Isabelle Foster is a freelance journalist and technical writer holding a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Currently, Isabelle works as an educational consultant and senior academic writer at PapersOwl, an online writing company providing academic help to students and researchers.
In the article below the author provides useful tips engineering students might want to take note of to succeed in their academic and professional career.
Set and Pursue Your Goals
Engineering graduates are well-suited for a wide range of roles in construction, computing, nanotechnology, chemical industry, manufacturing, management, and consultancy. Most engineering graduates boast robust problem-solving and numerical skills and are apt to think out-of-the-box. No wonder, so many top-notch companies are willing to generously pay those graduates who have shown good academic performance and possess relevant experience. To keep up with the competition and constantly increasing standards, it’s important that you figure out what specialization you want to choose and work hard to achieve the desired outcome. Ideally, you should also decide what company you want to work for after graduation. Once you know or at least have an idea of where you want to work and develop professionally, you can try to get into relevant engineering clubs, do a senior project relevant to the job you’re targeting, and apply for internships at those companies. Such specializations as nanotechnology, architectural and mechanical engineering may require you to undergo postgraduate training and get extra work experience. So you should be ready to invest enough time and effort in your professional development to future proof your skills.
Try to maintain the 3.0 GPA or higher in college. Now GPA is not everything. But we need to mention it since many engineering and graduate schools will not accept you if you have a lower GPA. Your resume may not be seen by a human because a computer will filter out assuming you apply online. This isn’t true for every company or school but it will keep a lot of your options open if you keep the 3.0 GPA or higher.
If you cannot maintain the desired GPA, you can always make up for it with extracurriculars, projects, and engineering clubs. As you know, networking is extremely important for everyone in college. But as an engineer, it will help so much to get to know as many people as you can in the field you’re interested in. Join engineering clubs and meet people, get to know your professors who probably have contacts, communicate with different people working at engineering companies, attend career fairs, and so on. Your college teachers, mentors, and a wide acquaintance network can go a long way towards helping you grab career opportunities and ahold of potential employers.
Apply for a Summer Internship
Make sure to apply for your summer internship as soon as you can. If you don’t have big plans for the summer, apply for the internship after your first year in college. Additional experience won’t hurt. Moreover, you’ll get a great chance to hone not only your professional but also soft skills, which are indispensable in college and beyond. Since engineer internships are paid, you can earn some extra cash, which is something a vast majority of college students need badly. According to pay scale, the average engineering intern in the United States gets paid about 20-25 an hour. You can get even more in such companies as Google or Apple. Unsurprisingly, the highest paying skill remains programming, that is the knowledge of Java, Python, C, and C++. If you have a 12-week internship working full time, you can get an average of $10,000 in just one summer. Plus, you increase your network, boost your resume, and guarantee yourself another internship next summer.
Take Summer Classes
Taking summer classes can be a great opportunity to get some of your credits even if they are just general education courses. Overall, you should be productive during your summers to thank yourself later. There will be semesters and quarters where you need to take loads of units. There will be weeks when you have several midterms and an essay due. Summer classes can help you survive through hard times by providing you with skills, knowledge, and experience required to get their credits and pass exams. But most importantly, you can get rid of one or more GE classes during summer, which will leave you with more time to devote to other courses.
Manage Your Time
It’s a rare student who has never procrastinated on their assignments or projects. But you should try and eradicate this harmful habit once you realize your college schedule is falling apart. You cannot afford to do poorly. So, make sure to allocate enough time for study sessions and preparing for your exams. If you realize that you cannot cope with the academic load on your own, attend office hours and go to tutoring sessions your school will offer in most subjects. Be sure to find how you study best and schedule out how you should be spending your time.