Software Engineering Major with Aerospace Engineering as a minor?

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jmlk12
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#1
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Been looking for advice into whether I should make the move . I find both very interesting and can’t decide which one would be better career wise (job oppurtunities, salaries ...) What are your thoughts on this combo? Should I go for it? Do you find one of the engineering sciences ( from the ones listed above) better than the other? #risingsenior #help
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winterscoming
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I work as a software engineer so I really can't comment on Aerospace engineering, hopefully someone else will post on that topic. I'd imagine the skills needed for that are going to be miles apart from Software engineering though. The Aviation/Aerospace industry obviously has quite a lot of software engineers (Usually in parts of the country which are close to big airports), but the same could be said for almost any industry - finance, retail, insurance, transport, healthcare, education, agriculture, energy, etc.

In terms of typical salaries and opportunities, you can get a pretty good idea from looking at IT job sites like CWJobs: https://www.cwjobs.co.uk/jobs/software-engineer

The demand for senior and experienced software engineers has been consistently high for many decades with no sign of it slowing down any time soon, although at the entry-level it's a lot more competitive, however software engineering is a skills-based career which involves skills that pretty much anyone can learn by themselves with or without any kind of formal training. There are a lot of people who have entered the profession from other non-IT-related backgrounds having re-trained (sometimes through university, other times from self-teaching, or from evening classes, or apprenticeships, or the OU, or other online courses, etc.)

However, even without formal CompSci education, the reality is that the time it takes to build up a solid foundation in those skills tends to be at least a couple of thousand hours, including enough time to take on personal project work in order to practise and be confident enough in creating working software up to a point where employers would be interested in hiring into an 'entry-level' type role. (However, one of the things that makes it so accessible is that there's a massive amount of very high quality free material available online and all the tools/resources you'd need to be able to do it are free too).

Most of the Software Engineering degree courses I've seen usually don't have a lot of 'mandatory' maths modules; they're more likely to focus on the skills needed for creating working software systems -- i.e. the stuff that's important for the day-to-day tasks that you'd get in that sort of work; Particularly in problem solving, but also technical skills in programming, databases, Operating Systems, Web development, UI and UX design/creation, requirements analysis, testing, automation, IT project management, and learning how to use the kinds of tools/frameworks that most commercial/enterprise businesses use for creating software.

With that said, there are a lot of areas where maths and software engineering cross-over well, including areas such as AI and games development - there's a lot to be said for having a good background in areas like statistical and probability modeling for those.

It's also worth mentioning that software engineering like most technical IT careers are based on a 'moving target' of technologies which are constantly evolving -- that is to say that career advancement and progress tends to be based on someone's ability and willingness to be constantly learning new things as new tools and technologies emerge while older tools lose their relevance and are superceded by new ways of doing things, and employers are often looking to use new technologies to get a competitive advantage - but that does mean a lot of opportunities to learn new technologies on the job as well, so it's generally a good thing.

The people who tend to find themselves in more senior roles are usually the people who have a diverse set of skills on their CV in terms of having had experience in a spread of different projects and technologies (also branching out beyond just writing code and into the kinds of roles which involve technical responsibility, leadership, and the ability to work in other areas beyond just the software itself).

It's entirely possible to have a comfortable career working in legacy technologies which don't move very quickly, although people who make that choice usually find that those 20 years boil down to the same 1-2 years of experience repeated 10 times, so the ability to constantly change and learn new things is really important (as is being proactive in seeking out the opportunities to learn).
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Smack
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(Original post by jmlk12)
Been looking for advice into whether I should make the move . I find both very interesting and can’t decide which one would be better career wise (job oppurtunities, salaries ...) What are your thoughts on this combo? Should I go for it? Do you find one of the engineering sciences ( from the ones listed above) better than the other? #risingsenior #help
In the UK we don't use the major-minor system. Are you looking at non-UK universities? I don't think you'd find a software engineering degree like that in the UK, although you might find what is essentially the reverse, particularly if you look at other engineering disciplines like electrical or mechanical.
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bigboateng_
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(Original post by jmlk12)
Been looking for advice into whether I should make the move . I find both very interesting and can’t decide which one would be better career wise (job oppurtunities, salaries ...) What are your thoughts on this combo? Should I go for it? Do you find one of the engineering sciences ( from the ones listed above) better than the other? #risingsenior #help
You can do a pure software engineering degree and still work in aerospace. SpaceX hires game developers “We actually hire a lot of our best software engineers out of the gaming industry,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, “In gaming there’s a lot of smart engineering talent doing really complex things. [Compared to] a lot of the algorithms involved in massive multiplayer online games…a docking sequence [between spacecraft] is actually relatively straightforward. So I’d encourage people in the gaming industry to think about creating the next generation of spacecraft and rockets.” https://www.fastcompany.com/3031512/...g-talent-at-e3


