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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  • Stephanie asked Nita Patel, L3 Technologies, Insight

    Added Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    I am definitely older than most in this forum, but I figured it was worth a shot. I read your story on ECN called "I Became an Engineer: Because of a Sewing Machine" and it was definitely something that spoke to me. I am a creative person. I love any kinds of crafts that I can get my hands on, but I also find that I love tinkering with machines and how they work. Recently, I have been exposed to very experienced engineers in my life, but I feel like they are biased in their opinions toward me, ...
    Answers 1
    Nita Patel, L3 Technologies, Insight
    Answered 5 hours and 20 minutes AGO
    Hi Stephanie! I do not think one is ever too old to become an engineer and thirty is definitely not old. :) There will certainly be a learning curve but no different than learning any new discipline at any age. I took up chess in my mid 30s; it was the ...
  • Ani Clemons

    Added Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 3:03 PM

    I am not a mathematical wizard, but I love using my creativity and solving problems. My biggest fear is getting to college and not feeling prepared for my engineering-based classes. I feel like maybe I'm not smart enough and I'm wondering what I can do to pursue my dream. I live in Ave Maria, Florida, and I attend Rhodora J. Donahue Academy as a Junior. I would like to attend the University of Illinois once I graduate. I've heard they are strong in the engineering field. Someday I would like ...
    Answers 1
    Nicolette Yovanof Little, The Boeing Company
    Answered 9 days AGO
    Hi Ani, I think that the best thing that you can do to prepare is continue to take math, science, and physics classes in high school to get yourself ready for the college courses.  If you feel like you may not be prepared, I would recommend looking into ...
  • Micaiah Blackford

    Added Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 8:11 PM

    Such as specific words, robotic knowledge, etc.
    Answers 1
    Kathy Moseler, Paradise Robotics
    Answered 10 days AGO
    The typical college-prep courses with an emphasis on math and science is the bare minimum and perfectly acceptable for many universities. But, if you want to have an outstanding college resume that opens doors to prestigious schools, make sure you ...
  • Joyce

    Added Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 4:03 AM

    I am currently taking up civil engineering and I realized that I also wanted to design buildings just as architects. I know there is such thing as architectural engineering but it is not currently being offered in my university. So I was just wondering if it is possible to design houses and resorts when you are a civil engineer?
    Answers 1
    Alicia Bailey, Sain Associates
    Answered 10 days AGO

    I am not familiar with architectural engineering, however I will tell you what I know about the difference between engineering and architecture as I have experienced it.

    Architects typically sub out the structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical ...

  • Nyah Gaston

    Added 11 days AGO

    I'm currently a junior in high school and there's seems to be discrimination everywhere in my life considering I'm an African American women. Is there going to be a lot of judgement in this profession?
    Answers 1
    Camille Sowells, CP&Y, Inc.
    Answered 11 days AGO
    In my experience, there has not been a lot of discrimination. You cannot control whether or not other people chose to judge on the basis of your skin color, gender, age or anything else. That is a reflection of who they are. You can only focus your ...
  • Berta Candela

    Added 13 days AGO

    Hi ladies, I'm a chem engineering major going into my junior year. I am looking into scholarships to pay for school and I'm looking for any tips on that, as well as guidance on what extra courses may make me a more competitive in the field. Was thinking about possibly minoring in mathematics or maybe Mandarin (I spent some time in China)? I work a lot to pay for school so I haven't been able to network much so really anything helps me lot! Just found this site and so far loving it. Thank you!
    Answers 1
    Stacey DelVecchio, Caterpillar Inc
    Answered 12 days AGO
    Great questions Berta. Regarding the scholarship, I think the best thing you can do is focus on results. If you'd had internships, talk about the results and/or impact of the work, not just the name of the company or division. If you were measuring parts ...
  • Jennifer Green

