Author Topic: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer  (Read 2683 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« on: January 29, 2019, 11:57:00 am »
Some of the most commonly asked questions:
- How do you become a professional electronics engineer?
- Can you be a professional engineer without a degree?
- How do you get an engineering job or contract job?

The different grade of engineering are also explained.
Professional engineers, Engineering Technologists, and Associate Engineers.

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2018/12/federal-judge-finds-state-law-governing-who-is-an-engineer-violates-free-speech.html

 
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Offline Psi

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2019, 12:01:30 pm »
Mr Bean with a soldering iron, what could go wrong.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline Psi

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2019, 12:12:23 pm »
If you want to make a big impression and really want to get an interview at a company here's one approach.

Make your CV as an A4/USletter sized PCB with black solder mask and gold/ENIG text. (US$74 for 5 pcs from elecrow.com)

The company is unlikely to throw something that looks that awesome into the bin :)
Even if you don't get the job your CV will probably hang around at the company for a while as a talking point :)

(Note the elecrow.com ENIG quality is a bit lacking, it thinner and doesn't look as 'gold' as the ENIG from other PCB fabs, but its cheap. PCBway is $165 for the same thing)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:14:26 pm by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2019, 12:13:46 pm »
Mr Bean with a soldering iron, what could go wrong.

I'd pay money to see that episode.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2019, 12:14:58 pm »
If you want to make a big impression and really want to get an interview at a company here's one approach.

Make your CV as an A4/USletter sized PCB with black solder mask and ENIG text. (US$74 for 5 pcs from elecrow.com)

The company is unlikely to throw something that looks that awesome into the bin :)
Even if you don't get the job your CV will probably hang around at the company for a while as a talking point :)

(Note the elecrow.com ENIG quality is a bit lacking, it thinner and doesn't look as 'gold' as the ENIG from other PCB fabs, but its cheap. PCBway is $165 for the same thing)

Flex PCB is the go. But no one mails in their resume any more.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2019, 12:16:34 pm »
Flex would be cool! But it's super expensive.
(Edit: Actually it's not too bad now, $120 for 1pcs at elecrow. Was like $800 when i last looked into flex)

Yeah, you'd want to email a electronics copy as well.
Also have a short link/QR code on the PCB CV pointing to the pdf copy.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:22:42 pm by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2019, 12:41:08 pm »
I'll add my voice to the publication of a project being an avenue to attract interest.

I simply mentioned a digital scale hack I had done - just here on the EEVblog - and it caught the attention of someone from Israel who commissioned me for another project.  What I posted wasn't even a full project presentation.  It was just enough to demonstrate I had a technique that had worked.

While I underquoted for the total work involved (part of my learning curve) I didn't mind too much as I had now expanded my body of work and added my first international customer - all from the comfort of my bench.


All this happened because someone really wanted something and found me through a casual reference.  Imagine how much more impact a properly prepared project presentation would have.
 
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Offline lpaseen

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2019, 12:46:41 pm »
Back in the mid 80s I finished my 2+2 years of electronic education (swedish "gymnasium" so not official degree) but the work I started with was in computers. After some decades of computer hacking the electronic interest came back (when rpi came out) and since then I done several small and medium project as a hobby, biggest being a electronic enigma replica (http://meinenigma.com). I was recently laid off from my job and I'm now starting to think about expanding my electronic interest/work from hobby to full time living. Given that I'm now less young I can't compete with people who done electronic engineering for 30 years so I'm aiming for simpler stuff.

My question is if it's some place where people ask for "can you make this rpi hat for me" or so, some kind of electronics hub that customers and people can meet?
I know that tindie has a "will do contract" but I don't think that's to much used.

/ps
 

Offline johnlsenchak

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2019, 02:45:58 pm »


Most of the electronic  manufacturing  jobs  in the United  States   have up and moved  to   China,  most  degrees  in that  field   are  pretty much worthless  in
my opinion. Most  tech high  schools  have given  up on electronic  programs  as  most teenagers  are not interested in doing this type of work any more
, so  why should they be interested in a 4  year college  degree ?
John Senchak "Daytona  Beach  Florida "
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https://www.facebook.com/john.senchak.1
 

Offline richnormand

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 03:00:30 pm »

@Dave:
Agreed with most of your points.
But PLEASE drop the strobe LEDs in the back. They do not add any added value to the video.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 03:07:52 pm by richnormand »
 

Offline Otm831

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 04:46:48 pm »
First off Hi everyone, long loong time viewer, first time poster!

I found this a really interesting video :)

I've always wondered if there was a route back in per se as my personal circumstances meant I wasn't able to first time round! Any advice from anyone with a UK perspective would be awesome!

