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Where should I look to start my career as an engineer?

I want to become an engineer but I'm not sure where I should look for job availability. #engineering

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Jessica’s Answer

There are so many great avenues in the world of engineering - what other topics are you interested in? That may help you focus on a particular engineering branch and thus where to look further. Here's a few of the different types of engineering to think about:

Software engineering (building software, video games, etc)
Electrical engineering (building robots, microwaves and televisions)
Mechanical engineering (building cars, planes and vacuums)
Biomedical engineering (building surgical equipment, artificial limbs and medical testing devices)
Chemical engineering (manufacturing vaccines and other medicines at scale)
Civil engineering (building bridges, buildings, even things like sustainable packaging)

That's just a few of the big ones to get you thinking.

I was thinking of doing mechanical engineering, as I love making different designs on CAD software. I love challenging myself to make new things and improving my skills. My next choice of interest would be electrical engineering. I am very obsessed with how things work and how they are made, and I would love to have a position where I could learn and even design new things. Thank you for the advice! Donny P.

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John’s Answer

Review www.indeed.com, www.linkedin.com, contact your local chamber of commerce to find companies in the region, contact employment/recruiting companies who will help you find a job that fits your skill set. Ask your teachers or the person than runs any internship programs. Many choices out there.

Thank you very much, nice to hear that there are lots of options out there. Donny P.

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Marc A.’s Answer

Hey Donny, great question.

It's important to know what you like (as a first step). When I was about six years old I saw the very first Star Wars movie (episode IV) and the best part about that experience was asking my dad how they made the movie (with light sabers and ships flying in space -- making jumps to 'light speed', etc.). This was how I decided then, that I wanted to be a film director. The next best thing to that was when I got to go to a real studio to actually see how the process was done. I would suggest that you explore the various types of engineering, to dig a little further into what about engineering is of interest to you -- so here's an idea:

Engineering Open House (EOH) is an annual event organized entirely by engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is held each spring semester, and draws estimated crowds of 20,000 people including, students, teachers, parents and families, from all over Illinois (and beyond -- I realize that you are in Iowa). This event covers a multitude of different concentrations (i.e., majors of study) in Engineering with actual demos and short informational sessions to help visitors (and aspiring engineers) to have an experience for what engineering is all about.

So sometimes, Donny, it can be a benefit to not only identify your interests, but also to have the experience and allow your other senses (touch, see, hear, etc.) to get involved. Hoping that helps Donny and good luck to you.

Marc A. recommends the following next steps:

Check the University of Illinois-Urbans website for their next Engineering Open House event.
Check with your local/state college/university for engineering-based programs, camps or open houses (even virtual ones) that are coming up to attend.

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Jon’s Answer

Hi Donny,

First, figure out what type of Engineer you want to be. There are a lot of great resources online, such as YouTube, that explain the differences between mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering etc. .

In terms of job availability, engineering has always been in demand and won't be going away any time soon. To be able to pursue these jobs follow these steps:

1. Get a degree at a university or college
2. Build your resume by pursuing internships, co-ops, research, and academic club/project opportunities
3. Apply anywhere and everywhere online through LinkedIn, Indeed.com, and on company websites that interest you. Another great way, is through career fairs, which most schools hold at least once or twice a year.

Best of luck!