Eighth-Grader Plans to Be an Engineer

Shalynn writes:
I am in the eighth grade and I am wondering about college. I would like
to be an engineer. I am wondering if you know the preparations and
courses I should take while I am in college.

The Career Doctor responds:
I think it is fantastic that at such an early age you are thinking about
your future and about possible careers. And engineering is a great field.
What interests you about engineering — and how much do you know
about careers in engineering?
You are in a great position to learn more about the field while building a
big support base if you follow some of my advice. I assume that you
must know at least one person who is an engineer. If so start there.
If not then ask your parents friends and teachers if they know someone
in the engineering field. Once you have identified at least one person
who works as an engineer approach him/her professionally and ask
for an informational interview — and perhaps a chance to also do a job
shadowing. If you have great rapport with this person you could
consider asking him/her for names of other people in the engineering
field that might also be willing to meet with you. Before you know it
you will have a wealth of information about all types of engineers
(and there are aeronautical chemical civil electrical industrial mechanical nuclear petroleum as well as others) — and a great
network to get advice about colleges internships and jobs.
Wait! One more thing. As I advise all my younger students do
not panic if in the next four years before you even get to college if
your interests change dramatically. There are so many jobs and
careers out there — and will be even more in the eight years
or so before you finish college and are ready to start yours — so learn
as much as you can about engineering but be prepared to be flexible
and open to other options.
Check out this section of Quintessential Careers for links to job and career
sites related to engineering: Jobs in
Architecture Building Construction Engineering

800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST