Jobs in the industry.

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Gallowbraid, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Gallowbraid

    Gallowbraid Been here awhile

    Nov 11, 2010
    Clarkesville, GA
    So we've finally convinced my 18 year old that it's time to start preparing for his future. He's raced motocross and loves everything about the sport. He's incredibly strong in math and science, and has considered a mechanical engineering degree and making an attempt to work for the big factories. Any suggestions or guidance from the masses? Anyone working in the industry and able to share some advice?
  2. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

    Aug 7, 2009
    Charleston, SC
    Not really bike related but if he is interested in motosports in general take a look at my alma mater just a hour or so away from your place in GA.

    Clemson has a graduate department, only one in the nation, specifically for automotive engineering and I would think as an undergrad he could get a lot of exposure to motosport engineering. I know they do a fair amount of stuff with NASCAR. Who knows maybe a graduate degree in automotive enginering after a BS in ME.
  3. theDoktor

    theDoktor Husky Racer

    Feb 2, 2011
    Syracuse, NY
    There are a lot of great schools out there with strong mechanical engineering programs with ties to the automotive industry. I'd encourage your son looking for a ME program with a history in involvement in Formula SAE or similar programs. It's a bit far from you, but the ME program at The University of Texas-Arlington has an incredible record with their students competing and winning F-SAE competition for a couple of decades or so. I've know the program head for many years and have driven one of their retired cars. You wouldn't believe what these kids can do with a motorcycle engine and chassis design. Too bad this program wasn't available when I was his age- I might have stayed with Mechanical Engineering.
  4. SteveROntario

    SteveROntario Adventurer

    Dec 4, 2011
    I would check the cost of sending him to Canada to take Engineering if money is a major factor. Places up here like Carleton University also offer the Formula SAE 4th year course.

    Just prepare him to understand that Engineering Degrees are very tough. Part of the plan is to make 50% drop out in the first year. The last 3 years are an exercise in driving you insane as a test of your substance. If you make it you will eventually be able to call yourself an Engineer but you won't likely do any of the stuff you actually learned in University. :lol3

    Engineering can be as hands off or hands on as he wants it which is nice. A factory would likely have day to day operational stuff going on as well as longer term programs that need to be dealt with so again, there's options if you get bored.

  5. Zerk


    Jan 23, 2010
    Straight jacket memories, and sedative highs
    What ever he does, research the placement from the school, and the job in general. To many kids are following their dreams these days, nowhere.

    Mechanical Engineer is a good field. It may not be what he thinks it is. But it will most likely provide him a career.

    Taking the first year or two at a local school will save money, and boost his GPA.

    The school is important, and it isn't. You do see companies that recruit from the same place they went to. It may get you foot in the door. After a few years, it doesn't matter that much.

    Cooping while in school looks good on his resume, may provide a job, or may save him and a company some time, if he doesn't like something too. Some coops pay decent money too.
  6. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have been checking out schools for a year, in various trades. They are being quite vague with "placement" information, or data about where thier graduates are ending up.

    When I asked one instructor, "can you tell me some sucess stories?"

    He replied with a question, "Do you know anyone in the industry, ? we really encourage networking"

    Not the story I would like to hear.
  7. Zerk


    Jan 23, 2010
    Straight jacket memories, and sedative highs
    I see you are in MN. You might want to consider MI Tech. Considered a very good engineering school. Lots of places to ride when you visit him too.
  8. MOzarkRider

    MOzarkRider Adventurer

    Jan 16, 2012
    Lost in the MO ozarks
    I am a younger guy at 24 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from a Nationally ranked engineering school University of Missouri - Rolla. It has Formula SAE car (does well), Baha, and Solar Car I did not participate in the clubs (regretably) but I was a B student with a 3.15 GPA in my major. I have a strong background in engine mechinics car or tractor, desiel on/off road, motorcycles (mostly street), and a higher than average mechanical aptitude. That being said

    I spent the last year trying to get a job in the motorcycle industry as an engineer or manager or whatever they would hire me to do. In my opinion you have to be one lucky SOB to get in because I recieved 0 call backs and one email from Kawasaki motors division that said NOPE (not literal but ya...)
    I also spent the year prior trying to apply for jobs in the automotive and heavy equipment industry since that is pretty much my area of expertese, and notta.... John Deere which I have rebuilt dozens of thier engines litterly said "go away we dont want to talk to you, next" since my GPA was not 3.3.

