So You Want to Be an Engineer: A Definitive Guide to the Challenges and Opportunities of Engineering (Paperback)
This is a book expressly created to provide an aspiring engineering student with information and insight to understand and consider the challenges and opportunities that an engineering education and career presents. The author, an accomplished and widely experienced Certified Professional Engineer, offers significant and rationalized inside views of the journey from college applicant to a satisfying and successful career in engineering.
Many high-school grads ponder the question of what they actually want to do with their lives. Many have already developed a general idea of what career path they think they would like to follow, but lack any in-depth understanding of what that selection will actually entail. This is particularly true of the many professions that require a specialty college degree. This book provides a unique experience-based introduction to, and unusual exploration of, the science and art of Engineering from college through career. It begins with the exploration of exactly what "Engineering" actually is, by definition and by practice. It invites the aspiring engineer to explore the opportunities and challenges encountered in the journey from high school graduate through an engineering career. Recognizing that many young people are heavily influenced and drawn to engineering by the perceived glamour of movies, books, TV dramas, news media, etc., and by relatives and friends, the author invites the reader to explore his or her own motivations and deeply rooted interests and curiosities. He recommends a careful self-analysis that might disclose a relatively shallow attraction that might not survive after exposure to the concentrated and technical studies and laboratory work that comprise the basics of an engineering education. The consequent first-year drop-out rate in engineering and/or transfer to other majors is quite impressive. Assuming the reader's confirmation of motivation and suitability for engineering, the author provides an introduction to, and partial listing of, the many specialty fields of engineering. He explains the inherent differences that compel each specialty to focus the junior and senior years of in-depth college study on those unique goals, requirements and "tools". Accordingly, he urges an early reconsideration of his selected specialty. A review of the defined path that transitions from the first several years' study of generalized basic engineering sciences, to the specific and unique studies required in the final years of that specialty. Having walked the reader through some definition of his/her readiness and degree objectives, the author looks back on a 65 year career, and presents his personal experiences and perspectives on matters and events that can impact or interrupt earning an engineering education and subsequent career. He offers his lessons-learned in a rich and satisfying experience. He cites his personal poorly-selected short-lived initial post-graduate employment, to a position as a novice draftsman in the Machinery Design Department of a major shipbuilding corporation, and, ultimately, to promotion to Director of Engineering Services. After retirement, he and a uniquely qualified Naval Architect formed an independent consulting company that offered services across a wide range of technical and management issues that further broadened his experiences well beyond design and manufacturing. Along the way, he accumulated a wealth of guidance from highly qualified tradesmen, engineering and design managers, contract and program managers, attorneys, and corporate executives, who contributed to a satisfying and successful career that he happily passes on in this volume.