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Transferable skills and the industries for engineers?

  1. Dec 23, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone, I want to give some brief background info about myself before asking; I am a junior/senior undergraduate living in Southern California studying mechanical engineering, and leaning towards the thermo/fluids side of mechanical engineering. However, when it comes to "my true passion" or "where do you see yourself in 10 years" I don't really have a definitive answer, on one hand, the aerospace & defense companies were always my "dream" jobs(I was originally an Aerospace major coming out of high school) but I have also become interested in power plants,HVAC systems, and renewable energy. My question is how does transferable skills work in terms of changing industries if possible?

    For an example: Let's say I graduate and land a thermal engineer position with an aerospace company and work there for 3-5 years, but then realize that it wasn't what I expected and wanted to switch industries and work on thermal power plants, is this move feasible?

    Another example could be an electrical engineer working in the power industry, could that engineer switch to lets say the electronics industry and work on microprocessors?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2016 #2
    I work in semiconductors as a physics graduate playing engineer. I can envision some work being transferable to another industry. But in my case, if I ever wanted to change fields I would have to start at the bottom. The work is far to specialized to have many transferable hard skills.
  4. Dec 24, 2016 #3
    That's one of the reasons I have kind of skirted semiconductor study in EE(I also don't really have an interest in it).

    You seem very pigeonholed into one area, signal processing and control theory are fairly broadly applicable(I hope).
  5. Dec 28, 2016 #4
    Yes it is feasible, especially early in your career. Later on, after say 10 or 15 years you will be more valuable to your current employer (since you will really understand whatever the business is, you will have customer contacts, etc) so then it is harder to move around. But even then, lots of people do it.
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