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What steps do I have to take to become an industrial engineer?

I am a junior at Boston Collegiate Charter School and I am very interested in engineering. I'm not completely sure what type of engineering I would like to get into, but I heard some interesting things about industrial engineering and would like to know what my next steps should be to ensure a successful career in the future. #engineering #design-engineering #sales-engineering

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Ryan’s Answer

There are a few different forms of industrial engineers, but I think one of the biggest things you can do to set yourself up for a successful career is to talk to people in the field. Industrial engineers are all about optimizing processes and operations, which for some is an extremely exciting path. For others, not so much. So as you go through the process of deciding exactly what you want to do, speaking with people directly in the field is a great place to start. By asking your question here, you're already doing this. But don't stop here. Ask anyone you come across in the field, and look for ways to connect directly with professionals who you can spend a few minutes on the phone with, or have an email exchange.

As far as direct next steps, looking at colleges that specialize or have strong programs in industrial engineering is going to be a big part of this journey. From there, narrowing down your search based on criteria that work for you (location, cost, strength of program, etc.) will allow you to focus in on a few schools that are important. As you go through college towards earning your degree, you will take classes and speak with faculty that will help you decide how you want to structure not only your coursework but also your eventual career based on your individual interests.

Hope that helps!

Thank you very much. I will be sure to get in contact with some people in the field. Thanks again!! Matt V.

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Gordon’s Answer

An IE huh? Well what interests you? Have you worked as an intern or just found a part-time job during the summer in a small shop, preferably machine or some kind of assy operations, any size will do. The smaller the better because you get to see all aspects of manufacturing in one place. I was luck during my summers in CT where I found a job for the summer at a small less than 20 people, shop which made custom pumps for POL (Petroleum Oil and Lubrication) customers and some food apps, like corn syrup off of tank cars, yep those railroad tank cars, and chocolate, etc. Gave me insights as to all manufacturing, shipping process and documentation as I was the one who did that while I was there for 2 summers, and my first job out of college. Pay is not great. but 30 yrs later I am up to everyone's pay scale, and know a lot more about how any manufacturing facility runs, including Sale, Marketing, Finance, HR, etc. surprises some people. Corporations will not give you that opportunity while you are still in school. GM used to have their IE students actually work in a GM plant as part of their curricula, but now, IDK.
So happy trails, you must love what you do to keep on til the finish.
Gordon Hopkins
SF Bay Area

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