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What steps can I take to begin my process of becoming a successful engineer?

I am a junior in high school. I am starting to look at colleges and also trying to figure out what area of engineering I would like to major in. I want to be the best at my craft and not just average. I would just like to know what steps I could take to becoming one of the best. engineering architect aerospace pre-engineering

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Wael’s Answer

Dustin, engineering in general is very reliant on math and sciences. Also, don't ignore your english classes because you need to communicate your findings in your career. Investing in another language is important too.


I think there is a more pressing question you need to answer before planning to be the best. What kind of engineering are you interested in? Look at your strengths and interests to guide you in this decision.

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Dustin M. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

First a HUGE kudos to you for declaring out loud that one of your goals is to be "the best"! There is a lot about being a successful engineer, that is deeper than your math score or how well you program (though both of those things matter...). A lot of your success will be based on your desire to problem solve...even when the problem appears hard. A determined individual, with patience, will find a way to get through the tough stuff that comes with being a successful engineer. My general feeling is that one doesn't learn as much when there is an easy path. You learn loads more when there is a challenge and even more still when you overcome that challenge.

I speak from experience as someone who has been an engineer for a long time, has worked for many different types of companies and has worked in many different areas of business. Not all engineers work in technical roles ;) but they can and do bring their technical skills with them to whatever job or task is given to them.

There are many, many posts other than mine, where you can get guidance on good schools, how to pick a desired engineering curriculum, how to search for a job, salary expectations and more. Given that fact, I will end by saying continue to keep that desire to be the best. Study hard, ask questions...where possible, do extra work. All of these things will help to sustain you in your goal to becoming a successful engineer.

Best of luck to you!

Some of my most challenging work has been around writing a piece of code that will do what I want it to do and then making that code flexible such that it can be used in other spaces. A successful engineer will know how their contribution helps a greater goal. What is it that the team is either trying to fix or improve or create? Having good partners helps in this area.
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Justina’s Answer

What is the reason you want to be the best and how do you measure your own success? Short term success is not long term success - how do you differentiate? Overall, be wary of ideologies, find the character mask and rip it off to see the truth and make decisions based upon it. Being the best is about making smart decisions - work smarter not harder. As far as schooling goes - education opens the door and that's it. An engineering degree will not be viewed as expertise. Being the best engineer comes from doing the work such as after you graduate. The worst engineers forsake technical skill to become politicians - be diplomatic and not political (that's a long term career killer).

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