Author Topic: Degree necessary for EE field?  (Read 35374 times)

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Offline Howardlong

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2015, 01:00:52 am »
Where I work the management agrees with many here that fancy degrees are meaningless  and look to replace engineers with lower cost labor, eventually machines.

I've seen my fair share of that too. In the end they appear to end up with three expensive project managers for each tech. Soul destroying.
 

Offline photon

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2015, 02:55:56 am »
Engineering and science are two different professions. IMHO, an engineer does not do science but must know it. Learning science, the most powerful expression of the mind, is a life long and impossible task. Granted, most engineering jobs are driving tools and after 10 years, degree or not, anyone can learn to drive those tools. But understanding what you are doing at the deepest level is important, IMHO. Where I work, you see engineers looking to learn new things and not being satisfied with just the mechanicals of their jobs. Management hates that and call it disloyalty or labels the engineer a job hopper. Bottom line is they do not want to lose their investment and have to train another monkey. But the engineer knows that he must learn and do new things.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2015, 04:09:19 am »
Where I work, you see engineers looking to learn new things and not being satisfied with just the mechanicals of their jobs.
Naturally.

Quote
Management hates that and call it disloyalty or labels the engineer a job hopper.
That's sad.

Quote
Bottom line is they do not want to lose their investment and have to train another monkey. But the engineer knows that he must learn and do new things.
Neither does the management where I work. But the management want to hold on to their talented people and doesn't want to see them leave. So part of that is to provide extensive internal training and learning opportunities, e.g. via a company "university" program, or via a centralized on-line learning center where you can sign up for courses and get company credits for passing them. Annual reviews emphasize growth, development and training plans.

In short, if you want to hold on to people you need to provide what they need, but enlightened management realizes that the company benefits from this and should make every effort to provide learning opportunities for its staff.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2015, 04:19:16 am »
If they dont offer competitive salaries then of course people are going to move on. Sure, they trained them but in order to keep their staff they must pay them accordingly.
 

Offline photon

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2015, 05:24:19 am »
Management hates that and call it disloyalty or labels the engineer a job hopper.
That's sad.

I don't think so. I understand that a company is trying to make money, not train an engineer.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2015, 05:41:22 am »
My employer had a big problem when they opened a new plant in an Asian location. As expected, they had thousands of applicants and hired and trained them, afterwhich 100s of them promptly quit and went to work elsewhere because they had signed up only for the training and not for the job.  Apparently the name-brand recognition of the company and the reputation of the training were highly valued among other tech employers.
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2015, 05:51:43 am »
If you try to hire fresh graduates to design circuits and products for you, then I think you are suffering from a mismatch between expectation and reality.

A good interviewing process will enable such people to be found. Of course it takes time and energy, and expecting all fresh grads to be able to do that is unrealistic.

I was thrown into designing circuits in the second week, TTL and microcomputer circuits that nobody else in the building could design. But then I couldn't design the circuits they were making!
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Online rx8pilot

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2015, 05:54:18 am »
As an employer, I will offer a salary based on what you can actually do. If an applicant shows up claiming various skills, experience, degrees, etc and therefore demanding a salary they think is fair. I simply tell them that if they want the big bucks, they have to earn the big bucks. No company on earth makes profits from promises or degrees. They make money for actually doing something.

What I see as a problem is not lack of experience or a problem with education, it is laziness and unrealistic expectations on the part of the employees. This is not true of everyone, but where I live it is the dominant reality. The cold hard truth from the perspective of an employer (especially in small business), is that everyone has to carry double their own weight. If you are young you may struggle because you lack practical experience - you need to work harder to make up the gap. For the older engineers, they tend to spend too much time thinking that they have so much experience that they should get paid more money. What they need to do is take that experience and use it to accomplish more than anyone else instead of just talking about what they have done in the past. Companies do not make profits on what the engineering team in the past.