    Added 13 days AGO

    I'm a mechanical engineer student and just about to finish my first year. I like math and solving problems but I found that most of the courses I had to take were not very interesting and I felt like I'm lacking the passion for engineering. Besides that, I don't see myself work for the rest of my life at a 9 to 5 job at an office all day solving equations and other mechanical problems. I was wondering if the studies get interesting in the following years and would like to know how is a day in a ...
    Answers 1
    Kelly Hon, Becton Dickinson
    Answered 13 days AGO
    Hello Jennifer,
    I too studied mechanical engineering and like solving problems. In my job I do not spend my day solving equations (because like you that is not my passion) but instead solving problems with the foundation and knowledge I learned in ...
  • karissa

    Added Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 11:35 PM

    I was talking to my professor and he mentioned that electrical engineering was very specific so I should look into other types of engineering, but I feel like what i want to do is best suited for ee. Am I wrong? I am only a first year so I haven't worked with circuits yet so i'm still unsure.
    Answers 1
    Nicola Asker, National Grid
    Answered Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 4:27 PM
    Hi Karissa. It's a tough decision and it depends on what your specific college/University will cover on their course. It also depends what types of technology/inventing you are interested in. Perhaps try researching some jobs that would interest you and ...
  • Karthik, India asked Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services

    Added Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 11:54 PM

    Hello Madam. I'm Karthik from India. I have completed my in Aerospace Engineering. I have read your previous posts regarding the job scenarios in USA and the necessary restrictions of ITAR for the work permits of foreign nationals. I haven't yet applied to any grad school for my masters. I have the following queries: 1) Will it be better to apply for a Masters in Mechanical engineering with a research paper in Aerospace and then hunt for the jobs. If yes what would be the percentage and ...
    Answers 1
    Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services
    Answered Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 3:55 PM
    My apologies. I'm just seeing this question now although its 3 years later! 
    Not sure if you still need an answer but in case you do, here are my thoughts:
    1) If you're looking for work in the US, its much better to complete a Masters in the ...
  • Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services
    Answered Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 3:50 PM
    Do you have any internship experience you can point to?
    As a new grad, you still might be able to do an internship to get experience.
    When I finished my Masters, my first job was an internship with a possibility of it being converted into a ...
  • Nima, San Jose, CA asked Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services

    Added Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 9:39 PM

    Zahra, I am an international graduate student, majoring construction engineering at SJSU. I will be graduated in May 2016. I have been in US since Jan. 2015. I came to US for my masters degree in Civil Engineering, but since Oct. 2015 I am interested in Aerospace Engineering, and Space Exploration/Colonization in particular. I am spending most of my time on reading books and articles related to the recent development and technologies in this filed. I think I made my decision to devote my ...
    Answers 1
    Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services
    Answered Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 3:47 PM
    I'm so sorry. I'm just seeing your question now. I'm guessing its too late to answer this.
    But you can apply for jobs here after you graduate and work on your student visa using OPT. 
    It is hard to get aerospace jobs being a non-US person due to ...
  • Zahra Khan, Columbus Technologies and Services
    Answered Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 3:38 PM
    Those fields are quite different from whats normally taught in an aerospace engineering program. However, you could work in the aerospace industry with a background in most of those fields including, electronics, industrial systems or manufacturing.
  • Ricki Wilson

    Added Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 1:47 PM

    I am a 2nd-year mechanical engineering student. I wanted to major in engineering going to college because I love math and science. I love the courses I am taking and I am excelling in them but when people ask me what I am going to do with my degree, I am not sure what to say. I do not necessarily want to work in a factory or have to wear a hard hat every day but I love the courses I am taking in college. If I was not majoring in engineering, I am not sure what I would do.

    I am not ...

    Answers 1
    Sarah Iddles, SP Energy Networks
    Answered Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 3:20 PM

    Hi there!

    I graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering back in 2014 and it has by no means limited me to 'factory' or 'hard hat work', not that there is anything wrong with those, but they aren't for everyone!

    I'm currently employed as a SCADA ...

