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Career Story: Manufacturing Engineer For A Jet-Engine Maker

Manufacturing Engineer For A Jet-Engine Maker

Job Title: Manufacturing Engineer

Type of Company: My company makes jet engines for military and commercial aircraft.

Education: BA, Mathematics, Eastern Connecticut State University (Willimantic, CT)

Previous Experience: I started in a small manufacturing company as a tool maker. I liked working with my hands, and I liked the challenges of improving and finding better, faster ways to make a product to sell.

Job Tasks: My company has an engineering staff that designs jet engine assemblies. Each part of the assembly is defined by its own drawing with dimensions and specifications that it has to meet. I review these drawings, then create a process for making the part from its raw materials. This includes designing tools to hold the part during the manufacturing process and the step-by-step sequence used to cut or form the raw material. I also consult with the designers to make sure their design can be produced in a cost-effective manner, so I also have some input to what the finished part will look like when it's installed in a jet engine.

To design and build a complex engine requires teamwork. Thousands of people work together for at least five years just to design one. Each part of the engine belongs to a team that has to make sure it meets several requirements all at the same time. It must weigh a certain amount, must last a certain amount of flight time, be easy to replace during maintenance, be reasonably-priced, and be easy to manufacture without any defects. My role on the team is to make sure the part can be made to the cost target without any defects, so I have to know the limitations of a lot of manufacturing operations.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job include working on a very complicated product and being able to use my own creativity to solve problems and to think of better ways to make the engine hardware. I also like working with a very talented, well-educated workforce. I learn new things from them each day, and have fun doing it.

The worst part is in working for a large company. I don't always agree with the decisions made by our managers, and they don't always give us the money we need to make our improvements.

Job Tips:
1. Get started in your career as soon as possible by getting a summer job in the field you're interested in. Some colleges

2. Get as much education as possible. You won't get hired in any engineering company these days without a college degree. My company offers free college education to pursue any degree you want, but you need at least one college degree to get hired.

3. Have a good attitude and don't complain. Nothing can ruin your career faster than a negative attitude, regardless of how smart you are.

Additional Thoughts: To consider a career in any field of engineering, ask yourself these questions: Do I have an interest in finding out how things work? Are my hobbies involved with building or repairing things like cars or computers? Am I willing to work for good college grades and continue college classes even after I graduate? Can I work well with a team? Does the work sound fun and exciting? This is the important part; you'll need to have a career that you look forward to going to each and every day, for a long time.

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