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What do you do as a aerospace engineer?

How many hours do you work in a day? What do you design, build and test?

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Robert’s Answer

The answers to your questions around the job of an Aerospace Engineer will vary depending on what area of the general field you go into. All AE jobs will be the basic 8 hour days but different companies will offer different levels of flexibility on how you get those 40 hours per week and/or 80 hours per pay-period. If you go into the aircraft (or sub-component) design areas, you will get to use high-level 3D modeling and printing tools. If you go into the aircraft operations and continued maintenance and safety areas you will be more hands-on with the parts and components. If you go into the safety oversight or policy areas (typically later in your career) you will have more high-level understanding of the aircraft design but then less specific knowledge of any one system or part. Aerospace also has a large international footprint thanks to globalization. There are opportunities around the world for US-training AEs. Most of these jobs are with the big companies and/or the FAA or ICAO, but there are also international opportunities with of Civil aviation authorities who don't have access to a steady stream of qualified engineers. As, don't forget that there are literally emerging markets in space and drones which are both heavily dependent of AEs. Quite literally (and pun intended) the sky is the limit to what an AE can do in their career.

Robert recommends the following next steps:

If you live in GA, then the Georgia Institute of Technology is the place to go. Annually ranked in the top 5 of all Aerospace schools in the world.
Find a mentor; if you are already attending GT, then check out their AE Mentors in Residence program for more detailed advice and guidance on career paths
Co-op, find out if you like the AE jobs in real time between semesters
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rene’s Answer

The normal work week is 40 hours. Sometimes I work up to 60 hours due to 3 main reasons.
1. The first reason is unplanned work, like my components on an airplane broke and needs fixing, then I worked a lot of hours to help out our airline customers.
2. The second reason is when a project nears the end, when you have to release drawings or software. The analogy to school is when you cram for a test.
3. The third reason is that you group is understaffed for the work that you need to do. Right now all companies are having difficulties finding applicants.

I design, build, and test flaps and slats. If you ever fly on an airplane, watch the wings at take off and landing. The front and aft ends of the wings slide out to provide extra aerodynamic lift.
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