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Engineering Planning for a career with a Master's Degree [Counseling]

  1. Aug 30, 2016 #1
    I'm aware that a huge percentage of engineers (especially mechanical engineers) end up working in positions that require almost none of the knowledge they acquired during undergrad. I know that college isn't work, but I'm interested in pursuing a career that, at least, requires me to use some of my fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and not just do part selection. I think that the best way to achieve that would be through a Master's Degree, where I could specialize on some field and get the more difficult/intelectually demanding jobs.

    I'm very interested in thermal/ fluids because it's a field with applications across different industries (Oil and Gas, Aerospace, Renewable Energy...), so that would give me enough flexibility to switch fields if I need to while carrying some easily transferable skills. For instance: I'm almost sure that designing turbines for airplanes isn't that different from designing wind mills, and a good knowledge of fluid dynamics would give me the opportunity to work not only with aerodynamics, but also with pipelining in Oil and Gas.

    I just want some counseling, just to know if my expectations are realistic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2016 #2


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    You'd be surprised at how different these two machines are. Although they're called wind 'turbines', their operating principles are somewhat different from real gas or steam turbines.
  4. Aug 31, 2016 #3
    Even then, I think that some skills you learn in aerospace would be transferable when you're working with those wind turbines. Obviously you would have to learn more specific stuff to get started, but I think you would have a good grasp on the basics (aerodynamics, blade design...). It's the kind of flexibility I'm looking for.

    But I'm really interested in knowing is if a Master's Degree would help me get the more intelectually demanding jobs, or if it would just leave me overqualified for most part of the industry.
  5. Aug 31, 2016 #4
    I've seen a few posts recently linking over-qualification with a masters degree. If you're looking for an engineering position, then a masters degree is not going to leave you over qualified. In my view, it's only a small step above a bachelors degree -- and I say that as one who has a masters degree.

    Would it help you get more intellectually demanding jobs? Maybe. If you feel that real-world engineering is beneath you, then maybe you should go for a PhD so that you can work on more academic things.
  6. Aug 31, 2016 #5
    It's not that I feel like real-world engineering is beneath me. When I say I look for more demanding jobs, it's just that I want to really work with the stuff that I like and that keeps me motivated doing the job. I've seen people graduating in Mechanical Engineering and going to work in engineering positions at some local companies, and they almost never get to use any of their engineering knowledge (just part selection, contact with suppliers). I wouldn't mind getting a job like that coming out of school, as a entry-level position, but I would expect to move to a position where I would be more involved with interesting projects as soon as I have enough experience.

    I've done some research myself, and looks like there are some interesting jobs out there that require you to have a solid understanding of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and numerical analysis. All of them require something like 3-5 five years experience in given fields, and although not required, a Master's Degree is preferable.

    So, given that I want to have a career in a given field (like aerospace, for instance) I should be gaining experience in such field as soon as I leave school, right? I was expecting a master's would help me in there, and maybe count as experience (given that getting a entry level position in aerospace is very hard, at least where I live).
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