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Frank Muldoon July 29, 1998 17:42

salary range
what salary range would a new MS graduate in CFD expect?

John C. Chien July 30, 1998 02:53

Re: salary range
This is really a good question. Since thermal/fluid problems normally belong to the Mechanical Engineering Department, you can use MSME as a reference. Since graphical interface programming is part of computer science department, I would say the pay will be different from that of a MSME. In this case, he is doing programming rather than working on CFD. Based on my experience, all of my colleague working in CFD field have PhD degree. Almost every engineer in a company ,uses CFD codes from time to time in design and analysis work. Normally, they are not called CFD engineer. But, if you do find a CFD department in a company, they normally have PhD degrees. A mechanical engineer using CFD codes is still called a mechanical engineer.

Fabien Coppens July 30, 1998 03:51

Re: salary range
In response to this, I'd like to post the following question addressed to everyone out there : what is the expected salary range for a fresh PhD in CFD (i.e. with little or no industrial experience), both in the US and in various European countries ?

Sven Keski-Seppälä July 30, 1998 05:44

Re: not called CFD engineer
John C. Chien wrote : '.... Based on my experience, all of my colleague working in CFD field have PhD degree. Almost every engineer in a company ,uses CFD codes from time to time in design and analysis work. Normally, they are not called CFD engineer...'

I'm a bit intrigued by this formulation. OK, that a 'real' CFD engineer, a CFD-expert, that spend most of his/hers time using CFD-codes (preferably his own) solving 'large' problems accurately (or solving problems never solved before)usually have a PhD degree. However does it not exist people with (only) a MSc degree that is fulltime CFD-users ?

Secondly, "Almost every engineer in a company ,uses CFD codes from time to time" seems to be a bit to optimistic about the spread of CFD usage ?

Thirdly, if people (non CFD engineers) (try to) solve problems with CFD 'from time to time'(!), what is the quality of these solutions and what about the risk for bad design decisions ? Or are the problem addressed by these 'non-CFD' persons so trivial that anyone can do it ?

Sorry to change the subject, but I just got curious ;-)

Jonas Larsson July 30, 1998 05:45

Fresh PhD salary, Sweden
A fresh PhD in CFD would get between $35,000 and $45,000 per year in Sweden if he goes to industry. If he stays as a PostDoc in academia it will be around $35,000... and we have almost 50% tax on that :-/

John C. Chien July 30, 1998 13:46

Re: not called CFD engineer
You have excellant questions. I like it very much. People (researchers) started developing and using CFD codes to solve real aerodynamics problem around mid-70's. So, it's been over 20 years now. As I mentioned before, the first Low Reynolds number turbulence model was published over 25 years ago. That's almost a quarter of a century. In 80's, people started using super-computers, mini-super-computers, advanced mini-computers and main-frame computers to solve practical aerodynamic design problems. Many government laboratories ( such as NASA , DOD etc.) created their own CFD department in 80's. Airframe companies and engine companies all have their dedicated CFD department to develop CFD tools and capabilities for their design and analysis need. ( designers have been using CFD codes since 80's .) In 70's and 80's, they were dealing with very sensitive defense related products, such as fighters, bombers, jet engines, rockets, missiles, shuttle, submarine,etc., so, they have to develop their own codes. As a part of this requirement, they must have a PhD to do the work. There was no such thing as a commerical code in those days. In engine design business, 3-D Euler codes and 3-D Navier-Stokes codes have been in routine use since 80's by designers. ( most of them don't have PhD) The fact is that you don't need to be a computer designer in order to use a computer. The same principle applies to CFD, that is you don't need to be a CFD expert in order to use a CFD code. What I am trying to say is, CFD activities have been largely invisible from the public. As the workstations became more widely available, ( it was still very expensive in early 90's ) companies other than the aerospace defense industries start using CFD codes ( using codes written by college professors or government labs ). With the market, comes the commercial codes and codes developers. ( for commercial product development ) Most aerospace companies are still using their in-house codes.( they can't survive by using commercial codes .) The reason why a designer can safely use a CFD code is because these specialized CFD codes take only limited amount of input. These codes have been developed and tested mainly for the design purpose, that is these are not the so-called general purpose CFD codes ( or libraries ). You are right about it, it is not a good idea for a non CFD engineer to use a general purpose CFD code "from time to time". ( using a special purpose CFD code is no problem.) So the answer to your question is: any designer can safely use a CFD code only when the code he uses is a specialized CFD code,developed and tested as a design tool.

Jeremy Shipman August 3, 1998 15:05

Re: salary range
Well, it looks like noone really answered your question. I am a soon-to-be M.S. graduate in CFD so I am also interested in the salary range for such a degree. I have found that MSME positions in CFD offer salaries in the range of 35 to 45K. I have been offered positions at two places - one where the emphasis is using commercial codes to solve engineering problems, and one where the emphasis is more developing codes to solve new problems - both were in this range.

Good luck in your job search if you are currently looking for a CFD job!

John C. Chien August 3, 1998 19:04

Re: salary range
That's a very good news for you. Maybe you'd like to keep us updated from time to time about your salary and your progress. Which way do you think would lead to a faster pay increase, 1) using commercial codes to solve engineering problems or, 2)developing codes to solve new problems ?

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