So I several years back I got a place at a great Uni to do Electronic and Electrical Engineering (broad title but plenty of scope for finding an area of interest!), I particularly loved the semi-conductor / microprocessor architecture stuff. I got through to my final year, however, significant, and prolonged ill health, which is mostly behind me now, meant that I simply was not in a position to graduate. I was forced (not by anyone, just my ill health) to withdraw from my studies only needing like 45 credits worth of modules to actually graduate :'( (so less than half an academic years worth of modules) I was awarded a DipHE which I believe is akin to a more formal HnD for anyone who can make heads of whats that actually means! But I still feel a bit of stigma is attached to such awards as they arent a full degree, implying a dropout..... which has negative connotations, and ignores a multitude of reasons.

I've spent the last 5yrs working in an interesting industry (film) doing an interesting, techie type role. But my passion always will be Electronics....

I'm not in a position to afford the associated costs (unless UK tuition fees go back to being free!!!) of 'upgrading' the DipHE to a full BEng (basically jumping in with no real warm up opportunities to the final year of a Degree having been out of it for 5yrs) at either the original Uni, or any other institution. So what, if any, are peoples thoughts as to how I could (if even possible), work my way back in?

Thanks all and thanks Dave for the whole EEVBlog which allows me to still indulge a passion and has kept the flame alive!

Thanks in advance!
 

Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2019, 07:33:12 pm »


Most of the electronic  manufacturing  jobs  in the United  States   have up and moved  to   China,  most  degrees  in that  field   are  pretty much worthless  in
my opinion. Most  tech high  schools  have given  up on electronic  programs  as  most teenagers  are not interested in doing this type of work any more
, so  why should they be interested in a 4  year college  degree ?

Hmm dunno about that, I would say as long as you did your own project on the side then having intimate knowledge of PCB assembly is a very good skill to have. That way you are more familiar with the do's and don't of PCB design for manufacture

Offline JayNext

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2019, 07:34:25 pm »
Hi, Otm831!

I'm working as a computer engineer here in the UK, and I work surrounded by computer and electronic engineers. I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you don't need a formal education to work as a computer or electronic engineer, the bad news is that it's going to take you an incredible amount of effort to just get an opportunity to prove yourself.

Your best bet is to somehow make your way into an internship and get yourself noticed by key people. I know many people around me have no problems hiring first year students for an internship, and those usually know jack, so the requirements range from "having a good attitude" to "last year PhD students". Another good news is that internships in our field are paid, so you won't have to starve or burn through your savings. If you do really well and prove yourself in an internship, you can ask for open positions. Once we know you, it's easier to trust you.

Don't get me wrong, it's going to be hard and you're going to be turn down without an interview many times (if not most), but it's not impossible to get a job without a degree and/or experience. Once you get your first job and after two-four years of success at your job, degrees become irrelevant. What your managers and colleagues think of you and your ability is what matters.

If you're thinking about relocating outside of the UK, though, you will need a degree. Ideally, at least a master's. But, there are people who finish their degrees once they are already on the job, so don't give up on that just yet.

I want to wish you good luck and encourage you to pursue the career you want. Whenever you feel like it's impossible (and you probably will, at least a couple of times before you get your break), remember that you live in the country of Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 07:37:06 pm by JayNext »
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2019, 08:17:23 pm »
Here in the UK it's hard to get a job without a qualification. Not sure what it's like now, but in my uni days the courses were all 75% maths and 25% subject material.

The public actually support this situation, and that arises because they don't understand what the word 'maths' means in this context. They mostly think it means arithmetic, and can't understand why it wouldn't be a good thing for engineer candidates to be able to add subtract or multiply. Well, yes, I'd agree that if you can't do arithmetic then you shouldn't go into engineering of any kind.

If the public saw what is actually included in the maths section of degree courses though, their jaws would probably drop in consternation.  :wtf:  Much of it verges on abstract philosophy, and has not the slightest relevance to engineering.  :-// For example, dissertations over why the number one is not the same as the number two. Or whatever.

The consequence is that all science and engineering courses have a 'Maths Barrier' associated with them. Unless you have a love of abstract maths, you are going to be bored to tears by 75% of the course work. If it was 25% you might decide to grit your teeth and struggle through. But when it's most of the course, not many have the determination to do that. 

The issue I see here (and have met in practice) is that it predisposes for degree holders in virtually all disciplines being primarily abstract mathematicians, and only secondarily engineers or scientists. Put these people in a lab or workshop and they quickly break all the equipment because they haven't a sodding clue how to do real work.  Put them in a software house and they will come up with all kinds of pie in the sky ideas. (Ever seen evidence of this? -Silly question.)

