job more easily.

    Being laid off. The aerospace industry lives and dies on large contracts. When we had an Atlas rocket go into the Atlantic, the project shut down for almost a year. The second Atlas to go in about a year or two later left us all wondering if the doors would be open the next day. While in that program, the engineering department I was in went from 120 people to less than a dozen. When they finally closed that department I managed to get onto another large program that was just starting up, but had that other program not been there, I'd probably have been laid off too. Aerospace runs the risk of regular lay offs, the pay isn't as good, the work is often less challenging and I've found that industry values novelty and individualism more than aerospace.

    About the same as industry, 45 to 50, sometimes more, sometimes less.

    None. BS is sufficient and a PE is less important in aerospace than in industry.

    Depends on what you mean by "a higher position". Unfortunately, most companies don't have genuine 'technical' ladders. They are all managerial ladders. The company I'm in now claims to have a technical ladder, but it really doesn't exist like a managerial ladder. If you want to 'rise to a higher position' that generally means going into management, something I refuse to do. I enjoy the technical aspects way too much and refuse to do administrative or managerial work. If you stay in the technical side of the business, then there are many things you can do to promote yourself technically including taking both in house and externally run technical courses such as presented by ASME and many others. Taking short courses (week long or less) works out well and are paid for by the company. If you want to rise to 'a higher position' in a technical field without going into managment, you need to do things such as obtaining patents, presenting original technical papers on your work at conferences, taking professional courses and other things. I'd also suggest getting a few very good mentors early on in your career no matter what you want to do or where you want to go.

    That's a rather broad question. Perhaps more than anything, you need to really enjoy what you're doing. The more you enjoy it, the easier it will be to excel.
  6. Mar 9, 2006 #5
    Thanks guys that should help me a lot. Now I must get back to typing my paper. Thanks again!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook