Hello, my name is Kevin and I am a student in the electrical engineering program at the University of Michigan and have a few questions about Electrical Engineering in as a career in general.
1) What are the most interesting aspects of your job?
2) What part of the work do you consider dull or repetitious/like the least?
3) What part of your college education do you think prepared you the most for this career field?
4) How do you see jobs in this field changing in the next 2 years?
5) What special advice would you give to a person entering this field?
I am writing a paper for a career services class, and no one in the alumni wanted me to interview them (either too busy or didn?t want too). So any help would really be appreciated.
Here is some advice for you Kevin.... Corporate america eats engineers for lunch. It can be a snake pit paying less than most professions, 60k sometimes for registered professional PE EE's.. 100k is high... there are many reasons..that kind of work is going offshore fast now. In the city of SF beat cops make 100k. Union plumbers about the same.
If you stay in the engineering field get your MBA for sure and you will work into management that way...pay is about 50% higher, with potential to go way up from there.
I spent 20 years consulting nationally for the major E and C firms, and for some of the nations ... its a corrupt dirty business the nastiest egotists win in corporate america. if you want to do yourself a favor go see the movie 'the corporation'... then a movie 'the yes men' both will be eye openers for you. I recommend a person stay out of that environment.
If you stay as an EE major go for the high end. research. high end electronics into the advanced physics aspects ....not the end of the business that produces construction drawing for the building trades and industry.
Creating things..concieving the strategy and working it out.
repetitious/like the least?
The corporate rat race...its nasty..it destroys people. Its no fun..its at least 90% of what you end up coping with.
prepared you the most for
Math and science...chemistry.. algebra more than calculus...physics.. An engineer without social skills, thats most, is a pathetic peice of work... english literature would or history would be good minors... for the money an MBA is vital.
Drastucally.. most salaries are going down due to chinese, russian and Indian competition.. with an MBA it wont be as bad. Good management must be on site and its scarce. An EE with and MBA will do well...
Get an MBA, go into high level research...even if it pays less at first. Stay away from corporations if you can.. (thats difficult). Be absolutely brilliant, read extensively.. dress perfectly at all times...be fit and well groomed...demand top level pay ... become a consultant as soon as possible (after you get 4 or 5 years experience working for others). Be creative. Get other things going besides the engineering career.
If you like medicine ..chemistry, biology etc get into that field.
Search the following key words on Googles 'web' tab. in various combinations"
"corporate fraud, corruption, heart attacks, slim bags, kickbacks, lying sacks of shit, US govt, CIA drug running, its the money honey, death, chaos, ruin... "
and do see those movies I recommended... you are naive currently..thats fatal. those two movies will cure you of that and they are also funny as hell.
Although I have a master's degree in EE, I worked most of my career as a failure analyst. I got to run a lab and play with all kinds of interesting toys. I got to work on a myriad of projects. In my undergraduate courses I got a great grounding in the basics, i.e., chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering and math. My hobby as a child became my hobby as a profession. The basics were the most important of all as they stayed with me throughout my career.
Now the bad part. As a supervisor of a lab, I had to evaluate people, hire people and fire people. I had to make and stick to budgets and explain why I exceeded them, which fortunately was seldom.
If you plan on being a run-of-the-mill engineer staring at a computer screen all day, forget about it. You need to find a niche that will satisfy you and, most importantly, your boss and/or client.
On my last job I served as an expert witness. I got paid $250/hr. But I did it as I was subpoenaed. I won't do it again as you have to deal with lawyers. I gave my deposition and haven't the vaguest idea of how the case came out.
I have been an EE for 23 years working for a large aerospace company (Hughes Aircraft --> now Boeing) I work in Integration and Test and design tests of satellite systems and system test equipment. I get to meet customers and go to various parts of the country to prepare satellites for launch or test them on orbit. I get to work with some pretty intresting technologies and work around many intelligent people. There are days when meetings go on and on and on and nothing gets decided - that can be frustrating. I think the basics of the engineering degree are still the most relevant; they give the ability to learn about the "real world" and don't overly specialize your point of view. My field is changed by additional computer technologies that are applied to automation and analysis. Stay open to new ideas and always keep learning.
Don't get snowed in by the "get an MBA" nay sayers; most of the MBA's I run into in engineering were weak engineers in the first place. A good systems engineer cannot be outsourced overseas because they are needed to develop the requirements that go overseas.
The different problems that crop up day to day. Along with the challenges of solving unique problems through the application of technology.
Every know and then, I still get bored out my skull in another meeting
I really wish that I had been paying more attention to the single class and lab in electric motors. I still get out that text book 15 years later.
Despite many of your respondants, heavy industry still uses technical talent. Those engineers that went the computer science route when I was in school will be screwed.
Silicon wafer fab, micro electronics and design, fourier transforms and reams of graph paper are great for school, but their only purpose in life is to teach you how to think. Unless you become a college professor or one of the 3 people that actually get high tech jobs.
Learn C++, visual basic. A lot of operator interfaces are using these languages.
