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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Gain Experience: Engineering + Technology
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.
There are many ways to gain experience and develop your professional skills during your college career. Some experiences enhance your technical skills, while others focus on your interpersonal skills. While building your technical skills is very important, it is important to demonstrate to employers that you are able to communicate and work on a team in a variety of projects.
Types of Experience
Click below to see some ways to start building your experience for careers in Engineering + Technology.
Join an engineering student organization. There are over 20 engineering-related student organizations on campus. These organizations provide a community of academic, professional, and personal support. Many members also collaborate on engineering projects together.
Note that you may want to join an engineering student org during your freshman or sophomore year to learn from upperclassmen and gain hands on experience. Then, run for a leadership position to be able to make a lasting impact while developing leadership and communication skills (which employers love).
Employers like to see students tinkering outside of the classroom. Build something -- anything. Build your own computer, restore or fix your car, or create an app. When you start your own project, you will inevitably run into problems that only you will have to solve. This enhances your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Because academics can take over your time during the school year, you may want to use your summers to dive deep into projects, especially after your freshman or sophomore year.
Landing an internship in Engineering + Technology is essential to gaining experience, especially after the completion of your junior year. Employers look for students in their junior or senior year to ensure you have developed basic engineering skills from your coursework to utilize in the internship. To make sure you are ready, update your Handshake settings to get notified of new opportunities immediately.
Whether you are working in a technical role or not, on-campus jobs can be flexible with your schedule and provide opportunities to gain professional skills that are important to employers, such as communication, teamwork, and customer service.
Check with your department to see if it is hiring or look on Handshake for on-campus student employment. Here are some departments that often hire students for technical-based roles are:
- Administrative and Residential Information Technology
- Enterprise Technology Services
- Student Information Systems & Technology
Look for positions or departments on campus that are able to combine your technical skills with your interpersonal skills (e.g., related academic departments, the machine shop, on-campus tech support).
Research not only grows your technical skills, but also provides an opportunity to experience the life of an academic professional. If you are considering applying to graduate school (specifically Ph.D. programs), research experience will make you a more competitive candidate and provide insight into whether or not graduate school is right for you. The Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP), the Materials Research Lab (MRL), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) provide summer research programs for engineering students.
Note that there are many summer research programs at UCSB and across the country which focus on providing experience for freshmen and students of minority groups.
You can also study abroad to gain experience in Engineering + Technology! You may think that it is not feasible as an engineering student, however, this is a common misconception.
Many education abroad programs also provide opportunities to gain research or intern experience. Studying abroad showcases your skills in cultural competency and adaptability. Sometimes, it can be cheaper than studying at UCSB.
Check out the Education Abroad Program to get started, and be sure to look into study abroad options early. Deadlines approach quickly and you want to be prepared.
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