Pursue MS ME or Get Industry Experience First?

Just wondering if I can get an opinion on this dilemma. I have yet to
get any engineering experience, I graduated in 2004 and stupidly turned
down an automotive engineering job in Kentucky thinking I might get
another offer elsewhere but didn't. I ended up taking a contract job
for the DOD back here in Hawaii last year and am waiting until the
clearance goes through.
So now I am considering possibly going back to school to pursue a
masters in ME at the University of Hawaii. I figured I should do it
now while I am waiting for my security clearance to go through. On the
other hand, I have been talking with a recruiter who says that I can
always get the Master's Degree later and recommends getting a couple of
years of experience first. The only thing is I'd prefer to get the MS
in ME done now versus wait until I'm 3 to 5 years older. Anybody have
an opinion?
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Hey cartoonkid,
**NOTE: These are not my opinions on college selection and/or recommendations these were given to me**
My undergraduate heat and mass transfer professor (at Purdue University, West Lafayette) once took half the hour lecture to explain the advantages and disadvantages of "going on" to get a Masters and/or Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. To this date, I generally consider it the best piece of advice regarding masters and doctorate programs becuase of the candid and realistic nature of the material (good and resonable advantages and disadvantages).
1) To get higher degree are higher pay (ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY in industry concerning doctorates).
2) Better knowledge of the material.
3) Options for starting your own businesses and consulting practices, and company selection (as some companies desire higher degrees and lawyers will hire PhD's to give expert testimony in many cases).
These are obvious, some which are less obvious, are the disadvantages. There are:
1) Although a masters degree does generally get a higher pay than simply a BSME, the exact amount, on average is VERY small between a BSME or a Master ME to a Doctorate ME.
2) If the point listed above is a problem for you and, as an BSME, you intend to go for a Ph.D., the time required is extrodinary (sometimes as much as 8 additional years)
3) The time required may be an issue due to student loan obligations aquired during the undergrad years.
4) If you are coming back to school from the work force (after a few or several years), you may not be willing or be able to accept the new time commitments (especially if you have a family) and/or money constraints that will be afforded to you. Basically, a student salary is less than an industry salary (in general), and some people cannot afford it. A company that has a tuition reinbursement program may lighten this load.
There was some other minor stuff that I cannot remember right now concerning the Master and Ph.D. programs at Purdue (because I was not interested), but what he said concerning higher degree college selection is what will apply to you the most.
Depending on where you got you undergraduate degree, he claims (and he claims he has seen this in industry) that you can actually degrade your entire enigneering education background by choosing a poor Masters engineer school (a poor Masters engineering school to him was under the top 20 or so). I do not know where U of Hawaii ranks. Nor is this my opinion defining a good engineer as I am disillusioned with my own school and it holds an 8th place (last I checked).
Most of the stuff above was obvious, but some got me thinking. I don't remember some fo the stuff as it was a while ago.
Hope this helps. I would also recommend posting to some education newsgroups as they may have more industry knowledge and such.
--Adam Joseph Cook, Mechanical Engineer
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Adam Joseph Cook
Adam Joseph Cook wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
But in some industries, eg automotive, you will be lucky to see any higher pay, age for age, for a long while
material you may never use. I am one of the few engineers I know who use third year (Britsh undergraduate) material regularly.
In my field, automotive engineering, advanced degrees are not regarded especially highly. Occasionally we find a Dur. who contributes effectively, but usually they spend far too much time prancing around creating excessively complicated experiments and annoying the guys in the workshop.
Greg Locock
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Greg Locock
Hey Greg,
I totally agree. I do not think that getting a Ph.D. makes you a better engineer. Nor do I think that getting a Ph.D. will improve your OVERALL knowledge base since Ph.D's are tightly specialized in one small part of the mechanical engineer field (i.e. the dissertation of a Ph.D. in ME may read "Lubrication Fluid Flow Conditions in Rolling Element Bearings...blah blah blah") I think the best compromise (in terms of time involved and a POTENTIAL pay increase and industry demand) is a masters degree. I do, however, believe you should take into account the number of years of work experience when deciding on a Masters degree. In my opinion, if you have been on the job for 15+ (maybe 10+) years a Masters degree will do you little good, since your industry experience will start to outwiegh any benefits a Masters degree will give you (in terms of pay, company selection, and job security). Personally, after 10+ years on the job I would not go back to school.
The above post is what my professor thought, this is what I think.
--Adam Joseph Cook, Mechanical Engineer
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Adam Joseph Cook
I would disagree with the pay difference that you say is VERY small between a BSME and MSME degree. Everywhere I have looked at, and most salary web sites show that a MSME will make up to about $10,000 more per year. That is what happened what happened to me. My first job was hiring BSME's for $48k, and I got $56k with a MSME.
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"YouGoFirst" wrote in news:8w%Cg.591597$ snipped-for-privacy@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net:
In Australia the trend is reversed, for engineers. Each additional degree costs you 0-10k per year, as a starting salary, compared with your first degree. Sorry, I don't have a cite for that, but there is an annual survey in "The Australian" where the trend has been clear for the last three years, at least.
Greg Locock
Reply to
Greg Locock
Get a job.
Once you start to see how much you don't know, and how much different real work is compared to the Ivory Towers, then you'll be a better student.
Work for two years or so, then go get the Masters at night. Any decent company will pay your tuition & books, etc. Mine did, and still does. The company paying is worth a lot of money. And they usually don't quibble about state schools or private schools. We have tons of engineers going to USC which is $1059.00 per unit this year.
Some companies even have a fellowship program where you work usu. no more than 35 hours per week and go to school during the day, too. Although you can do a fellowship and go to school exclusively at night.
I was able to relate much better the Master's work to my aerospace job by having experience under my belt and money in my pocket. Being poor all the time sucks. Having a master's degree and being an ignorant rookie sucks too.
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Harry Andreas
snipped-for-privacy@computer.org (Harry Andreas) wrote in news:andreas-1108061707510001@
I'll agree. Two years in the job will make a huge difference. In my business (automotive), an engineer fresh out of school with no experience is almost a liability for the first year, usually two. Someone has to pay to train the fresh fella how the real world works, what actually works, and what doesn't, how to draw prints that don't cost you a fortune for a square block, etc. I've trained a few. It takes time away from the more senior engineer's day.
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