    I am not trying to discourage but for me it seems that the motorcycle industry is an impenitrable fortress for career choices unless you get lucky.
    Just my two cents

    I can say that engineering is a wonderful education choice!
    You can go anywhere and do anything without boundries. You can be a manager, designer, consultant, salesman, hr person, whatever... the skys the limit and the job market is on FIRE for engineers I put my resume out for one month and my phone blew up with opportunity in any location you can think of. Best decision I ever made

    As far as placement for UMR or its current name Missouri Science and Technology (MS&T) all of my engineering friends including about 20 or so Mechanical engineers (among other people that I associated with) ALL had jobs at graduation or shortly thereafter.
  9. ohiotj

    ohiotj Adventurer

    Mar 14, 2013
    Don't know about the motorcycle side of things, but GA Tech seems to have a decent amount of students involved in motorsports. They tend to run a car regularly at the GRM $20XX Challenge, which could be good resume fodder.

    I've got a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and its not a bad route to go, but depending on your son's math skills, tread lightly. Engineering Mechanics and Industrial Engineering are two other programs you might want to look into. Fortunately, there's a decent amount of crossover between E Mech and ME, so if you decide you are more suited the other, you won't have wasted too many credit hours.
  10. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Oct 18, 2007
    central USA
    I agree with the comment about tough. It was so bad many of us engineering students when asked out major replied Pre-business. Sad thing is many of them became our bosses at 2X or more the salary.

    I would discourage engineering as a career. Become a optometrist or pharmacist. Much easier.

  11. Zerk


    Jan 23, 2010
    Straight jacket memories, and sedative highs
    Even in this economy, I think there is a shortage of engineers. Kids in general are not going for technical stuff.

    I don't think you can just go after fun stuff. You need to get a job, and get some experience, then take some time to find one. Few years on the resume will help.

    If you encourage your kid to follow his dream and get in motorsports, he will be living in your basement.

    Engineering starts out at decent pay right out of the gate. It plateaus kinda fast thought. Lots of places try to get you into management, which I have no interest in.

    I was listening on the radio about how many kids go to school for journalism, and the incredibly small numbers that get a job. To me, that is just a waste of their parents money. Then you got kids, saying it is not fair they got to pay these loans off, since they can't get a job.
  12. Okie Preacher

    Okie Preacher Long timer

    Aug 11, 2010
    In the middle...
    A college degree is about three things: the classes you take, the grades you make, and the hands you shake.

    From the first week in any program a person has to find a way to make themselves stand out (in a positive sense!). The classes and the contacts are all about gaining the necessary skills and generating internships that in turn generate job offers.

    Good luck!
  13. GoUglyEarly

    GoUglyEarly Boots Still Clean

    May 16, 2012
    Newt Jersey
    My buddy went to Clemson for this program and got a job with the Bavarian Motor Werkes right out of school.

    Now he works for Tesla.
  14. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

    Nov 15, 2011
    Concord, CA
    This is the truth in all jobs now. You need to make a concerted effort to network, join clubs, associations, heck even blogs. Anything you can do to get your name out there and know people. It's a lot easier to hire the guy you know that is good than the guy you don't know that claims to be great. Most people that are established in their careers are happy to spend time with those that are just starting out; providing they show ambition, drive and aptitude.

    Pick you school, focus 120% (the hardest school work is still easier than busting your ass at work 50/60/80 hours per week) and meet everyone.

    I'm not an ME and I screwed up and dropped out of college 20 years ago (Physics myself). I've also not interviewed for my last 3 jobs (16 years). I do work too hard though and that's the dues I pay for not having a degree.
  15. Nitro_Fluffy

    Nitro_Fluffy Been here awhile

    Jun 24, 2007
    NW Florida
    There don't seem to be a lot of engineering jobs around these days except for defense stuff in my area. I used to work as an Electrical Designer (no degree), but was laid off in 2008. It seems a lot of the jobs have gone overseas due to manufacturing moving out of the states. India in particular has a lot of engineers over here.
  16. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf
    Take a look into Northeastern University in Boston. They have an excellent placement record plus paid internships at 'partner' companies around town while they attend. My #2 son is an MBA candidate there and on Monday started a $75k/year internship at Wellington Management, which is a white shoe asset manager. He'll eventually be a portfolio manager.

    #1 son is a technology engineer in San Francisco. Demand for EE's is huge. The money is huge. Software is everything. He went to Northeastern too, but he could write sofware since he was about 12.

    Both sons were pro motorcycle road racers and race a little dirt now as a hobby. They would have liked to work in the motorcycle industry, but there is no real future in it. No money in it. No career path. Surely you sensed that being around the sport.

    Good luck. I remember when my #2 went off to school at 18. He went to Arizona State. Steep learning curve. 1st year was the toughest but he ended up a solid student. Took him nearly a year to get a job after he graduated. He ended up working for Fidelity Investments for three years, setting him up for his MBA. His AMA Pro spec R6 is in storage. :deal
  17. Z50R

    Z50R Not lost yet

    May 11, 2009
    Boston Mass.
    I graduated in 09 with a BS in ME and got the job I wanted in September making what I consider good money. I haven't been job shopping since and yet I still get emails asking to interview me.

