I'm three years into my mechanical engineering degree at oregon state
university and got into their co-op internship program. For the last
two months I've been working for a local aerospace cnc job shop in
project management. You working engineers have a great life, school
isn't anything like this. I'm not academically gifted and somehow
settled out to 3.5+ territory (probably from a lot of tenacious bashing
of head against the wall) but the real world is just great. Ambiguity,
creativity, interpersonal collaboration and even politics, man it's
Let's face it, math is boring, solving problems on the fly in tempo
with key company and customer players at the drop of a hat is the real
deal. Honestly I dreaded going to my internship for the first month
but it is getting easier as I de-calibrate my estudious mind and
I just thought I'd write something for the engineering students out
there who were like me two years ago, fighting the educrats during the
first two years, wondering if it is worth it.
Looks like it really is true: you use 2% of your knowlege in your
career, but 110% of the organizational and time management skills that
are side effects of engineering school survival. Look$ like the job
market isn't quite in the tank like it was 3-4 years ago. Let's hope
it stays this way for the next two years. :)
I learned more in the first 6 months on the job than I did in the first 3
years of engineering school. That's the aerospace market.
No one's going to ask you to solve using Mohr's circle.
That they want is a 98% solution, on schedule.
The background is very important in terms of how to think and approach
the problems. The really good courses, IME, were all in grad school.
I agree that the real learning is in the beginning of the career, after
the degree. The class I'm finding myself using the most in this
internship is the graphic design class when we learned Pro/E.
Aerospace seems to favor Catia, which (imo) has a much quicker user
interface. Ironically, the GD&T stuff was totally skimmed over in this
class, like a fraction of one lecture and a couple homework problems,
and it is the one thing I needed most from my education at this point,
other than the ability to drive the CAD package. Everything I'm
working on has annotations in modern GT&T style. I really like it
actually, it seems like a clear system of tolerancing.
UAW riveters make more than $55k? Those punks. We've still got a
somewhat reasonable housing market out here. Hope it's still like that
in two years. :)
Correction: > Airframers< favor Catia. Many other segments of the
aerospace market favor ProE.
GD&T is one area where most new engineers come out of school totally
lacking. It's good that the CAD packages help with it so much, otherwise
I'd be spending a lot more time checking FNG's drawings.