Aeronautical Engineering/Career Questions


Hello Mr. Soderman,

I am a high school student and I am doing a presentation on Aerospace Engineering. I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer a few questions about your profession and what it entails.

-How did you acquire expertise in a specific sector of aerospace engineering e.g. fluid mechanics or aeroacoustics?

-When did you decide you were going to become an Aerospace/Aeronautical engineer?

-Was more of your time spent doing research on Aeronautics or on the actual implementation/design of systems relating to Aeronautics?

-How did you get a job with NASA? Was it always your intention to work for NASA? Are there any other major organizations beside NASA that hire Aerospace engineers?

-How applicable was your college education to your actual job?

-How useful would you say a Ph.D is to an aspiring Aeronautical Engineer?

Thank you for your time.

Hi Adithya - You acquire expertise in any technical subject by studying the work done by others, by doing experiments, by going to technical conferences, by writing papers, and by generally immersing yourself in the subject. The best opportunity for that is in a research lab or technical school. I decided to become an aeronautical engineer my junior year of college. When I was in engineering school, the first two years of study were very general and very similar for all engineering students. We chose a major our junior year. I don't quite understand your third question. I did all three - research, implementation of systems and design of aero devices. I got a job with NASA by interviewing at a time when they were looking for engineers. Now it may be necessary to get an advanced degree and some expertise or work as an intern for a time to work at NASA. I actually interviewed with several companies and worked for a time with Boeing. All aerospace companies hire aerospace engineers. My college education was very applicable to my job. A PhD would be very helpful for an aspiring engineer; it opens a lot of doors.

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Paul Soderman


Aeronautics, Aerodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Aeroacoustics, Noise Control, Muffler Design, Wind Tunnel Research.... I know nothing about India - do not ask about schools, jobs, application requirements, career choices, etc. for India. Please, no text message verbiage; I prefer full words in full sentences. Thanks.


38 years as research engineer at NASA


B.S. and M.S. Aeronautical Engineering - U. of Washington, Graduate work Standford U.

Awards and Honors
AIAA Associate Fellow (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics)

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