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Engineering Career Resources


Aerospace Engineer Job Description

Aerospace engineers (or aeronautical engineers) design, develop, construct, test, and maintain civil and military aircraft and spacecraft. They typically service and maintain aircraft, measure their performance, and work on ways of improving it. Aerospace engineers’ responsibilities can also include the development of navigation instruments and communication systems, the design and maintenance of flight simulators, satellites, weapons systems, and the support equipment and components of any of these systems.

The main tasks of an aerospace engineer are typically to find ways to improve speed, weight, fuel efficiency, and safety, and then implement the improvements. They design prototypes and carry out ground and flight testing programs, and analyze test data to assess the need for further improvements. Their jobs can also include assessment of the impact that aircraft and air travel have on the environment, and investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.

Aerospace engineers can specialize in one of the many areas of aerospace engineering, such as systems integration, propulsion, aerodynamics, avionics, materials science, and structural analysis.

Skills

Aerospace engineers must have strong organizational, management and problem-solving skills and a comprehensive technical knowledge, as well as an excellent understanding of the relevant safety guidelines and regulations.

Aerospace engineers must know how to use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create and modify designs. Strong communication skills are required because their job usually includes interpreting data and presenting it to non-experts, as well as explaining technical specifications and providing regulatory information to clients, staff, managers, and suppliers.

Qualifications

Those who want to enter the field can get an academic degree (Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Engineering, master’s degree, and Ph.D.) in aerospace engineering at one of the several UK universities offering the course. They can also enter with a foundation degree or a BTEC HND/HNC in a relevant subject. Aerospace engineers usually have a degree in aerospace engineering, air transport engineering or avionics, but can enter the profession with academic qualifications in mechanical engineering, electronic or electrical engineering, manufacturing or product engineering, mathematics, physics, and software engineering.

Aerospace engineers are licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Engineering Council. To work toward the status of incorporated or chartered engineer, they can register with their industry body and then apply to the Engineering Council.

Work

Aerospace engineers have a wide spectrum of jobs to choose from, from design, research and development to production, testing, and maintenance. They usually find employment in the engineering divisions of major airline operators, either in the UK or abroad. 97 percent of aerospace engineers are employed full-time, and the greatest concentrations of aerospace engineering jobs are in the South West, North West, and East Midlands. Their duties typically include researching design specifications, assembling and modifying components, overseeing the installation of equipment, performing tests, and addressing any issues that arise during the development and testing stages.

Aerospace engineers often work with professionals from related fields, such as mechanical engineers, who design landing gear systems, or electrical engineers, who are typically in charge of the design of aircraft avionics.

Aerospace engineers with significant experience in the field usually become project managers or join consulting firms as consultant aerospace engineers.