Manny, I want to become an Engineer!
So you want to be an engineer—good choice! It’s a career that’s fun, creative, challenging and lucrative. Moreover, as an engineer, you will play an important part in helping to improve the quality of life through innovation, research and design. At this point, you might be unsure as to whether you want to be a Civil or Mechanical Engineer, but there are things you can do in High School to better prepare you for the major. Bear in mind that you should follow a science and math-based track, however, you also want to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate to colleges by taking on more unconventional activities.
To better prepare yourself for this demanding major, try to incorporate the following:
Math and Science:-Your course list needs to be brimming with rigorous courses in math and the hard sciences. Make sure that your academic trajectory allows you to take the most advanced level math course that’s offered in your high school. Also, use your time to build your foundation in the sciences—particularly in physics and chemistry. A well-rounded transcript will include accelerated courses in the following subjects:
- Algebra II
- Computer Science
- Language Arts
- Second Language
Become Bilingual or Trilingual!-We don’t just mean in French or Spanish. As an engineer, you will need to be fluent in a number of different programming languages. If you want to gain exposure to such languages, outside of a CS class, start picking up on C++ or Java. If you’re particularly ambitious you can try self-studying, or better yet, you can take a class in programming at your local community college.
An Engineer with Fashion Sense- Sure, you’re good with numbers and you know quantum mechanics like the back of your hand, but so do a lot of other engineers. Rather than accepting another stereotypical geek, colleges are drawn to those who have diverse interests and talents. Subjects such as fashion design or politics or entrepreneurship may seem peripheral to engineering, but they can actually serve as important complements. They demonstrate qualities such as creativity, leadership and civic involvement. So pursue all of your interests with passion and curiosity.
Job Shadowing-A lot of people have preconceived (or even misplaced) ideas of what engineers actually do. A valuable way of gaining insight into what engineers do on a day-to-day basis is to shadow an engineer and see how their working day unfolds. If you want to be more hands-on, then you can try pursuing an internship with a local company. Students in the Bay Area are in luck when it comes to finding an engineering opportunity. For many, companies such as Google and Cisco are a stone’s throw away, so take every advantage of this technological goldmine!
For more information on careers and majors attend one of our upcoming events and come into the office for a consultation.
I would love to see you.