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Math Mathematics in the Aerospace Industry

  1. Jan 7, 2013 #1
    Hi guys,

    I recently graduated from uni with an honours degree in mathematics and now it's time to hit the real world (which is pretty daunting). I'm hoping to head over to London, UK, in late Feb or early March to meet up with a friend and would like to have a job sorted out by that time. Although I studied maths, I don't really want to be a maths teacher or work in the financial sector either; what I really would love to do is work in the aerospace industry working on things such as aircraft and propulsion system design which would hopefully need my expertise, but I'm worried that roles such as these would only be open to engineers.

    If this is the case, does anyone know if any UK aerospace companies (BAe, Airbus UK, Thales, Rolls-Royce etc.) would give on the job training to people who might not have all of the required prerequisites but have a promising CV? I ask this because I worked my butt off at uni and graduated top in my maths class in 2011, and last year I graduated top in my post-graduate honours maths class as well, so I'm hoping that companies would take more than 2 seconds to glance over my CV and might see that I could be adaptable to a role that I'm interested in.

    Apologies for the long winded post, and I hope someone will be able to help me our here. Cheers!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2013 #2


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    Hi there. I am not from the UK, so I'm not in the best position to answer this question, but my first question to you is whether your math program at university involved any emphasis on applied math (e.g. differential equations, dynamical systems, etc.) and scientific computing/programming (i.e. numerical analysis).

    I would expect that those with a background in those areas will be of greater value in the aerospace industry, especially if you happen to have a graduate degree in those areas.
  4. Jan 7, 2013 #3
    Yeah, I dealt pretty extensively with differential equations in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year maths. Unfortunately I was unable to do dynamical systems courses or numerical analysis due to conflicts with other courses. If it would help I could give a breakdown of the courses I did from years 1 to 4.
  5. Jan 7, 2013 #4


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    A full breakdown of the courses from years 1 to 4 isn't really necessary -- what is more important is to determine what skills you have acquired through your coursework that companies in the aerospace industry (or other employers) may find useful. Especially focus on coursework that you have taken most recently.

    You have already indicated that you were unable to take courses in dynamical systems or numerical analysis due to scheduling conflicts (from my limited understanding of the aerospace industry, both topics are used to varying degrees, in particular numerical analysis). How much computer programming experience or knowledge do you have (whether self-taught or through coursework)? Any courses in statistics? (data analysis of some sort is certainly used in the aerospace industry as it is used in many other industries)?
  6. Jan 7, 2013 #5


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    And the first step towards doing that is to find out as much as you can about what the companies you want to apply to actually DO. There's a lot of information on the company websites if you dig around a bit. You will probably find some company-produced videos on Youtube as well. (And the laws of physics are the same everywhere, so UK and non-UK aerospace companies all have the same basic problems to solve, even if they solve them different ways).

    The sort of companies you listed certainly don't expect you do know "all the prerequisites". The one essential thing about a first degree is (or should be) that it taught you how to learn more stuff (and learn it fast). In the company I work for (one of thsoe on your list) there are literally hundreds of people contributing to in-house web-based learning materials (and unlike Wikipedia, it's all approved by somebody before it's released!!) - quite apart from formal training courses, and there are plenty of those as well.

    The most important thing is to show some understanding of what you want to do as a career, and how that might relate to what the company does - that's what "hitting the real world" is all about.
  7. Jan 8, 2013 #6
    @StatGuy2000: I did computer programming in high school and did a year of it at uni as well, and I have some knowledge using Maple. I've also been studying some aeronautics online from the Glenn Research Center webpages titled "The Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics", and although its very interesting, much of it is unfortunately quite basic.

    I'm glad you made these points, as I've been told this before and I feel that university is definitely a tool to teach one how to work hard.

    I think I'll have to take a closer look at some of the websites of the companies that I'm interested in, since although the aerospace industry is vast in scope, right now my naive response would be for me to fit into a role which I mentioned in my first post (which I'm guessing has a massive amount of potential roles).
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