Exemplary Work Ethic in a 21st Century Engineer

Aerotek contract engineer Evan McKee
What makes someone want to be an engineer when they grow up, and how much influence do parents and early education have to do with it? We had a chance to speak with one of Aerotek’s rising star contract engineers about how he chose engineering and what he thought of the current and future state of the profession.

Automotive engineering is not what I imagined

Evan McKee’s parents might have predicted their son would end up an engineer. His mom worked as a biomedical technologist and his dad was an engineer. Evan was pretty sure he wanted to do something technical since he loved solving problems and making things work. So when he graduated with his BS in mechanical engineering, he was pretty pumped about the chance to go to work for a national automotive manufacturer on one of their plant vehicle teams.

But Evan tells us he was surprised at what he found: “Being an automotive engineer is not how I pictured it. For some reason I thought it would be mostly manual, but it’s actually extremely complex. I work as the liaison between the product engineers and the suppliers involved in designing vans and trucks. My job is to work with these teams to make parts fit together ― really well.” We’ve heard Evan’s excitement echoed by so many of our other engineers who find the fresh challenges and ongoing opportunities which come to them as contract workers extremely rewarding.

Education matters

We were curious to get Evan’s take on the current state of the engineering workforce from his vantage point. “Well, it’s funny. I came into the workforce in 2014 with an undergraduate degree and found my job pretty quickly. And when I look at the other engineers in my group, their education levels all vary. I could potentially see in the next ten or fifteen years more engineers going for their master’s degrees.”

Making a difference

Like many of the engineers we work with at Aerotek, Evan is as passionate as he is ambitious. “One of the great things about working on a team like mine is the constant challenge to improve, and that goes for the products we’re designing but also us as individual engineers. They don’t just treat us like the means to an end. We really do feel like we’re working for a cause. I believe I’m making a difference.”

Doing and leading

We know that many engineers like Evan deeply love the actual “doing” part of their job ― solving complex mechanical problems with their skills. We also know that engineers like Evan tend to make talented and inspiring leaders.

Is there a management track in his future we asked? “It’s a good question. This company definitely cultivates you to move up in their ranks. Right now, I love what I do every day, the hands-on aspect of my job. But I think when the time comes I could just as much enjoy hands-on managing people as I do engineering problems.”

Parting words of advice

Evan told us about the advice his dad gave him when he was still a teen. “My dad told me: ‘Find a job you really like, so you can lead the life you really love.’ My dad’s a smart guy and he succeeded in having both. I know I’m only a couple of years into the workforce, but I work really hard and I really love what I do. I’m definitely following my dad’s advice and it’s the same advice I would give to anyone else starting out in the workforce today.”

If you’re an engineer looking to find a job that makes you feel good about life and work, we invite you to create a career management account and to check out our current openings.