Becoming an Engineer (A Women of Color magazine Bonus issue)

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Becoming an

A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering






For Today’s Career Women In Technology & Business

R E E N I G EN Career Communications Group (CCG) has been publishing career guides for more than 30 years. Since 1987, we have showcased thousands of people you need to know in jobs that use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In this latest handbook, we try to answer all the questions young people have about becoming an engineer. Through CCG’s access to STEM professionals during our conferences and award shows, we have exposed hundreds of young people like you to engineers who work in the traditional disciplines— chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical—and everything in between.

Within these pages, you will meet a range of professional engineers. Reading their stories, you will learn about what inspired them, how they held fast to their dreams through a summer program or school club, and why they didn’t let go even when faced with challenges. Today, they are in some of the highest-paid jobs, using their understanding of math and science to solve problems in local communities like yours. For the big picture, we turn to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and its grand challenges of the 21st century. During those meetings, which took place about 10 years ago, the NAE identified 14 grand challenges.

Find out more about them from one of U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine’s leading voices and how all the things happening in your community, whether it’s about traffic lights, potholes, cyclist lanes, or zoning decisions, are engineering problems. Once you get to the end of the guide, we hope that you’ll be inspired enough to act and help solve an engineering problem. Be sure to find out more about programs and people that are working to prepare the next generation to address engineering’s grand challenges.

A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Table of Contents What is Engineering?...............................................................................2

Did you know there are more than 80 engineering fields?

Why is Engineering Needed?...............................................................3 Aerospace Engineering...........................................................................4 Feature: Building the International Space Station...................6 Agricultural Engineering........................................................................8 Biomedical Engineering.......................................................................10 Chemical Engineering............................................................................12 Civil Engineering.......................................................................................14 Electrical Engineering............................................................................16 Poster: Modern-Day Women in Technology...............................18 Environmental Engineering................................................................20 Industrial Engineering..........................................................................22 Mechanical Engineering...................................................................... 24 Software Engineering............................................................................26

Women of Color | Volume 19 Issue 3


Career Communications Group, Inc. 729 E. Pratt Street, Suite 504 Baltimore, MD 21202 Phone: 410-244-7101 Women of Color (ISSN 1937-0555) Becoming an Engineer: A Practical and Creative Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering is an engineering career guide that will introduce young readers to the exciting world of engineering. ©2019 by Career Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

Feature: Gaming Careers.....................................................................28 Engineering Salaries at a Glance....................................................30 Feature: Engineering’s Greatest Challenges.............................31 Engineering Schools for Minorities...............................................32 Financial Aid...............................................................................................34 5 Test Taking Strategies.......................................................................36 Digital Connections................................................................................38

What is Engineering? Think about the room you’re sitting in right now. Who designed it? Who built it? Who designed your cell phone and its protective case? experiences and quality of life. Engineers ask tough questions, like “How can we design more efficient packaging to reduce waste?” or “How do we design lighter and stronger artificial limbs for patients?” These big questions aren’t just theoretical; they help engineers solve tough problems.

A variety of engineers designed, tested, and built all of the products that you see around you right now. Engineering is an exciting field to study, and leads to some very rewarding careers. You may be considering taking some engineering courses in the upcoming school years—but just what is engineering? Engineering is where many of your school subjects become reality—where rubber meets the road! Engineering is where people just like you create solutions to society’s problems, and where improvements are made that improve our


Engineers take their understanding of math and science and apply it to problems they see in their daily lives. When an engineer sees a problem, they articulate the exact issue, think of a design or improvement that can solve the problem, choose the best solution choice, and build the item. They test their design and make adjustments based on their evaluation until the issue is resolved. Finally, they present their findings. This process is called the “engineering design process,” and it requires perseverance, patience, and a growth mindset. That’s one of the best parts of learning engineering—making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the process!

WHO ARE ENGINEERS? They’re regular people, just like you and your classmates. Engineers vary by their focus, so no matter what you’re interested

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

in building or designing, there’s a path for you! Aerospace engineers design, create, and improve our aircraft and spacecraft. Can you imagine designing the next space shuttle? Chemical engineers develop new methods to transform basic materials into products for companies—everything from medicine to makeup, food and drink, and even petroleum. Electrical engineers design and build the systems that power our digital world. Perhaps you’d like to study computer engineering, so that you can design and build the supercomputer of tomorrow. Mechanical engineers design, develop, and improve machinery—for both small and large-scale operations. There are many more types of engineers, including nuclear engineers, software engineers, and petroleum engineers. No matter what interests you, engineers play a vital role in most industries. Engineering is an interesting and rewarding field of study and work. In engineering, you use math and science to solve real-world challenges by designing and creating products and solutions. You might spend class time building a solar oven, designing a lighting system, or designing biomedical devices. With engineering, the options are limitless.

All around the world, students are enrolling in engineering coursework and programs— opportunities like middle school electives, after-school STEM clubs, and college prep tracks in their high school. Perhaps you’ve seen kids in your school build, code, and test out robots and wondered, “How hard is that to do? It looks like fun!” Many students see the exciting world of engineering and wonder if they should join the field too. Why is engineering growing to be such a popular choice? It’s simple—engineering is an exciting and challenging field of study and career path for people with many different talents and backgrounds. Engineers are valuable members of their industries. These industries are growing and becoming more global, which places a premium on innovative thinkers and problem solvers. Engineers are both highlevel professionals who design intricate systems and eagle-eyed technicians diagnosing and adjusting in the field. Engineers can specialize in the higher levels of design and planning or become expert hands-on practitioners. This versatility allows all types of learners to engage in exciting work. Virtually all industries require engineers who can build solutions for the problems their business faces—including problems that haven’t even happened yet! Engineers are truly an essential part of a team of professionals. Engineers do challenging work and are rewarded for their solutions. Engineering

involves taking on real-world problems, such as designing a safer football helmet for athletes to prevent concussions or making buildings safer during natural disasters. By using the engineering design process, these talented professionals design, build, and test their creations in order to perfect them. Most importantly, engineers have high satisfaction knowing their creations make life better for individuals and society at large. Imagine the pride in designing a more efficient water filter that grants access to clean water in rural areas around the world. Additionally, engineering positions are some of the highest-paying jobs around. The average salary for engineers is over $100,000! All in all, engineers are problem solvers who want to make a difference in the world.

Engineering is an exciting and challenging field of study and career path for people with many different talents and backgrounds.

