Job: Operations/Industrial Engineer at Lockheed Martin
Age: 25 | Hometown: El Dorado
Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a double-minor in Mathematics and African American Studies
Alma mater: University of Arkansas
Why did you choose engineering?
My eighth-grade advanced algebra teacher persuaded me to pursue engineering. I was constantly in trouble with her, but I still had the highest grade in the class. That caught my teacher’s attention, causing her to spend more time with me during lunch breaks. She told me, “If you don’t pursue engineering I will haunt you in your dreams.”
What was your schooling like?
As a freshman, the College of Engineering classified me as a general engineer. This provided me the opportunity to experience every engineering discipline offered at the university: electrical, mechanical, biological, civil, industrial, computer and chemical. I concluded my freshman year by selecting industrial engineering and began taking courses that pertained to my degree for the remainder of college.
What’s the outlook of your industry look like?
Engineering will always have one of the lowest unemployment rates as the world continues to advance with cutting-edge technology. Companies are looking for future engineers to invent new systems that will increase the company’s productivity and profitability.
What would students be most surprised to learn about your field?
You are not limited to just engineering jobs once obtaining your degree. An engineering degree is a sign of a well-rounded, disciplined person with analytical and problem-solving skills. These are traits that are attractive to any industry.
Your advice for students interested in engineering:
Pursue engineering if you have a passion for and an understanding of math and science. Having both is important. Do not base your interest on the financial benefit. This is a profession you cannot fake. Your heart must be in it. College is an investment. Invest your time in something you love and something that will give you a return on your investment.
WHY IT'S HOT
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of engineers is projected to grow 5 percent by 2024, adding about 65,000 new jobs. Demand was so high for software engineers in 2017 that it was the fifth toughest job to fill nationally, according to Forbes; and CareerBuilder.com finds engineer graduates are the second most sought after by employers on their site.
A bachelor’s of science degree in engineering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many entry-level engineering positions do not require state licensure. However, earning the credential increases opportunities, particularly in leadership and management.
Payscales vary per the engineering specialty, but graduates can expect a hefty starting salary. For example, the average entry-level salary for civil engineering in 2016 was $57,591.