Should I Consider Engineering?
Engineering. Sounds pretty dull doesn't it? That is until you start working in engineering. I am now a graduate in electronic engineering, and below I'll try to tell you how I managed to get a job that lets me work on some pretty awesome military equipment (don't ask I can't you...), travel round the world and get paid a good amount of money for it!
It all starts with me having an interest in building smashing stuff. Younger me was good at smashing things; if there was an Olympic event for smashing, I'm pretty sure I'd have qualified. As I had mastered the art of wrecking stuff, I tried not smashing them. This turns out to be a lot harder than I had imagined, stuff is just too easy to smash. I eventually progressed onto building. I got pretty good at building; I constructed great wonders, huge cities and motorways, with hundreds of little inhabitants. Then I became too old for Lego.
Too old for Lego meant the start of secondary school. The start of secondary school meant the start of tech lessons, and this basically meant the start of my career in engineering (I'm not talking about food tech here, although I can cook a mean pizza straight from the freezer...)
Tech taught me how to make things other than Lego houses. This led to interest in building things, which quickly combined with my other interest at the time, computer games. Before I knew it I was putting together my first PC, and somehow, it worked. I could actually use something I had built for something useful! I’m not going to lie, it felt pretty damn good. I was boss of all computer things (well until I broke it, but hey lets gloss over that bit...)
At this point secondary school ended, and college began. As I was now self crowned boss of all computer things, I thought I should probably do some electronics. So I did. I did electronics A-level to be precise.
Turns out this was a touch harder than screwing pc bits together, but I stuck at it and after a pretty shaky AS year I managed a half decent grade. Somehow I also managed half decent grades in maths and physics which were my other A level choices (Almost all engineering courses at Uni require maths and physics)
AS level year bought around an interesting development, I managed to get into an Engineering Education Scheme group with some other guys from college. This basically meant I got to do a mini project in a team in a real company, this was not only actually fun (yes I know this sounds a bit weird) but also possibly the best thing that had happened to me in terms of my career. I really enjoyed the project and learnt a lot working with actual engineers. (I did break some stuff too, please don’t tell them)
I enjoyed it so much that I asked if I could do a year's work before Uni, and in what I imagine to be a moment of madness they said yes. A levels year ended with me getting decent scores across the subjects I needed (good bit of revision helped to pull it back here, oh and a good dose of luck I reckon...) This let me get a place on an Electronic Engineering course at Uni.
A gap year of work started, and then promptly flew by. I was making money and enjoying myself (Winner). I asked the company at the end of year whether they would sponsor me through Uni. They did. Not quite the full sponsorship I was after, but as Asda says "every little helps".
Uni began. So did the best time of my life. 4 years of mates, sports and partying, oh, and a little work here and there (well more than a little really). If the gap year flew past, Uni went by like Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and Uni did, fortunately I got myself a good degree. As I had finished Uni with a good grade, I asked the company I had worked for in the gap year for a job. They gave me one.
So here I am, a newly graduated engineer, in a job that has a boring name but is pretty damn awesome (Special Forces gas masks are great fun…). Hopefully some of you reading this might even come and join me soon, as we need some new faces over in engineering!
Below is my mini guide to getting into engineering:
Step 1: Smash stuff. Build Stuff. Then stop playing with Lego. (Technically optional)
Step 2: Take maths, science and a technology at GCSE and A-level (Preferably pass)
Step 3: Sign yourself up for any Engineering schemes or courses you can.
Step 3.5: EXPERIENCE. Take any engineering work experience you can. (This looks great on your CV and will likely get you the job…)
Step 4: Go to Uni to study engineering, or get an apprenticeship.
Step 5: Apply for jobs. Lots. (You will get rejected. Don’t take it personally. Try again)
Step 6: …
Step 7: Profit.
Hope to see you soon,
Jack – A Recent Engineering Graduate