Also aerospace is such a big field that I'm not sure you could minor in anything with in depth teachings in aerodynamics, control systems, etc. Normally people major in aero and minor in comp sci. My personal recommendation as someone who studied aerospace but now a swe is to not even bother with the aerospace minor and just do software. Pick modules that have lots of calculus, linear algebra, game dev, etc.
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jmlk12
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#5
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#5
This was very helpful . I can clearly see that software engineering might be a better option for me to be able to branch out into many different technologies (versatility), which now as I think about it , is something I’d like to have in a job. Thank you for your time, great description, and advice!😄
(Original post by winterscoming)
I work as a software engineer so I really can't comment on Aerospace engineering, hopefully someone else will post on that topic. I'd imagine the skills needed for that are going to be miles apart from Software engineering though. The Aviation/Aerospace industry obviously has quite a lot of software engineers (Usually in parts of the country which are close to big airports), but the same could be said for almost any industry - finance, retail, insurance, transport, healthcare, education, agriculture, energy, etc.

In terms of typical salaries and opportunities, you can get a pretty good idea from looking at IT job sites like CWJobs: https://www.cwjobs.co.uk/jobs/software-engineer

The demand for senior and experienced software engineers has been consistently high for many decades with no sign of it slowing down any time soon, although at the entry-level it's a lot more competitive, however software engineering is a skills-based career which involves skills that pretty much anyone can learn by themselves with or without any kind of formal training. There are a lot of people who have entered the profession from other non-IT-related backgrounds having re-trained (sometimes through university, other times from self-teaching, or from evening classes, or apprenticeships, or the OU, or other online courses, etc.)

However, even without formal CompSci education, the reality is that the time it takes to build up a solid foundation in those skills tends to be at least a couple of thousand hours, including enough time to take on personal project work in order to practise and be confident enough in creating working software up to a point where employers would be interested in hiring into an 'entry-level' type role. (However, one of the things that makes it so accessible is that there's a massive amount of very high quality free material available online and all the tools/resources you'd need to be able to do it are free too).

Most of the Software Engineering degree courses I've seen usually don't have a lot of 'mandatory' maths modules; they're more likely to focus on the skills needed for creating working software systems -- i.e. the stuff that's important for the day-to-day tasks that you'd get in that sort of work; Particularly in problem solving, but also technical skills in programming, databases, Operating Systems, Web development, UI and UX design/creation, requirements analysis, testing, automation, IT project management, and learning how to use the kinds of tools/frameworks that most commercial/enterprise businesses use for creating software.

With that said, there are a lot of areas where maths and software engineering cross-over well, including areas such as AI and games development - there's a lot to be said for having a good background in areas like statistical and probability modeling for those.

It's also worth mentioning that software engineering like most technical IT careers are based on a 'moving target' of technologies which are constantly evolving -- that is to say that career advancement and progress tends to be based on someone's ability and willingness to be constantly learning new things as new tools and technologies emerge while older tools lose their relevance and are superceded by new ways of doing things, and employers are often looking to use new technologies to get a competitive advantage - but that does mean a lot of opportunities to learn new technologies on the job as well, so it's generally a good thing.

The people who tend to find themselves in more senior roles are usually the people who have a diverse set of skills on their CV in terms of having had experience in a spread of different projects and technologies (also branching out beyond just writing code and into the kinds of roles which involve technical responsibility, leadership, and the ability to work in other areas beyond just the software itself).

It's entirely possible to have a comfortable career working in legacy technologies which don't move very quickly, although people who make that choice usually find that those 20 years boil down to the same 1-2 years of experience repeated 10 times, so the ability to constantly change and learn new things is really important (as is being proactive in seeking out the opportunities to learn).
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jmlk12
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#6
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#6
Thank you for your advice!😄 I didn’t know that you could major in SWE and still work in aerospace , its definitely a thing to consider..
(Original post by bigboateng_)
You can do a pure software engineering degree and still work in aerospace. SpaceX hires game developers “We actually hire a lot of our best software engineers out of the gaming industry,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, “In gaming there’s a lot of smart engineering talent doing really complex things. [Compared to] a lot of the algorithms involved in massive multiplayer online games…a docking sequence [between spacecraft] is actually relatively straightforward. So I’d encourage people in the gaming industry to think about creating the next generation of spacecraft and rockets.” https://www.fastcompany.com/3031512/...g-talent-at-e3


Also aerospace is such a big field that I'm not sure you could minor in anything with in depth teachings in aerodynamics, control systems, etc. Normally people major in aero and minor in comp sci. My personal recommendation as someone who studied aerospace but now a swe is to not even bother with the aerospace minor and just do software. Pick modules that have lots of calculus, linear algebra, game dev, etc.
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