Engineering and the Military?

<p>When I first started my college search, I thought I was going to be automotive designer. (7/8 schools I applied to, I applied to the Industrial Design program.)</p>

<p>Now that decision day has I passed, I am now going to school for Mechanical Engineering, though still with a concentration in design/manufacturing and automotive engineering. However, I have since discovered that jobs in the automotive industry are among the least stable, and I should probably concentrate in something else. I figured I should probably try and get a government job.</p>

<p>I know this is kind of early to planning all this out, but money is tight and I don't want to be one of those people who end up spending 5-7 years in college because they didn't plan correctly, and I don't want to end up graduating and not being able to get a job because I didn't research the job market well enough.</p>

<p>I'm looking into eventually working for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Earlier in my high school career (ninth and tenth grade) my dream was to go to West Point, but I put that aside because my parents didn't approve of me going into the military. Now I've found a way that they approve of. ^_^</p>

<p>If I do ROTC at UMD, I could get internships with the USACE, and get possibly get a scholarship for 3 years of undergrad. I would end up either during Active Duty or Reserve/National Guard. The latter is more preferable, but obviously it's harder to do that because no one wants to go straight into the service after they graduate. I'd probably end up as an Engineer Officer, and I could work for the USACE when I get out.</p>

<p>However, I'm not sure what I should concentrate in. Would design/manufacturing be useful to the USACE, or would something like Engineering Management, Energy/environmental engineering, or Solid mechanics be better? (Note: I can do more than one of these, because you are allowed six technical electives and none of those take up all six by themselves.)</p>

<p>Would being an Engineering Officer and working for the USACE give me an advantage in eventually getting a job at a defense corporation like Northrup Grumman or Lockheed Martin? </p>

<p>If anyone with experience as an engineer in the military could respond, that would be awesome. Any other advice would be welcome as well, and I apologize for the word-wall.</p>

<p>I am not former military, but I come from a military family and work for a defense contractor. </p>

<p>First of all, I would not count on being able to go directly into the reserves after school - having just spent a tone of money training you and paying for the military they are generally loathe to just let you sit on the back burner.</p>

<p>Second, you will find that the military is generally going to either find you a niche to use your specific training or else will provide the additional training necessary to the job. As an officer your job will be primarily managerial anyway.</p>

<p>Third, yes, military experience will generally help you to find a job with a defense contractor, but your job would depend a lot on your training and military experience. In all likelihood you would be pushed away from design engineering into business development and program management type jobs, those being the closest match to the majority of officer engineer jobs in the military - the military doesn't directly do much design work, which means your design skills will likely be a few years out of date when you get a civilian job.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Thank you. =)</p>

<p>So I could still concentrate in Design/Manufacturing, but I should probably switch auto engineering with Engineering Management?</p>

<p>As a former Navy active duty, now reserves, I can tell you if you do ROTC you will serve for 4 years. However don't look at it as time you will waste. You time in the USACE will accelerate your career like you never imagine. Government/Military contractors love to hire previous military, and when given the choice between a non-mil vs someone with military experience they will almost always give preference to military. Why because you know the military structure, the discipline, the tight schedule and they will have greater respect for you since you serve.</p>

<p>Now lets talk about your career choice, design/manufacturing and automotive engineering won't really matter when you go active duty you will most likely do program management for engineering projects. My recomendation is to go with Engineering Management since it will be a real job match for you. However if what you really like is design and automotive engineering I would stay out of military and take your chances out there. Just my 2 cents. </p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I will probably drop auto engineering because the job prospects aren't that great.</p>

<p>I'm definitely doing Engineering Management but I need another concentration because that is only three technical electives and I need six to graduate, so I could take three electives in Design/Manufacturing, even though I won't need the information.</p>

<p>Of course, I can fill up two of those credits with extra Physics or Math classes, because only four technical electives need to be within my major. I'll have to see about that once I get there.</p>

<p>Thank you for your advice. =)</p>