Hi, I was reading your article on pushrod engines, when I took a look at your profile. You say you are an engineer working for an American automotive company. I'm a highschool student, and I plan on becoming a mechanical engineer. My dream job would be to get a job with an American automotive company, as I have a great passion for cars. I was just wondering, first off what company you worked for, but mostly, I was interested in whether you had any tips on how to become an engineer at an automotive company, what I should do during college, and so on, to give myself the best chance at achieving this goal. Any advice, or insight into what you did when you were younger would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Here is my response:
Sorry, my employer needs to stay secret, I don't want to get in trouble (companies can get touchy if they think their employees are blogging).
If you want to be an engineer, here is the basic list of things to do:
- Do well in math and science in high school. Take AP calculus, AP physics, AP chemistry if you can.
- Go to a decent college, with a respected engineering program. I don't know where you are from, but examples in the Michigan area are U of M, Michigan Tech, Kettering University. Major in mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering, depending on what your interest is. If you want to work in engine design, for example, you need to get a good base in Finite Element modeling, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics. Materials science is also important.
- Become a student member of SAE and participate in SAE events. You will meet people this way, networking with industry folks is important.
- GET AN INTERNSHIP! Try to get an internship with one of the auto companies, or a major supplier. This will really get your foot in the door, and help your chances.
Of course, my first urge was to write, "DON'T DO IT! GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL!", but engineering isn't really a bad gig, and it won't go away any time soon. There just may not be as many jobs at "American" auto companies as there once were. And I was also tempted to add something like "learn Japanese or German", but perhaps Chinese would be better.