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  1. #11
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    If you're in college, go for some sort of co-op program where you can test the waters and gain experience while you're in school.
    +1000

    This is a great way to earn some decent money while in school, gain experience, and make connections as well. You could easily land your first job this way. The companies you work for will already know about your abilities and work habits, and be inclined to hire you when a new position opens up. It may not be your first choice of job, but if the job is at all decent, it would make a good stepping stone to the rest of your career. You will also come out ahead vs. other recent grads with the same degree/grades but no experience.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    I'd preferred "consulting" rather than "working for any one particular company." If you play your cards right with the whole "consulting" angle, you can maintain some sort of flexibility, work on a variety of projects, and at least avoid some of the terrible, terrible paperwork..
    So I'm hearing a lot about this terrible, terrible paper work that is slightly avoided by being a consultant. How terrible is it, really? Ie. What would the average, say, electrical engineer's job be like? Or, better question, what is the average day in your (you engineer, you) day? Or that of your colleagues?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    +1000

    This is a great way to earn some decent money while in school, gain experience, and make connections as well. You could easily land your first job this way. The companies you work for will already know about your abilities and work habits, and be inclined to hire you when a new position opens up. It may not be your first choice of job, but if the job is at all decent, it would make a good stepping stone to the rest of your career. You will also come out ahead vs. other recent grads with the same degree/grades but no experience.
    Sold.

  3. #13
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    Default Engineering? Engineering!

    I'm a process engineer (my degree is chemical) and I work in oil and gas in an office working out 'plans'.

    Engineering pays pretty good and considering the changes in the way the workforce is organised it is pretty much as stable as anything else.

    You also don't often get treated like crap because you are a valuable commodity once you know what you are doing.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    So I'm hearing a lot about this terrible, terrible paper work that is slightly avoided by being a consultant. How terrible is it, really? Ie. What would the average, say, electrical engineer's job be like? Or, better question, what is the average day in your (you engineer, you) day? Or that of your colleagues?
    Well.. it's not that bad. But it seems that, if you work for a larger organization, there's more bureaucratic mess to sift through as you're also sometimes doing actual tolerable work. Then again, I have a pretty low tolerance for that sort of thing.

    I'll give you an example. Working as a consultant and supporting a somewhat large company that in turn supported a government organization was one of the worst professional-level jobs that I've ever had. I was explicitly told that I was expected to reside in my cubicle for 75% of the working day, with the remaining 25% reserved for meetings. We worked toward deadlines, invariably marked with some sort of four-letter acronym, with no discussion as to the larger implications of the deadline or what exactly it was that we were working for.

    Management was clueless, primarily because the structure of the organization did their thinking for them. For example, they explicitly wanted to hire an engineer instead of a M.S. Psychology for an HR position.

    Oh, and the reorganizations were a bitch. Every six months or so, for barely any reason at all, people and tasks were shuffled around in some sort of terrible game of musical chairs.. except, instead of chairs, they were departments and resources. You know, whatever makes the analogy make sense.

    As far as the technical work itself, CAD design, computer programming, and other engineering tasks allow you to be somewhat creative when trying to come up with a solution to some problem that's out there in the world. Scouring through books, talking to colleagues, and performing research allows you to pull multiple resources together and synthesize a solution. The process can be pretty neat.


    In any case, a whole lot of "real" work has some paperwork associated with it. Nurses chart their patients' status, engineers fill out some "RIDS report".. so on and so forth. Some of it makes sense--a "Travel Authorization Form" ensures that you're on record as having traveled for your job in case you get hurt or need to be reimbursed for travel expenses. But, to the extent that it stifles innovation and creativity, I'd want to avoid it.

    When I've wanted to perform actual technical work, I've had better luck with smaller projects and/or smaller organizations. At least, in that case, you've got some control over your work and you can see what it is that you're working toward.


    I'll also say that, while I barely use my engineering degrees anymore, they were excellent in establishing my career.

  5. #15

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    Haha...Bologna, gonna be honest but that sounds like utter hell. I sure hope that's just an isolated case and not the majority of engineering work experiences.

    So what do you do now? You say it helped established your career. What might that be?

  6. #16
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    I am currently an EE. The work is usually interesting and can be challenging in that you need to constantly learn new things in order to be good at what you do. The pay is better than average. It's a great profession if it matches your personality. One word of warning, assuming that you're female, is that I have never met a female engineer who stayed in the technical field for more than a few years. They usually move to something more people oriented.