If you need anything else, just ask here. (the e-mail is invalid)
I have found much more succes working as a maitnance tech than as a engineer. The degree does open up some doors into management if I ever decided to to use them. Frankly I make more as a tech than as a supervisor and dont have to deal with the people issues. I have found that most companies hire and fire engineers on as as-needed basis. As soon as the project is over with so is your job.
You are the very top of the EE profession..and you have earned that sweet spot....very very well done... and I recommended that to the young man.. I also said that if he didnt take that ultra high road that he would need and MBA to survive.
Now a rhetorical question for you..and be honest... what percentage of EE's in the world are doing work anywhere near close to the level at which you are operating? A few hundred? Maybe a thousand at most. Whats the percentage of all EE's.
My estimate is that its well under 1%... most will end up in drone positions.. fatal in my estimation... do not get me wrong.. I am not advising the young man out of the engineering business..only the bottom 95% of it... he has the option to aim high.
If I go looking for a wage job it will be in the 80 to 100k range max. thats 50 dollars an hour tops...and its 8 to 5 with a two hour commute and and an unpaid lunch our..an 11 hour day at least.
I can do 100k working 20 hour weeks as a mech/ electrical contractor. I have taken that route, after consulting for 15 years or so... talk about an utter pain in the ass... consulting offered that in *spades... with contracting.. its only the occasional money collection issue. I get to do what I want, my way..on my own hours.. and under my own terms...and turn down any nitwits or ruthless bastards that call.
The techs actually rule in the end.
The engineers, 95% at least are used as cannon fodder by an incredibly corrupt and inept corporate america.
My clients used to let me go as soon as they had picked my mind, gotten an options analysis, and the drawings 80% done... and they pushed hard for all that, often wanting me to start on finished drawings before I had investigated options... many times these people do not even realize there are options. They have one sort of thing in mind (usually the wrong thing) and want you to run the calcs.. lay it out.. then ...poooof gone.
For me it was almost impossible to fathom the level of abject idiocy... just unimaginable in many cases.
This mess is now getting exciting. For instance the Russians have developed what we call thier 'sunburn missile' we have absolutely NO defense against it, we tried to buy a bunch of them (no doubt so we could reverse engineer one)... they wont sell us one...but they have armed our enemies with them and the chinese also.
Now we have our fifth fleet in the Persian gulf sitting ducks for these missiles... an utter disaster.. we do not have the resident brains left in the US to design either counter measures, or an equivalent missile... the best we can do is send space shuttles up with known defects, insulation falling off etc... when we know for a fac that small chunks cause real risky damage... then when a 5 lb piece falls off we say...duhhhh...we dont know what a big one would do... so I guess we will just wait and see.
Impressive. the same logic prevails now broadly.
The price america is paying for letting idiot managers and greedy corporations drive our domestic engineering talent into the tank just because they were able to.
I also disagree with your premiss. If one wants to be an engineer, forget the MBA. If one wants to manage, get the MBA after *some* other degree. Here engineering is as good a choice as any other; better than most. There is another avenue that I haven't seen in these flame- fests. A law degree after engineering. There are big bux in there. Above all, do what you *like*. Engineering certainly isn't the place to "make money" (though the money is good).
No idea, but there are a few thousand around here and a thousand in the offices around me. It's not like there is *one* job out there for all EEs to compete for.
I disagree. An MBA is useless here, unless one wants to go into management (gack).
I will tell you that I don't know what percentages of people have been as fortunate as I have in the engineering field. I have spent most of my career at one company and at this point would not relish going out and beating the streets. I have had the privilege of working with some of the best and the brightest at Hughes Aircraft Co. (now Boeing and/or Raytheon), TRW (now Northrup Grumman), Lockheed Martin, JPL, and NASA. Obviously my industry has had radical changes over the years and is in fact known for its cyclical nature of boom and bust but I have managed to be gainfully employed the entire 23 years. I would absolutely agree that any one coming into the field do whatever they can to enhance their chances for success. I believe that good writing and communications skills are important along with the ability to participate as part of a team. If an MBA can enhance someones career that's great, but that person could also consider getting a law degree or go into medicine and leverage the engineering degree (biomedical engineering having many possibilities). I still hold that Systems Engineering is the way to keep from getting caught in the dregs of the field; developing requirements, specifications, and being responsible for the performance of a system as well as being part of trade studies can keep you engaged and cannot be outsourced well (unless the MBA leading the group is unaware of the distinction between systems engineering and procurement).
Respectfully Ron Butchart
"Phil Scott" wrote in message news:Rehnd.23205$ firstname.lastname@example.org...
Yep, I f had had it all to do again I would be working for myself. Got five years to go to have in my thirty and will probably start my own.Could easily make what I am making now out of my garage but think I will wait for my retiement bennies since I have gone this far.
That's *hardly* what most engineering is about. I sit in an *office* (private w/door) in front of (3) tubes and "crank out" verification tests or logic changes to fix negative timing margins for a high-end microprocessor. Is that "drone" work? It's certainly electrical
The union plumbers I know make about half that. ...and I *hate* plumbing. ;-)
I have my 30 (one employer) and am eligable to collect my pension now (I just turned 52, so can't retire, per se). Since the pension is in my pocket (and won't increase, except for any raises), I've been considering "something else", somewhere cheaper.