52 Alternative Jobs for Engineers with Graduate Degrees and PhDs

74% of engineers who earn doctoral degrees are employed in non-academic positions (Turk-Bickaci 2014), yet many PhD candidates are unsure of career paths outside of research academia. Here are some examples of positions engineers with Master’s and PhDs have fulfilled outside research academia and industries they work in, from the mentors of the GradSWE Mentoring Program and network of the GradSWE Mentoring Team:

 

  1.      Senior Research Scientist, pharmaceutical company
  2.      Teaching professor, small university
  3.      Technical Specialist, automotive company
  4.      Product Engineering Manager, automotive company
  5.      Optical Engineer, Research and Development, start-up company
  6.      Lead Manager, chemical company
  7.      Systems Engineering Lead, Aerospace – Government
  8.      Mechanical Engineer, aerospace company
  9.      Rocket Trajectory Analyst, NASA
  10.   Scientific Affairs Manager, medical device company
  11.   Quality Systems Engineer, medical device company
  12.   Vice President of Research and Development, orthopaedic company
  13.   Senior Manager, manufacturing company
  14.   Manager of Research and Collaboration, renewable energy company
  15.   Senior Researcher, cybersecurity
  16.   Senior Data Scientist, industry
  17.   Compliance Engineer, product test company
  18.   Project Engineer, structural engineering company
  19.   Project Engineer, medical device company
  20.   Senior Research and Development Engineer, bioengineering company
  21.   Chief Architect, information technology
  22.   Engineering Manager, aerospace company
  23.   Engineering Manager, imaging company
  24.   Program Manager, supply chain
  25.   Principle Engineer, aerospace company
  26.   Department head, national lab
  27.   Design Assurance Engineer, semiconductor industry and medical device industry
  28.   Consultant
  29.   Sustainable Chemicals Management Manager, consumer products
  30.   Systems Engineer, nuclear security, national lab
  31.   Systems Engineer, aerospace
  32.   Chief Engineer, aerospace
  33.   Program Quality Engineering Manager, aerospace
  34.   Tunnel Engineer, civil engineering firm
  35.   Technical Resources Engineer, civil engineering firm
  36.   Medical Science Liaison
  37.   Grant Administrator, university
  38.   Senior Engineer, imaging company
  39.   Senior Engineer, medical device company
  40.   Chief Technology Officer, start-up company
  41.   Research Applications Manager, medical device company
  42.   Senior Clinical Systems Engineer, health care company
  43.   Senior Process Engineer, energy company
  44.   Biomedical Engineering Tech, hospital
  45.   System Test Engineer, medical device company
  46.   Chief Technology Officer, start-up company
  47.   Co-founder, start-up company
  48.   Research Scientist, imaging company
  49.   Senior Process Engineer, biotech company
  50.   Signal and Imaging Process Engineer, medical device company
  51.   Biomedical Engineer, medical center
  52.   Biomedical Engineer, start-up company

Do you know other engineers with graduate degrees working outside research academia? Add to the list by posting their position and industry below!

References:

Turk-Bicakci, Laurie, et al. The Nonacademic Careers of STEM PhD Holders. 2014. https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/downloads/report/STEM%20nonacademic%20careers%20April14.pdf

 

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It’s not too late!

For many graduate students, summer internships are a great way to get experience in our fields before actually entering them. If you don’t already have a summer internship lined up, but you are definitely looking, don’t fret! It is not too late, despite the impression you get from that one peer who already accepted an internship at the big-name company last summer, while they were interning at the other big-name company.

Yes, it is probably on the late side for an internship at the big companies this year, but the vast majority of internships are still open! Companies that don’t have a yearly official structured internship program are going to continue hiring for the next few months. Many smaller companies didn’t even know if they would be hiring interns until recently. Do a search for these positions online, and apply. There are also companies who don’t even advertise all their internship positions online, so using your network and making connections (LinkedIn is a great tool!) will help get your foot in the door. Keep track of whom you contact, and be persistent; they are just busy, and they aren’t intentionally ignoring you!
Moral of the story: it’s not too late to get a summer internship! Keep applying, ask around for unadvertised positions, and use your network.

Summary of Abstract Planning Meeting

Yesterday, we met to discuss possible abstract submissions to WE19. Some wonderful ideas were shared, and I’d like to make sure that people who didn’t have the opportunity to attend can see the minutes!

Before I move to the summary, here are some links: the agenda, the abstract ideas spreadsheet, the official submission guidelines, and some other tips.

After discussing the submission statistics for the last few annual conferences, we moved into outlining the abstract evaluation process. Proposals are scored based on the following: title (7 points), description (7 points), learning outcomes (14 points), and speaker qualifications (7 points) → 35 total points. The most heavily weighted component is the learning outcomes. In these outcomes, the submission should describe how learners will apply the information to their jobs or planning their careers, be clearly linked to the topic in the description, utilize Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs, be clearly stated an achievable with instruction. It would be helpful to complete the sentence: “By the end of the session, participants should be able to …” Selection of the tracks, specialized focus areas, target career levels, and session formats are required, but not graded. Considerable thought should be placed on these designations, even if they don’t contribute to the gross grade. For example, if a personal experience is the subject of the session, a lightning talk would be appropriate. If the goal is to convey the experiences and viewpoints of different people, a panel would be best. Think about what would best engage your audience. 

We then moved onto discussing potential abstract ideas. We saw some great opportunities to collaborate with Women in Academia and the Mentoring team! Some new ideas put forth were:

  • maintaining mental and physical health during college/grad school (and supporting others)
  • career paths for PhD’s outside of academia
  • panel for applying to academic positions
  • collaboration between undergrads and grads
  • science education for adults
  • learning resiliency with difficult advisors

Many more are listed in the spreadsheet cited above! Feel free to check them out.