    Things to consider about engineering degrees:

    Mechanical engineering was my school's most popular engineering field. This means possibly more help from classmates but also more competition for jobs. It still wasn't hard to get a job but you should see how employers fawn over software engineers.

    Engineering degrees are "hard". If you could sleep through class and pass, there would be no demand for engineers. We had about 450 "kids" start the ME program and about 150 pass. If I were an employer I would have given an arm and a leg to employ 3 of them and I would consider 50 of them competent to trust in engineering work where lives are potentially at stake. We had about 100 start software engineering and 15 of them passed. 3 of them were gods with a computer.

    Just because you graduate does not mean you are employable. I know of one classmate that has a BS in ME and was delivering pizzas last I heard. You can manipulate the system and pass without learning anything but that does show in an interview. There are also the types that are all kinds of book smart that cannot interact socially. It is a lot harder to get a job on merit if you cannot represent your self aswell.

    I love motorcycles. I would not turn down a job to work with/design them but I don't think I would recommend aiming towards that as a career goal.

    Last piece of advice:

    Don't ever forget the big picture. It is easy to get lost in models and diagrams but you must keep in mind that there is something real you want to know and there is a model that helps you find the answer. Many classmates could give back a correct answer to a modeled question but that is only a small part of being able to set up an appropriate model, solve the problem then translate the answer back to the real world. There are many jobs for smart people who solve models but the best jobs are for people who know what the model represents.
  18. redneckdan

    redneckdan Hold my beer & watch this

    Oct 11, 2008
    Somewhere on da Iron Range.
    Best advice I can give is to really think about it before you turn a hobby into a career. Once you start getting paid/required to do it a lot of the fun goes away. May not happen immediately, but it most likely eventually will.

    To dovetail in with what Z50R said, a lot of companies are desperate for engineers that can bridge the gap between theory and reality, the farm boys with a BSME so to speak. Most engineering students now a days can't change their own oil, let alone have any clue how/why engines work. There is a need for lab engineers, but there is a greater need for the field guys. I remember my first day of university orientation when this Dr Dude gets up on stage for a power point presentation where he shows your stereotypical flannel clad field engineer as the 'old standard' versus a shiny office bound white shirted guy as the new 'gold standard' of engineering. The basic premise being 'us engineers don't go out in the world and get dirty any more'.

    When I first met the recruiter for my current job I showed up at the career fair in my work coveralls, soaked in diesel fuel and hydraulic fluid. I'd been to the fair earlier that morning but a friend with the company got a call after lunch that the mine was looking for an engineer. She called me and i came directly from work. I definitely got the stink eye from the crowd when I walked in but the recruiter was excited. She'd been to VT, Purdue and a few other schools and couldn't find a 'field guy'.

    I work for a mining company as a reliability/maintenance engineer. Graduated from MTU. My first day on the job my boss showed me to my office and told me to look around at the plant for the next month or so. He later revieled he didn't expect much from me my first month based on his previous engineering hires. I went and checked out PPE and within an hour I was balls deep in the belly of a CAT 793 helping a mechanic diagnose a chronic seal failure. As I finished with that a millwright asked me to help with a oil to water heat exchanger on a mill drive that was undersized. When I went back to my office a machinist was waiting for me with a worn sheave from a leblond lathe that he needed a print for. That's how most days have been ever since. Last week I was cutting apart link belt conveyor rollers because our MTBF took a shit. Turns out they changed their seals. My office reeks of skanky grease.

    I love my job!
  19. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

    Jan 22, 2012
    He will know nothing applicable when he finishes any engineering school.
    The starting point is only important if he can work around good-hands-on-experienced people.
    He needs to learn the basics from machining and welding all the way up, even do it himself for a while if possible.
    After that point, what he learned at the school will start making sense and completing the puzzle.
    Learning how to interact with people during that time is as valuable as learning the ropes of the trade.
    He must develop that willingness and passion to attack the challenging work, the ones that scare others: that's the only way to learn and become proficient.
    Principles are the same in any industry, so it is not important which one, as long as he find a way to have fun while making a living.
    What looks glamorous may not be so, it will become just a job with time.
    Because of that, I wish him to have broad experience in all the possible fields and keep it an adventure.
  20. Zerk


    Jan 23, 2010
    Straight jacket memories, and sedative highs
    I agree, you don't leave school with a lot. Maybe use 3-5% of what you learn. It is really a weed out process, and proves you can learn.