Opinions on job outlook/relevance to interests

In summary, Gray is considering a major in aerospace engineering or electrical engineering. He is interested in aviation and has considered the family business as well as going another route. He is interested in propulsion systems and airframes, but is unsure if an electrical engineering degree is necessary. He is considering starting his own business or working for a company.
  • #1
gpick19
5
0
Hello all,
This is my first post here. I'm a junior in high school, and I've begun the long process of deciding a major/college. I've visited a few (Michigan, Duke, UNC, Vandy, Georgia Tech) and have been impressed by most.
To keep this as short as possible, I've been interested in aviation (particularly astronautics) for quite awhile. However, the family business is in the electrical engineering industry, and due to my father's passing, it currently has only one electrical engineer (and my older brother will be working there soon). I've always weighed the option of joining the family business (possibly more profitable) against going another route and possibly starting my own business. I am fascinated by electricity, power distribution, etc, but my passion lies in things that fly. I know most answers may be along the lines of, "You need to try both types of classes in college," or something like that, but I'm just going to ask anyway.
My dream would be to start my own company or branch off of our current company into aero/astronautics.

-What are job outlooks trending to be like between aerospace and electrical engineering in the near future? Will I be able to get a job in aerospace?
-Would a start up aerospace company even be feasible without hundreds of thousands of dollars saved?
-Is it possible to be involved in any sort of design/development of propulsion systems or airframes with only an electrical engineering degree?
-Am I better suited for a similar but not listed degree that would give me more options in both fields?

There are quite a few questions here, but if anyone with experience in the given fields has input, I would greatly appreciate it.

Gray
 
Engineering news on Phys.org
  • #2
Hi Gray,

Welcome to PF! I am sorry to hear about your father, I know how hard that can be.

Assuming you have gotten into the schools you have visited that is great, some good schools on that list. For aero I would highly recommend going with either Michigan or G-Tech. Both excellent aero schools.

There are certainly a lot of applications electrical engineering applications in aerospace engineering. Control of autonomous vehicles is a big thing right now. I worked on a project where we built a quadrotor and we certainly could've used an electrical engineer. If you are interested in space at all many satellites actually use electric propulsion. As far as propulsion for aircraft goes I don't know how important electrical engineering is for the design and development of things such as gas turbines and scram jets. Certainly not as important as the fluid mechanics and structural mechanics. I don't know how useful an electrical engineer would be for airframe design either. But I am not very familiar with this field so maybe someone else can offer more advice there.

There is work being done on electrically power aircraft mainly because everyone wants to go green. NASA has done some work on solar powered aircraft. Some people in my lab are actually working on developing a test bed aircraft for various electric power concepts. Basically they are looking at electric power systems that can be used to drive a propeller and onboard electronics.

Usually when you start college you will have time to decide what you want to major in and you will probably take some kind of general engineering course where they try to introduce you to many different fields. So you should take advantage of this and explore aero and electrical. Also try to talk to some faculty members in both areas. You will also likely have the option of doing an electrical degree with an aero minor or an aero degree with an electrical minor. Plenty of options and plenty of time to decide.

As for starting your own business I would guess that completely depends on what you want your business to do. You are obviously going to need a lot of money to start building full size airplanes but maybe you can focus on some kind of control system or some kind of new sensor that can be used by aircraft or maybe you build cool remote control vehicles that are used primarily for fun.
 
  • #3
Thanks for the quick reply! I was actually going to ask about electric propulsion for spacecraft , but then I decided that was idiotic. what else can you tell me about that? I didnt know such a thing existed. Very interesting.
I haven't gotten into the schools yet as I am a junior, but I will be competitive for most(maybe not Duke).
Again, thank you for the reply, and I hope others will still offer input!
 
  • #4
To my knowledge Duke isn't that well known for engineering, I could be wrong though. Regardless, its not Michigan or G-Tech which are both excellent engineering schools for aero or electrical. There are also a lot of other really good engineering schools that aren't on your list that you may want to look into.

I don't know much about electric propulsion. I wrote a report on it a few years ago for an electrical engineering class I had to take but unfortunately I don't remember much. I just remember electric fields and magnetic fields being used to ionize a gas and then accelerate the atoms out of the space craft. The actual thrust is extremely low, I remember less than a pound. But the advantage is that it can be on for an extremely long time, several years if I remember correctly. So it can be used for deep space applications since in space there isn't any opposing force such as air resistance so a very small force applied for a very long time leads to very large velocities. Its really cool, I wish I remembered more about it. But I am sure you can find plenty on the internet.
 
  • #5
Yeah that's pretty cool, I'd never heard of it. I'll definitely do some reading on it. Thanks for all the info_Others are still welcome! And now a new question; if I have a higher aptitude for applied math (such as my physics class) am I better suited to mechanical or civil? For me, electrical is very abstract while making buildings presents an obvious set of problems to be solved. Is aerospace as abstract as electrical?
 
  • #6
My guess is that there would be more opportunities for applied math in aero or mechanical then civil. I don't know a lot about civil but my undergrad was mechanical and now I am a graduate student in aero. The thing about mechanical engineering is that is very broad. You could end up focusing on any number of things. Some major topics include structures, fluids/thermodynamics, mechatronics, propulsion... Aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering are very similar, aerospace engineering can really be thought of as a category within mechanical engineering because a lot of the same topics are covered but aerospace engineers are obviously focused on aircraft/ spacecraft . In general I don't think either of them are particularly abstract but there are plenty of opportunities for applied math. An undergrad degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering is a good option as well.

It sounds like you might be pretty interested in structural mechanics. As a mechanical engineer or an aerospace engineer you could definitely focus on this area and do things like design the structures or vehicles such as cars or aircraft, work with composite materials and plenty of other things. This kind of work can be experimental, computational or analytical.
 
  • #7
Alrighty well I will look into those options then! I appreciate the time you've spent to help out and the insight. Good luck in your graduate studies!
 

Related to Opinions on job outlook/relevance to interests

What are the current job outlook and trends in my field of interest?

The job outlook and trends in your field of interest vary depending on the specific industry and location. It is important to research and stay up-to-date on current job market data and projections. You can also reach out to professionals in your field or attend career fairs to gather more information about job opportunities.

How relevant are my interests to the job market?

Your interests can be relevant to the job market in various ways. It is important to identify transferable skills from your interests that can be applied to different job roles. Additionally, staying updated on industry trends and skills in demand can help you align your interests with the job market.

What steps can I take to make my interests more relevant to the job market?

To make your interests more relevant to the job market, you can gain relevant experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs. You can also take courses or attend workshops to develop skills that are in demand in your field of interest. Networking with professionals in your field can also provide valuable insight and opportunities.

How can I stay informed about changes in the job market related to my interests?

You can stay informed about changes in the job market related to your interests by regularly checking job market data and projections, networking with professionals in your field, and joining professional organizations. Attending career fairs and workshops can also provide valuable information about current job trends and demands.

What are some potential challenges in finding a job related to my interests?

Some potential challenges in finding a job related to your interests may include a competitive job market, lack of relevant experience, or limited job opportunities in your desired location. It is important to stay persistent and adaptable in your job search and consider gaining experience through internships or part-time jobs to make yourself a more competitive candidate.

Similar threads

Replies
13
Views
2K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
7
Views
514
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
21
Views
1K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
13
Views
2K
  • STEM Career Guidance
2
Replies
47
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
3K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
30
Views
3K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
18
Views
3K
Back
Top