One of the most enticing reasons to study engineering is that there’s a place in the field for everybody. Some engineers are creative thinkers, seeing an imaginary world where there are solutions for every problem, and there are just as many engineers who use logic and math to see the world. If you love helping improve the quality of life for people around the globe, then engineering is for you. If you like working with your hands and tackling real-world problems, you’ll love studying to become an engineer. Engineers are dreamers who want to shape the future for all of us. Consider trying out an elective, club, or program to see what all the excitement is about!

Why is Engineering Needed? "The sky is NOT the limit." MY STORY

-- Jem Pagan

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraf missiles. In addition, they create and test prototypes to they function according to design.

Duties typically include: Direct and coordinate the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and aerospace products Assess proposals for projects to determine if they are technically and financially feasible Determine if proposed projects will result in safe operations that meet the defined goals

Develop acceptance criteria for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery, and completion dates Ensure that projects meet quality standards Inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to identify sources of problems and possible solutions

Evaluate designs to ensure that the products meet engineering principles, customer requirements, and environmental regulations

OVERVIEW Aerospace engineers may develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and spacecraft. They often specialize in areas such as aerodynamic fluid flow; structural design; guidance, navigation, and control; instrumentation and communication; robotics; and propulsion and combustion. Aerospace engineers can specialize in designing different types of aerospace products, such as commercial and military


airplanes and helicopters; remotely piloted aircraft and rotorcraft; spacecraft, including launch vehicles and satellites; and military missiles and rockets. Aerospace engineers often become experts in one or more related fields: aerodynamics, thermodynamics, materials, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, propulsion, acoustics, and guidance and control systems.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Dr. Wendy Okolo Aerospace Engineering Researcher, Intelligent Systems Division NASA Ames Research Center Dr. Wendy Okolo is an aerospace research engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. She earned both an undergraduate and a doctorate degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. She was the first Black woman to obtain a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from UT Arlington. Her research was funded by the Department of Defense through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship; Zonta International through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship; and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics through the John Leland Atwood Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Okolo is a sub-project I AM AN AEROSPACE Currently, manager on the System-Wide Safety ENGINEER (SWS) project, leading a team of researchers to develop the safety assessment, prediction, and mitigation technologies that will enable unmanned flight in highly autonomous urban environments. She also leads a controls team on a $2.5 million Space Technology Mission Directorate Early Career Initiative (STMD-ECI) project that she won as part of a six-member early career team. On the STMD-ECI project, she leads the controls team to develop unconventional control techniques for deployable entry vehicles that will enable precision landing and improve maneuverability during the entry, descent, and landing phases of spaceflight.

ft, satellites, and make sure that

SPECIALTY AREAS Aerospace engineers typically specialize in one of two types of engineering: aeronautical or astronautical. Aeronautical engineers work with aircraft. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials. They work with the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the Earth’s atmosphere. Astronautical engineers work with the science and technology of spacecraft and



< $71,640 (Lowest 10%)

how they perform inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This includes work on small satellites such as cubesats, and traditional large satellites.   Aeronautical and astronautical engineers face different environmental and operational issues in designing aircraft and spacecraft. However, the two fields overlap a great deal because they both depend on the basic principles of physics.


students interested in studying aerospace engineering should take courses in chemistry, physics, advanced math, and computer programming and computer languages. Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in subjects such as general engineering principles, propulsion, stability and control, structures, mechanics, and aerodynamics, which is the study of how air interacts with moving objects.

Entry-level aerospace engineers usually need a bachelor’s degree. High school


$115,220 (Median)


> $164,210 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering



Spaceman who helped build the International Space Station

45 EVA


MANKIND Robert Lee Curbeam holds the record for the most spacewalks during a single spaceflight. On his last flight in December 2006, Curbeam became the first shuttle astronaut to conduct four spacewalks in a single mission on the International Space Station. In 2001, he performed three spacewalks to help install the space station’s Destiny laboratory. In total, Curbeam notched more than 45 hours of spacewalking time and more than 900 hours in space. “Robert Curbeam, Stephanie Wilson, Joan


Higginbotham, Al Drew, Leland Melvin, and Robert Satcher, along with their space shuttle crewmates, helped to complete the space station during its first 11 years,” space historian Robert Pearlman, who runs the website, told Mashable. At a recent National Meteorological Society conference, Curbeam spoke about the beauty of space. “I tell everybody to imagine the best picture from space you’ve seen. It’s a hundred times more beautiful. It is absolutely wonderful,” Curbeam said. In the fall of 2018, Challenger Center, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education organization, announced Curbeam as chair-elect of the board of

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

directors. His role as chair began in August. “STEM education is important for all of us,” Curbeam said. "Young people are going to design that next software app you use on your phone, the next phone that you use, the next global positioning system. People learning that today are going to take my

place as technological leaders in industry and government in the world,” Curbeam said. A graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) and Navy Test Pilot School, Curbeam logged more than 3,000 flight hours in 25 different aircraft and spacecraft. He earned an advanced

degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. He received his bachelor’s degree with merit in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.

and management positions within the Astronaut Office and as director of safety, reliability, and quality assurance for the Constellation Program before leaving NASA for the private sector in 2007.

While serving as a Navy pilot, Curbeam was selected as an astronaut in December 1994. He went on to serve in technical

Images courtesy of NASA (Left inset): Astronaut Robert L. Curbeam, STS-116 mission specialist, attired in a training version of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit, awaits a training session in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near Johnson Space Center. (Top): STS-116 Mission Specialists Robert L. Curbeam, Jr. (left) and Christer Fuglesang participate in the first of the mission's three planned sessions of extravehicular activity as construction resumes on the International Space Station.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Agricultural Engineering

Agricultural engineers attempt to solve agricultural pr

concerning power supplies, the efficiency of machiner

structure and facilities, pollution and environmental is storage and processing of agricultural products.

Duties typically include: Use computer software to design equipment, systems, or structures

Oversee construction and production operations

Modify environmental factors that affect animal or crop production, such as airflow in a barn or runoff patterns on a field

Plan and work together with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers to ensure effective and desirable outcomes

Test equipment to ensure its safety and reliability

OVERVIEW Agricultural engineers work in farming, including aquaculture (farming of seafood), forestry, and food processing. They work on a wide variety of projects. For example, some agricultural engineers work to develop climate control systems that increase the comfort and productivity of livestock whereas others work to increase the storage capacity and efficiency of refrigeration. Many agricultural engineers attempt to develop better solutions for animal waste disposal. Those with computer programming skills work


to integrate artificial intelligence and geospatial systems into agriculture. For example, they work to improve efficiency in fertilizer application or to automate harvesting systems.

