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Engineering Engineering with travel

  1. May 10, 2010 #1
    Hey all,
    Firstly, I'm just finishing my second year of mechanical engineering. I've been thinking about my career options recently, and as I enjoy traveling, both domestically and internationally, I thought I'd try to gauge what type of opportunities there are for travel in engineering. I realize that travel jobs aren't exactly as glamorous as sometimes they might be made out to be (long hours, difficult if I ever decide to start a family, etc...). So I guess my reason for pursuing a job with travel is to move around a bit before I have commitments that might keep me in one place. I've heard that many gov't jobs involve travel as well as most consulting jobs. Anyway, I guess my question is if there's anyone whose had a job with a lot of travel? What did you think of it? What type of work did you actually do/what were your responsibilities? And what companies/industries might be a good place to look for jobs?
    Thanks for your help.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2010 #2
    Why wait 'til you graduate? If you're in the states, considering joining your campus chapter of Engineers Without Border. They often have international projects and you can help make the planet a little better in the process.
  4. May 10, 2010 #3
    The Federal government, specifically the military would seem to have a huge deal of travel. Pretty sure there are some firms out there that have their share of traveling engineers.

    But the military is the one that first comes to my mind. Civilian of course, not an enlisted soldier.
  5. May 10, 2010 #4
    I haven't actually. I did a study abroad last semester and am looking at doing some research abroad next summer. At one point I looked at joining my school's Engineers Without Borders branch, but I've been active in ASME and a couple other organizations so I don't want to overcommit myself. Good thought though, maybe I'll need to reconsider it in the next couple years.
  6. May 10, 2010 #5


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    Two words: Technical Sales.

    Lots of travel, lots of meeting people (you didn't say if you mind that), good money a lot of the time too. No I haven't had a job in technical sales - I don't care for that much travel.

    Many, many industries use engineers in tech sales.
  7. May 11, 2010 #6
    hmmmm... I actually hadn't thought of that. I'm not so sure I would enjoy it though. I don't mind meeting and working with a lot of different people, I just don't think I would enjoy the sales aspect of it. After the little bit of research I did on that occupation, even though it seems like it would involve intricate knowledge of the product and how it works, it doesn't so much involve actual engineering work.

    Could someone elaborate on what exactly the responsibilities of a consultant are? My thoughts are that a consultant is someone who has some specific knowledge/experience that is needed elsewhere, and therefore travels around to wherever needed. Is this correct at all?

    And what about civilian military? What type of travel jobs would be available there? I don't imagine it being consulting work, maybe more meeting with clients to discuss what types of products are needed and what is desired.

    Your thoughts/comments?
  8. May 12, 2010 #7
    My father used to quote;
    "Them that can do, them that can't teach, them that can't teach become consultants".
    The point of employing a consultant is that they have experience and knowledge that you (the employer) don't, you don't start off being a consultant you end up being one.
    As to the joys of business travel try this experiment, empty your bedroom of all your possessions apart from ones that you can pack into a small case, set your TV to receive only a very limited number of stations, you are limited to your bedroom and the bathroom otherwise you must be fully dressed and outside the house. Your breakfast is limited to a small glass of lukewarm orange juice two stale croissant, and as much luke warm weak coffee as you can stand, lunch eat in a restaurant limit 7.50 dinner ditto 12.50 (GBP),you have no access to the fridge. You may only speak to strangers or barmen that you have never met before. Try this for a week. For the advanced course spend 10 hours a week in an airport and argue for 3 hours as to whether you can claim 1 GBP per day on a newspaper.
    I don't want to sound too jaded and occasionally business travel can be enjoyable, but as the princess said "You have to kiss an awful lot of frogs before you find a prince".
  9. May 12, 2010 #8

    D H

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    To add to Jobrag's jaded view,
    • Be prepared to fly to/from the remote location on your own time. Most people sleep on the airplane; it's hardly fair to charge those hours.
    • Be prepared to work 10-12 hour days while on travel. Travel is a privilege, after all.
    • Be prepared for an extra 2-3 hours per day eating dinner with clients and your coworkers. Do not expect dinner conversation to be about the Cub's prospects for this year. You will be talking about work prospects.
    • Don't expect to have your own car. A car fits five people, comfortably.
    • That's a subcompact car, of course. Unless you go with your boss.
    • Your boss will take the car to galavant about the town, leaving you and your coworkers to fend for yourselves for dinner.
  10. May 12, 2010 #9


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    Jobrag is right. There's a reason consulting firms charge their clients top dollar for their services: the client is buying decades of experience.

    Typically (in my industry, at least) a consultant is someone who has worked their whole career in the industry and was successful, then retired early but he wants to work a few more years (and make serious $$$) before completely retiring.

    I'm not saying consulting firms never hire someone right out of school, but I've not seen it done.
  11. Jun 3, 2010 #10
    Engineering with Travel?
    1 The Oil industry
    2 Civil Engineering (large projects, eg bridges)
    3 Motor Racing
    4 Railway Engineering (esp in Europe)
  12. Jun 3, 2010 #11
    My company has a team of field service engineers. They get to travel a lot and have a lot of hands on work at customer sites. Field service positions can be entry level and are a great opportunity to learn a lot about your company's product or the industry it serves. I am not one but this is what I have gathered from talking to some. My company happens to be a manufacturer of equipment used in oil/gas, petrochem, power gen, industries among others.
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