Mathew C., English (Aeronautics)
Alumni Advisor
Grad Year:1992
Career Sector:Aeronautics
Current Job Title:Structures Technician
Current Employer:SpaceX

What was your career path that led you to your current position?

Direction-less after graduation, I enlisted in the Army and served well over a decade as a linguist. After my Army career, I tried teaching - the education system in the U.S. is a travesty, so I left the profession after a few years. This left me broke, overqualified, and desperate for work, so I got into construction. Here, I realized that I enjoy working with my hands and seeing the result of my efforts, but overall, the work itself wasn't satisfying. This led to getting into a grant program for training aerospace technicians. I started with Honda Jet as a contractor and jumped at the opportunity to work for SpaceX for more money and a life in sunny SoCal.

What kind of credentials, education, training, prior experience are needed?

Military service makes anyone a desirable candidate for any position, but you do need specialized training or experience to work in aerospace. Start with basic shop skills, get into fabrication or sheet metal mechanic work, then look at airframe and power plant certs. My certifications are in industrial safety and quality inspection processes. Knowledge of engineering wouldn't hurt a potential candidate, either. If a candidate is interested in the engineering team, then study engineering and get an internship.

How was your major and/or your degree from UD related to your current work?

My education at UD laid the groundwork for me to be highly adaptable - this was further refined and honed by military service. My English degree has made me a skilled interviewee as I am able to converse freely about nearly any topic, even if I'm not a subject matter expert. Apart from this, my education has also made me an effective communicator - which is good when dealing with fellow technicians, supervisors, managers, engineers, government auditors, and corporate VIPs, all of whom hail from different backgrounds, education levels, native languages, cultures, and so on.

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