EDUCATION Students who are interested in studying agricultural engineering will benefit from taking high school courses in math and science. University students take courses in advanced calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry. They also may take courses in business, public policy, and economics.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Entry-level jobs in agricultural engineering require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs in agricultural engineering or biological engineering typically include significant hands-on components in areas such as science, math, and engineering principles. Most colleges and universities encourage students to gain practical experience through projects such as participating in engineering competitions in which teams of students design equipment and attempt to solve real problems.

Dr. Afrachanna Butler Research Scientist Army Engineer Research and Development Center


Dr. Afrachanna Butler is a research scientist at the Army Engineer Research and Development Center. An expert on the use of grass, she works to help reduce the migration of explosives and heavy metals from military ranges—bringing the Army closer to its goal of sustainable operations. Dr. Butler also shares what she learns with others pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She provides training to local college students, and she is regarded as a superb mentor. Dr. I AM AN AGRICULTURAL Butler’s communication skills make her an ENGINEER approachable role model and leader. She seizes every chance to give back to the community. Dr. Butler works with high school students in the Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science program at the Engineer Research and Development Center, giving them real-world projects to work on while guiding them through the scientific process of discovery and reporting. Dr. Butler has also served on four graduate degree committees and is an adjunct faculty member at Alcorn State University and Jackson State University (JSU). This year, she spoke at the JSU Career Day “UNITE” camp for underrepresented and underserved groups in STEM. She also participated as the keynote speaker for the Honors and Awards Day Program at Hinds Community College, Utica Campus. Dr. Butler received a Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service for her leadership and dedication to community outreach efforts supporting students interested in STEM.

ry, the use of

ssues, and the


< $46,500 (Lowest 10%)


$77,110 (Median)


> $116,850 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles w

biological sciences to design and create equipment, de systems, and software used in health care.

Duties typically include: Design biomedical equipment and devices, such as artificial internal organs, replacements for body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems Install, adjust, maintain, repair, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment Train clinicians and other personnel on the proper use of biomedical equipment

OVERVIEW Biomedical engineers design instruments, devices, and software used in health care; develop new procedures using knowledge from many technical sources; or conduct research needed to solve clinical problems. They frequently work in research and development or quality assurance. Biomedical engineers design electrical circuits, software to run medical equipment, or computer simulations to test new drug therapies. In addition, they design and


Research the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists Prepare procedures, write technical reports, publish research papers, and make recommendations based on their research findings Present research findings to scientists, nonscientist executives, clinicians, hospital management, engineers, other colleagues, and the public

build artificial body parts, such as hip and knee joints. In some cases, they develop the materials needed to make the replacement body parts. They also design rehabilitative exercise equipment. The work of these engineers spans many professional fields. For example, although their expertise is based in engineering and biology, they often design computer software to run complicated instruments, such as three-dimensional X-ray machines. Alternatively, many of these engineers use their knowledge of chemistry and biology

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

to develop new drug therapies. Others draw heavily on math and statistics to build models to understand the signals transmitted by the brain or heart. Some may be involved in sales.

SPECIALTY AREAS The following are examples of specialty areas within the field of biomedical engineering: Bioinstrumentation uses electronics, computer science, and measurement principles to develop instruments used in the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems. Biomaterials is the study of naturally occurring or laboratory-designed materials that are used in medical devices or as implantation materials. Biomechanics involves the study of mechanics, such as thermodynamics, to solve biological or medical problems. Clinical engineering applies medical technology to optimize healthcare delivery. Rehabilitation engineering is the study of engineering and computer science to

Ashley Catlin Biomedical Engineer, Naval Surface Warfare Center Sarah "Ashley" Catlin is a biomedical engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Her innovations will likely result in life- and limbsaving procedures being performed aboard U.S. Navy ships. Catlin is an expert in biomedical concepts and medical applications, which made her essential to the Medical Motion at Sea Study. The study assessed the impact of sea state on Navy medical professionals and their ability to perform medical procedures while out at sea. Prior to Catlin’s efforts, the Navy outfitted ships and medical personnel based on a supposition that ship movements preclude I AM A BIOMEDICAL many medical procedures from being ENGINEER executed. Consequently, wounded soldiers and sailors often have delays in receiving essential medical treatment. While working with the Office of Naval Research, Catlin conducted a series of tests using a full-motion simulator in which she duplicated an at-sea surgical arena. Under her direction, Navy surgeons executed advanced medical procedures under simulated conditions. Catlin began working as an intern during the summer of 2011 while earning a master’s degree in systems engineering from Tuskegee University. During her internship, she was involved with a simulation testing for the Marine Corps. The purpose of this research was to measure degradation in Marine performance due to the effects of differing sea states during long transits at sea. Since coming on board permanently, Catlin has taken on the planning of human subjects testing and rapidly progressing into a position where she directs research protocols. Catlin’s work and her analysis of the data will result in medical procedures being performed aboard smaller U.S. Navy ships that were not previously thought possible.

with medical and

evices, computer

develop devices that assist individuals recovering from or adapting to physical and cognitive impairments. Systems physiology uses engineering tools to understand how systems within living organisms, from bacteria to humans, function and respond to changes in their environment.

EDUCATION Biomedical engineering and traditional engineering programs, such as mechanical and electrical, are typically good preparation for entering biomedical '



< $51,890 (Lowest 10%)

engineering jobs. Students who pursue traditional engineering programs at the bachelor’s level may benefit from taking biological science courses. Students interested in becoming biomedical engineers should take high school science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They should also take math courses, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting or mechanical drawing and computer programming are also useful. Bachelor’s degree programs in biomedical engineering and bioengineering focus on engineering and biological sciences. Programs include laboratory- and


$88,550 (Median)

classroom-based courses, in subjects such as fluid and solid mechanics, computer programming, circuit design, and biomaterials. Other required courses may include biological sciences, such as physiology. Accredited programs also include substantial training in engineering design. Many programs include co-ops or internships, often with hospitals and medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, to provide students with practical applications as part of their study. Biomedical engineering and bioengineering programs are accredited by ABET.


> $144,350 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, p

math to solve problems that involve the production or use of ch

drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes a

for large-scale manufacturing, plan and test production method byproducts treatment, and direct facility operations.

