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Hey, I'm new to this so bear with me. So lately, due to an
engineering class at school, I've wondered whether a career in
Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering is right for me. I'm really
interested in it, but I don't know where to begin learning about it,
so if anybody could help me out be giving some suggestions, it would
be awesome! Thank you!
-- Carter Flint, November 15, 2006
Aeronautical Engineering is one of the best majors at MIT in terms of the quality of the undergraduate education and the care that professors put into the classes. It can be problematic as a career, however. A lot of the employers are defense contractors and they lay people off as soon as peace is declared (George W. can't stay president forever, so we may run out of wars :-)). In both defense and civilian worlds, there is a huge amount of paperwork and delays imposed by regulation and bureaucracy. If you're impatient, it is a lot better to work at Google where a new product can be conceived, developed, and brought to public launch within a few months.
It seems as though a new generation of power plants and avionics plus a tremendous increase in worldwide wealth is going to drive development and production of a lot of new aircraft for the next 20-30 years, so this wouldn't be a bad time to get the degree. I think that there are at least 20 new personal or business jet designs under development worldwide right now.
If you love aviation and love working with numbers, go for it!
-- Philip Greenspun, December 28, 2006
"A lot of the employers are defense contractors and they lay people off as soon as peace is declared" Yeah, the job market in aerospace isn't always as healthy for this reason. Also, kind of like petroleum eng., it tends to be more cyclical.
"If you love aviation and love working with numbers, go for it!" However, if you can handle engineering in general and love aerospace, it's worth it. OTOH, if you're not sure, there's a lot of folks working at NASA and elsewhere with Mechanical Eng. degrees. ME is often viewed as a "safer" choice.
I don't know if this response is in time to help Carter, but anyone landing here with similar questions ought to check out my blog AeroGo for students, etc. interested in the aerospace field or engineering in general:
-- Gordon Vaughan, February 26, 2008