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Uni or not? (Merged 2013)

Old 10th Feb 2021, 18:39
  #221 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
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Exactly. A fancy degree does not mean you are a good decision maker under stress, time pressure or fatigue. A pilot and in more particular a captain must be the well rounded package. Humility, Empathy, Reactive, Proactive and I can go on and on and on. A captain is a team leader and someone who the whole airplane look to for leadership and problem solving and must always be ahead of the game.

You can not teach that and no matter how many fancy degrees you have it does not mean you will ever get to that level. As an FO I realise just how difficult it is to be a captain when I see just how many decisions at the end of the day they have to make and the improvisations they make on judgement calls. Last but not least when I look to my left to look for help there is a captain there always to guide me, when the captain looks left most of the time there is a big ocean there offering no guidance to them and they are alone a lot of the times when they do not know something.
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Old 10th Feb 2021, 19:55
  #222 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Primary degrees really test your exam taking skills, and not much else. It took me five years to get a really weak general degree in science, it should take three. But since then, I've got two MSc's, and a PhD. Don't read to much into how you are doing on your primary degree.
Get out there, and get flying. If you really want something, it will happen, and I firmly believe that grit and persistence is more important that out of the box smarts.
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Old 10th Feb 2021, 21:41
  #223 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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If it makes you feel any better, I got terrible GCSEs. So bad infact my school prohibited me from even applying for A-levels and kicked me out of school. Ended up going to college and did quite well. Got onto a Degree course that was way over my head, and despite resitting my final year, still only walked out with a 3rd. Somhow managed to convince to head of dept to let me do an MSc (I was paying after all). I was oddly offered a PhD even though my MSc wasn't great, but I declined as I didn't particularly enjoy number crunching in a windowless office for 15 months and couldn't bare the thought of doing it for another 3 years.....plus the rest of my life. So I decided to give flight training a chance before it was too late. There were a couple of ATPL subjects my brain just didn't understand, but with PPL knowledge and a determination to get through them, they're not difficult. I ended up teaching ATPLs for a few years after I finished which I loved, and now sit happily in the RHS of a shiny jet. The vast majority of my collegues dont have degrees, they're not needed, unless you want something to fall back on in the future. But given the current market, falling back on a practical vocation is better than any degree.
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 06:15
  #224 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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The biggest problem I see with an airline pilot pursuing a non-flying job is persuading then that you want to be there, and that you aren't just waiting for another airline job to come along...
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 09:00
  #225 (permalink)  

 
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"Which is why some forward thinking airlines are ditching the HR test and qualification selection for something closer to what it was years ago where the Chief Pilot or DFO would look at the entire person and decide if he fitted their criteria for being the right person to employ. "

LOL! I had to interview replacements when I was leaving a large company in Bristol as its Chief Pilot, and they all went through the psycho test as part of the human remains nonsense - I wouldn't have picked any one of them, subsequently proved right.

To the OP - don't worry too much about degrees - many of the most influential movers and shakers in this world don't have one, which makes them more able to think out of the box. The only time I found anything like that actually useful was in dealing directy with the type of customer whose brother was a crew chief in Vietnam and therefore knows everything - in those type of countries (Canada, USA on the oil patch) a PhD really kicks butt. Otherwise, they are arguably useful for management positions, but reread the first sentence! Most HR departments put something like that in as a means of weeding people out.
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 12:28
  #226 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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This thread has moved away from the OP's request I think. However I agree that if your particular career does not actually need a degree then don't get one. However since I joined the rat race (in 1954) the goalposts have moved. Time was, before mine, you could actually spend your whole working life in one sort of job. My father did, and went from office boy to Chief Accountant on the railway. I have had seven different jobs in engineering from aircraft engines to [email protected] guidance via heavy engineering, machine tools, photocopiers, and tank sights. What you should get from a degree is the capability to pick up new things quickly and know how to find out what you need to know. The parting words of the Dean of Engineering on day one at my university were "Gentlemen (we were all men) if there is one thing I want you to learn here on your way to a degree, it is how to learn quickly and how to use a library." Nowadays the last bit would be how to use Google I suppose.
It also puts your feet on the ladder a few rungs up at the beginning of your working life. The way airline flying is going right now I would be for studying something else (a science subject for choice) and join the UAS if they have one or a gliding club.Quite a few of the people I taught to fly on gliders went on to being airline pilots.