Duties typically include: Conduct research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes Establish safety procedures for those working with dangerous chemicals Develop processes for separating components of liquids and gases, or for generating electrical currents, by using controlled chemical processes Design and plan the layout of equipment

OVERVIEW Some chemical engineers, known as process engineers, specialize in a particular process, such as oxidation (a reaction of oxygen with chemicals to make other chemicals) or polymerization (making plastics and resins). Others specialize in a particular field, such as nanomaterials (extremely small substances) or biological engineering. Still


Conduct tests and monitor the performance of processes throughout production Troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes Evaluate equipment and processes to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations Estimate production costs for management

others specialize in developing specific products. In addition, chemical engineers work in the production of energy, electronics, food, clothing, and paper. They must understand how the manufacturing process affects the environment and the safety of workers and consumers. Chemical engineers also conduct research in the life sciences, biotechnology, and business services.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Dr. Rekha Rao Distinguished Member of Technical Staff Sandia National Laboratories

physics, and

Dr. Rekha Rao, a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in 1990. Dr. Rao is a role model in engineering and computational mechanics. She has excelled in a challenging field that is critical to addressing a variety of problems of national interest, especially in energy productionrelated processes, environmental issues, polymer processing, and manufacturing. I AM A CHEMICAL She is an expert in the mechanics of ENGINEER complex fluids, including theoretical development, numerical algorithms, and finite element implementation. Throughout her career, she has led projects in the development of finite element software and performed analysis for computational fluid dynamics and multi-physics applications. She is also one of the founding code developers of GOMA 6.0, open-source software for multi-physics simulations used at Sandia, several universities, and six U.S. companies. Dr. Rao has authored or co-authored over 102 peer-reviewed scientific papers, conference proceedings, and reports. In addition, she has been a guest editor for the International Journal of Numerical Methods in Fluids and Computers & Fluids, and serves as the chair of the Female Research Committee of the International Association of Computational Mechanics.

hemicals, fuel,

and equipment

ds and

EDUCATION Chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field. Programs in chemical engineering usually take four years to complete and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. High school students interested in studying chemical engineering will benefit from taking science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They also should take math courses, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

At some universities, students can opt to enroll in five-year engineering programs that lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree, which may include a degree up to the Ph.D. level, allows an engineer to work in research and development or as a postsecondary teacher. Some colleges and universities offer internships and/or cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical

experience while completing their education. ABET accredits engineering programs. ABET-accredited programs in chemical engineering include courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. These programs also include applying the sciences to the design, analysis, and control of chemical, physical, and biological processes.

PAY RANGE $65K < $64,890 (Lowest 10%)

$105K $104,910 (Median)

$170K > $169,770 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Civil Engineering Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Many civil engineers work in planning, design, construction, research, and education.

Duties typically include: Analyze long-range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data to plan and design projects

Oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations

Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk analysis stages of a project

Analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects

Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations


Prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards Perform or oversee surveying operations to establish building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Jose Santiago

Civil Engineer, BGE

Jose Santiago is a civil engineer with almost 15 years of experience in the power delivery industry. His primary responsibilities are associated with design, construction, and maintenance of indoor and outdoor substations ranging from small 13-kilovolt distribution stations to large 500-kilovolt transmission stations. He touches many aspects of a substation’s life cycle, from siting and land development to structural analysis of lattice and monopole structures and even decommissioning. Santiago is currently the lead engineer on two flood hardening projects where existing critical substations are being retroactively protected from potential flood impacts. He was also a key contributor in the development of a flood mitigation standard that has been implemented in multiple utilities.


Santiago earned bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has been a licensed professional engineer since 2009.



Civil engineers also must present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions.

Civil engineers work on complex projects, and they can achieve job satisfaction in seeing the project reach completion. They usually specialize in one of several areas.

Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer, public works director, and city manager. As supervisors, they are tasked with ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built in accordance with plans and specifications. These engineers typically are responsible for the design and safety of temporary structures used during construction. They may also oversee budgetary, time management, and communication aspects of a project.

Civil engineers prepare permit documents for work on projects in renewable energy. They verify that the projects will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. These engineers conduct structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic, or solar energy, projects. They also evaluate the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources. For large-scale wind projects, civil engineers often prepare roadbeds to handle large trucks that haul in the turbines.

Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations for built objects ranging from streets and buildings to runways and dams, are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). In addition, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels. Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, or dams, to ensure their strength and durability. Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain everyday systems,

such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ship ports, mass transit systems, and harbors.

EDUCATION Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, in one of its specialties, or in civil engineering technology. Programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork. Programs may include cooperative programs, also known as co-ops, in which students gain work experience while pursuing a degree. A degree from a program accredited by ABET is needed to earn the professional engineer (PE) license. In many states, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology also meets the academic requirement for obtaining a license. Further education after the bachelor’s degree, along with the PE license and previous experience, is helpful in getting a job as a manager.

PAY RANGE $55K < $54,780 (Lowest 10%)

$87K $86,640 (Median)

$143K > $142,560 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Electronic Engineers Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications Analyze customer needs and determine the requirements, capacity, and cost for developing an electrical system plan Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure they meet safety standards and applicable regulations Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems in order to improve technical performance

Electrical Engineers Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products Perform detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications

Electrical Engin

Direct the manufacture, installation, and testing of electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget

OVERVIEW Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, Radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft. Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, including broadcast and communications systems, such as portable music players and GPS devices. Many also work in areas closely related to computer hardware.


Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in a variety of areas, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, Radar and sonar systems, and communications systems. The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers also must work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

projects. Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers.

EDUCATION High school students interested in studying electrical or electronics engineering benefit from taking courses in physics and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting are also helpful, because electrical and electronics engineers often are required to prepare technical drawings.

Kerron Duncan Program Manager, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative Northrop Grumman Corporation



In order to enter the occupation, prospective electrical and electronics engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, electrical engineering technology, or a related engineering field. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Courses include digital

PAY RANGE $61K < $61,190 (Lowest 10%)

Kerron Duncan began his career as an electrical engineer in 2001 with Northrop Grumman. He started in the Power Conversion Technology department and soon became an expert on power systems architecture, design, and analysis for Radar. In 2016, he was promoted to manager of the Modeling, Simulation and Analysis department where he was responsible for a team of over 70 technical and management staff and made notable advances in the development and implementation of model-based engineering (MBE) approaches and techniques for nextgeneration sensors.

Currently, Duncan is a program manager on the artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives at Northrop. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Morgan State University. Duncan has also served as a judge for Baltimore County VEX robotics competitions, a a teacher and instructor in the BioEYES K-12 program, and a participant in the Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation Summer Program.

systems design, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Programs in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology should be accredited by ABET. Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs

$97K $96,640 (Median)

combine classroom study with practical work. Internships provide similar experience and are growing in number. At some universities, students can enroll in a five-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities, or in research and development.

$153K > $153,240 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering




Sherita T. Caesar

Sherita Ceasar helped create the broadband technology that enables people to e-mail, Sherita Caesar browse the Web, buy andT.sell products, Sherita Ceasar helped create the broadband technology thatphone—all enables people to e-mail, browse the Web, buy and and talk on the through their sell products, and talk on the phone - all through their television sets.television sets.

