Aircraft design engineers design systems, subsystems, and components of an aircraft, usually focusing on specific areas such as the airframe, structural components, or the avionics. They ensure that the designs meet standards for performance and safety. As an aircraft design engineer, you may be asked to use a combination of software, hand calculation, and engineering methodologies to prepare, review, and approve designs, as well as document them for purposes of audits and regulatory approval. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required, and most employers prefer concentrations in mechanical, aerospace, or electrical engineering, as well as relevant accreditations.
Job openings for aircraft design engineers can be found on the career sites of aviation and aerospace companies, as well as through typical channels like online job boards such as Indeed and CareerBuilder. Vacancies can also be found through college career centers.
The interview will assess you on your technical knowledge as well as your practical experience in applying that knowledge to the real world. You'll be asked about your prior work experience so that the interviewer can judge whether your experience matches their needs. For instance, the company may require someone with experience in commercial aircraft design. Communication skills will also be key because you may be expected to give reports to both internal and external parties.
To prepare for an interview for an aircraft design engineer, take stock of your professional experience and think of the most difficult projects that you worked on and how you overcame those challenges. Be prepared to lay out your problem-solving methodology by defining the information you consider, the actions you took according to that information, and what you did in reaction to the outcome. Another important aspect where you can gain a competitive advantage is in project management. Think about ways to demonstrate your time management skills. What information do you consider when prioritizing tasks? What actions do you take to ensure that projects are completed on time? Finally, work on your presentation skills to show that you can communicate clearly.