I have to agree with the poster who could see little value in a PhD. For other than academics this is true. I have met more thick PhD's than any other class of graduates.
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 15:45
  #227 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Most pilots donít have a degree I believe, but the fact is that they *could* get one
Rob

I don't have a degree, I did go to Uni to do a degree but got told not to bother going back after the end of the first year, and the degree was Mickey Mouse in comparison to the one you are doing I didn't even do A levels, they would have been way too hard, I got into uni on the back of a BTEC course. I also only managed 5 'O' Levels at school. Like you, I mistakenly thought that there was no way I could be a pilot, till somebody told me that you really don't need to be all that bright, and that was it, I gave up my job within 3 months of that info and went to get my CPL/ATPL. Did I find it hard, yes, very, especially the mathematical subjects which are usually the ones that people take as bankers to pass, yes, I failed loading and Perf E, but with determination I got there, and I firmly believe anyone can do providing they want it enough.

Just because your degree isn't going well doesn't matter one jot.
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 17:54
  #228 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
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My god is this thread back again.

I've two degrees in aerospace engineering (BEng and PhD) and I've EU, US and UK CPL/IRs and a few thousand hours. I choose to earn my living mainly in boffinry and fly occasionally, rather than the other way around for reasons that suit me (and in 2021 that certainly makes for a more secure income!). I've also taught or examined aeronautical engineering at several university, and also occasionally teach flying. Anyhow, I think that makes me qualified to answer the question .

Firstly an aero eng degree tells you virtually nothing about your aptitudes to be a pilot - anybody who told you otherwise was doing you no favours whatsoever. Never trust that person's advice again.

Secondly however, it's a highly regarded and tough degree. Well done for getting this far, do your best - there is absolutely no point in quitting in your final year, after paying the fees and when nobody is hiring pilots. Do your damndest, and shoot at least for a 2:2 which will make you much more employable than a 3rd, but equally a 3rd is not something to be ashamed of. You can still become an Incorporated Engineer with that, and if you add a 1-year MSc you can become Chartered.

A degree is much more difficult in terms of analysis and understanding. A CPL or ATPL (not much difference in the theory really) is much more difficult in terms of memorisation and recall. So again whoever told you they are equivalent was also doing you no favours - it's nonsense. You may sail through ATPLs after this, or you may find you simply haven't the aptitude for them, your degree experience will help a bit, but not much, and tell you little about how well you'll do.

A great many jobs in aerospace engineering do not require the sort of heavy number crunching and analysis that you are having to pass exams in. The majority of people teaching you at university have never done any of those jobs, they are really employed as researchers who do a bit of teaching, so simply don't have a grasp of that. So...

- You may, or may not, be perfectly suited to a job in aerospace or aeronautical engineering
- You may, or may not, be perfectly suited to training as a professional pilot.

The way to find out whether you have any aptitude for flying as a profession is indeed to do a PPL. Make sure your school know that you're considering a professional flying career, and ensure they hold you to those standards in your training. By the time you have your PPL you'll know whether you have the aptitude and dedication to take that path - nothing you've done so far will tell you that, apart from the very impressive achievement of making it to the final year of a difficult degree course which you are finding very tough. That, actually, is something to be extremely proud of, and sensible future employers will absolutely get that too. There are many jobs that you can do with that degree, some in aeronautical engineering, some outside that nonetheless prize the skills you have developed in getting this far.

In summary
- Yes you can be a pilot. Probably.
- No don't give up on your degree. This far in, finish it, and do your best to get a 2:2.
- You've done pretty well so far, don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
- Aviation, and engineering, are big industries - there are a lot of jobs you can potentially do, many very exciting, from where you are now. Most of those aren't analysis jobs.