Camille DʼAnnunzio

Camille DʼAnnunzio did data analysis for the first NASA satellite to measure the composition D’Annunzio of a comet.Camille Camille D'Annunzio did data analysis for the first

NASA satellite to measure the composition of a comet.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson's orbit calculations put men on Katherine Johnson the Moon!

Katherine Johnsonʼs orbit calculations put men on the Moon!


BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Lina Echeverria

Delia Grenville

Lina Echeverria found new uses for the molecular properties of minerals and glasses.

Delia Grenvilleʼs invention allows consumers to enjoy Internet applications designed for the TV

Lina Echeverria

Delia Grenville while watching their favorite programs.

Lina Echeverria found new uses for the molecular properties of minerals and glasses.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson is one of the main brains behind the Sandra Johnson Deep Blue computer's defeat of a chess champion.

Sandra Johnson is one of the main brains behind the Deep Blue computerʼs defeat of a chess champion.

Delia Grenville's invention allows consumers to enjoy Internet applications designed for the TV while watching their favorite programs.

Duy-Loan Le

Duy-Loan Le holds more than 20 technology patents Duy-Loan Le and was the first woman to be elected a fellow at

Texas Instruments. Duy-Loan Le holds more than 20 technology patents and was the first woman to be elected a fellow at Texas Instruments.

Rosa “Rossie”

Rosa “R Gumata

Rosa "Rosie" Gumataota the United States. She le woman on U.S. currency century.

Rosa “Rosie” G Treasurer of the efforts that help currency for the

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Irene HernandezRoberts

Asha Goyal

Asha Goyal helped design and build Indiaʼs first information center serving national and local Ashapolice. Goyal Asha Goyal helped design and build India's first information center serving national and local police.

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Gumataotao Rios was the 43rd United Ee T, 5 T H States. F L O OShe R , led B A Lthe TIMORE, ped place a woman on U.S. e first time in over a century.

Irene Roberts has more than 70 technology patents. She70was namedpatents. an IBM Master Irene Roberts has more than technology She was named an IBM Master Inventor in 2006. Inventor in 2006.

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Sonya Sepahban

Sonya Sepahban

Sonya Sepahban was program manager of a crew escape capsule that served as a lifeboat for astronauts orbiting the earth in the International Space Station.

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Sonya Sepahban was program manager of a crew escape capsule that served as a lifeboat for astronauts orbiting Earth in the 410.244.7101 International Space Station.

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Admiral Michelle Howard

Stephanie Hill

Michelle Howard was the first black woman a U.S.toNavy ship. In July 2014, Michelle Howard wasto thecommand first black woman command a ship. In July 2014, Howard became the Howard became the Navyʼs first female Navy’s first female four-star. four-star.

Admiral Michelle Howard

Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart is IBM's first-ever Black female Vice President.

Eleanor Valemtin

Nancy Stewart is IBMʼs first-ever Black female Vice President.

Stephanie C. Hill is an advocate for engendering the next generation to

Stephanie Hill pursue STEM education and was honored for Stephanie C. Hill has made a profound impact on so “career achievement in industry” during the 17th Women of Color STEM conference.

many. She is an advocate for engendering the next generation to pursue STEM education and was honored for "career achievement in industry" during the 17th Women of Color STEM conference.

Eleanor Valentin

Rear Admiral Eleanor Valentin was the first woman to reach flag rank in the U.S. Medical Service Corps.

Rear Admiral Eleanor Valentin was the first woman to reach flag rank in the U.S. Medical Service Corps.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Environmental Engineering Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil

and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and

control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking change, and environmental sustainability.

Duties typically include: Prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports

Analyze scientific data and do quality control checks

Design projects that lead to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities or air pollution control systems

Monitor the progress of environmental improvement programs

Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and for legal actions

OVERVIEW Environmental engineers conduct hazardous waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of a hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They also design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and industrial wastewater treatment, and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers in government


Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs in order to ensure compliance with environmental regulations Advise corporations and government agencies about procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites

develop regulations to prevent mishaps. Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, urban and regional planners, hazardous waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Kathleen Johnson Paleoclimatologist University of California, Irvine Dr. Kathleen Johnson was born and raised in Michigan. She is a paleoclimatologist at the University of California, Irvine. In her work, she uses geochemical measurements on cave deposits to reconstruct past climate variations to test and improve climate models. An enrolled member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, I AM AN ENVIRONMENTAL she has contributed to the geosciences ENGINEER through research and outreach to minority students. She received the Geological Society of America’s Bromery Award for Minorities for “tireless devotion towards opening the geoscience field to Native Americans, for bringing her passion for geoscience and fieldwork to undergraduate and graduate students, and for influencing the future of so many young people.” She served as a principal investigator and director of the National Science Foundation-funded American Indian Summer Institute in Earth System Science from 2011–2017. The University of California residential summer program empowered participants to pursue higher education in the earth and environmental sciences and to bring their knowledge back to their communities. American Indian Summer Institute in Earth System Science has hosted 131 indigenous high school students, representing 45-plus tribal nations; the vast majority of high school grads who attended the program go to college or university.

science, biology,

. They work to air pollution

g water, climate

EDUCATION Entry-level environmental engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. At some colleges and universities, a student can enroll in a five-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s and a

master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some colleges and universities or to do research and development, and employers may prefer candidates to have a master’s degree. Students interested in becoming an environmental engineer should take high school courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and math, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.

Engineering programs are accredited by ABET, and employers may prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary for a person to become a licensed professional engineer.

PAY RANGE $53K < $53,180 (Lowest 10%)

$88K $87,620 (Median)

$137K > $137,090 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Industrial Engineering Duties typically include: Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient Enact quality control procedures


to resolve production problems or minimize costs Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants evaluating job performance paying workers

Rita L. Mas Ramirez Manufacturing Engineer, Boston Scientific Corporation Rita L. Mas Ramirez is a manufacturing engineer with the Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC). She joined BSC as a senior manufacturing supervisor. As part of the BSC Rotational Program, she undertook a stretch assignment rotating as a quality engineer for Reliance IS-4 and manufacturing engineer for subassembly lines. Ramirez excelled at implementing significant projects. She now provides support to the production department for Tachycardia and Bradycardia CRM business. She also is responsible for optimizing existing processes and meeting business goals. Although she has a busy schedule, she makes time for community service. She is a Season of Giving volunteer, Sports for Life volunteer, and Give a Day volunteer. Ramirez has also been recognized for her outstanding contribution to cancer awareness.