I used to train people in bench work, and the worst guys to deal with were the ones with professional qualifications. All they did was to write down and then memorize everything you said to them. This they mostly did by writing it out over an over again. They hadn't a clue what the words meant, though. Most couldn't solder if their life depended on it, they would cut themselves if given any kind of sharp tool, and perhaps most surprisingly, couldn't do simple mental arithmetic like say what current will flow in a 1M resistor with 1v across it.  :palm:

As for the use of the word 'Engineer' I reckon a certificate of competence in operating a steam locomotive should be the legal requirement.  :-DD
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2019, 09:32:48 pm »
I'm not in a position to afford the associated costs (unless UK tuition fees go back to being free!!!) of 'upgrading' the DipHE to a full BEng (basically jumping in with no real warm up opportunities to the final year of a Degree having been out of it for 5yrs) at either the original Uni, or any other institution. So what, if any, are peoples thoughts as to how I could (if even possible), work my way back in?

What subjects are left to do? Do you deem any of them to be hard/troublesome?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2019, 09:33:43 pm »
This reminds me, maybe I should upgrade my IEEE membership to Senior Member just for kicks. I think I need other senior members for references to do that?  :-//
 

Offline Dries007

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2019, 09:42:33 pm »
Hi from Belgium!

Over here "Engineer" is a protected title, like PhD or doctor! You are not legally allowed to call yourself an "Ingenieur" (the translated term) without a 4 year Master of Science ("MSc")!
Then there is a difference between  "Civil Engineer" and "Industrial Engineer":
"MSc in Engineering" or "MSc Bio-engineer"  (title "ingenieur" or "Ir."),  "MSc in Industrial Engineering" or "MSc in Bio-sciences" (title "Industrieel ingenieur", or "Ing.")

Officially new graduates since 2004 only are supposed to only use the "MSc" title, and not the old "Ir." or "Ing.", since it's all unified under the bachelor-master EU unification thing (called the "Bologna Process"). No-one actually seems to do this though, everyone uses the old titles because all the HR people don't seem to know what an "MSc" is.

To get around the title restriction, many job descriptions/applications here use the English term "Engineer" instead, which then gets awkward when translated. People with a 3 year bachelors degree (called "Professional Bachelors" or "PBa") are often hired for EE or programming work, because they have more experience actually working, and they are cheaper.

I'm working on my MSc (Industrial Engineering) now, after first getting a PBa, because I wanted the practical diploma first. It hopefully will show prospect employers that I'm good on both the theory and practical sides. I hope to get into (embedded/low level) software.

The current job market for engineers is great, there is quite a shortage here, but a diploma is still required to get a good job. You won't get anywhere with just hobby projects, unless you have prior work experience.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 09:44:39 pm by Dries007 »
 

Offline bigsky

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2019, 09:45:58 pm »
I used to train people in bench work, and the worst guys to deal with were the ones with professional qualifications. All they did was to write down and then memorize everything you said to them. This they mostly did by writing it out over an over again. They hadn't a clue what the words meant, though. Most couldn't solder if their life depended on it, they would cut themselves if given any kind of sharp tool, and perhaps most surprisingly, couldn't do simple mental arithmetic like say what current will flow in a 1M resistor with 1v across it.  :palm:

I do agree with what you say about degrees being 75% maths - that was my experience as well (UK uni around 1990).

However, to suggest that people with professional qualifications are no good at practical work is going a bit far. We did plenty of lab work on our course, including constructing things, and I don't think anyone struggled. When I worked for a medium-sized company, again, we had dozens of electronic engineering graduates and they were all perfectly capable of wielding a soldering iron. Likewise, I never came across anyone who couldn't do simply mental arithmetic.
 

Offline frozenfrogz

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2019, 09:47:25 pm »
He’s like a trained ape. Without the training.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2019, 10:05:15 pm »
If you want to make a big impression and really want to get an interview at a company here's one approach.

Make your CV as an A4/USletter sized PCB with black solder mask and gold/ENIG text. (US$74 for 5 pcs from elecrow.com)

The company is unlikely to throw something that looks that awesome into the bin :)
Even if you don't get the job your CV will probably hang around at the company for a while as a talking point :)

(Note the elecrow.com ENIG quality is a bit lacking, it thinner and doesn't look as 'gold' as the ENIG from other PCB fabs, but its cheap. PCBway is $165 for the same thing)
The problem is that most larger companies have an HR front line, filled with people or even automated scripts which weed out people based on superficial criteria. There isn't a box to tick for "creative CV". "Incompatible with the system" and an automatic rejection is more likely, unfortunately.
 

Offline Raolin

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2019, 10:20:27 pm »
Hi, great video on how to get into the industry. Long time YouTube follower, but I joined the forum to comment on this video.

