Although graduation day is exciting, it can also be very scary, especially for graduates stepping for the first time from the classroom into the full-time job market. Thanks to the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology’s focus on hands-on experience and career preparation, many of our graduates have job offers even before they have diplomas. When she graduated in 2015, Taylor Bogan, an electrical engineering major with a biomedical emphasis, had multiple job offers from which to choose.
Bogan accepted an offer from ICU Medical to work as an associate hardware engineer. Two years later, she supports research and development organization on a release train project; works on quality management efforts; assists in internal and external audits; and is the subject matter expert for ENOVIA, a product lifecycle program that contains the company’s electronic storage records.
Bogan chose NIU for the small class sizes, the student organizations and to be close to her mother. She credits the student organizations she joined with making her a better job candidate by developing her skills and giving her marketable experience. She also developed friendships and professional connections she continues to maintain.
One of Bogan’s best NIU experiences was traveling to Africa with Engineers Without Borders, a student organization that applies engineering to empower disadvantaged communities around the world.
Another vital experience was Senior Design. The project developed by Bogan’s team, New Voice, won the student choice award.
“It really taught me what it is like to work in the industry,” she said. “It walked me through the product cycle life without me realizing it at the time.”
For students working toward their own goals, Bogan has one piece of advice: Stay true to yourself.
“If you know you want to work in a certain field, do all you can do to make yourself the best you can be,” she said. “Be genuine in interviews and with people. Don’t be afraid to be passionate about your goals and what you want in life. That will be a driving force for your future.”
Taylor’s Career Tips for Engineering Students
· Apply early and often for internships, scholarships and any opportunities.
· If you want a job before you graduate, start applying the semester before.
· Get involved on campus. Grades are not the only thing companies look at; it’s important to be a well-rounded candidate.
· Make connections. You never know who can connect you with someone in the industry, which can lead to a position.
· Take chances. Be open to relocating and trying new things.