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What does a technical or aerospace job involve?

Posted by: Texan - Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:14 pm
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What does a technical or aerospace job involve? 
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Post Re: What does a technical or aerospace job involve?   Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:38 pm
Texan wrote:
I am a highschool student who wants to get involved in the budding private launch industry.

I do not have any mathematical aptitude, are there any technical jobs that do not involve alot of math?

Or do they all?


What sort of jobs are available in the aerospace industry now? What will be available in the next 20 years?

I got lucky, I have the bare minimum math ability but I have superb reasoning, logic and extreme creativity that allowed me to become an Engineer without a Bsc in Engineering. I do have two associate level degrees but not a Bsc. Mind you, I started at age 19 on the production floor and slowly worked my way up to Design Engineer. In my opinion I have way more creativity than my peers who are fully qualified Engineers who always design things the same way. The marketing department likes working with me becasue I don't automatically say "it can't be done" or "it costs too much to do that". I now have three patents to my name and will appear in Marquis Who's Who next year. Maybe I got lucky, I have a very outgoing personality compared to most Engineers. I have worked with many qualified Engineers and most of them are dull, as are their designs and ideas. Sure they know all the formulae but their creativity is very low.

Industrial Designers know less math and they create 3d models using more abstract programs. Perhaps that would be for you? I don't recommend my route because I got lucky. But anything is possible.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:19 am
is that the way it is? dull engineers huh? well maybe by the time i get there, people will have livened up a bit. if not, its going to be interesting seeing how they react to someone as outgoing and (in my humble opinion) as creative as i am ;)

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:07 pm
eraurocktchick87 wrote:
is that the way it is? dull engineers huh? well maybe by the time i get there, people will have livened up a bit. if not, its going to be interesting seeing how they react to someone as outgoing and (in my humble opinion) as creative as i am ;)

In my 10 years of experience, yes. However, if you are outgoing and talented I predict you'll have a more successful career than a dull, personality challenged, Engineer.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 5:38 pm
roygrif wrote:
In my 10 years of experience, yes. However, if you are outgoing and talented I predict you'll have a more successful career than a dull, personality challenged, Engineer.


Oh, bloody hell. Well, if they're the standard stuffed-shirt cube droid type, my career expectancy in a major firm is now looking to be about nil.... I always work best in boots and blue jeans.... Of course, I might be a bit better off if I managed to get myself a place out with Scaled (<<my personal dream<<). Mojave, here I come!!!

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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:49 pm
Pilots in the US Air Force don't need advanced math or engineering, just a college degree (any degree)

Mike Melvill's profile does not list a degree... all of the other Scaled pilots have engineering degrees. Sometimes being an old stick-and-rudder guy is all you need.

I do not have a degree and I am an Engineer (although I work in Computer Systems, not aerospace)... I also wear a t-shirt and shorts to work most of the time.

I get paid for he contents of my skull, not my closet or my scrapbook.

Still, if I were going to send my resume to Burt Rutan (who is hiring right now), I would be more comfortable if I could say I had sheepskin on my walls instead of my car seats.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:36 pm
Working as an engineer, you might never encounter Calculus.
But to get to be an engineer, you first have to graduate college with an engineering degree, and for that you need to pass your math courses. So..draw your own conclusin from here :)

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 12:38 am
See, you really need to divide Math up into a few different sections. I've dealt with all of these categories, so I feel entitled to give them a rough treatment.

First, there's arithmetic. Great for grade school, doesn't get much exercise after that unless you don't have a calculator handy. My degree is in Math and Computer Science and I can't do math worth a crap in my head.

Next, there's Calculus. Some people really like it. Has no bearing on the rest of math, you can love Calculus and find the rest of math obnoxious. Those of us who have gone beyong Calculus see it as the class from which really frustrated math majors come.

Then, there's engineering-level math that isn't Calculus. Generally, some differential equations, linear algebra, and a few other things in there as you go. Different from Calculus. Math folks suck at teaching it because there's a lot of practical applications for it, which they never cover. In college, covered twice, first in the required math class, and then, without of the theoretical crap when you actually need it.

Finally, there's theoretical math. Very loose bearing on reality. Occasionally sticks out and has useful applications. With it, you can explain in exacting theoretical terms all of the math prior. Avoid like the plauge unless you really find it interesting. I found this the most frustrating when I was in college. It's one thing to know roughly what an integral really means, but it's something completely else to be able to reduce an integral down to exacting theory, at each point being able to provide the theory behind it.

What often happens is that people do well in one of the forms of math and not in another. Because they all deal with the same sort of stuff, but they are really different mental processes. High school guidance counselers are really bad about this.

Now, the big thing is that, if you are trying to get involved in aerospace, for the past 15 years, it's been a crappy field to be in. If the space biz picks up, could be good. Also there's a lot of baby boomer aerospace engineers out there that will be retiring, so there *may* be a future there.

The one thing to remember is that most people who enter the law field end up with two degrees. First you get your undergrad degree, then you apply to law school. So there's really nothing preventing you, assuming that you can maintain a decent GPA in undergrad, from trying out Aerospace Engineering.

The problem with being a lawyer is that you end up, in this day and age, often times being somebody's weapon. Very few lawyers have the luxury of being able to act their conscience. If you are prepared to deal with that, it's OK.

And, there really are some pretty big open questions about space. The Outer Space Treaty works great right now. But it's not going to hold up when we actually have real people and industry in space. Resolving the ambiguity and establishing when somebody can claim a space object is important, but if done badly, could create a whole new set of problems.

I think that personality can be very important. In a weird sort of way, of course. Think of the big people who you think of when you start talking about space entrepeneurs. Some of them are of the Steve Jobs archetype -- Very charismatic, able to convince you that what you are working on is going to be *huge*, even in direct violation of the laws of reality. And the rest of them are really good tinkerers and designers who are able to lead a project.

I mean, Burt Rutan's not just good because he's himself a great designer, he's been able to be part of some huge projects by creating an environment where his underlings can also help him create.

So while not having personality won't keep you from doing *something* in an interesting field, having personality, even if it's mad-scientist personality, is something you need to have to be in front of the field.

The fundamental rule that I've followed over the past 5 years has been "Follow your dreams, cover your A**". I wanted to program cool games like Carmack, I ended up just programming. In a certain sense, I lucked out because beginning game programmers don't end up being given much chance to be creative, which was why I wanted to do game programming in the first place. So I compensate by being creative outside of work. ;)

Also remember that stuff can change. Just because you get a degree in one thing doesn't mean you won't be doing something completely different. You really need one degree or one really awesomely impressive project to prove you are smart enough to "ride the roller coaster" so to speak and, often times, you can switch and do something else later and not *necessarily* require another degree, as long as you can learn it from enough reading. The most important thing is that you need to learn how to think and how to make sense out of something on your own. The rest will be obselete in a few years anyway.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 9:10 am
Hello, wirehead,

you are right.

Texan, consider the laws and cases - and the tools and utilities helping lawyers, judges and attorneys today: case data bases, law data bases, decision data bases. I don't know how much use is being made of them and I can't know what you do think of them. But if you are using them or if you are forced to use them you are doing nothing else than - doing something mathematical. The reason is the logic of cases and laws etc. - logic is a part of mathematics. Laws are classifying and sorting something and they are establishing connections. Thus they provide inherent ways to quite other professions and topics helping to do so as wirehead is describing.

Try to work out the logical and mathematical nature of laws - and try to look for a way by this. You can do that parallel to the other advice I have given formerly.



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