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A Day in the life of a Aerospace Engineer
“I’m a rocket scientist,” one of our survey respondents wrote in a sentiment echoed by many others; “who wants anything more?” Aerospace engineers examine, analyze, design, produce, and occasionally install components that make up aircraft, spacecraft, high-altitude vehicles, and high-altitude delivery systems (missiles). Satisfaction with the romantic image of rocket-building can buoy many engineers through the highly anonymous work environments that many of them face. Individuals don’t assemble rockets; teams do, dozens of teams working in highly supervised coordination. An aerospace engineer plays some part on one of the teams, spending more of her/his time (roughly 70 percent) in a lab, at a computer, and assembling reports than doing anything else. Not being able to see the “big picture” frustrates some professionals. “What do I do? I don’t know,” wrote one engineer, who later claimed to be a victim of this moonshot myopia. Due to the complexity of the final product, an intricate and rigid organizational structure for production has to be maintained, severely curtailing any single engineer’s ability to understand his role as it relates to the final project. It is not unusual to be pulled off one project without explanation and thrown into the midst of another already in progress. As one person explained it: “This is not referred to as disorganization; it carries the name prioritization.”
Paying Your Dues
The path to becomin...