As we near the end of Engineers Week, I have been reflecting on the amazing advice our engineer role models provide in their video interviews. The advice is focused on what the engineers would recommend to their younger self had they known they were going to pursue a career in engineering. This is the perfect information to share with students or children as you wrap up and reflect on your Engineers Week activities.

  • ‘If I had known I was going to be an engineer, I would have taken more vocational technology type classes to get more hands-on experience – such as welding or manufacturing. And, if you ever get the chance to take tours of plants or commercial buildings and can actually look at how equipment operates it really brings it all home and makes sense of things that you learn in the classroom.’ - Mandy Redfield, Mechanical Engineer
  • ‘A work ethic, interest in the subject, and being able to solve a problem in ways that other people wouldn’t figure out are great skills to build for being an engineer.’ - Natalie Mujica Schwahn, Engineer Technician - Physics/Laser 
  • ‘Sometimes people have to give you feedback, its not an attack against you, it is just feedback, so take it with a grain of salt.’ - Alexandra Kaufhold, Electrical Engineer
  • ‘Important high school classes for becoming an engineer are algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and any exposure to programming and coding.’ - Raymond Jose, Wireless Network Engineer
  • ‘We require a lot of critical thinking, creativity, and team player abilities – find experiences that help you build those skills. Physics, chemistry, biology and advanced math classes are key in high school. About a month ago, I had to dig into my college notes from linear algebra and numerical analysis to figure out a problem at work – you will use the information you learn in your high school and college classes.’ - Sibel Clark, Spacecraft Flight Software Engineer
  • ‘I would have tried a little harder to meet folks involved in the medical field and I could have shadowed a surgeon or a doctor to see what kind of tools they are using and materials they are interacting with. That way I would have learned more about the needs in the medical field for the devices that I am interested in making now. I’d also tell my high school and college self to do things like study abroad or learn a different language to differentiate myself.’ - Chelsea Magin, Product Management Director, Biomedical Engineering

I love these sage suggestions - covering everything from what classes to take to what skills to build to what extracurricular activities to pursue.

Are you an engineer? If so, what advice would you add? Are you a parent or teacher? If so, what recommendations do you think will resonate most with your children/students?

Enjoy the last two days of Engineers Week! I'm wrapping up my week by taking my daughters to University of Colorado's Family Engineering Day. My daughters are looking forward to building robots, inventing in the maker space, and developing a product with the 3D printers.

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