Want to engineer a career that’s out of this world? This blog explores the limitless possibilities in the aerospace industry.

Are you ready to take your skills to the final frontier? The aerospace industry is an exhilarating field that requires a unique set of skills and knowledge. But if you're an engineer, you're already halfway there. 

That doesn't mean the transition will be entirely straightforward. On the technical front, you'll need to grapple with specific disciplines like spacecraft dynamics and orbital mechanics. And the cultural transition can be just as challenging, if not more so. Adapting to the unique culture of aerospace is essential for success, and it requires an understanding of the industry’s values, processes and priorities. Here’s what you need to know.

technical skills for aerospace engineer jobs

Aerospace engineering involves the design, construction and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft. It’s a discipline that encompasses everything from microchips smaller than a grain of rice to hangars that can accommodate six football fields. 

In such a multi-disciplinary industry, almost any flavor of engineer can make their mark. Mechanical engineers can apply their knowledge of fluid dynamics to design more efficient propulsion systems for spacecraft. Electrical engineers may work on anything from avionics to communication systems to power management. 

Other transferable skills are less obvious but just as valuable. The aerospace industry needs civil engineers to design and build launch facilities, spaceports and other infrastructure. Environmental engineers can utilize their expertise in environmental regulations and waste management to make sure aerospace systems and facilities are designed and operated sustainably. 

To build your technical skill set, focus on proficiencies particularly relevant to aerospace engineering. For example, chemical engineers should learn about the development of new materials for spacecraft, while mechanical engineers can sharpen their CAD skills. For formal training, look for colleges, technical schools and online learning platforms offering aerospace engineering courses and programs. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! Building, launching and (quite possibly) destroying a small rocket or UAV will help you understand the unique challenges of aerospace engineering in a way few textbooks can.

how to thrive in aerospace engineering culture

Honing your technical skills lowers one barrier to entry into the aerospace industry. But you'll still need to prepare for the sector's unique rules and values. Here are three tips for making the cultural transition:

embrace the long-term perspective

Many aerospace engineering projects are measured in years rather than months. This is a very different pace from engineering industries that focus on shorter-term projects. To thrive in aerospace, you must embrace this far-sighted outlook and be patient as projects unfold.

be prepared to work in a highly-regulated environment

If you're used to freewheeling organizational cultures, you'll need to adjust your mindset for an environment where compliance is a top priority. Take some time to research regulations and processes, and be prepared to work with regulatory agencies to ensure that projects are in compliance.

understand the importance of teamwork

Prefer working as a lone wolf? All power to you, but you might want to rethink your interest in aerospace. This is a highly collaborative culture, and aerospace engineers must be prepared to work as a team. That means being open to feedback, communicating effectively with colleagues and working together to solve complex problems.

If you’re an engineer, it’s time to seriously consider a career in aerospace. You have the skills to make a difference, and there are plenty of exciting aerospace engineer jobs out there. Join Randstad USA, and we’ll keep you updated on all the latest opportunities in this cutting-edge industry.