I have seen this laziness streak across the US from machinists, to EE, ME, assembly, finance, marketing, etc. In the real world, companies need bottom line results just to stay in business as we live in a global economy. I am competing with China daily and cannot afford to have ANY dead weight. This is why I fired the whole company and starting all over. The re-boot is focused on automation and other tools that reduce/eliminate the need for people as much as possible. Those that I do hire may or may not have degrees, but they will be expected to be smart and clever for the 8 hours they work. They also need to be someone that chose that job because they like it and have a personal interest in it. It is not good for small businesses to have the "I got this degree because I wanted a good job" applicants. That will work at big firms where the engineering tasks get sub-divided a thousand times before the entry-level engineers ever see it. Small to medium businesses switch gears often and fast. The whole team needs to be fast a nimble, but most important is never stop learning. Self-educate on a daily basis. Your degree is merely your first step that shows you have some initiative and you test well.

Be valuable. That is how you get a job that pays well. Your interview skills may get you an entry-level job, but you will go nowhere if you are not valuable. If you get demonstrate value during your interview, you may even start with a good salary.

Side note: I am a self-educated ME and EE that has built and sold numerous small businesses during the past 20+ years. If I don't know something, I learn it. If I run into a problem, I solve it. If I cannot figure it out, I ask. Super simple. I am not in the minority of business owners that expect work out their employees. Showing up is not working.
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. http://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Online rx8pilot

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2015, 06:02:15 am »
If you try to hire fresh graduates to design circuits and products for you, then I think you are suffering from a mismatch between expectation and reality.

A good interviewing process will enable such people to be found. Of course it takes time and energy, and expecting all fresh grads to be able to do that is unrealistic.

I was thrown into designing circuits in the second week, TTL and microcomputer circuits that nobody else in the building could design. But then I couldn't design the circuits they were making!

I agree. My expectation of ANYONE is to demonstrate that they know how to learn. If they don't walk out of college and immediately design a complicated circuit, it is not surprising. I do, however, want to see the learning process fully developed so that they can absorb the training offered. Recent grads are so used to very formal presentation of problems followed by a structured test where >70% is passing. This is not even close to how a real EE environment will work. The problems can be obscure and hard to identify, there is no one to grade your interpretation of the problem. The 'semester final exam' is delivering something to paying customers that can crush your reputation on the internet if you make less than 100% on that 'exam'
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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2015, 06:06:24 am »
For those not following the other thread: "Ladyada interview with Paul Horowitz - The Art of Electronics"...
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/ladyada-interview-with-paul-horowitz-the-art-of-electronics/

Prof. Horowitz, co-author of the apparently venerated Holy Bible of modern electronics stated right up front that he had no formal electronics training. Which apparently was no barrier to holding professorial appointments at Harvard in both physics and electrical engineering.
 

Online rx8pilot

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2015, 06:09:16 am »
That was, by far, the big takeaway from the interview. Since I am self-educated, it really struck a chord. I have a chance I guess.
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Online IanB

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2015, 06:37:27 am »
Prof. Horowitz, co-author of the apparently venerated Holy Bible of modern electronics stated right up front that he had no formal electronics training. Which apparently was no barrier to holding professorial appointments at Harvard in both physics and electrical engineering.

That's disingenuous. Paul Horowitz apparently gained B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard (in physics). I think that counts as formal training, and it certainly qualifies him to be appointed as a professor. If you try to say that a physicist can't do electronics, I have no idea where you are coming from.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Online mtdoc

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2015, 06:38:10 am »
Prof. Horowitz, co-author of the apparently venerated Holy Bible of modern electronics stated right up front that he had no formal electronics training. Which apparently was no barrier to holding professorial appointments at Harvard in both physics and electrical engineering.

Not exactly. What he said is that he never took an electronics course. That does not mean that in the process of getting his Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees in physics at Harvard he did not get electronics training. I'm sure he did.

Still, the point is well taken. He does not have an EE degree yet obviously has been doing EE work for many years.


