Engineers are to Caterpillar what an engine is to a car. Without the other, you’re going nowhere. With innovation at the core of our enterprise, Caterpillar invests more than $1.4 billion in research and development annually. Furthermore, with more than 10,800 engineers around the world, Caterpillar boasts one of the most robust engineering organizations in the industry. Director of Innovation and Emerging Technology, Dan Henderson, says, “Coming to work at Caterpillar as an engineer is like engineering heaven. It’s like a room full of Tonka toys.”
Caterpillar customers come for the brand promise and stay for the value of the products. The breadth and scope of Caterpillar’s products and solutions offer exciting challenges that require the knowledge of nearly any type of engineering you can imagine. So, what can an engineer do at Caterpillar? According to Dan, engineering can be the foundation for nearly every career path you can imagine at Caterpillar. From marketing to purchasing to the Executive Office, Caterpillar engineers understand the products and solutions we offer in such a way that you can forge a broad career path that might just land you in the office of our CEO.
Before you jump in, Dan has some tips for you to consider when starting your engineering career:
Tip 1: Engineering is a safe bet. While we might not be able to predict the next game changing innovation, we know that engineering will be a part of it. "The demands on our customers are increasing and evolving rapidly. As an engineer, you can be part of developing the products and solutions that help our customers succeed," Dan says.
Tip 2: Team players only. Dan says, "There's nothing that happens at Caterpillar that's done by a lone wolf. Teamwork is one of our company's Values. If you don't like working with others, Caterpillar won't be right for you. We know that more inclusive and diverse teams deliver better solutions than teams that don't have that broad of a view."
Tip 3: Get practical experience. Internships or co-op programs during your undergraduate studies help you gain familiarity with the industry, as well as experience working on real projects. Dan cautions prospective interns to do their homework before applying for internships. He says, "Pick companies that are similar in nature to gain experience from and make sure to learn about the company, too. Caterpillar likes to offer several internships to top talent, but none have to be long-term. Semester-long assignments gives students the chance to try out other companies and projects to be informed in their future employment decisions." This practical experience will make you extremely competitive during the interview process.
Tip 4: Find a mentor. Dan advises that new engineers shouldn't wait until someone assigns them a mentor. In Dan's experience, most seasoned engineers, including himself, won't turn down someone looking to learn. "I am encouraged by and learn from the newer employees who come to speak with me," he says.
"Some of the problems we are solving are ones that no one else has been able to accomplish. It's very rewarding to see these things now happening and know that I got to play a little part in that throughout my career. If you're an engineer that likes to work on the hardest problems that help people in the world, it doesn't get any better than Caterpillar." If you’re up for the challenge, search and apply today.
Dan Henderson, Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology