1. Any background you would be willing to provide to prove I didn't just make a person up to question: A name to call you by (worded this way intentionally), job title, company, and what is your prior education and work experience?
Call me, Inigo Montoya, of course. If you don't like that, pick one out of the phone book. Job Title: Aerospace Engineer. Company: DoD. Prior Education: BSME. Prior work experience: Nothing relevant. Been working for the DoD with the same job title for almost 20 years now. 'Twere my first job out of college and still my only job since college.
2. Describe a typical day for you in this career.
I get into the office about 0645. I check email or maybe go to some meeting or another until maybe 0800 or 0900. I head out to the field to see what my guys are working on and/or how it's progressing. I eat lunch at 1100ish. I then spend the afternoon either helping with said projects or blowing stuff up, depending upon my schedule. I get back to the office about 1600, check email again, maybe do some design work, and go home at 1645-1700. 3. What do you enjoy the most/find the most interesting about this career?
I am given the freedom and authority to explore out of the box ideas even if I'm the only person who thinks it'll work.
4. What is the least enjoyable aspect of this career?
5. What skills/knowledge are most often used in a typical day within this career?
Thermodynamics. Newtonian Physics. Statics/Dynamics. Chemistry. Materials Science. Basic Electrical Circuits. Compressible Flow. Knowledge of explosives in general and many weapon systems. I'm an expert in none of the those, but I use all of them on a regular basis. What's the expression? "I'm a jack of all trades, but a master of none."
6. Why did you decide on this particular career and employer, and are your expectations for it based on this satisfied now?
When I was 6 years old I saw a video of a missile blowing up a tank. Not Hollywood; the real deal. Right then and there I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but unlike most 6 year old kids, I held true to the dream. Employer? That was as much chance as anything; could have been someone else. And 6 year old me would be thrilled with 40 year old me.
7. Are there any educational/work decisions you would change, or additional steps you would have taken towards your career path now?
I would have dropped out of high school at age 16 and gone to college 2 years early. I consider high school to be the single biggest waste of my life. Having a bachelors at 20 would have been pretty cool.
8. Is there any advice you would give to someone considering a career in aerospace engineering, including additional education, preparation, or natural skills that you would deem necessary?
You just have to have a decent head on your shoulders and what I like to refer to as, "The Love."
9. What would you suggest for succeeding within this career's job market? What did your employer seem to value the most?
Be a damned good engineer and a leader of men. That's what my employer values. Were I only one of those two and not both, I would not be where I am today. As for how to lead (since that isn't something generally taught), I do so by example. I've never asked one of my crew to do anything I wasn't willing to do myself... And yes, I've swept many a floor and scrubbed a few toilets on the job. I make a point of doing such mundane tasks from time to time. It keeps me humble and sends a message to my crew that none of us are above the lowest job; it''s ALL important.
10. What would you suggest for successful networking (should I attend seminars, etc.) if networking is important and applicable in this career?
Dunno what to tell ya there. The conferences I attend are by invitation only.