As an engineering student, one of the best experiences you can have under your belt is a strong engineering project. Of course, during the school year, this can occur naturally through design teams, classwork, and just venturing into the studio one day. However, over the summer, it can be difficult to add engineering experience to your curriculum. If you’re not interning or taking summer classes, you should consider working on a side project!
Now that you’ll be done with your foundations of engineering classes, you’ll have accrued the necessary skills to work on a side project. Anything you did on the MATLAB practical and inside the Frith lab, you can do in your room or in your garage. You should consider writing a computer script that automates some portion of your life or building a gadget to reach items on the top shelf of the kitchen.
Employers love to see students being proactive and thoughtful. Recruiters are adamant about looking for students who talk about the technicalities of what they have accomplished outside of classes becauseof their time in class. Just like artists, good engineers create and maintain a portfolio of the things they have done. For some students, this could be posting a video game they created on Github. For others, this could mean submitting photos of their solar powered RC car on Portfolium. A strong portfolio will increase your network and career prospects notably.
If better career prospects don’t entice you, just think of a better semester. Summer vacation is the perfect time to rust your skills if you’re not applying what you learned. And if you don’t practice what you learn, you will feel it in full force next semester. Without an internship or summer classes to keep you disciplined and your mind sharp, getting into the routine will be exponentially harder when classes start up again in August. A side project is a fun way to make sure that doesn’t happen!