Get Your Gears Turning
How many engineering disciplines can you name?
UCSB educates students in five key areas: chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science. However, there are over 50 other engineering disciplines to discover including aerospace, automotive, biochemical, civil, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, manufacturing, nanotechnology, nuclear, petroleum, security, telecommunications, and traffic engineering. All areas overlap with basic engineering knowledge and skills.
Learn how you can pursue your discipline or pivot your UCSB education into the area of your choice through a career path in Engineering + Technology.
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Engineering for Non-Engineers
For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
In order to be competitive for engineering positions without a traditional background in engineering, it is imperative to gain experience that promotes relevant skills and knowledge. This can be completed in a variety of ways, and it may vary depending on the engineering discipline you want to pursue.
Overall, we recommend that you remain both open and judicious in your review of available opportunities.
Types of Experience
Adding specific knowledge to your skill set can demonstrate to employers your dedication to the engineering field; it can also showcase your ability to take initiative to learn topics outside of your specific academic track. To support your search for relevant experiential opportunities, click into the items below.
Although obtaining knowledge from your courses is relatively straightforward, it is sometimes infeasible due to strict course guidelines and prerequisites. EdX and Coursera, along with additional free online educational platforms, offer courses in all disciplines of engineering at various levels from broad to specific topics.
If you want a more structured path to learning, many community colleges and universities offer certificates in specific aspects of engineering, mostly related to technology. Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) offers Certificates of Achievement in Computer Science and Computer Networking Engineering, as well as Skills Competency Awards in Mobile Application Development and Software Engineering. UCSB offers a Web Developer Certificate through Professional and Continuing Education.
There are over 20 Engineering Campus Organizations at UCSB, and you do not have to be a part of specific majors in order to join. These organizations are meant to provide a community of academic, professional, and personal support. Members often engage in engineering projects together. Many of these organizations also send members to conferences and participate in hackathons to gain additional knowledge and skills while connecting with others in the field.
Every year, at the beginning of winter quarter, UCSB students organize two different hackathons: SBHacks and WomxnHacks. These are fantastic opportunities to grow your technical computer skills and interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and collaboration. If you enjoy these events, you can also join others to organize and host the event.
We all know that getting an internship is important. It may feel more difficult as a non-engineering student to gain an engineering internship, but it is possible if you already have some experience and focus your application strategy to be network-based, rather than only applying online. Be sure to utilize your on-campus connections for this.
For more information regarding internships, how to find them, and what you gain from them, visit our Internships page.
It is essential to dive into personal projects, especially if your academics do not provide hands-on project experience. Employers like to see students tinkering: build your own computer, restore or fix a car, create an app, or let your personal interests guide you to new solutions.
When you start your own project, you will inevitably run into problems that only you will have to solve. This will continue to develop your problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and it gives you valuable talking points in future job application processes.
Research not only cultivates your technical skills, but it also provides an opportunity to experience the life of an academic. Become involved with engineering-related research through the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP), the Materials Research Lab (MRL), and the National Science Foundation (NSF); these institutes provide summer research programs for STEM students.
Take initiative to contact professors in the area of engineering in which you are most interested in working part-time for a lab (part-time during the academic year or full-time during the summer).
For more information on research and finding opportunities, visit our Research page.
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