The shortage of U.S. graduates in the Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) fields is well documented. In April 2009, in a moving speech to the National Academy of Sciences, President Barack Obama gave a rally cry calling for the improvement of scientific standards in the United States. He stressed that the education of the military and citizens of the United States in critical areas of science and technology is paramount for this nation’s defense and security. Since his call to return the United States to a position of dominance in the STEM areas, funding opportunities by both federal and private agencies have been initiated to stimulate interest and promote academic opportunities in the sciences, mathematics and other technology fields. Because the lack of engineering know-how may jeopardize a firm’s ability to innovate, and directly lead to a decrease in job creation in other technology based fields, the need for future scientists and engineers is particularly strong. In fact, recent polls from leading employers demonstrate that engineering positions are some of the hardest to fill. As a result, students graduating with engineering degrees are in high demand and are rewarded with high starting salaries.
There are a variety of career paths for engineers. Some perform pure research and are typically employed by companies with large investments in research and development, such as General Electric, 3M or Dupont. Many engineers work in product development, where they design components, assemblies, electro-mechanical devices, software or whole physical systems. Some perform process engineering functions, where they design the production processes used in manufacturing, such as oil refineries or appliance manufacturers. Some work on the marketing or sales side of an organization, performing tasks such as technical marketing, product training functions and product management. It all depends on the engineer’s career aspirations and areas of interest. Some may enjoy the lab setting, some may want to be in a factory or field setting, and others may want to work closely with customers. Over time some engineers may become project engineers where they manage the development and implementation of large scale projects, some may take on departmental management roles, while others may choose to remain close to their original job responsibilities. Here is a list of the different engineering disciplines and the employment opportunties for each: What can I do with an engineering degree?
The University of Notre Dame has a national employer database, and a strong on campus recruiting program. The Notre Dame Career Center has a variety of resources for career exploration, internship and job searches, and resume writing. There are three career fairs each year, with one devoted strictly to engineering. There are approximately 85 firms that attend the fair each year. The largest single employer of the University of Notre Dame engineering graduates is General Electric. For the eastern Pennsylvania region, Johnson & Johnson is the leading employer. Recent University of Notre Dame computer science graduates have landed jobs with Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Hewlett Packard. The program with Notre Dame allows students to major in one of six engineering disciplines, many of which also have specific areas of concentration, which may enhance a student's ability to secure a job in their area of interest.
The University of Notre Dame also has a strong ROTC program, and there is a strong presence of government and military recruiting on campus.