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.
Thank you again for your time,
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
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
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
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
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
Search the following key words on Googles 'web' tab. in
"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
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.
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
On Sat, 20 Nov 2004 03:27:08 +0000, Phil Scott wrote:
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. ;-)
Keith (30 year drone)
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
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).
On 11 Nov 2004 02:21:38 GMT, email@example.com (KFMueller) wrote:
How about an Ohio State perspective? ;)
The different problems that crop up day to day. Along with the
challenges of solving unique problems through the application of
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
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
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.
This is something most engineers dont know.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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