Remember, the deadline to submit is March 18, 2019. If you would like any feedback on your submission, feel free to email it to the graduate programming team at gradsweprogramming@gmail.com, and we’ll respond as soon as possible!

 

 

Spare an Hour for an Undergrad

Are you a graduate student that hopes to work in academia, or become a leader in industry or government? Do you find yourself having a spare 60 minutes every week, every other week, or even every month? Being a valuable mentor to an undergraduate could help you start to develop the skills and credentials to become a leader in any career path you choose!

GradSWE’s Undergraduate Mentoring Program, which launched last Fall semester, is focused on connecting undergraduates interested in graduate school with graduate students that can provide first hand graduate school experiences and advice! Last semester, we were able to mentor 60 undergraduate students with just 30 graduate student volunteers! This semester, we hope to connect 50 new undergraduates with graduate students, and we need you!

There are several benefits with mentoring students, as we’ve detailed in previous blog posts (Why Should You Be A Mentor) as well as tips for helping undergraduates (Tips For Mentoring and Teaching Undergrads).Time commitments are minimal and are set by you and your undergraduate protege. You can communicate every week, every other week, or even every month for as long as you’d like. If you’re interested in mentoring an undergraduate student, please fill out the surveys below:

Graduate Student Mentor Sign-up: https://goo.gl/forms/yasrcm2FL14WGVQE3

 

*Note: Links in previous blog posts are no longer active. If you’d like to sign up to be a mentor, please click the link above!  

Join us this Sunday to discuss WE19’s Call for Participation!

Mark your calendars!

1. WE19 CFP Meeting — Sunday, February 24 at 7:30 PM EST

Phone number: 605-472-5492, Access code: 689159

MEETING AGENDA, TOPIC IDEAS SPREADSHEET

2. WE 19 CFP Deadline — Monday, March 18 (11:59 PM)

If you are considering submitting an abstract to WE19, feel free to join us over the phone this Sunday, February 24. Come with an idea in mind, or to hear some possible options. We’re happy to hear from you either way.

During the call, we’ll…

  • hear your ideas for panels and lightning talks
  • share some possible topics — gauge interest
  • put you in contact with others who share your interests

In a previous post, I listed some suggestions…

  • Finding an advisor
  • Navigating the first year — classes, research, TA’ing
  • Preparing fellowship applications
  • Maintaining work-life balance
  • Preparing papers
  • Self-motivation techniques
  • Mentoring undergraduates
  • Tips for first-time teachers
  • Non-traditional tracks e.g. MD/PhD
  • Returning to grad school after working in industry
  • Pursuing a graduate degree in a different field than your undergraduate degree
  • Grad student internships

Remember: if it’s interesting to you, it’s definitely interesting to others. Don’t be afraid of pitching your idea!

In the few weeks after our call and before the CFP deadline, you’re welcome to send in your abstract to receive commentary and advice!

WE Local season is in full swing!

WE Local season kicked off last week in Baltimore, Maryland!

Our very own Angelica Payne from the GradSWE Mentoring Team presented a session that was well received! Titled “A Case Study on Mentoring Millennials,” her presentation used experience from our mentoring program to share about how to identify mentoring topics of interest to proteges and participants left with resources and tactics for facilitating mentoring relationships.

WE Local in Tampa, Florida kicks off today and our WE Local Liaison, Kazi, is on site, assisting the local planning committee and participating in the collegiate competitions. If you’re attending, keep an eye out for her! Check out the hashtag #WELocal on Twitter and Instagram to follow the excitement for Tampa or any of the local conference.

If you are planning to go to Tampa or one of the other conferences, comment or share to facilitate grad student meet-ups! Our Graduate Programming Coordinator and Coordinator Elect, Mujan and Isabella, will be attending WE Local St Louis and I will be attending WE Local Bellevue – we’d love to meet you!

Want to be a part of the excitement? It’s still not too late to register!

St Louis (March 1-2, 2019, Registration Closes February 15!)
Denver (March 15-16, 2019)
Bellevue (April 5-6, 2019, Early Registration Ends March 8! Save $25!)
International Options (Bengaluru and Berlin)

Join us on Feb 24 to discuss WE19’s Call for Participation!

Mark your calendars!

1. WE19 CFP Meeting — Sunday, February 24 at 7:30 PM

Phone number: 605-472-5492, Access code: 689159

2. WE 19 CFP Deadline — Monday, March 18 (11:59 PM)

If you are considering submitting an abstract to WE19, feel free to join us over the phone on Sunday, February 24. Come with an idea in mind, or to hear some possible options. We’re happy to hear from you either way.

During the call, we’ll…

  • hear your ideas for panels and lightning talks
  • share some possible topics — gauge interest
  • put you in contact with others who share your interests

In a previous post, I listed some suggestions…

  • Finding an advisor
  • Navigating the first year — classes, research, TA’ing
  • Preparing fellowship applications
  • Maintaining work-life balance
  • Preparing papers
  • Self-motivation techniques
  • Mentoring undergraduates
  • Tips for first-time teachers
  • Non-traditional tracks e.g. MD/PhD
  • Returning to grad school after working in industry
  • Pursuing a graduate degree in a different field than your undergraduate degree
  • Grad student internships

Remember: if it’s interesting to you, it’s definitely interesting to others. Don’t be afraid of pitching your idea!

In the few weeks after our call and before the CFP deadline, you’re welcome to send in your abstract to receive commentary and advice!