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

Engineering I was VERY interested in aerospace engineering, but everyone tells me

  1. Sep 5, 2012 #1
    Hi, I've always loved maths, science and engineering..

    I have to pick a degree very soon, but i don't know which..

    I was VERY interested in aerospace engineering, but everyone tells me there are NO DEMAND
    for this job, or it has no future.

    There are few places just as NASA, but I don't think I'm that SMART enough to get in..

    I love space, physics and maths

    any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Aerospace

    There are jobs, especially for young people who are often hired to replace senior, highly paid engineers who retire or are laid off.

    On the other hand, aerospace has an uncertain short and medium term future. NASA is in disarray. Science and space exploration budgets have been slashed. The James Webb Space Telescope is behind schedule, pushed out and in danger of cancellation. A decade of NASA's funds were spent (wasted) under Bush on preparing to go to Mars, which wouldn't have happened in my lifetime even with five times the funding. Oh wait, I forgot that Mars is out now anyway. We're going back to the Moon. Oh wait, that was three years ago, now we aren't and to make sure of it the nation canceled the Ares manned rocket and Orion space capsule last year. Well at least there's commercial aviation--look at how well Boeing is doing with new airplanes like the Dreamliner. On second thought, don't look! Consider a move instead to Europe because Airbus is doing great with the monstrous A380...well, no, that's another disaster. There's always military contracting--except that defense spending may be cut by some $500 billion this decade to try to help balance the budget.

    You get the idea. There are jobs to be had, good people will always be needed, and young people in particular will be attractive job candidates for the coming half decade as aerospace tries to cut costs, but it's an unsettled industry. On the other hand, the job scene looks better for engineering grads than for new law-school grads...
  4. Sep 14, 2012 #3
    I have the same interest as you, but NASA is not the only company that dose space exploration, there are many private and commercial companies. The big one i can think of off the top of my head is SpaceX. But honestly if that what you really want to it do it.
  5. Sep 14, 2012 #4
    Just because you have a degree in aerospace engineering doesn't mean you HAVE to become one. If you're interested in it take it, and try to get a job. If you can't get the job you want you can always work in many other industries, such as mechanical engineering where the undergraduate coursework is VERY similar (to aerospace) at most schools. You can also change majors after 1st year if you change your mind. Pick aerospace for now, if that's what you want, and go from there.
  6. Sep 14, 2012 #5
    ^MECHster is right. An aerospace engineering degree can get you a job in many mechanical areas. Typically, you could work on anything involving air flow principles such as a fuel cell blower.
  7. Sep 14, 2012 #6
    boeing, accenture, raytheon, many satellite manufacturers, .......I have a close friend who did AE and worked for Gov for few years then went to boeing.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  8. Sep 18, 2012 #7
    Many, if not the majority, of employment opportunities in Aerospace are either Research or Defense related. As these are government contracts, they can be terminated at any time.

    If you seek regular employment, this is not one of the more stable fields out there. However, if you seek excitement, really high technology, and bleeding edge ideas, this is one place you can find it.
  9. Sep 23, 2012 #8
    Thanks for the reply guys =]

    So is it competitive to work for the government in this area?

    and YES I AM VERYYYYYYYYYYYYY INTERESTED IN NEW TECHNOLOGY thats why I also looked into research, but i thought that would need quite a bit of experience in this field first.

    I was also wondering is they would have similar type in government intelligence?

    And for NASA i thought that was WAYYYYYY to competitive and I heard budgets are being cut drastically which shows not much future for aerospace D:
  10. Oct 7, 2012 #9
    Hey guys,

    Where is my job? I graduated last December with a bachelors in aerospace and now I seek employment at McDonalds. I'm "trolling" a bit, but I probably have applied for over 40 aerospace jobs though since graduation.

    I cannot say I completely know the condition of job availability, but I would highly recommend getting your masters if you intend to do aerospace engineering and go into the field.
  11. Oct 8, 2012 #10

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    That's true for many technical fields, not just aero. A masters is the new bachelors for a lot of technical jobs. At least it's not as bad as it is in some other fields, where you pretty much need a PhD to work in that field. Physics, for example.
  12. Oct 8, 2012 #11


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Just as an aside, I find it interesting that I see many posts on Physics Forums asking about opportunities in either nuclear engineering or aerospace engineering. My impression has been that, given the specialized nature of the above mentioned fields, there would consequently be fewer opportunities in comparison to more general engineering specialties such as electrical or mechanical engineering.

    I would also add that in many engineering schools that I'm familiar with, both nuclear and aerospace engineering are often sub-specialties or options available for students in mechanical engineering. So why not just study mechanical engineering, and think about what to specialize later? (similar for petroleum engineering -- why not study chemical engineering?)
  13. Oct 12, 2012 #12
    I think in the coming years we'll see companies like Boeing expanding their horizons as well. Obviously I can't guarantee anything, but I'm optimistic about aerospace becoming an industry that will really grow.
  14. Oct 12, 2012 #13
    I can't speak for the others but petro has nothing to do with chemical engineering. chemical engineer does downstream. petro does upstream. petro is about finding the oil and getting it out of the ground.

    Chemical engineering is about designing processes to make the compounds chemists and materials scientists came up with in a cheap way with petroleum as one possible feedstock.

    Petroleum engineers share more in common with geophysicists than chemical engineers by far. They don't need to know too much about reaction kinetics, for example.
  15. Oct 12, 2012 #14


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    I see. I had a misconception about what petroleum engineering was about -- thanks for clarifying it for me.

    It sounds to me that petroleum engineering could then be considered a subspecialty of geological engineering (a program offered at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, essentially a combination of civil engineering and geology) or minerals engineering (an interdisciplinary program offered at the University of Toronto, combining civil, chemical and mechanical engineering with geology).

    That being said, the question I posed in my post still stands -- why pursue a degree in an overly specialized field of engineering (such as petroleum, nuclear or aerospace) as opposed to a broader field of engineering, with greater scope to work in many different areas (e.g. electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, etc.)?
  16. Oct 12, 2012 #15
    Anything in the energy field is full of many opportunities for a young engineer. Petroleum engineering has already been mentioned. But aero guys are in great demand in the gas turbine and jet engine world, and they are very hard to find.

    Billions are being spent to develop new science. Within the next ten years, some of that intensive research will pay off and we will need engineers to make something practical with it in completely new ways.
  17. Oct 12, 2012 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Aerospace engineers are pretty versatile. People seem to think aerospace engineers just deal with fluids, but we do all sorts of things: aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, materials science, dynamics, controls.

    We go higher, faster, and farther than anyone else.
  18. Oct 12, 2012 #17
    Aerospace it is =]
    ill let you guys know how it is in 6 years time xD
  19. Oct 13, 2012 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Also, if you want to work for NASA, try to get an internship or coop with them.

    What schools are you looking at?
  20. Oct 13, 2012 #19
    wish i could get an internship or coop..
    but im in Australia..
  21. Oct 21, 2012 #20
    Do you really want to worry about job availability befire starting your course? Engineers will always be needed and you can't know how the economy's gonna be in 5 years time. Just chose whatever you like best. I don't really know what aerospace engineering is about, but if it's anything like aeronautical engineering, then going to work for nasa isn't the only option.

    So what? I live in Switzerland and I know people from my school who've done internships at NASA.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook