Defense & Security

What You Do

The safety of people around the world depends on defense & security engineers. The job is of utmost importance, and as a result the industry is often on the very frontier of scientific research and development.

Examples of work in the industry:

  • F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft
  • The Marine Navy Corps Intranet, the second largest network in existence, behind only the Internet
  • Mechanic exoskeleton for enhanced physical prowess of soldiers

Industry leaders include such elite names as Boeing, General Electric, and Lockheed Martin, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA.

Sample Problem

As an egress system (ejection seat) engineer, you must design a system that will manage the entire process — canopy removable, ejection, parachute deployment, landing — all upon the simple pulling of a trigger. Throughout this process, you must ensure a split-second reaction-time, and protect the pilot from forces unendurable to the human physiology.

Majors & Classes

The defense & security industry encompasses nearly the entire spectrum of engineering. Degrees in any department are all applicable to the field. Also noteworthy is the recent, and ever-increasing importance of cybersecurity, an industry that is in high demand of computer science majors.


  • Defense Operations Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Tool Designer
  • Cyber Security Technology Specialist

If you are interested in cybersecurity, here’s some information about the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and the Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program.

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