Jobs you could do. Pilot. Engineering management. Engineering and aviation sales. Business development. Quality. Planning. RAF/RN/Army Officer or NCO in any branch, not just GD or engineering. That's a tiny subset of the full list, and none of them are excluded to you. There are a lot more jobs in aviation than engineer and pilot.

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 11th Feb 2021 at 19:14.
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Old 12th Feb 2021, 10:16
  #229 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Genghis is right. He and I both agree that a degree is not essential to being a pilot, but it is essential these days to get a job in a technical sphere. Finish your degree and start earning money. Fly for fun if you can. If the urge to try to get those jolly gold bands on your cuffs persists, then you can still do that, and if the business falls apart as it has done this last year, you can still make a decent living. If you do it that way round you won't join the moaners on here wishing they had.
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Old 12th Feb 2021, 12:47
  #230 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 317
100% this.

Don't put yourself in a position where flying is your only outlet.

I made this mistake and luckily I have got away with it but looking back I took a HUGE RISK doing this and I would not recommend for anyone to do the same.
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Old 12th Feb 2021, 13:08
  #231 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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What you advice is what I have done. Go to uni, study an engineering degree, get a job, earn money, fly for fun and then slowly get the liceces via the modular route.

However, this has its own drawbacks. At some point in life you must make a decision and choose what you want to do. If you're constantly trying to leave too many options open, this may lead to a lack of commitment. In my case, had I not been working full time I could have finished my training sooner, before Covid, and now wouldn't be stuck with useless UK licences because of Brexit. Sure, my case is rather anecdotal, but still comes to show that not committing yourself 100% to something may mean you won't get there.

So if someone who is 18 now, wants to be a pilot, asks me whether it makes sense to study a degree first. Honestly, I don't really know what I would say.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 19:04
  #232 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
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A major point here is that having a career backup is a good thing, but in many cases a degree is not that. Train as a lifeguard, or a chef, or a plumber - all of which will be quicker and cheaper than getting a degree, and likely to get you a job faster when you need one.

A 4 year engineering degree, at £9k.pa tuition, plus living expenses is one hell of an investment in yourself. There is, in my view, only one reason to do it - a passion for engineering and likely interest in taking that career path.

Also do a degree, any degree, then switch to pilot training - and you will find yourself 2 years later with your degree skills rusty and potentially in competition against people who have just graduated and are a lot sharper than you are now. As a backup plan, it is an absolutely lousy one. Also bear in mind that an MEng graduate is applying for trainee positions - it's another 4 years to get your CEng.

There is a bit of an exception - if you are dead-set on an aviation career, but are more relaxed about *what* aviation career, then the combo of an aero-eng degree and licences, may open a lot of doors to you. But let's not pretend that's a cheap or easy option - 4 years to get the degree plus 2 years to get a CPL, leaves you probably £130k in debt and still at the bottom of either career ladder.

I would say pick one and take it seriously - then consider doing the other in your spare time whilst working, either an engineering degree with the OU whilst flying or job hunting, or modular and PAYG whilst working as an engineer. But studying an aero-eng degree, to then go straight into pilot training - that strikes me as very poor planning indeed in the modern world.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 20:39
  #233 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melrose
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Here I must agree again with Genghis. I differ about the 'rusty' comment though . A degree teaches you [b]how to learn - any degree will do. Learning a 'trade' as a back up should professional flying turn sour for any reason (health, passing tests, downturn, etc) is not as good as having the degree, even if it might be a quicker way into a job, when the ordure hits the ventilator. Having demonstrated your capability to learn fast by having a degree, will always be a better route to safety. In any case any degree is swiftly outdated, but the key thing that is not, is the learning skill. I reckon my first class degree in engineering was out of date in less than ten years from graduation, but by then I was well on my way up the management ladder.

Having a 'trade' as well as a degree worked wonderfully for me when I was made redundant by the collapse of the company I was in. Having been trained in my youth as a draughtsman I was back in the building I had just left the following week, as a contract draughtsman to get some jobs finished to help the administration team complete a contract and get some cash in for the creditors. I had been a Chief Designer in the outfit which went bust. Six weeks later I re-mustered in my proper rank in another firm. The taxman said it would not be worth his while to collect income tax for the six weeks as well!
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