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okay guys, im in 8th grade, make all a's and math and science are my favorite subjects. i want to be an engineer and work for kawasaki and help design part of a bike, frame, engine suspension, etc. but i dont know what exactly the path i should take. i plan on going to georgia tech and i believe i should major in mechanical engineering. am i right? any help appreciated.

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okay guys, im in 8th grade, make all a's and math and science are my favorite subjects. i want to be an engineer and work for kawasaki and help design part of a bike, frame, engine suspension, etc. but i dont know what exactly the path i should take. i plan on going to georgia tech and i believe i should major in mechanical engineering. am i right? any help appreciated.

You have a while until you have to worry, but props to you for planning life so early.

Working for the Japanese manufacturers is very tough. They do very little design here in the states. If you truly want to work for one of them, I would make sure to double major in Japanese, and take a semester abroad in Japan.

Mechanical would be good, make sure to work hard and absorb as much as possible. Do Formula SAE or Baja SAE. Take your time in school, don't rush it!

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+2 to Aaron. BSME is a no brainer and will open most doors for you, based on your targeted profession.

Honda is currently localizing their design engineering staff for ATV's. MC's are probably a long way off, if ever. The Japanese like to maintain control of their most advanced engineering Ie: 16k RPM 600cc bikes, the 4T thumpers we all know and love... :banana:.

Kawasaki is a bit late to the game, they just localized ATV production to the U.S. (Nebraska) while Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki have been here for quite some time. From a design standpoint, they are probably at least 20+ years away, if ever.

Don't let that deter you. A MC is a MC and it really won't matter what OEM it is if you can land a position with them. It will still be designing MC parts (don't be so rigid in your job search that you will never land the 1 specific job with that one OEM - keep more of an open mind).

Way to starting thinking about these things this early. Good for you!

FYI. I have my BSME and work in Automotive. We sell driveline components to pretty much all OEM's on the automotive side plus I get to work with Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki on ATV projects. It's pretty cool getting involved in the advanced engineering activities. It's almost not like work!

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haha cool. but i dont know if i want to have to learn japanese and work over there, cause there is a yamaha plant in newnan, ga, but they dont do much design there if any. i may have to end up working for an american company like atk or cannondale.

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haha cool. but i dont know if i want to have to learn japanese and work over there, cause there is a yamaha plant in newnan, ga, but they dont do much design there if any. i may have to end up working for an american company like atk or cannondale.

Have to end up working for ATK? Haha...man they are so low volume I doubt they hire anyone. Cannondale is kaput. Try Polaris or BRP.

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Aaron's advice is spot-on. If you want to design and build cool stuff, think more along the lines of working for Joe Gibbs Racing or Pro Circuit. Companies like that have far more flexibility to design one-off widgets for the race teams. A bonus point for JGR (and their suspension supplier JRI) because they're located in the southeast US.

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I would definitely recommend what I'll call a "standard" mechanical engineering degree from the best university you can get into. I have B.S. in Plastics Engineering which is a combination of Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Chemical. The problem I have is that the companies I am applying at do not recognize my degree even though I am definitely qualified for the job - very frustrating. I have one more month to go and I will have completed my Masters of Business Administration with a 3.97 GPA... and still can't get a decent job offer. (selling life insurance is the only offer so far...)

Basically you are on the right track: Pick your job, pick a company you can work for (very important IMO), then choose a degree as close as possible to what those in the current role have. The way I did it - pick interesting field, get degree, figure out where I can work just didn't go well for me at all.

Good luck and don't forget to have fun along the way. It's easy to get carried away with work and school and miss the true purpose of life. :banana:

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Aaron's advice is spot-on. If you want to design and build cool stuff, think more along the lines of working for Joe Gibbs Racing or Pro Circuit. Companies like that have far more flexibility to design one-off widgets for the race teams. A bonus point for JGR (and their suspension supplier JRI) because they're located in the southeast US.

Problem is (and I faced the same issues trying to find a job in the industry) that most MX companies need one or two engineers..and they have to be experienced because they do not have the time or resources to train you.

I hate to sound like a debbie downer, but IMO, in 8th grade, you need to chill out and just focus on having fun and learning right now. Learn hands on skills like welding, machining, and fixing things. That will help IMMENSELY if you do become an engineer.

Seriously, don't worry about colleges until your Junior year of HS, and don't worry about a major until you get there. It wasn't until 3.5 years into school that I realized I should have done a different kind of engineering. The reason I was so gung-ho on mech e was because as a kid, like you, it was all I wanted to do.

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BRP is an awesome company, in Quebec. I interviewed there just as the economy tanked so they stopped hiring.

Very small in terms of personnel, huge in terms of sales. What this means is as an engineer, you do an entire vehicle system with another engineer from concept to production to update.

Half the year is spent making and designing prototypes, and half the year is spent testing. Each engineer has an engineering tech who does all CAD and CAE work for you, which I don't quite agree with, but it frees your brain to focus on creative design. BRP definitely hits the spot there, as most of there work is generations ahead of their competitors.

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If any engineers want to weigh in: In a real world engineering job, how much math and equations are actually involved? I've heard that the use of equations is actually very low and the use of common sense is more valuable. Is this true? I've always wanted to be an engineer but don't want to spend my life doing calculus and physics equations all day.

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I'm a weld engineer, so admittedly a bit detached from some of the heavier calculations involved in calculating loads and pressures. I still occasionally will have to calculate heat input for a structure or joint.

In most modern-day engineering there are computer programs to help you with the more complex math. Regardless, a good engineer needs to understand the math behind the program so he can more easily spot mistakes.

Think of it like this: if a calculator tells you that 2 + 2 = 5, blind faith in the calculator would have you write 5 as your answer, whereas some knowledge tells you the correct answer is 4.

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If any engineers want to weigh in: In a real world engineering job, how much math and equations are actually involved? I've heard that the use of equations is actually very low and the use of common sense is more valuable. Is this true? I've always wanted to be an engineer but don't want to spend my life doing calculus and physics equations all day.

Skill most used is project management skills. I typically have to balance a dozen different projects at any given time. Next important is communication skills, both verbal and written. I blew off english as unimportant, but soon realized that with the number of emails written and reports written, people (read management) soon discover who has these skills and get promoted sooner. Another important skill is the ability to build connections as you soon find out, you don't really know much, but if you have connections you can find out answers very quickly. Use of hard math and engineering skills, somewhere between 10-25% depending upon your exact job. Also be willing to do on any job they give you. I have bounced between hard core engineering and management that I feel like a ping pong ball sometimes. Hopefully you find something good here. Good luck on your future endeavors.

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I've hired a number of engineers over the years. What we look for is a technical degree of some sorts, preferring an engineeering degree for our sales positions. It's not that it is too technical, we simply prefer the thought processes and deductive abilities of those with this form of degree.

As ba10 mentioned, program management skills are of utmost importance. The ability to multitask and juggle mutliple items at one time is paramount. People that cannot multi task need not apply - they simply won't make it, will become frustrated and hate life. If you need to take one task at a time and not move on to the next one until the first is complete, this is not for you. Communication skills are extremely important as well. Being able to speak intelligently, and relay information back to your team so they can take educated actions is extremely important. No one like to spins their wheels on things that have no meaning or importance to the task at hand.

For an actual engineering position (design or application) this is much more equation/calculation intensive. Performing life, durability fatigue, ultimate strength calculations as well as a having hands on experience to set up a test rig and run what test parameters are required is a MUST. No degree, no interview.

Point being, having a technical degree will open many many doors for you. everything else will fall into place with time and experience.

Edited by GSP2

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Interesting. Thanks for the replies.

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