OVERVIEW Some industrial engineers, called manufacturing engineers, focus entirely on the automated aspects of manufacturing processes. They design manufacturing systems to optimize the use of computer networks, robots, and materials. Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost. The versatility of industrial engineers allows them to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance

activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

EDUCATION Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics. Bachelor’s degree programs include


lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Several colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

PAY RANGE $56K < $56,470 (Lowest 10%)

$87K $87,040 (Median)

$132K > $132,340 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

Duties typically include: Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and to recommend remedies

OVERVIEW Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering fields. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries. Mechanical engineers design powerproducing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as powerusing machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Mechanical engineers design other machines


Develop and test prototypes of devices they design Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed Oversee the manufacturing process for the device


inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design materialhandling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations. Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations, and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Auto research engineers seek to improve the performance of cars. These engineers work to improve traditional features of cars such as suspension, and they also work on aerodynamics and new possible fuels. Heating and cooling systems engineers work to create and maintain environmental systems wherever temperatures and humidity must be kept within certain limits. They develop such systems for airplanes, trains, cars, schools, and even computer rooms. Robotic engineers plan, build, and maintain robots. These engineers plan how robots will use sensors for detecting things based on light or smell, and they design how these sensors will fit into the designs of the robots.

Joseph Moore Principal, MITRE Corporation Joseph Moore is a principal business architect of the MITRE Corporation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from George Washington University. Today, Moore leads a large transformation project for the Veterans Health Administration to modernize the supply I AM A MECHANICAL chain management processes and systems ENGINEER to deliver quality healthcare services to veterans nationwide. This project covers the system infrastructure, processes, and controls that are necessary to execute supply chain and inventory management to meet the goals and objectives of enterprise modernization. Moore's contributions have had significant impacts across many of MITRE’s federal government sponsors, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before MITRE, Moore is noted for the development of a groundbreaking methodology (in partnership with Harvard University) known as “minimalist manufacturing.” He also developed a systems acquisition strategy and roadmap for the largest acquisition contract for outsourced technology at the time in the DoD’s history as well as setting up the technology strategy unit at Forrester Research. He has also created mentoring programs and courses for disadvantaged high school students to get them interested in STEM careers.

EDUCATION Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering

principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry. Some colleges and universities offer five-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some five-year or even six-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

ABET accredits programs in engineering and engineering technology. Most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

PAY RANGE $56K < $56,270 (Lowest 10%)

$87K $87,370 (Median)

$137K > $136,550 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Software Engineering Duties typically include: Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems Design each piece of an application or system and plan how the pieces will work together

OVERVIEW Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks. Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs.


Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that show programmers the software code needed for an application Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing

Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functions of the software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it. If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance. Developers usually work closely with

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

Document every aspect of an application or system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to programmers. Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Terrance Moore Computer Systems Architect, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Terrance Moore has made outstanding contributions to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. He joined Lockheed Martin in 2011 as a computer systems architect. His projects have benefited multiple lines of business including planning and executing data migrations, and research on vulnerabilities related to static code analysis offerings from various vendors. In 2014, Moore advanced to F-35 trade studies lead. This position allowed him to closely work with senior leaders and executives. Moore was accepted into the Advanced I AM A SOFTWARE Technical Leadership Program in 2015. ENGINEER He was also chosen to participate with a select team to perform research and strategic analysis. Moore has three degrees—a a bachelor's degree and Master of Science degree in computer science both from Jackson State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Bradley University. His education has helped him excel, and he also uses his knowledge to mentor young engineers. Moore is an adjunct professor of software and math at Brightwood College and of software at UT Arlington.

SPECIALTY AREAS Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the internet and within a company’s intranet. Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning

properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers create the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including those used by cell phones and cars.

EDUCATION Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Computer science degree programs are the most common because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building

software to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college. For some positions, employers may prefer that applicants have a master’s degree. Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages. Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

PAY RANGE $62K < $61,660 (Lowest 10%)

$104K $103,620 (Median)

$161K > $161,290 (Highest 10%)

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering



Achievement Unlocked: Careers in the Video Gaming Industry


ON! 28

Jones, 42, knows a thing or two about breaking into gaming on a professional level and achieving success.

Video games are an endless source of entertainment. For those with the right combination of talent and passion, as well as specific skill sets, gaming can be a sky'sthe-limit career.

The New York native graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in architecture and worked in that field for a number of years. However, he stunned family and friends when he pursued a career in gaming. Jones, whose college studies included sculpture and painting, said his art and architecture training made him well suited for the creative side of gaming.

Pryce Jones, who heads the graduate program in the School of Game Design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, said that young people would be wise to consider careers in gaming as they offer a wide range of job options, and the paths to gaining access to the industry are many.

For more than a decade, Jones held positions in the gaming industry as an environment artist, concept painter, and art director. He was a contributor on some of the industry’s biggest titles—Pool of Radiance, Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and Tomb Raider: Legend. Jones also worked on Shrek Super Slam and the next-

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

generation version of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. His most exciting project was working on Lord of the Rings and watching the project go from one that got little consideration and resources to one with plenty of focus and an enhanced budget. “Before the first movie came out, nobody knew it was going to be very big,” he recalls. Jones said now is a good time for minorities to enter the gaming industry because there’s an interest in making games more diverse and bringing a broad talent pool into the industry. Blacks in Gaming (BIG) is an organization of which Jones is a member and leader that aims for better understanding of the video gaming industry.

games work. Designers focus on the fun aspects, crafting the experience. Artists create the visuals and concepts. Animators work on characters and creatures. Video games also involve writers who develop story lines and musicians and sound effects experts who create soundtracks. There are also production teams that make sure everyone stays on task and testers who get the bugs out. Jones said those who want to be successful in the video game industry have to be team players as everyone works closely together and relies on each other. The emergence of small games for mobile devices and social media is reducing the production time of many new titles, with some being rolled out in months. However, major games for console devices can take two to three years or longer. He noted that the recent Halo game took three to four years to develop, and God of War took about six years to complete. Despite Jones’ personal love and professional involvement in gaming, he limits the time his sons—ages 8 and 10— spend playing video games. However, he has started to show them how it “can be a creative tool.” Jones suggests those interested in breaking into gaming on a professional level do considerable research about the industry through websites such as, an online guide to the “art and business of making games.” “Find out as much as you can about it,” said Jones, adding that there are tutorials on the internet about video game production and programs that can be downloaded. “BIG strives to demystify the video gaming industry for people of color,” states BIG’s website. “We assist individuals in evolving from consumers to producers of video games and apps…BIG provides networking, outreach, mentoring, and entrepreneurship guidance to professionals and students.” The organization has about 20–25 members and represents a who’s who of African Americans in the industry. Consider these BIG leaders: Lisette Titre oversees social media and outreach for BIG and has been a computer graphics artist for more than 11 years. As a digital modeler, she takes data from scanned images, concept art, and photographs and creates 3D digital sculptures. She’s managed teams of artists worldwide and has contributed to games such as Tiger Woods Golf and The Simpsons.

