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  1. #11
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    Do you know any engineers? Find out what their work is really like. If it's really what you enjoy, then definitely go for your degree. The amount of debt you will incur is miniscule compared to the income that you will have over the long term. I learned to live well on almost nothing when I was in university. I was debt free after 2 years and never had money worries again.

    The problem with trades isn't the pay. It's that they are physically demanding, repetitive and can involve working in uncomfortable environments. That's not necessarily bad if you have the personality for it. But I spent over a year doing that sort of stuff. I can tell you that it was like going to heaven when I got my first tech job in a comfortable office.

    You're still a zygote at 21. There were men and women in their 30's when I was in uni.

  2. #12
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    Do you know any engineers? Find out what their work is really like. If it's really what you enjoy, then definitely go for your degree. The amount of debt you will incur is miniscule compared to the income that you will have over the long term. I learned to live well on almost nothing when I was in university. I was debt free after 2 years and never had money worries again.

    The problem with trades isn't the pay. It's that they are physically demanding, repetitive and can involve working in uncomfortable environments. That's not necessarily bad if you have the personality for it. But I spent over a year doing that sort of stuff. I can tell you that it was like going to heaven when I got my first tech job in a comfortable office.

    You're still a zygote at 21. There were men and women in their 30's when I was in uni.
    Technically, engineers design much like how architects design buildings (If a bit something more feasible I suppose.) Engineers often work in a group with other engineers (in this case other electrical engineers, civil engineers, construction engineers... etc depending on what is worked on.)

    Electronic/Electrical engineers design (in a very broad field) electrical inputs/outputs for something big like power grids to something small like computer systems (often overlapping with computer engineering.)

    But it is sort of like Not_Me said, it depends on what you wanted to do. Engineers design the systems a lot more than they actually create and maintain those systems. They may create the first couple of systems, but after that, it is in the hands of the other people to maintain them.

    It is sort of like a bridge. The civil engineers and architects design (often in groups) and create the blueprint of the bridge, the associates and the construction workers build from that blueprint. And when it is done, the bridge workers do maintenance on the bridge (like fixing lightning) so it is fine throughout its lifespan.

  3. #13
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me
    The problem with trades isn't the pay. It's that they are physically demanding, repetitive and can involve working in uncomfortable environments. That's not necessarily bad if you have the personality for it. But I spent over a year doing that sort of stuff. I can tell you that it was like going to heaven when I got my first tech job in a comfortable office.
    that was my thought as well. i'm working a physically intensive job currently, though i have a uni degree. i cannot WAIT to get my ass in an office, instead of coming home insanely tired, sore, and bored.

    but i suspect most electricians do cooler stuff than what i'm doing now.

    i figure the question mainly lies in how hands-on you like to be. if very, then go for electrician. if you prefer the theoretical, go to university.

    me personally, i loved college. i learned so, so much about the world and myself and how to interact with others. it really forced me to grow up in a lot of ways, more than just earning a degree. i don't think i could have gotten those experiences elsewhere, and i don't regret it for a second. *plus i built up a good resume while i was there, so i don't feel like i wasted my time.
    Last edited by skylights; 07-08-2011 at 04:59 PM.

  4. #14
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    i figure the question mainly lies in how hands-on you like to be. if very, then go for electrician. if you prefer the theoretical, go to university.
    This is a good point.

  5. #15
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    In general, electricians will be walking around all day working with tools and stuff, probably talking to a bunch of clients, while an engineer will be mostly sitting at a computer in between meetings with people. So the actual jobs will be totally different, despite the common interest in electrical things. Which one appeals to you more? Do you think you'll be bored of it in 5 or 10 years? Hard to say, but you probably have an idea.

    Anecdote: my dad is an electrical engineer with a college degree. He frequently says he wishes he got a university degree since so many doors were closed to him, even though his peers at work were usually university grads. YMMV, obviously, other people would regret the opposite, I'm sure.

    edit: probably if you ask around, you can find an electrician to shadow for a day or two. Engineer might be harder, but if you could do both that'd be perfect.
    -end of thread-

  6. #16
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    Why not just try your hand at the apprenticeship? If it doesn't work out, you can always do uni whenever. There's no age limit, so if the more expensive/involved option can be delayed and potentially rendered unnecessary, by all means.
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  7. #17
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegorystory View Post
    It is no secret among my friends that I would KILL to be an engineer (I'm thinking electrical, but mechanical is also calling my name).

    But recently (amidst a hike in my living expenses as well as my medication expenses) university is looking more and more like a dream right about now. I'm also 21, which is practically ancient in university years (I know, I'm exaggerating, but I'm seriously not getting any younger).

    I was wondering if it wouldn't perhaps be better if I went in for, say, an electrician apprenticeship to become an electrician. It would be MUCH less expensive than uni and I know that skilled labourers tend to do pretty well for themselves financially. I can maybe do more inventive, tinkery things as a personal hobby.
    I just feel that I really don't want to go through all that time and get into all that debt if I could have an equally fulfilling life doing something else. However, I also feel like engineering would be a great fit for me and I certainly have a passion and knack for it.


    Anyway, advice/discussion/reprimand...it would all be appreciated here.
    bold: in most cases I would say "it's not worth it, college is becoming less and less relevant" but in the case of an engineer, you can easily pay that back in a few years. go for it, even if you have to take out some seemingly obscene loans. also, I think 21 is a better age to start college. frankly, most of the 18 and 19 year old college students I know are complete imbeciles and don't have the discipline and/or attention span that a 21 year old would.

    underlined: the question is if it's really equally fullfilling. if yes, that option is good too.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    Lol .. I'm 32 and went to a univeristy open day last weekend to enquire about getting a degree and i was speaking to a woman who was 40 and also looking into it. You are never too old.

    An apprenticeship is a good idea to get a feel for it and its good for practical hands-on experience. However if you are academically inclined then i'd say go for the degree.

    You are still young enough so have plenty of options available. Ultimately only you can make the decision though.

    Good luck with whatever you decide
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post
    Lol .. I'm 32 and went to a univeristy open day last weekend to enquire about getting a degree and i was speaking to a woman who was 40 and also looking into it. You are never too old.
    The oldest person I've met so far in college was in her 70's

    But she did it more for the fun than anything else.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Rave View Post
    The oldest person I've met so far in college was in her 70's

    But she did it more for the fun than anything else.
    I have the upmost respect for anyone at any age who is willing to go into an educational setting to seek/develop new skills.

    Kudo's to her
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
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