Unfortunately this isn't true for all of Australia.

Queensland is a special place where you do need to be registered thanks to the Professional Engineers Act 2002 - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/2013-09-23/act-2002-054

Part 7 details the offences, all carry maximum 1000 penalty units.

Specifically,
Quote
A person who is not a registered professional engineer must not carry out professional engineering services.

A professional engineering service is defined as
Quote
an engineering service that requires, or is based on, the application of engineering principles and data to a design, or to a construction or production activity, relating to engineering, and does not include an engineering service that is provided only in accordance with a prescriptive standard.

You can call yourself an engineer, but the term 'registered professional engineer' is protected.

The board doesn't investigate people randomly though, they will only investigate if a complaint is made about a service you provide or is referred to them following some other proceeding (say an injury or death from a product/system you've designed).
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 10:37:46 pm by Raolin »
 

Online gildasd

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2019, 10:30:39 pm »
Hi from Belgium!

Over here "Engineer" is a protected title, like PhD or doctor! You are not legally allowed to call yourself an "Ingenieur" (the translated term) without a 4 year Master of Science ("MSc")!
Then there is a difference between  "Civil Engineer" and "Industrial Engineer":
"MSc in Engineering" or "MSc Bio-engineer"  (title "ingenieur" or "Ir."),  "MSc in Industrial Engineering" or "MSc in Bio-sciences" (title "Industrieel ingenieur", or "Ing.")

Officially new graduates since 2004 only are supposed to only use the "MSc" title, and not the old "Ir." or "Ing.", since it's all unified under the bachelor-master EU unification thing (called the "Bologna Process"). No-one actually seems to do this though, everyone uses the old titles because all the HR people don't seem to know what an "MSc" is.

To get around the title restriction, many job descriptions/applications here use the English term "Engineer" instead, which then gets awkward when translated. People with a 3 year bachelors degree (called "Professional Bachelors" or "PBa") are often hired for EE or programming work, because they have more experience actually working, and they are cheaper.

I'm working on my MSc (Industrial Engineering) now, after first getting a PBa, because I wanted the practical diploma first. It hopefully will show prospect employers that I'm good on both the theory and practical sides. I hope to get into (embedded/low level) software.

The current job market for engineers is great, there is quite a shortage here, but a diploma is still required to get a good job. You won't get anywhere with just hobby projects, unless you have prior work experience.
And then the captain asks for an engineer over the VHF, he means the oil stained PBa’s 5 floors below, and not the clean shaven MSc sitting behind a desk 2 meters away...

Kidding aside, ship electricians are often MSc’s and are very hands on, from generators, to component level repair, to fixing computers.
And they are in short supply.
So for those looking to get their foot in, maybe an idea is spending 3 to 5 years at sea.
This will get you a very high level of experience not available on land because external contractors cannot be flown in most of the time, so you are going to fix that rotary converter with the manual, a multimeter and the available tools :)
I'm electronically illiterate
 

Offline Dries007

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2019, 10:48:32 pm »
And then the captain asks for an engineer over the VHF, he means the oil stained PBa’s 5 floors below, and not the clean shaven MSc sitting behind a desk 2 meters away...

Yup, that's why I'm going for both. I'd like to get the pay and the fun ;)
 
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Offline onlyrgu

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2019, 12:12:19 am »
If you want to make a big impression and really want to get an interview at a company here's one approach.

Make your CV as an A4/USletter sized PCB with black solder mask and gold/ENIG text. (US$74 for 5 pcs from elecrow.com)

The company is unlikely to throw something that looks that awesome into the bin :)
Even if you don't get the job your CV will probably hang around at the company for a while as a talking point :)

(Note the elecrow.com ENIG quality is a bit lacking, it thinner and doesn't look as 'gold' as the ENIG from other PCB fabs, but its cheap. PCBway is $165 for the same thing)

Or you can use your Creativity + Mircosoft Word
and make something like me!!
http://www.raghusoman.net/portfolio/Raghu_Soman_RnD_Engineer.pdf
 

Online gildasd

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2019, 01:04:35 am »
And then the captain asks for an engineer over the VHF, he means the oil stained PBa’s 5 floors below, and not the clean shaven MSc sitting behind a desk 2 meters away...

Yup, that's why I'm going for both. I'd like to get the pay and the fun ;)
But the oil stained PBa’s are officers, so get paid more and have better work/rest conditions.
Also officers can go up in grade at sea, to Chief, the engineering equivalent of captain (and same or better pay across the whole industry).
Electrical Engineer MSc seems to be the best balance of both worlds.
But MSc has it advantages like easier transfer to shore jobs and not having real responsibilities (as in life saving) to worry about.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 01:07:06 am by gildasd »
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