Verin G. Lewis is oversees the mentorship program with BIG and is professionally linked to Microcomputer Resources, Inc. (MRI), an independent production company. MRI’s first title, Josh’s World, is described as a nonviolent game that includes “positive African-American role models for young children.” Kevin A. Brown, who handles corporate sponsorship for BIG, has more than 17 years of experience in the industry. He has worked on such brands as Space Chimps. While at Microsoft Game Studio, he worked on Mass Effect, and at Electronic Arts he helped to establish the Tiger Woods franchise. He was the art development manager on God of War 3. Jones pointed out that the range of jobs involved in the gaming industry is broad.

It’s important for the serious individual to start doing the thing they love—drawing, animating, programming, designing, modifying existing games—so they can develop a body of work, he said. Jones admits that many extremely talented and highly dedicated individuals can break into the video gaming industry without a college degree. “You do not need a degree,” said Jones. “I don’t tell my students that. If someone is talented, they will shine through.” However, college can help others get on the right track, develop their talents, learn discipline and focus, develop professionalism and get connected to the right people and organizations. “School can provide that proving ground, that training ground,” said Jones. “Not everybody needs that.”

Programmers develop the code to make

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Median Salaries Median annual wages for top engineering fields Salary statistics change often so we took a look at some of the most popular engineering fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual wages in civil engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical power engineering, marine engineering, chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, and petroleum engineering rank among the highest. To the right is a list of the median salaries for early- to mid-career professionals as of May 2018.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

$115K $77K $89K $105K $87K $97K $88K $87K $104K


BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering




Engineering's Greatest Challenges


In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering of the United States met to discuss the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. During those meetings, 14 grand challenges were identified. Grand challenges are BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) and are considered to be some of the most difficult problems to solve. Solutions to these challenges will have tremendous benefits for global society because they are fundamental to the quality of life around the world. It is important for people of color to understand what these challenges are as well as their implications, as each global community will experience grand challenges differently. Specific challenges may be more important for one community or less important for another. One of the grand challenges is to provide access to clean water. Although water type and condition vary widely around the world, access to clean water is a challenge for all global citizens. Planet Earth is largely made of water, but most of that water has a high salt content and is not drinkable. Fresh water, or potable water, is in short supply, and that supply is getting lower. The limited supply of fresh water is becoming so much of a problem that books have been written about wars that will transpire based on the availability of clean water. True to these writings, I have had discussions with visiting scholars from Africa, who’ve spoken about rising political tensions over access to the water originating from Lake Victoria. In places next to the sea, like Saudi Arabia, the

clean water challenge is how to devise a way to desalinate water cheaply. In the United States, water and politics have gone hand in hand for a long time. The history of Los Angeles is tied to the city aqueduct built by William Mulholland (the Irish-born civil engineer) and immortalized in the Roman Polanski movie, Chinatown, loosely based on the Los Angeles water wars of the early 1900s. The crisis in Flint, MI, exemplifies the challenges of water contamination that affect many communities in the country. How do we effectively deal with the global water crisis? Can we make desalination plants more cost-effective? Can we provide filtration systems to reclaim contaminated water that is abundant around the world? Although these questions are technical in nature, they are also political and cultural, and the issues span other disciplines, such as business and public policy. At their core, however, they are engineering problems. Providing access to clean water is one of the 14 grand challenges. In March 2013, the National Academy of Engineering met in London with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese National Academy of Engineering. The threeday meeting included presentations and discussions regarding the 14 grand challenges. A similar meeting was held in September 2015 in Beijing. The third meeting was held in July 2017 in Washington, D.C., and once again the Academies of Engineering met and discussed these grand challenges. All of these meetings provided a forum for stateof-the-art presentations on the worldwide status of the 14 grand challenges.

Motivated by the National Academies of Engineering, the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) was started. More than 40 engineering schools around the world have now implemented this program. The GCSP is a combined curricular, cocurricular, and extra-curricular program with five competencies that are designed to prepare the next generation of students for addressing the grand challenges facing society in this century. The students are allowed to think innovatively and creatively about ways to address these challenges. Here at Morgan, we are looking to be a part of this effort. We believe it is important for students to be involved in these discussions early because these are the challenges that will shape the world today and in the future. Solutions to these challenges are critical if we as a society are going to continue the lifestyle we currently have. Some of my upcoming articles will highlight and delve deeper into a few of these grand challenges. Engineers dedicate themselves to solving problems, and I firmly believe that there is nothing more attractive to a passionate engineer than being able to make a significant contribution to a problem that is critical to the world. To find out more about these grand challenges, the National Association of Engineering’s website provides some intriguing and informational summaries in extremely easy-to-understand language. Visit to stay abreast of the conversations and innovations that will address and solve these global challenges. And, well, that just makes me wanna holler.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Top Schools for Minorities in E SUNY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tulane University, and Olin College of Engineering topped the nation’s schools with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women by school. According to 2018 statistics from “Engineering by the Numbers” published by the ASEE, more than 56 percent of degrees

HBCUs with ABETAccredited Schools


awarded in the engineering college at SUNY ESF went to women, with MIT and Tulane tying for second place at 46 percent. Columbia Unniversity, Cornell University, George Washington, and Howard University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU), also ranked within the top 25 producers at 40 percent and above.


Alabama A&M University

Florida International University


Florida A&M University – Florida State University

University of PR, Mayaguez Campus


Hampton University

Texas A&M University


Howard University

California State Poly. U., Pomona


Jackson State University

University of Central Florida


Morgan State University

The University of Texas at El Paso


Norfolk State University

California State University, Long Beach


North Carolina A&T State University

Arizona State University


Prairie View A&M University

The Univ. of Texas Rio Grande Valley


Southern University and A&M College

University of Florida


Tennessee State University

California State University, Northridge


Tuskegee University

Texas Tech University


University of the District of Columbia

The University of Texas at San Antonio


University of Maryland Eastern Shore

University of Houston


Virginia State University

California Poly. State U., SLO


BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Ranked by the Number of Bachelor's Degrees Awarded


Georgia Institute of Technology


Texas A&M University


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Cornell University


University of Michigan


University of California, San Diego


Purdue University


University of Florida


The Pennsylvania State University


Arizona State University


University of California, Berkeley


California Poly. State U., SLO


Virginia Polytech. Institute and State U.