    I did mechanical in the past, but I found it more suitable for the ISTx type personalities. Most of the work involved creating CAD models, ensuring designs follow established guidlines and documenting them for manufacturing. I got bored after a few years.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    I am currently an EE. The work is usually interesting and can be challenging in that you need to constantly learn new things in order to be good at what you do. The pay is better than average. It's a great profession if it matches your personality. One word of warning, assuming that you're female, is that I have never met a female engineer who stayed in the technical field for more than a few years. They usually move to something more people oriented.

    I did mechanical in the past, but I found it more suitable for the ISTx type personalities. Most of the work involved creating CAD models, ensuring designs follow established guidlines and documenting them for manufacturing. I got bored after a few years.
    I am employed in research and have advanced physics training. Most of my peers also have physics degrees [BS, MS or PhD], most of whom are INTJ's and some INTP's. All the current women are INTJ's. My experience is the opposite, these women stick around. But again, its a science/engineering research environment. You better really like, or at least be able to put up with INTJ's to work in it. The list of not-in-my-immediate-workgroup friends/colleagues who have said things "that [person] is such a bitch/jerk/asshole, I don't know how you manage to put up with them!" is unfortunately not as small of a list as one might expect.

    I think the S/N divide is tremendous in engineering, and I'd take a S over an N pretty much any day of the week. They are more consistent, less scattered, less constantly brainstorming and abruptly changing plans, and much more in touch with "practical realities and difficulties."

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    Haha...Bologna, gonna be honest but that sounds like utter hell. I sure hope that's just an isolated case and not the majority of engineering work experiences.


    It is utter hell. It's the nature of large projects and large companies in general, though, no matter the specific discipline.

    In the beginning of a career, when options are limited and you're testing the waters, large companies might be suitable. I just like having my fingers in lots of different pots and I have a low tolerance for bullshit, so they're not for me.

    So what do you do now? You say it helped established your career. What might that be?
    My discipline is mostly psychological research, especially as it intersects computer modeling. I could go on about the different projects that I've been a part of, though--many have touched my discipline, and many haven't. You can make a career out of "being capable" rather than out of "being an expert in a particular discipline," though a hint of both is, of course, desirable. If you delve into the "capability" track, an engineering degree can help demonstrate that you are, indeed, capable. And if you happen to also be interested in the specific discipline that you studied--all the better.

    Small organizations and entrepreneurship have been where I've been most successful. In a smaller organization, it seems easier to be a part of the "big picture" of the organization itself. There's somewhat of a tradeoff between the flexibility of small organizations and the stability of larger ones, though.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    I think the S/N divide is tremendous in engineering, and I'd take a S over an N pretty much any day of the week. They are more consistent, less scattered, less constantly brainstorming and abruptly changing plans, and much more in touch with "practical realities and difficulties."
    That's because they enjoy handling the execution details that you hate doing. I think both types compliment each other in getting things done. My S colleagues dreads uncertain troubleshooting assignments, while I dislike detailing and documentation.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    In the beginning of a career, when options are limited and you're testing the waters, large companies might be suitable. I just like having my fingers in lots of different pots and I have a low tolerance for bullshit, so they're not for me.
    I also have a low tolerance for bullshit. Even where I work now (service industry crap) I don't mind calling my boss on it when I smell bullshit. Not really good for job security but there ya go. Good for personal sanity.

    Well, there's no telling what kind of entry-level job I'll get once I graduate. But I guess I'll say I'd rather make less money and have more freedom than make more and work for a large company like that. But I guess that's not entirely up to me to decide.

    No reason I should blame "engineering" for how these companies are structured.

    My discipline is mostly psychological research, especially as it intersects computer modeling. I could go on about the different projects that I've been a part of, though--many have touched my discipline, and many haven't. You can make a career out of "being capable" rather than out of "being an expert in a particular discipline," though a hint of both is, of course, desirable. If you delve into the "capability" track, an engineering degree can help demonstrate that you are, indeed, capable. And if you happen to also be interested in the specific discipline that you studied--all the better.

    Small organizations and entrepreneurship have been where I've been most successful. In a smaller organization, it seems easier to be a part of the "big picture" of the organization itself. There's somewhat of a tradeoff between the flexibility of small organizations and the stability of larger ones, though.
    This is great advice. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    One word of warning, assuming that you're female, is that I have never met a female engineer who stayed in the technical field for more than a few years. They usually move to something more people oriented.
    I'm confused as to what being female has to do with any of that. Anecdotal correlation =/= causation yo. But I can see myself being attracted to something more people oriented simply cause I'm extroverted.

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