  • Caroline Marshall

    Added Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 6:07 PM

    I'm a high school student. I love math, and engineering has always sounded like a good career path for me. However, I don't want to live my life stressed out and busy ALL the time. Will this be typical if I go into an engineering field? I'm prepared to do a lot of work, but I do not want to be overwhelmed. How complicated is the work that goes into being an engineer, on a scale from 1-10?
    Answers 1
    Michele Miller, Campbell University
    Answered Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 11:05 AM
    That's a great question.  There isn't really one answer to it.  I also loved math as a high school student.  That is a big help in engineering school. Engineering classes are demanding (maybe complicated at times), and you will learn a lot.  ...
  • Gillian Schriever asked Xiaoyun Yang, Naval Reactors; LooseLeaf

    Added Monday, June 18, 2018 at 1:10 PM

    I am a chemical engineering major, and I have already toured the NR headquarters and am preparing for the technical interviews. Specifically, I was hoping to gain insight on what the work culture at NR is like, how much work you do alone versus in groups, and what it is like working there as a young woman.
    Answers 1
    Xiaoyun Yang, Naval Reactors; LooseLeaf
    Answered Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 3:39 PM
    Hi Gillian,
    Work at NR is no different from any other engineering firm. You work 40 hours a week and you get the weekends off. We don't do a lot of hands-on engineering. There's a lot of reading, writing, and meetings. Based on your major, you could ...
  • Gillian Montgomery, Buehler and Buehler Structural Engineers
    Answered Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 11:46 AM
    Most definitely!!!! Like any job, it is work.  Most days I am in the office. Our world has become more and more computer/electronic based, so i do spend most time on the computer or traveling to other offices for meetings.  Every now and then, probably ...
  • Meghana asked Laura Helbling, JC Hines & Associates, LLC

    Added Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    Hi! I am a senior in high school, I have always excelled in art and creative fields like designing and constructing buildings and large props for musicals at my school. I thought civil engineering would be a solid choice for me because I like designing and creating, but I am also about average in my math, physics and chemistry courses and I am wondering how that will affect me going into college next year.
    Answers 1
    Rebecca Goldberg, Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP
    Answered Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 1:43 PM

    Hi Meghana, thank you for your question! It's great to consider civil engineering, which probably has the most sub-disciplines of any engineering field, so it can give many options. Much of engineering is problem solving, so a creative mind is an ...

  • Melat

    Added Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 2:45 PM

    I love engineering and adore building and creating things. I also have fascination with astronomy which is why I would like to be an aerospace engineer. The problem is when I hear engineers talking about their jobs they talk about the creative aspect, specifically the drawing aspect. I am absolutely terrible at drawing so I am wondering if being good at drawing is essential to becoming an engineer. Because I would love to be an engineer but I cant if I don't have the essential skills.
    Answers 1
    Katelyn Lichte, DuPont Pioneer
    Answered Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 1:43 PM
    Hi Melat,
    You can absolutely be an engineer without being good at drawing.  Not all engineering paths require good hand drawing skills.  Especially as an aerospace engineer, you'd like be using a computer aided design program to do your drawings with. ...
  • Giselle , France asked Esha Singh, Life Science

    Added Friday, March 25, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    Hi! I'm currently in foundation of pre-university and I'm going to the 1st degree of biomedical engineering. I found out that i'm interested in tissue engineering. Is tissue engineering the field which one creates tissue and repairs tissue, artificial organs? I'm intersted in this. Is my choice in choosing biomedical engineering is the right path? because I read your previous messages regarding to asked question, you mentioned that there is difference between biomedical engineering and ...
    Answers 1
    Esha Singh, Life Science
    Answered Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 11:27 AM
    Hello dear, sorry for the late reply...!!!
    Biomedical engineering is not purely related to Machines. There is a lot more here.
    Selecting the subject - " Bioinformatics", you can go ahead with Tissue engineering .
    Tissue engineering is basically ...
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