Ask an Engineer

This is the place where you can ask those questions you still have about engineering careers.  You can read profiles of practicing engineers in the I'm An Engineer section and ask them a question directly, or you can submit a question here to have EngineerGirl staff try to find the right person to answer you.

Since other people may have already asked the question on your mind, please take time to search through the questions and answers to see what others have already said about your topic. You may also find the list of FAQs about Engineering helpful.  These answers were not provided directly by engineers in the directory, but they will give you a basic understanding of what you need to know about an engineering career.

If your question is for the EngineerGirl Team please first take time to review the Resource FAQs that cover the basics of what we can provide for you from EngineerGirl.

Also, since we cannot give you actual engineering advice, if you need help designing that booster rocket for your own spacecraft or other project, you may find a resource on this list of other Engineering Q&A sites, and we encourage you to seek the services of a professional engineer for any engineering advice you may require. 

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  • Beatrice

    Added Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    I'm in the second year of my aerospace degree and despite doing well in my courses and enjoying and understanding the material, I feel like I'm not good enough to be a good engineer. Being the only girl in my class I feel doubtful when i see so many other students knowing exactly what they want to do and where and why, while I don't even know a lot about what I'm going to do with my degree... Help?
    Answers 1
    Anne Spence, University of Maryland Baltimore County
    Answered Monday, May 15, 2017 at 12:44 PM
    My dear, Beatrice.
    It is not unusual for you to feel this way. Trust me when I say that very few of the guys in your class have these feelings and they are most likely getting much poorer grades than you are! As women, we often must fight against the ...
  • Emily, Vienna asked Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO

    Added Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Hi Colleen, I am currently a rising senior at Virginia Tech majoring in ChE. I'm currently looking into what kind of jobs are available to ChE's. How is consulting different than a job in a plant in terms of responsibilities and day to day life?
    Answers 1
    Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO
    Answered Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:52 PM
    Hello Emily,
    
    Are you now working? Consulting definitely allows greater flexibility in day to day life.
    
    Best,
    Colleen
  • Keodara, Columbia, MO asked Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO

    Added Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    Hi! My name is Keodara. I'm currently studying Chemical Engineering. I love all of the opportunities that ChemE offers. I am just concerned about living in a sort of remote location, because I want to work in the oil and gas industry. Are there any other hot cities for the oil and gas industry besides Houston, TX? Also, what was your motivation to earn a PhD in Electrical Engineering? Thanks!
    Answers 1
    Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO
    Answered Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:50 PM
    Hello Keodara,
    
    Are you still studying Chemical Engineering? I did my PhD in Electrical Engineering because I did my research in fuel cell technology, which is a combination of Chemical & Electrical.
    
    Best,
    Colleen
  • Kathryn , Port Angles Washington asked Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO

    Added Friday, February 26, 2016 at 6:18 PM

    Dear Colleen, My name is Kathryn and I was wondering what is engineering all about to you? were do you work? what made you decide that you wanted to be a engineer? But the mane reason I'm asking you all these questions is because I'm into engineering and I am deciding what I should do as a engineer in my spare time. Thank you, Kathryn
    Answers 1
    Colleen Spiegel, SEMSCIO
    Answered Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:46 PM
    Hi Kathryn,
    
    Engineering is about creating new products and processes. I have my own business doing consulting work for various clients. I decided to become an engineer because I was really interested in math, science, and technology. How you spend ...
  • Tyler T

    Added Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7:26 PM

    Answers 1
    Kathy Moseler, Paradise Robotics
    Answered Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 12:13 PM
    Hi Tyler,
    
    What a great question, thank you for asking!
    
    EE, like many careers, is very broad.  What an engineer does depends on the nature of the employer's business and the assigned role of the particular person.  Some jobs are people oriented, ...
  • Shinju Yumiko asked Carmen Espinal, NTN Bearing Corporation of America

    Added Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 4:41 AM

    I am a licensed mechanical engineer, female engineer. But right now, several thoughts keep circling my mind. I even questioned myself why did I took up mechanical engineering. I badly need tons of motivation right now 'coz so far I'm not enjoying my profession. Am I in the right field?
    Answers 1
    Carmen Espinal, NTN Bearing Corporation of America
    Answered Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11:35 AM
    Dear Shinju Yumiko,
    My first job was biomedical engineer type job (my degree is in Mechanical Engineering) – I worked on IV sets. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t hands on. However, after working there & meeting a lot of people with different ...
  • Ashley U

    Added Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 8:59 PM

    I am currently a high school senior and have been accepted UCI under biomedical engineering. It is something I am interested in but I worry I will not be capable of "building" and "creating." I've never built or created anything and I'm not sure I will be good at it. Any advice?
    Answers 1
    Ying-Ja Chen, Pronutria
    Answered Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 9:09 PM
    I don't think you need to be worried before you try it out. Honestly, I have never built or created anything when I was in high school, either. All I knew was that I liked math and biology more than social science and language. They taught us many ...
  • Gillian Montgomery, Buehler and Buehler Structural Engineers
    Answered Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 3:13 PM
    It very much depends on where and what you area of engineering you would like to get into.  
    
