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  1. #1

    Default Skilled trade vs. University education

    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.

  2. #2
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    Get your engineering degree. Life is too short to take your second choice.

    -graduated at age 27

  3. #3
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    Try Europe.
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    Music provides one of the clearest examples of a much deeper relation between mathematics and human experience.

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    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    I'm 22. I went to college for two years and I totally wasted it. I haven't gone back yet - I don't know what I really want to do there, and I don't want to waste the time and effort on something I'm not sure about.

    I was in engineering the first year, actually.

    Right now, I'm working various jobs, but primarily I'm a handyman. I work for myself. I'm not a full scale contractor, but I do good enough work and people like me, so I get most my jobs via referrals. I'm looking more and more into specific trades. I've considered various internship programs, but I'm still figuring out the rest of my life so I'm taking my time with it.

    Some internship programs in skilled trade you can try out via their networks, but you might be able to network and meet someone in a perspective field and try working for them for a bit.


    This all said, if you really are that into engineering, you could probably figure something out.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    First of all, it's never too late to get your degree if that's what you want, but if financing that is a problem right now, then you may need to put that off until you can afford it and there is nothing wrong with being an electrician. That is a great job. About a year ago I met a brand new electrician here in california where I live and he was making $35/hour and was busy every day.

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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    At this point in time, considering how the economy is in America, all the people with their business degrees are flocking to the 9 to 5 desk jobs at large corporations (and being laid off from them), pushing paper and clicking little boxes on their computer screens. Learning a skilled trade is invaluable, because there will always be a demand for your skill and not a whole lot of people doing it. You'll have job security solely based on your unique skill, and that's comforting.

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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Oh, and not to mention all the jobs that have been/are being outsourced to other countries.

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    Senior Member Sanctus Iacobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignite View Post
    Oh, and not to mention all the jobs that have been/are being outsourced to other countries.
    This is a very good point. In a world where more and more is becoming virtual, occupations which meet unavoidable natural needs will always have some degree of security that others wont. Even car mechanics are finding much of their work done via electronic diagnostics... occupations like farmer and construction worker and such will always be needed, though. Consequently, these are also the jobs that are physically arduous, which will surely reduce their appeal (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your willingness to do them).

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    Junior Member Phthalate's Avatar
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    As a college graduate with an engineering degree - I have to ask you a couple of questions.

    What sort of labor do you see yourself doing with an engineering degree? How is getting an engineering degree gonna help you with your goals?

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    I think it's always good to know how to do something with your hands because what you go to university for is generally either highly specialized, therefore limiting you to a particular field, or so vague that you have to get multiple degrees in order to make it useful.

    On the other hand, if you really want to be an engineer, be an engineer. If you have a real passion and a knack for it, then don't give up.

    I left school because I was like, "what the hell am I doing here, I don't want to be a teacher anymore, I think I might want to arrange flowers or decorate cakes."

    However, I still have put my years at university to good use. The work I do at the moment is related to what I majored in.

    So you never know, I guess.

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