Myths vs. Facts: Landing a Job in Engineering

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MYTH #1: Engineering students have no social lives and therefore cannot develop or use social skills during college.

Fact: Engineers today need to think of themselves as leaders, not anti-social people. A college graduate with an engineering degree is approximately six times more likely than a graduate with a business degree to become a CEO of an S&P 500 corporation – and not just among traditional engineering companies. ExxonMobil may be headed by an engineer (Rex Tillerson, BSCE), as is Texas Instruments (Richard Templeton, BSEE), and Raytheon (William Swansen, BSIE), but engineers are also running financial institutions like Wells Fargo (Richard Kavacevich, BSIE) and insurance giants like Progressive (Glenn Renwick, BSME).

MYTH #2: Industrial Engineering is not of use in today’s economy.

Fact: Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient ways to use workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. Depending on their tasks, industrial engineers work both in offices and in the settings they are trying to improve. For example, when observing problems, they may watch workers assembling parts in a factory or staff carrying out their tasks in a hospital. When solving problems, they may be in an office at a computer looking at data that they or others have collected. Industrial engineers figure out ways to manufacture parts and products, or to deliver services, with maximum efficiency, a much needed skill and career. The key for engineering students looking to get into Industrial Engineering, as with any field, is to make themselves marketable. The first step is to have your resume and cover letter in proper order and the next few steps involve taking advantage of your school resources and networking as much as possible.

MYTH #3: Engineers aren’t creative individuals.

Fact: Engineers are creative problem solvers and their line of work requires minds that are inclined toward both creative and logical thought. It’s a balancing act they’ve mastered that comes in handy during the design and brainstorming phase of a project. When served with a task or problem, engineers understand the logical principles and applications that frame reality all the while deploying their creative juices to come up with groundbreaking plans. In the words of renowned dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp, “before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.” Engineers rely on their understanding of the boundaries surrounding projects before their creative minds figure out a way to break those boundaries and bring about innovative solutions. If you are interested in seeing how national and global fellowships can help finance your creative  projects, click here.

MYTH #4: Engineers have to love math to be good at it.

Fact: Engineers need to be good at math but that doesn’t necessarily mean they love the subject. The subject is merely a valuable tool on their journey toward an answer to a question. Many engineers do not enjoy math but they stick with it in order to reach what they love most: a solution. This relentless trait shows a sense of resolve, the ability to take on difficult and unpleasant responsibilities without quitting. It’s a trait coveted by employers worldwide. If you would like to take advantage of upcoming networking opportunities to meet the very employers looking to recruit students with this trait, make sure to do so through On Campus Recruitment.