August 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 4 
Special Feature

Engineering a better future

IDS designs initiatives to attract and keep the best technologists


Engineers play a vital role at Boeing—and in its future. So how does Boeing Integrated Defense Systems attract and keep the most talented engineers? IDS is working on a number of ways to maintain its engineering edge.


No matter their specialty, Boeing engineers have literally hundreds of opportunities each day to apply for new assignments. A recent search in the Jobs@Boeing site on the World Wide Web ( found more than 650 open jobs with “engineer” in the title.

Picking appropriately, however, requires careful consideration of career goals. “My advice to engineers just starting out is to develop your technical expertise to the greatest extent you can from the day you start work,” said John Tracy, IDS Engineering vice president. “You do this through working day-to-day assignments as well as studying on your own and in the classroom. This applies throughout a career at Boeing.”

The Learning Together Program, which pays tuition for courses at accredited schools, plus Boeing’s internal education and training programs, mentoring and rotational assignments also help engineers enhance skills.


IDS is helping engineers make the most of those programs through its new system of “assigning and enrolling” engineers. Engineers get instructions in their day-to-day work from the manager of the program they are assigned to. Since programs start and stop—and engineers move from one program to another—this sometimes leaves engineers without a place to turn for career guidance. In response, IDS has developed a program to ensure someone experienced in the engineering function is there to advise each team member.

“There is now somebody whose job it is to make sure your career is progressing, you’re getting the training you need and your assignments work together in a logical order to take you as far as you can and want to go,” Tracy said.

These Engineering managers’ tasks include making sure that when programs end, engineers are transitioned smoothly to the next assignment and the transition enhances the engineers’ careers.


The sense of accomplishment when an aircraft flies, a missile test is successful or a new version of flight-control code is deployed is one way engineers measure career success. But Boeing also recognizes engineers both for their collective contribution to the company and for individual achievements in becoming masters of their craft.

Broadly, the celebrations and events held during Engineering Week each year help underscore the central role engineering plays at Boeing. Accomplishments are noted through contests, seminars and guest lectures as well as outreach programs that expose junior high and elementary school students to what engineers do.

“The programs that mix our celebration of our engineers with teaching kids about engineering accomplish the double goal of recognition and helping excite the next generation of potential engineers,” Tracy said.

The Technical Fellows program, meanwhile, marks the achievement and skills of individuals. Technical Fellowships recognize and reward both noteworthy technical expertise and a history of technical accomplishments. There are three levels of Technical Fellows. (See this month's main feature story to read about this year’s Senior Technical Fellows.)

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