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May 6: Carnegie Mellon's Engineering Students Nab Great Jobs Despite Sluggish National and Global Economies


Chriss Swaney           

Carnegie Mellon's Engineering Students Nab Great Jobs
Despite Sluggish National and Global Economies

PITTSBURGH—The job market is showing signs of life, and Carnegie Mellon University engineering students are fueling that economic growth with employment in a variety of sectors from the steel and oil industries to information technology.
Carnegie Mellon's Alan Gerber, Gabriel Gerson, Jessica Liao and James Ramp are just a few of the College of Engineering seniors joining the roughly 1.5 million new college graduates entering the job market this year at a time when there is the least money available for hiring new workers.
But a recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that engineering majors dominate the job market with overall hiring at 96.4 percent, up from 86.4 percent in January and near the 98.2 percent peak in December 2009.
"New graduates with engineering and technical skills tend to benefit because their skills are in demand and there is a relatively low supply of them," said Carol S. Young, career consultant for the College of Engineering and assistant director of the Career and Professional Development Center at Carnegie Mellon.
Ramp, 21, a graduating senior in civil and environmental engineering (CEE) from Sitka, Alaska, begins his career this summer as a field engineer in Luanda, Angola, with Schlumberger Ltd., the world's largest oilfield services company.  
"I am very excited about this job, and I feel very prepared because of all the wonderful group project work at CEE that helped me learn how to deal with people on all multi-cultural levels," said Ramp. "I got this great job interview as a result of our university's super career center."
Gerber, 22, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Wauwatosa, Wis., begins work as an engineer in August at Qualcomm, the San Diego-based maker of chips for mobile devices.

"I'm ready to put all my great knowledge and experiences from my Carnegie Mellon years to work," said Gerber. "Engineers can make a difference and I'm ready to make a difference at my new post."
The impact of the global recession and the rise of the Internet also have made differences in the way people search for jobs. Experts report that 80 percent of job searches are done via networking and through summer internships like the one that helped Carnegie Mellon's Gerson.
Gerson, 22, a graduating senior in materials science and engineering from Munhall, Pa., will work for Nucor Steel in Charleston, S.C., as a metallurgist.
"I am very excited about starting with Nucor. I spent the last two summers as an intern for Nucor, and was very impressed with the company. Nucor is giving me the opportunity to work in all areas of the mill in my first years, which will help me develop a strong foundation in all phases of steel production," said Gerson.  
"Recruiters look for solid technical abilities, sound interpersonal skills and leadership roles in resolving technical challenges or leading business decisions," said Lisa B. Dickter, career consultant for the College of Engineering and associate director of career consultants at the university's Career and Professional Development Center.
It was that technical prowess that helped Liao land a job with Santa Clara, Calif.-based NVIDIA as a software engineer on the Tegra Development Team. "I'm extremely optimistic about my future, and I know my experiences at Carnegie Mellon will help me succeed in whatever I do," said Liao, 22, a graduating senior in electrical and computer engineering from Honolulu.