Electrical career?

Hi, I don't know if this is the right newsgroup, but maybe you all can help
anyways.
I'm 28 years old, at present I'm a computer programmer with little to no
formal training (but that doesn't seem to have stopped me). My formal
training is in piano, although I've experimented on and off with
electricity and electronics since I was 8 or 9. You could always say that
it's been my true passion.
I'm no slouch with electricity - I can wire things safely, do simple (and
sometimes not so simple) repairs.
I'm getting to a point in my life where I feel ready to decide what I really
want to do. I'm not sure I really like programming. I like the fact that
I can get the computer to do what I want, but I don't like the fact that I
just sit here at a desk all day. I like to get up and move around. I like
to work with heavy machinery and large electrical/electronic devices. I
like to go into machine rooms and work in that environment. I like to do
repairs or manufacturing - I like to build, fix and install things. When I
worked at a telecom company and they were building a machine room, I spent
more time in the room helping the contractors than doing my real job (which
they didn't seem to mind, as I managed to save the company some money by
catching a couple snafus on several occasions - one involving a potential
duplicate of a fiber-optic install).
I feel that with the right training, etc., I'm definitely more than capable
of doing this kind of work.
My question is, how do I get started? What steps do I have to go through in
order to accomplish this? What do I have to look forward to? What are the
disadvantages to this kind of work, and is it even possible to go into the
career that I would like to?
Thanks in advance.
--Russell
Reply to
Russell Miller
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To become an Electrical Engineer, several qualifications are required: 1) Excellent math skills & grasp of physics (need to get A's in these subjects) 2) Minimum 4 year engineering degree from good to excellent engineering college 3) A particular area of specialization during junior & senior years (i.e. computers, telecom, semiconductors, power engineering, digital or analog electronics, etc.) - again need to get mostly A's in those classes 4) Get a job where you can get real-life experience/expertise in your chosen field of expertise 5) Rock-solid performance for a minimum of 5 to 10 years in your field to become a "real, battle-tested engineer" (no longer called or treated as "engineer in training" or "junior engineer") 6) If your particular area of expertise requires PE (Professional Engineer) certification, you can now take a day-long test (plus recommendation of 3 other PE's) and if you pass, you get your own big stamp and give the PE stamp of approval on electrical circuit/system designs certifying that the design meets safety & performance standards as published in National Eletrical Code (or other standards which may apply to the design). This is a pretty rigorous 10 years (or longer) course both intellectually and self-discipline (to stay the course even when things don't always go your way).
To become a Technician, you only need a 2 year college degree and academically it is a lot less demanding (high-level math such as advanced calculus & probability/statistics courses are not required) and 2 or 3 year experience is sufficient to do your job well. However, a technician will always work under supervision of a professional engineer as final authority to "sign off" on a project. Of course pay is significantly less than an engineer, too.
To become an Electrician, more hands-on training (such as bending conduits, installing/wiring electrican panels & running wires). Excellent math aptitude is helpful but not mandatory as you normally follow existing tables & charts (instead of creating such a chart - normally an engineer's job). But dexterity with your hands, very strong back & physical exertions are needed to pull large & heavy wires through conduits (and in the cold/wet/hot conditions when you are doing the work in a new house or new building where heat & electricity do not yet exist (in fact, you are installing the wires needed to provide such creature comforts). Several years of apprenticeship (under a master electrician) & passing a certification test are needed for you to become a "Licensed Electrician".
These are the 3 ways that I know for someone who wants to work in the electrical field to earn a living. Qualifications & type of work are quite different. But one thing is common - ability to stay the course & pass the tests administered by certifying bodies (state boards or other professional engineer's/master electrician's review of your work). Lots of self-discipline and patience. But that's true regardless of any worthwhile career (being a pianist, certified teacher, or medical doctor). "No Pain, No Gain" - nothing in life (that pays well at least) is easy to do !!!
Reply to
Nam Paik
in article snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com, Nam Paik at snipped-for-privacy@tsipower.com wrote on 11/29/03 6:07 AM:
Nowhere in this post was there any indication that to legally practice in the United States as an "Electrical Engineer," it is necessary to be licensed as a "Professional Engineer" in the state where it is practiced. Morover, there is a GRADUATE degree available called "Electrical Engineer." BSEE or the equivalent is not the same. Even so, such a degree does not allow practice without the state licensing.
Bill
Reply to
Repeating Decimal
It's not. Some states may have some prejudice, but AFAIK an EE degree from an accredited institution allows one to call themselves an "engineer" in all 50. Of course "Professional Enineer" is reserved for the "Society of Professional Engineers", a professional union.
