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.
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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