    Obviously, public sector would require staying within the area you serve. For example a water resources engineer for the state of California, could change to ...
  • Carlos, Ortega

    Added Friday, February 3, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    1)Where are the engines located? 2)How much does an engineer get paid? 3)How many years of engineering does one need for airplane engineering? 4)Do aeronautical engineers only fix planes? 5)Is it dangerous? 6)Is it 24/7 worth of fixing planes? 7)What knowledge of planes should I know?
    Answers 1
    Crystal Harris, Northrop Grumman
    Answered Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 4:30 PM
    Hi Ortega, thank you for the great questions.  I am excited to know more about the final research paper.  So lets see if I can help..."how many year of engineering does one need for airplane engineering?" A typical engineering degree can be obtained from ...
  • Cat Monty asked Ayanna Howard, Georgia Institute of Technology

    Added Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 11:10 AM

    I'm researching you for school project and you are pretty amazing
    Answers 1
    Ayanna Howard, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Answered Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 1:39 PM
    I truly do enjoy designing, building, and programming the intelligence of robotic systems. Robotics allows me to not only be creative by using my engineering and computer science skills but allows me to geek out on amazing technology.
  • Lango asked Julia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories

    Added Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 2:03 PM

    Answers 1
    Julia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories
    Answered Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 1:30 PM
    Where does the time go? That’s a question I am always asking myself it seems. Without a clear list of priorities and some planning, it is easy to get to the end of the day or week with not much to show for it except a growing pile of things that need ...
  • Alli Brunell

    Added Monday, April 10, 2017 at 1:33 PM

    I'm finishing my freshman year of college and I finally decided on a major that I want to dedicate myself to: bioengineering. The problem I have is that my university only offers degrees in: civil, computer, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Due to certain circumstances, I cannot transfer or switch schools. I'm not sure if any of these degrees will allow me to pursue such an intriguing and rewarding career in bioengineering/biomedical engineering (or even chemical engineering). I would ...
    Answers 1
    Jennifer Elisseeff, Johns Hopkins University
    Answered Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 1:27 PM
    You can definitely work in biomedical engineering with an electrical engineering degree! I have had graduate students with this background start working on tissue engineering projects and now working in a more biologically oriented field. There are also ...
  • Mandy

    Added Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 10:52 AM

    I am 32 years old and completing my first year back to school to earn a degree in civil/environmental engineering (although I am open to switching fields). My first degree was in history and after many years with difficulty finding a job (I worked as a technical support representative at a few call centers) that could provide enough income, a yearning to challenge myself intellectually, and wanting to contribute more to society I decided Engineering was the way to go. By the time I will finish ...
    Answers 1
    Sandra Begay, Sandia National Laboratories
    Answered Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 12:52 PM
    I am proud that you’ve decided to challenge yourself! A degree in engineering is not easy, but my experience is that it is a very rewarding degree. The job opportunities can enhance your contributions and also most engineering jobs pay very well. My ...
  • Rachael Amoah

    Added Friday, March 24, 2017 at 5:12 AM

    What I should know before pursuing aeronautic engineering in terms of academics.
    Answers 1
    Answered Monday, April 17, 2017 at 8:44 AM
    HI!  To enter college to study aerospace engineering be sure that you are taking the classes in high school that the college indicates you need to be ready.  What this usually is 3-4 years of science, 4 years of math, and 1-2 years of a foreign language. ...
  • Tanner

    Added Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    I am extremely interested in creating and learning the science behind how things work and took an interest in the curriculum for mechanical engineering to be more precise. As a young girl, I never expected myself to take an interest in math or science, but as I took higher math classes and immersed myself more towards engineering topics, I realized that I am and want to be an engineer. I am a second year student in cc, transferring soon to a university and I recently joined a club. As many ...
    Answers 1
    Stephanie Meyen, Advanced Scientific Concepts
    Answered Friday, April 14, 2017 at 6:55 PM
    Tanner,
    
    First of all let me tell you that it is great that you already have a good idea of what type of career you want to pursue. It is important to have a goal. It helps you to stay on your path, even if things are difficult. With participating in ...
  • Jehiel Cruz

    Added Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 1:44 AM

    FYI. engineering course have been a notorious to be very hard in our school and i'm not sure if it is really true. And can you confirm it to me that if it(civil engineering) is really majority on drawing/sketching and a bit computation/math???
    Answers 1
    Karen Strauss, Oregon Department of Transportation
    Answered Friday, April 14, 2017 at 12:33 PM
    Hello there, Congratulations on considering civil engineering! I’m sure there are a ton of rumors swirling about how much math, physics, drawing, science, and computation there is in the field. I remember when I started to choose engineering classes, a ...
  • VL

    Added Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 1:38 PM

    Hello! I had a bad experience in my last company. It was very small, with very sexist male engineers. Basically all of them, except the manager, told me that it was a job for a MALE engineer. Spite of all my efforts and my manager support, they didn't accept me in their group, treated me like my work was not good enough and said sexist things in my presence (for example, my coworker said to my manager, when he was talking to me: "I want a girl in the office! A GIRL. Where is my girl?"). I ...
    Answers 1
    Aurelia Gooden, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
    Answered Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 8:38 PM
    Hello, VL.
    
    I am sorry for your experience.  It is a great time to be a woman in the sciences. However, sometimes, the world is not prepared for our unique methods of being naturally caring yet strong, but with a splash of flamboyance.
    
    As you ...
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