You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s not rocket science” to indicate how something can’t be too hard to figure out. This is because the ‘rocket science’ of Aerospace Engineering is, well, hard. It is a tough field to study, but is it worth it? The question is common for young people like myself who are interested in the aviation industry, so let me tell you about how my degree supports my work at To70 Thailand.
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Jack of all trades
When choosing an engineering field to study, aerospace sounds very specific and limited in its usefulness. It might surprise you to learn that a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering is viewed by many in the engineering community as the ‘jack of all trades.’ From my experience as a recent graduate from the University of Texas, I can confirm that there is truth in that.
Besides the standard courses in aerodynamics, flight dynamics, compressible flow, propulsion, aircraft design, and more, aerospace engineering students also learn the basics of mechanical, electrical, material/civil, and software engineering. My Aircraft Design professor often emphasised the similarities between aerospace and systems engineers, since both require splitting systems into subsystems from different fields while simultaneously ensuring that the whole system meets requirements.
Rocket science is hard
It’s no secret that aerospace engineering is not a walk in the park. Getting your degree will be tough if you’re not good at physics and passionate about the field. And because aerospace combines so many other engineering disciplines (often all rolled into one class!), the workload can easily be a lot heavier than you might expect.
The curriculum may vary in different countries, but as you begin to specialise, the reason for that broad foundation becomes clear and the work becomes much more interesting. My favourite was the laboratory research. It was a lot of work, but it is also where we studied things in practice rather than theory, like bullets in supersonic flight and aerodynamics around a wing.
It was a fascinating way to see and understand the science behind aviation technology. Literally seeing the science in action also helps me now when we need to visualise the solutions we design, especially with simulations, and then be able to explain them clearly to our clients.
Opportunities for aerospace engineers
Although aviation industry growth and developments in new transportation methods and sustainability are widening the field, the number of companies where aerospace graduates can work designing aircraft is still limited. Luckily, there are other rewarding career options, from pilot or air traffic control to aviation sales, or aviation consulting work like I am now doing for To70 in Thailand.
Being an aviation consultant means I am constantly presented with new types of problems to solve. I learn new things every day and the knowledge from my aerospace engineering degree is proving to be an excellent foundation for building up my aviation consulting expertise. The connections I made in college will also be extremely useful to me while working in the aviation industry.
To70 regularly has positions available for young people with excellent aviation skills at our offices around the world. If you are interested in a job in aviation consulting, visit our Career page.
About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.