Kyle Noser works as a Mechanical Engineer in Sterling, Virginia and is a part of Rockwell Collin’s Operations Rotational Development Program. This rotational program has also allowed Kyle to work as a Quality Assurance Engineer in Tustin, California and a Mechanical Engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
How did you land your current job?
I landed my job from the Iowa Engineering Career Fair in the fall of my senior year. I went to a meet & greet with Rockwell Collins the night before, and spoke with one of the presenters regarding the Operations Rotation Program that he was in. He gave me his contact information, and I found at him at the career fair the next day. I received a call requesting an interview, and the rest is history!
What are your responsibilities at your job/ what does a typical work day look like?
I am currently in an Operations Rotation Program, where I move locations and roles each year, for three years. My first rotation was as a Manufacturing Engineer in Cedar Rapids. My second rotation was as a Quality Engineer in Irvine, California. And my third and final rotation is now in Sterling, VA as a Manufacturing Engineer
As a manufacturing engineer, I support the production/manufacturing of several of our product lines. I spend most of my day solving issues on the floor, improving processes, ensuring a smooth transition from design to actual manufacturing of new product, and working to meet our committed production schedule. I spend about 50% of my time at my desk/in meetings, and the other 50% out on the manufacturing floor.
How did you choose this career field?
I chose engineering out of high school because I enjoyed math and science, and really enjoyed my senior project, which involved shadowing an engineer. After 3 semesters of undecided engineering, I chose Mechanical Engineering because of how broad it is, and the classes seemed the most interesting to me.
I chose to pursue rotation programs, because I didn't have any idea what I wanted to do after college. I knew I wanted to do engineering, but there is so much you can do with that. The rotation program allowed me to try different roles, and see new parts of the country. This gave me time and experience to determine what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, and what I excelled at.
What advice do you have for current students?
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Engineering classes (and all classes) get very tough, and very few people are able to figure out every problem by themselves. Take advantage of the free tutoring that the engineering school provides, find a group of classmates to work on homework with, and take advantage of office hours.
Time management is important, and it will continue to be important after school. Stress never helps anything, stay ahead of your homework so there is time to get help if you can't get it right the first time.
Engineering is all about problem solving. Most engineering exams are problems that are very similar to the homework problems. Do your homework, and make sure you understand it, and you won't have to spend endless nights cramming for exams.
Have fun! Work-life balance is key, so school-life balance should be as well. You are only in college once, and it is some of the best years of your life!
What advice do you have for current job-seekers?
Network, network, network! I'm sure all students are getting sick of hearing that. All of my job offers came from the career fair...I applied to close to 30 jobs online, and never heard back from a single one. Face to face is key, and do not be afraid to reach out to some connections you have. Almost everybody is willing to help out, they just need to be asked!
Interviewing takes practice...do not get discouraged if you think an interview didn't go as you expected. The more you interview, the more confident you become, and the easier they get. Come prepared with a list of good questions, it shows that you are interested, and the more they talk the less you have to!
How did your past experiences help you get this job?
I did not have any internships prior to my job. As a student-athlete on the University's Swimming and Diving team, I chose to spend my summers training 25 hours a week with my teammates. I was able to have a part time research job with a professor, but that was the only engineering-type experience I had.
That being said, some of the skills that I gained from my years as a swimmer have made me a better engineer & employee. Time management, work ethic, and leadership are a couple. Your experience doesn't have to be directly related to your profession, but you need to be able to relate some of your experiences/skills to the job you are applying for. Extra-curricular activities are important!
How did location factor in to choosing your job?
Location was one of the largest factor in choosing my job. I knew I would be moving around every year, which was exciting to me!