The University of Texas at Austin


to AFRICAN AMERICANS Kennesaw State University


North Carolina A&T State University


Tuskegee University


Georgia Institute of Technology


New Jersey Institute of Technology


Morgan State University


Louisiana State University


University of Central Florida


Howard University


University of Maryland, College Park


University of South Florida


Florida International University


Georgia Southern University


University of Maryland, Baltimore County


City College of the City U. of New York


According to 2018 statistics from “Engineering by the Numbers” published by the ASEE

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Available Financial Aid Everything you need to know about financial aid GRANTS Grants are typically awarded on the basis of need and generally do not have to be repaid. There are four types of federal student grants: Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. (In some cases, students enrolled in post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs may receive Federal Pell Grants.) The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 20182019 award year is $6,095; however, the actual award depends on the student’s financial need, the college’s cost of attendance, the student’s


enrollment status, and the length of the academic year in which the student is enrolled. Students can receive the Federal Pell Grant for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The amount of the award is determined by the college’s financial aid office and depends on the student’s financial need and the availability of funds at the college. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants are awarded to

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. If the service requirement is not fulfilled, it could turn into a loan. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are awarded to students whose parents or guardians were members of the armed forces and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. To qualify, a student must have been under 24 years of age or enrolled in college at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death.

LOANS Loans consist of money that the student borrows to help pay for college, and must be repaid (plus interest). There are two federal student loan programs: The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a campus-based program that provides low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students. The amount of the award depends on the student’s financial need, the amount of other aid the student receives, and the availability of funds at his/her college.

The U.S. Department of The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program enables students and parents to borrow money at low interest rates directly from the federal government. The Direct Loan Program includes Direct Stafford Loans, which are available to undergraduate and graduate students, and Direct PLUS Loans, which are available to parents of dependent students and to graduate and professional degree students. A Direct Stafford Loan might be subsidized or unsubsidized. Direct PLUS Loans are always unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on financial need and are available only to undergraduate students. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the borrower is in college and during deferment. Unsubsidized loans are based on the student's education costs and other aid received. The borrower must pay all accrued interest on unsubsidized loans.

OTHER Other forms of financial aid that might be available to students include: Work-study: The Federal Work-Study Program enables students to earn money during the school year while also gaining valuable work experience,

typically in part-time, career-related jobs. State government aid: For more information, contact the state’s higher education agency. You can find the state agency’s contact information at Programs/EROD/criteria.cfm. Aid from the college: Students should contact the financial aid offices at the colleges they are considering for more information. Scholarships: Some states, local governments, colleges, community organizations, private employers, and other organizations award scholarships based on academic ability or other factors. For more information, visit

Education awards about

$150 billion every

year to help millions of students pay for college. This federal student aid is awarded in the form of grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans.

Tax credits for education expenses: For more information about the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, visit tax-benefits. Aid for the military: For more information, visit https://studentaid. military.

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Five Winning Study Habits

Ace your exams with these proven test-taking strategies A lot of students can’t stand taking tests. Even if you’re an intelligent person, testtaking can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. It’s easy to spend more time wiping nervous sweat off your forehead than actually focusing on the questions. Sound familiar? If so, this is the article you’ve been looking for. We asked Dr. Jerrod Henderson, professor of engineering at the University of Houston, for advice on how students can become better test-takers. Check out what he had to say:


Set a Study Schedule (and Stick to It!)

The best way to make sure you’re prepared for an exam is to, well…prepare! The more you know the information, the easier it’ll be to walk into the testing room and knock it out of the park. In order to prepare properly, you have to study every day, not just the night before the quiz. A lot of students confuse “cramming” with studying. However, those


two things have very little in common. Studying is when you spend an extended period of time learning about a topic. Cramming is just a way to memorize it in order to pass a test. So, make sure you actively study all semester. By staying up-to-date on the course material and reviewing it each day, you’ll be able to walk into the testing room with real confidence. Dr. Henderson says: “If you try to cram a lot of information at one time, you won’t retain it. You’ll feel like you’re learning it, but you’ll lose most of that before you even get to the test room.”


Avoid Distractions When Studying

College students have a lot of freedom. After all, no one is hovering over you to make sure you study. You’re the only one forcing yourself to work. Even if you have a day off, make sure to get a bit of studying in. Sure, it might be fun to grab some pizza and go see the latest Marvel movie with

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

your friends. However, you should drag yourself to the library for a few hours (at least) before you make any other plans. That’s the best way to create good habits and ensure that you’re always preparing for the next exam. Dr. Henderson says: “You have to work on your education every day. All those days of studying build on top of each other, but you have to be consistent. When you take one day off, it becomes easier to make excuses to take the next day off.”


Take Advantage of the Resources Around You

If you feel like you’re getting lost during the semester, ask for help immediately. Most professors hold office hours that allow you to meet with them one-on-one. Write your questions down and bring them to their office. If you’re confused now, you’re going to be more confused as the semester goes on. It’s best to get help as soon as you realize you need it if you want to be prepared for quizzes and tests. Dr. Henderson says: “If you don’t understand the material on Monday, that’s the day you want to ask for clarification.

Food for Thought: The foods we eat directly When Friday comes around, you’re onto the next topic, and the teacher will assume you understood everything.”


Take a Practice Exam with Your Study Group

Even if you’ve spent all semester preparing, the actual test day can still be nervewracking. The best way to prepare for that high-stress environment is to hold practice tests. In most classes, the professor will tell you what to expect from the exam ahead of time. They’ll tell you how long it is, how many questions will be on it, and what types of questions they’re asking (multiplechoice, equations, etc). Use this information to draft up a practice exam based on the course material. Time yourself while taking it. This will help you simulate the exam environment by putting you into a highpressure situation that reflects the real test day.

finish early will give you time to go back and double-check your answers.”


Get 8 Hours of Sleep and Eat a Balanced Diet

The night before the exam, make sure to get some rest, and don’t eat anything too heavy beforehand. The last thing you want is to be falling asleep and drooling on your test during the test! A good night’s sleep and some light, healthy food will help you keep your brain in tip-top shape, making it easier for you to access information. Dr. Henderson says: “I’m not going to feel very good if I eat biscuits and gravy and pancakes the morning of the exam. Stick with some fruit before and wait until after to head to IHOP!”

affect the performance of our brains. It has been proven that by eating the right food, people can boost IQ, improve mood, be more emotionally stable, sharpen memory, and keep minds young. Eating the right nutrients improves thinking and memory, coordination and balance, and concentration.

Dr. Henderson says: “Take it one step further by giving yourself less time than you’ll have on the real exam. You’ll take it a lot more seriously. Training yourself to

BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering


Digital Connections





BECOMING AN ENGINEER - A Practical Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering

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