From some schools. It's not universally recognized, but goes by the school giving the degree.
Hogwash. It depends on the field/state/particulars. EEs are often not required to be licensed to be "engineers".
Reply to
Keith R. Williams
in article snipped-for-privacy@enews.newsguy.com, Keith R. Williams at snipped-for-privacy@attglobal.net wrote on 11/29/03 5:59 PM:
I do not wish to belabor the point, but look at Section 6704 of the appropriate code for California. It will be found at:
formatting link
I did forget to mention that there are, and the site mentioned above mentions, that there are exceptions. The main one that covers most engineers is the *industrial* exception. Although this exempts employees from many of the requirements of the act, it does not exempt the employers. Where public safety is involved, engineering must be blessed by professional engineers.
Look at other requirements mandated by the act. Most states have similar requirements.
Bill
Reply to
Repeating Decimal
in article snipped-for-privacy@enews.newsguy.com, Keith R. Williams at snipped-for-privacy@attglobal.net wrote on 11/29/03 5:59 PM:
I do not wish to belabor the point, but look at Section 6704 of the appropriate code for California. It will be found at:
formatting link
I did forget to mention that there are, and the site mentioned above mentions, that there are exceptions. The main one that covers most engineers is the *industrial* exception. Although this exempts employees from many of the requirements of the act, it does not exempt the employers. Where public safety is involved, engineering must be blessed by professional engineers.
Look at other requirements mandated by the act. Most states have similar requirements.
Bill
Reply to
Bob
Charles Perry P.E.
Since when is California, the United States?
in article snipped-for-privacy@enews.newsguy.com, Keith R. Williams at snipped-for-privacy@attglobal.net wrote on 11/29/03 5:59 PM:
I do not wish to belabor the point, but look at Section 6704 of the appropriate code for California. It will be found at:
formatting link
I did forget to mention that there are, and the site mentioned above mentions, that there are exceptions. The main one that covers most engineers is the *industrial* exception. Although this exempts employees from many of the requirements of the act, it does not exempt the employers. Where public safety is involved, engineering must be blessed by professional engineers.
Look at other requirements mandated by the act. Most states have similar requirements.
Bill
Reply to
Charles Perry
Do you live in the UK.
Reply to
Arthur Simpson
Try learning to program the inventsys 8000 used for building automation systems. It is installed for many buildings to control air flow, temperature, humidity, etc.
Reply to
Gerald Newton
That would be "Invensys" and is one of many, many systems out there.
The Building Automation industry is the same size or bigger than the Industrial Automation industry (PLCs, etc.) in the western world and, money-wise, is well worth getting into if you are that way inclined.
Cameron:-)
Reply to
Cameron Dorrough
Well, this is one of those soprt of things. Most EEs work for private employers and never sell their services outside that employer, and are thus not required to be PEs.
If you want to open up a shop and "sell" engineering services as such, you probably will need a PE. OTOH - you can sell the exact same service and use some other title (such as designer, consultant, etc.) and not need to be a PE. Mostly the PE thing is prevalent in government contracts and in areas subject to a lot of government influence (such as power plant construction).
If you want to be able to sign off on designs for power systems for large plants, you will probably need a PE stamp to impress the building inspectors with how brilliant you are, but for a lot of work, its just not a necessity. But its not a bad merit badge to have to add to your resume. Go take the FE test as soon as you are eligible (usually yur engineering school will have a review class and the test is soon afterwards)and take the PE test as soon as you can before you forget everything. You rarely use much of what you learned in school, and you want to go take the test before you forget it all, except for the tiny bit you actually use.
Reply to
bob peterson
in article snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com, bob peterson at snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote on 12/1/03 7:48 AM:
The various statutes are very specific as what constitutes engineering. Calling yourself a designer or whatever does not let you off the hook. These statutes are not enforced well. I am not a lawyer so my take on these statutes is not professional.
One time I did want to sort of practice outside my state. I called up the licensing authority of that state. They said that reciprocity would allow me to register in that state without going through the usual process. I would have to register and pay the registration fee. I merely advised on what I thought a solution to their problem would be. I sent them to a provider of suitable equipment in that state. I never left my state. I do not know if what I did was legal. Anyway, I am pretty sure the statute of limitations time is over.
Bill
Reply to
Repeating Decimal
If you offer engineering services to the public, or operate as a company with the name "engineering" or "engineer" you must be licensed in the state where you offer those services. "Professional Engineer" (PE) refers to someone licensed by the state. It has nothing to do with NSPE membership. NSPE is a professional society. It is NOT a union!
Ben Miller
Reply to
Ben Miller

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