Engineering as a Career: Why Dr. Thomas Bradley chose a career in engineering?

By Bijy Vattathara

bradley.jpgWhen did you know you wanted a career in engineering? 

“I knew that I wanted to be an engineer at a young age.I always appreciated the beautyof machines and was excited by aircraft and automobiles.I enjoyed design and drafting, but my dreams came to life during my undergraduate schooling.I got involved with research projects and industry collaborations and was lucky enough to work with great people in great teams.”

Tell us about your education.

“I earned my BS and MS in mechanical engineering at the University of California – Davis.I then worked for two years with the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA.I had decided to go back to school to get my PhD and earned my mechanical engineering PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology.I got this job at Colorado State University directly afterwards.” 

How has engineering technology changed over your career?  

” I am still young, so I am not sure that I will have as interesting answers as more seasoned engineers, but it has changed a lot in that we have many more engineering tools and “scaffolds” than we had when I got started.Data and information is much more available and is easier to manage across programs and across collaborations than it was.I did an internship with a large aerospace company where the “reference copy” of a certified computer code was a bound paper printout.To make changes, the engineers would markup the reference copy and send it off to the programmers.It was all very slow, all very siloed.Now engineers have the ability and tools to design, test, build,validate, and innovate with the computers and software at their desk.”

What advice would you give future engineers?

“My advice would be that future engineers should develop an engineering mentor.This could be a professor, or a graduate student, or a professional contact.Someone who you can contact occasionally to discuss career, schooling, interests, and opportunities.Sometimes it is difficult to stay excited through those difficult courses, or through the job/internship hunt, and a mentor can help young people see the benefits of perseverance.In reality, engineering can be a rewarding, varied career where we get to work in teams to solve the big problems.Your mentor will be glad to tell you about their best experiences, and how to avoid their mistakes.”
Learn more about engineering as a career. Check out all the engineering related job opportunities at Siemens. If you are a student, look at our open internship and co-op positions.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at