Job and Industry Resources for
Engineering and Mathematics Careers
It takes more than just raw intelligence to build a successful career in engineering or mathematics. Whether you’re designing spacecraft, analyzing bridges, crafting chemicals, drafting electrical plans or testing abstract theorems, you’ll need a talent for precise problem-solving, a lifelong hunger for learning, the patience to break down complex problems into actionable steps - and a professional network of people who appreciate and support your work.
The first three of these traits are largely up to you to develop - but we can help you with the fourth. So here, we’ll show you how to gain access to the industry news sources, social-media communities and job resources that’ll keep you ahead of the curve. Read on to find out what they can do for you.
Pinpoint helpful organizations
Engineering is an enormous discipline, encompassing a wide variety of subfields - and thus, many professional associations and other organizations cater to a particular specialty within the engineering field. Though you may already be familiar with engineering associations at your school (or at a school you plan to attend) - and with large, well-known organizations like the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) - it’s also worth your while to get familiar with smaller associations designed around the niche you plan to enter.
Here’s a short list of examples, just to give you a general idea: The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) provides education and public advocacy for aero engineers, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) offers career resources for those who plan and design buildings, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) connects auto experts with legal and educational tools, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) organizes conferences and seminars for those in the chemical industry - and many similar associations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (I-triple-E), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), offer roughly equivalent ranges of services, each tailor-made for professionals in a specific segment of the engineering field.
Associations for professional mathematicians aren’t quite as diverse, but you’ll still have your pick of several specialized groups you’re entering this area of work. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) is probably the best-known professional association in the American math field - but if you’re an aspiring applied mathematician, you’ll also want to check out the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM); and if you’re interested in working with statistics, you’ll find opportunities to connect with like-minded thinkers via the American Statistical Association (ASA).
This list of examples barely scratches the surface, though. To track down associations and other professional organizations targeted at your particular area of study, run some quick Google searches for terms like (for example) “bioengineering association,” “industrial design society,” or “facilities engineering organization” - substituting your own subfield where necessary. As you browse the websites of organizations you find, bookmark the ones that promise member benefits you expect could come in handy at some point in your career. You never know when you might need, say, a new certification course or some affordable legal advocacy - and a few extra clicks now may save you loads of time down the road.
Plug into social-media groups
Large professional associations are great for organizing conferences and offering insurance - but for more personal interactions with students and professionals who share your engineering and mathematical passions, look no further than the same social networks you already use to connect with your friends. Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn are all home to groups of friendly engineers and mathematicians, and many of these groups are actively looking for new members from all levels of the fields they represent.
Facebook groups like Biotechnologists and Bioengineers, Aeronautical Engineering, and Chemical Engineers; Google Plus groups like Industrial Engineers, Data Data Data, and Computer Engineering; and LinkedIn groups like Civil Engineers, Mechanical Engineer Forum, and Electrical Power Engineers, are all home to thousands of members participating in active discussions.
You can find groups dedicated to your own subfield by starting with a basic on-site search and refining from there. Facebook includes the option to “Find all groups named...,” Google Plus provides additional group suggestions on every page of search results, and LinkedIn allows you to trim your results to group pages (as opposed to personal ones), to pages that include people in your network, and to pages focused on your own part of the world.
Just keep a few simple criteria in mind as you browse your search results, and you’ll avoid wasting time on pages where nothing much is happening. Pages with only a few Likes are unlikely to be worth your while; pages with only a few members posting regularly may not foster much open discussion; and pages with infrequent updates may not even be worth the subscription. But at the same time, the fact that a group is private/closed doesn’t mean it’s unworthy of your attention - just submit a join request and see how the admins respond. You may wind up gaining access to an exclusive community of experts who you’d never have met anywhere else.
Talk with recruiters
Unless you’ve got a job offer lined up right now, it’s worth your time to scout out staffing firms and recruiters that match engineering and math experts with employer clients in these fields. Many of these firms specialize in particular geographical regions, or in specific areas of engineering - so you may be able to give your career a major boost by contacting a few of them.
While some recruiters cover a broad range of engineering subfields - Alpha Systems, Fircroft, and Kappa Search, for example, all recruit for companies in many areas of engineering, in countries all over the world - others prefer to focus on narrower sectors. Janwood Group, for instance, places candidates with engineering, architecture, and construction consultancies; Chipton-Ross mainly recruits for engineering jobs in the Los Angeles area; and Tecnix focuses on the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Try Googling combinations of terms related to your own specialty and region - “industrial engineering + massachusetts + recruiting firm,” for example, to track down firms that’ll be particularly interested in talking with you.
Even if a recruiting firm can’t place you in a job immediately, they’re likely to told on to your resume and keep searching - because they make their money by charging a commission on the paychecks of employees they place. So call up a few, spend a few minutes talking to one of their recruiters, and see if they can place you in a higher-ranking or higher-paying job than you were expecting.
Scan some job boards
Although a recruiter's job is to do the legwork on your behalf, you can scan for opportunities on your own by running searches on engineering job databases. Much like recruiting firms, some of these websites specialize in particular niches, while others gather listings from all corners of the globe, and from all sectors of the engineering field.
EngineeringJobs.org, Engineer.net, and TechXtra: OneStep Jobs all provide large, regularly updated, searchable databases of jobs throughout many sectors of the engineering and mathematics fields. Math-jobs.com, meanwhile, caters specifically to mathematicians - while SpaceCareers focuses on openings related to space exploration, MedDeviceJobs.com offers a board for those who design medical devices, and ChemicalEngineer.com updates chemical engineers on the latest job opportunities.
As with recruiting firms, you can find job boards focused on your area of engineering or math by running a search for (for example) “bioengineering jobs,” “electrical engineering job database,” or “applied mathematics job openings.” The main advantage that specialized job boards offer over more generalized sites like Craigslist is concentration: You’ll be able to start your search within your own specialty, and narrow from there, without having to avoid hundreds of completely unrelated postings.
Assembling your own list of engineering or math career resources is a little bit like assembling a circuit board or an architectural draft, or like plugging terms into an equation: It’s all about knowing where each piece fits into the overall scheme. Spend a few minutes searching Google for resources of your own, and you’ll find that professional associations, social-network groups, recruiters and job boards in your field are just waiting for you to reach out and connect. All that’s left is for you to make contact and let them know how they can go to work for you.
STEMCareer A news and information site for anyone interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Engineering Daily A large news site, providing articles on topics like engineering ethics, lifestyle, finance, education, and careers.
ResearchGate A network designed to let engineers and other scientists showcase their work and participate in discussions about it.You may also want to review the resources under Manufacturing and Mechanical, Repair, General & Skilled Labor.
Visit our Career Research Center to learn more about jobs, salaries, and employment growth in Engineering & Technicians.