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How to become an aerospace engineer

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 5 Aug 2022

Aerospace Engineering Hero Image

Engineering is a very diverse career to choose, there are some amazing options out there, from civil to aerospace and there really is something for everyone. A career in aerospace engineering can lead you to working with cutting edge technology and working for some amazing employers. This article is all about aerospace engineering and what it can offer you. If this is something you have been thinking of doing, you’re in the right place.

What is an aerospace engineer?

There are loads of different elements to a day in a life of an aerospace engineer and many will say that no one day is the same. There are a number of different roles in the aerospace industry, not one person can do it all so job descriptions will differ. However, their main responsibilities tend to be researching, designing, developing, and maintaining the performance of things like:

  • Aircraft
  • Missiles
  • Satellites
  • Space vehicles

These things will obviously change depending on the company you work for and the type of aerospace role you have. There are engineers that work on different components that make up the aircraft, some work on the systems and other elements including the safety, and costs for example. My point is, there are so many different aspects to the aerospace sector, and you can find the right one for you.

The different types of aerospace engineer

There are a number of different areas you can specialise in, including:

AerodynamicsAerodynamics is crucial for the design of a working aircraft. It’s the study of the effect of gas flows around the craft and can also be used to help make an aircraft more environmentally friendly. Engineers that choose this area of expertise are required to contribute throughout all stages of building and developing and aircraft. There is a lot to learn, and this is a prime example of a role that can change day-to-day.

Structural – Aerospace structural engineers research, analyse and create specifications for the structure of an aircraft, spacecraft or even missile. These engineers often use computer design methods to display their ideas, so some computer skills are needed!

Systems – Aerospace systems engineers may work with spacecraft / rocket systems and other space related projects or they might work with planes / missile guidance systems. There are many different kinds of systems engineering, so think about which one you would prefer to work in before you start looking!

How do you become and aerospace engineer?

You can get a degree that is specific to aerospace engineering, but if you are looking for a career change or are looking to study something a bit broader, many employers will accept relevant subjects when applying for a role in this sector. These can include:

  • Computer Science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Mathematics

Like many other engineering sectors, there is a skills shortage. Skills learnt from courses mentioned above (any many more) can be transferred and used in this sector. So, if you have qualifications but didn’t think they were relevant, think again.

In addition to your education, there are may companies that offer graduate training schemes as well. Keep a look out for these on careers sites, job boards and even company websites.

Why aerospace engineering?

Much like the majority of engineering sectors, there is quite literally never a dull day working in Aerospace. There are hundreds of projects across different countries and continents, so if it’s something you would want, there is the opportunity to travel with your work.

You will have opportunities to work on exciting, new technology and have an impact on making the world a better place through innovation.

There are different specialties you can get involved in, which means there can be something for everyone. You just have to find your niche within the aerospace sector and you can find something really special for you and your career.