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What steps should I take?

  • Thread starter Kahnc360
  • Start date
I'm 100% sure I want to be an engineer, even though I haven't decided which discipline I wanna go in, I've narrowed them down. My question is though, how do I position myself for a job as an engineer who works on cutting edge tech? I want to work in industry no question, not interested in academic. I wanna work for a company, possibly start my own. The thing is, I love technology, I want to have a hand in creating future tech thats going to possibly change peoples lives. I'm not sure exactly what'd you call an engineer who works on cutting edge tech. An R&D Engineer? Design Engineer? I don't know, but what I'm asking is how do I best position myself to get a job as an in engineer in industry working on creating new technology?

Keep in mind I'm only a junior in high school, but I've been looking at careers ever since I was in 8th. To me its not about the money really(I know it will come as an engineer), I'd get most of my joy from seeing what kind of effect a product I took part in the creation of has on peoples lives. I've been through the "I wanna be a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist cause they make six figures" phase, I want to be an engineer. The disciplines I've narrowed down to are: Electrical, Aerospace, Mechanical. I know there are dozens of post like these, but any insight you have would be helpful, thanks.

Dr Transport

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Have you ever thought about a degree in Engineering Physics?? It can be a combination of Electrical Engineering with a Physics degree..... Most versatile degree I can think of...
Engineering physics? No I haven't, I was just thinking of pursuing a the normal engineering degree in one discipline, I'll check it out though.
Maybe you should think about applying to a common first year. So then you'll have an opportunity to discover what your strengths/weakness are and where your interests lie before making the decision on which discipline you want to take.

If you're from Canada, U of T offers a great engineering physics program that offers a specialization in aerospace. However, admission into the program is really high (90%+) and it's considered one of the most difficult programs in Canada (harder than straight engineering).


Gold Member
If you're thinking of starting a company, be aware that business concerns can consume much of your time and reduce your opportunities to do engineering work. If you want to be fully immersed in engineering, you might want to work for a company that has a business team to line up orders, solicit proposals for product development, purchase supplies, take care of the physical plant and the personnel issues so that you will be free to create and innovate.

While academia might not sound great to you, I know a Mongolian student at the University of Arizona, and as a talented freshman, he is already taking part in instrumentation projects that you would probably really enjoy. U of A is associated with major observatories, and they have a very advanced mirror-making facility on-site, as well as instrumentation teams to build things like interferometers for the MMT - pretty neat stuff.
Boeing phantom works is a perfect example of the kind of work I wanna do

Of course I don't really know if I wanna do, but at this point nothing else really interest me.
Look into the private space industry.

Of course, by the time you graduate from college, things might be vastly different from how they are now...
Yea, the only thing constant is change, thats for sure. Thing is I don't necessarily wanna be restricted to the space industry, I was just using phantom works as an example. But indeed if someone like boeing were to hire me, I'd be just fine with that.
If you want to work for a big company like Boeing, apply for internships about 12 months in advance, seriously, and as soon as you possibly can. Right around the start of your senior year in highschool, they should probably have internship openings for the summer following your graduation. They can take months (4-6 months seems to be usual) to send you a phone call. There should be jobs available to you, even with only a HS diploma, as long as your intent is to major in engineering in college.

Chances are the smaller company you work for, however, the larger the responsibility and the more valuable the experience, in general. But I've heard lots of good things about internships with Boeing.

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