How to make a successful career as Aeronautical Engineer?

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If you find talks about aircrafts and spaceships fascinating and wish to carve a career in the same then becoming an aeronautical engineer is the best choice to make. Besides, there are many new vacancies waiting to be filled owing to a shortage of qualified talent.

career as Aeronautical Engineer

Aeronautical engineering deals with research, design and development of aircrafts. Now popularly called as aeronautical engineering ever since flight technology and space craft was added to its domain, this exciting as well as challenging branch of engineering studies the working and construction of aircrafts, spacecrafts and their physical properties. Students who pursue this branch should have an excellent technical and numerical aptitude as they have to solve complex problems having huge calculations. With technology updating itself at every moment, one also needs to have a desire to learn new things, remain flexible and assimilate new knowledge so as to remain ahead of the curve.

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Aeronautical engineers get to play different roles throughout their career. Whether it is manufacturing new avionics system or researching and developing better aircraft design specifications, the aeronautical engineering branch will teach you all of this and more.

Where to start from?

Early starters have the biggest advantage as they are better prepared for the challenges lie ahead. To begin with, you should have an inherent interest in solving mathematical problems along with a solid understanding of fundamental concepts of physics. Your inquisitive mind should be curious to find answer to scientific questions like how earth’s gravity works or what is the mechanism that enables the birds to fly. You should have a tight grasp over different topics of physics such as thermodynamics, fluids and solids, and aerodynamics.

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The shortest route to become an aeronautical engineer is to apply for an engineering college where B.Tech or B.E in Aeronautical engineering is offered after completing your 10+2 exams. However, since not all colleges offer this branch, a suitable alternative would be to go for a related branch like Electronics or Mechanical and then pursue a post graduation in aeronautics.

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Another option for students is to opt for AMAESI or AeSI (The Associate Membership Examination of the Aeronautical Society of India), which conducts a four year duration course for aspirants. This course is equivalent to the B.Tech degree and recognized by the government as well as other institutions.

Where to study from?

Aeronautical engineering is taught as an advanced diploma, bachelors, masters and Ph. D in most countries. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is the most well known institution of India that offers post graduation degree in this field. Its Aerospace engineering department is known for its mentorship programs that have led to establishment of various industrial and academic aerospace related organizations in the country. Next to IISc, one can apply to the IITs, the leading engineering institutions of the country. IIT Kanpur deserves a special mention in this regard as it boasts of an in-house flight test aircraft and airfield for its students.
United States of America and United Kingdom are two other major destinations for aspirants of Aerospace or aeronautical engineering. These countries are home to world famous institutes like California Institute of Technology, University of Texas, the Queen Mary, University of London.

What does an Aeronautical Engineer do?

Aeronautical Engineer

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As an aeronautical engineer you would be working at different positions and dealing with components like space vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, missiles and weapons, flight components and instruments.  You could be working in any of the departments such as manufacturing, testing and research, depending upon your interests and relevant knowledge.  Following are some of the work activities that entail a career of aeronautical engineer:

- Developing flight components such as wings, engines and control systems
- Researching methods to make more efficient and safe designs
- Carrying out intensive testing procedures to find out even the minutest defect
- Collecting and analyzing data
- Ensuring project meets all prescribed guidelines
- Using Computer Aided Design software to draw project designs
- While delivering all these responsibilities you will also be engaged in the usual office stuff such as attending meetings, creating reports, giving presentations and writing manuals.

Quick Facts:

As per the data provided by Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States for the year 2012, 

Number of Jobs Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage Entry Level Education Job Outlook for 2010-20
80,420 $50.39 $104, 810 Bachelor’s degree 5%

While this data reflects the scope of Aeronautical engineering in United States only, being the most powerful economy of the world, employment trends elsewhere can be predicted with fair accuracy using this information.

Career Prospects

A career as aeronautical engineer can get you a top position in any international or national airlines, or aircraft manufacturing company. Those who wish to engage in pure research can apply for Ph.D. In the Indian context, a job with the top defense research organization DRDO and the official space research agency ISRO is the biggest achievement for graduates of this branch. The Indian Air Force is also a major recruiter of candidates with professional qualification in this field.

Author Bio: 

Saurabh Tyagi is an expert writer having interest in diverse topics like education, technology, career and Web 2.0. He is a social media enthusiast and a self-confessed gadget-freak, who loves to follow the latest happenings in the tech world.

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