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How do I become a part of the space industry?

Hi. I am a computer engineer from India. I have always wanted to make a career in astronomy/space. I am aware there are basically two paths: The phd path through which I become an astronomer but working in academia doesn't attract me so much, I am also aware that there aren't many positions that open up in academia. The other is the engineering path. Here I am confused whether to continue in computer engineering and hope to work in the space industry (I have heard data science is heavily used in astronomy. maybe I can do masters in that) or to do masters in aerospace engineering (what will be the job prospects of it?). Are there any other paths? I am not very keen on doing a MBA since I am an introvert. How is the International Space University?
space rockets astronomy astrophysics astronomers technology datascience isu

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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on wanting to be part of the space industry. There are many opportunities for a wide variety of career areas. The most important thing for you to do is to find an application of your background and education that fits with your personality and matches with the personality traits of others in that career area.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Thanks for answering Nikita D.

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Narayan’s Answer

Dear Nikita,

Glad to hear that you want to contribute to the space industry. When I started out, I had a keen interest in Aerospace Engineering. But given the limited exposure and scope it had in India at that time, I decided against it. However, things are changing for the good now!

As you are currently pursuing Computer Engineering, I would suggest that apart from your course you should build extensive knowledge on Pure Science subjects, mainly, Physics (especially Astro Physics) and Mathematics. In my opinion, pursuing a PhD would be the best way to reach there, though you will have to select your PhD specialization with a lot of care and keeping in mind your strengths. This will also open options for you to become a scientist and believe me, the space industry has a lot of them. An alternate option would be to pursue your Masters in case you feel PhD is too exhaustive. At the end of the day, your engineering background and sound knowledge will certainly help you get where you want - to the space and back :)

All the Best!

Best Regards,

Narayan

Narayan recommends the following next steps:

List out the subject needed and strike out those in which you are proficient.
Find colleges/university in India and Abroad which offer the best courses. In India, IIT-K has the best aerospace (engineering) program.

Thanks a lot, Mr.Narayan. I am gonna follow the steps you suggested. Nikita D.

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karthik’s Answer

Must have a great skill in technical Like (Electronics , Computer science , Mechanical ) Basic Qualification Required to enter Space Or Defense Sector is ITI(Industrial training) , Diploma in Engineering , B tech Or having a work Expiernce in working Space related Field Or any technical Field Will help you enter in Space Industry
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karthik’s Answer

Must have a great skill in technical Like (Electronics , Computer science , Mechanical ) Basic Qualification Required to enter Space Or Defense Sector is ITI(Industrial training) , Diploma in Engineering , B tech Or having a work Expiernce in working Space related Field Or any technical Field Will help you enter in Space Industry
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karthik’s Answer

Take as many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes as you can. ...
Find a field that you love. ...
Be prepared to study. ...
Become a space buff. ...
Get informed and get involved! ...
Volunteer. ...
Choose a work-study program.
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