Any Aerospace Engineers???

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Spaceboy72

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Hello all...first time poster.

I am interested to hear from any/all Aerospace Engineers on the site. I am contemplating returning to college in FL and earning a BS in Aerospace Engineering. I have always been interested in space and space travel, especially the shuttle and Apollo programs. Any advice? Is it worth it? What is your daily life like? Is it a hard industry to break in to? Do you foresee a demand in the future? Anything will be helpful. Thanks!!!
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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It isn't worth it. My daily life is a joke. I've been trying to break in for five years, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't waste my time with a college degree. If you choose to go, you'd better have a GPA better than 3.5, co-op as much as possible even if it takes you an extra year or two to graduate. Oh and nepotism never hurts. You know someone on the inside, then go for it. A friend of mine has a father who works for GE and he complains that the people they hired to work on turbines don't even know what a turbine is. Can you guess how they got their job in the first place :evil:
 
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kelvinzero

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You could try http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/

I think there are more aerospace engineers over there. Space.com has more space scientists, people who can tell you about astronomy and planetary science as far as I can tell.


My own guess (although I dont have experience here) is that if it is something you think you can enjoy and can put real effort into then it isnt going to stunt your employment prospects even if you dont actually end up in that industry.. You can always return to your passion after you make your first billion and tire of your hugh hefner lifestyle ;)
 
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Spaceboy72

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Thanks for the link and the advice....you pretty much confirmed the concerns that I had. I appreciate it!
 
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RickMason

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Don't let anyone here pop your bubble, do that yourself. If you are serious about this I think you should go for it. I spent over 20yrs working for contractors to NASA, Boeing, General Dynamics, G.E, RocketDyne, Aerojet, Raetheon, and a plethora of others, and besides having the pride of many of my parts either orbiting as we speak, on one of the shuttles, or being part of inter-planetary probes, there is the very real chance of visiting or working for one of the space program suppliers, or NASA itself!Don't take anyone else's word for things because a lot of people mix their anger and failures into their opinions in an attempt to make you quit so they don't feel alone. This business is tough, but the feeling of accomplishment you get by working on such high-tech and complicated systems is hard to beat. I would be in it still, if my health hadn't brought an end to my career. Don't pass up the opportunity to get into this field if you can, but once in stay in! These jobs are few and far between. I would hate to see you sitting across the desk from me now because you sold yourself short and started drinking! LOL (I'm a substance abuse counselor now) If things go as they should, space exploration will be huge business, and the demand for folks like you will be great. If you are as motivated and excited about space as I am and you do get a job you enjoy there is nothing like being involved in man's most difficult and rewarding undertaking. The space program is in a state of flux right now, but is set to bust wide open, what with the fledgling private commercial space industry poised to' blast-off' so to speak. The jobs won't be just at NASA, start looking into the small rocket companies in the So. Calif. Mojave dessert. Those are the true 'steely-eyed missile men' of the future. Good luck, and please don't let people like the obviously angry Crossover_Maniac ruin your enthusiasm.
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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That's not my opinion. Currently there are more unemployed college grads than there are unemployed high school dropouts. McDonald's is filled with college grads working behind the counter. There are plenty of engineering jobs out there...for engineers with five to ten years experience. RickMason, don't get personal with me. I'm not in the mood to hear it. spaceboy72 asked a question and gave him an honest answer. But if still want to go for it spaceboy72, I have two suggestions for you. Get a job is by timing your graduation to coincide with the current crop of engineers retiring. Otherwise, you won't be able to get hired and by the time they do retire, no one will want you to work for them because you've had your degree for years and not find work (a self-fulfilling prophecy). The other is work as much as possible. I also suggest getting a major in programming, so that, even if NASA didn't work out, it's more broad than aerospace engineering and can be used in other industries.
 
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Crossover_Maniac

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http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/200 ... engineers/
http://www.aea.org/documents/Alpern%20Rev%20A.pdf

As of right now, there is an oversupply of engineers. The only shortage is in experienced engineers since the industry is hellbent on leaving the task of training entry-level, new graduates to someone else. The corporate solution to this is to lobby congress to grant more work visas (H1B Visa program=corporate welfare) and import engineers from outside the US (again, making training entry level workers someone else's problem).
 
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aphh

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I am currently getting my first BS in either chemistry or biochemistry. I'm minoring in physics, astronomy and computer sciences, so I am thinking of actually dividing it into 2 separate BS programs.

While not technically aerospace engineering, I feel it is getting so close that I think I will be able to maneuver myself into the business. I'm pretty sure it doesn't lessen my chances for a career in some space related field to have over 10 years of experience in running a business.
 
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Booban

Guest
Crossover_Maniac":d9hgi5xy said:
It isn't worth it. My daily life is a joke. I've been trying to break in for five years, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't waste my time with a college degree. If you choose to go, you'd better have a GPA better than 3.5, co-op as much as possible even if it takes you an extra year or two to graduate. Oh and nepotism never hurts. You know someone on the inside, then go for it. A friend of mine has a father who works for GE and he complains that the people they hired to work on turbines don't even know what a turbine is. Can you guess how they got their job in the first place :evil:
Ssshhh! Some people want to continue thinking that private corporations are epitome of efficiency and saviors of the space program.
 
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its_amazing

Guest
Got my B.S.A.E. at UCF, was halfway through my M.S. when I was able to snag a job at JSC. Took me 8 years of school, working part-time jobs, and no life to get through it all. I now have a few years on the job and can honestly tell you this is nothing how I expected it to be. If someone told me I would be behind 2 computer screens all day writing scripts and dealing with old school "this is how we have always done things" mentality, I might have chosen a different path. Unless you have a PHD or have quite a few years in, you will be doing little to any real "engineering".

Like any job, it has its ups and downs. Only suggestion I can give you if you choose to go through with it is learn to program. C++, python, FORTRAN, Pearl...etc. If you can do that and read/memorize manuals for certifications, you are golden.
 
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aphh

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its_amazing":1bumbpmy said:
I now have a few years on the job and can honestly tell you this is nothing how I expected it to be. If someone told me I would be behind 2 computer screens all day writing scripts and dealing with old school "this is how we have always done things" mentality, I might have chosen a different path.
This brings out the question, since a lot of satellites and rockets are being designed, developed and built and launched all the time, who are the people who do that work? Clearly there must exist a skilled and qualified workforce in the thousands designing and building actual space related hardware and software.
 
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neilsox

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I went with my passions. I worked in related fields from 1952 to 1986 = 34 years. Perhaps one in a thousand get to work on the glory stuff, so it is sort of like winning the lottery = not likely. A huge army of behind the scenes workers are needed, most of whom do technician level and/or administrative work even though they graduated as engineers. I found a high percentage of them had forgotten how to do calculus and other advanced math, and had stopped learning the details of leading edge technology. Of course being in the top 1% helps get you close to the glory stuff. I'm sorry to report that fields other than aerospace and astronomy seem to have much the same ratio of grunt to glory, so you may as well go with your passions. I did earn above average pay, got to live in a lot of interesting places, and I got to pick the brain of a lot of smart people, so I'm unsure a different field would have been better for me. Neil
 
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