(Oh - looks like IanB beat me to it!)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 06:40:34 am by mtdoc »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #63 on: June 01, 2015, 06:39:54 am »
As an employer, I will offer a salary based on what you can actually do. If an applicant shows up claiming various skills, experience, degrees, etc and therefore demanding a salary they think is fair. I simply tell them that if they want the big bucks, they have to earn the big bucks. No company on earth makes profits from promises or degrees. They make money for actually doing something.

What I see as a problem is not lack of experience or a problem with education, it is laziness and unrealistic expectations on the part of the employees. This is not true of everyone, but where I live it is the dominant reality. The cold hard truth from the perspective of an employer (especially in small business), is that everyone has to carry double their own weight. If you are young you may struggle because you lack practical experience - you need to work harder to make up the gap. For the older engineers, they tend to spend too much time thinking that they have so much experience that they should get paid more money. What they need to do is take that experience and use it to accomplish more than anyone else instead of just talking about what they have done in the past. Companies do not make profits on what the engineering team in the past.

I have seen this laziness streak across the US from machinists, to EE, ME, assembly, finance, marketing, etc. In the real world, companies need bottom line results just to stay in business as we live in a global economy. I am competing with China daily and cannot afford to have ANY dead weight. This is why I fired the whole company and starting all over. The re-boot is focused on automation and other tools that reduce/eliminate the need for people as much as possible. Those that I do hire may or may not have degrees, but they will be expected to be smart and clever for the 8 hours they work. They also need to be someone that chose that job because they like it and have a personal interest in it. It is not good for small businesses to have the "I got this degree because I wanted a good job" applicants. That will work at big firms where the engineering tasks get sub-divided a thousand times before the entry-level engineers ever see it. Small to medium businesses switch gears often and fast. The whole team needs to be fast a nimble, but most important is never stop learning. Self-educate on a daily basis. Your degree is merely your first step that shows you have some initiative and you test well.

Be valuable. That is how you get a job that pays well. Your interview skills may get you an entry-level job, but you will go nowhere if you are not valuable. If you get demonstrate value during your interview, you may even start with a good salary.

Side note: I am a self-educated ME and EE that has built and sold numerous small businesses during the past 20+ years. If I don't know something, I learn it. If I run into a problem, I solve it. If I cannot figure it out, I ask. Super simple. I am not in the minority of business owners that expect work out their employees. Showing up is not working.

For most of my professional career I spent some time worrying about whether my pay justified itself.  Could I see the sales that resulted from my work, in large enough quantities to pay for not only my salary but all of the other things?  I was in a large corporation which made very large sales at long intervals.  At times it was obvious that I was carrying my weight.  Other times not so obvious.  I think all engineers should think about this regularly.  At smaller organizations it can be painfully obvious that sales are not in line with wages.  Larger organizations make this harder to see, but all organizations over time have to pass this test.  Even universities, though the time frame here may be decades or even centuries.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #64 on: June 01, 2015, 06:59:47 am »
As I said, I don't have actual statistics.  The HR department at my company either couldn't or wouldn't supply statistics to justify their approach.  I know that the vast majority of them would not know a statistic if they saw one, and would know even less about how to interpret it.

Quote
I picked Gates and Woz as names widely recognizable who succeeded in their field without a degree. 

You can "prove" anything by cherry picking examples, of course. OTOH, if you can reliably pick such individuals before they achieve greatness, then you are onto something.

Similarly, if you use rare examples to formulate laws, then you will make onerous ineffective laws. Classic example: Dr Harold Shipman who murdered several hundred of his patients over the years, is not a reason for imposing new laws on doctors!

I am not attempting to prove anything.  Certainly not that you should only look to non-degreed individuals for high performance.  What I am pointing out is that my personal experience with several hundred engineers over a long career, as noted above, has shown roughly 30% of the top performers were non-degreed.  In the work force that I was familiar with non-degreed engineers were a much smaller percentage, perhaps 3 to 5%.  PhDs represented another 30% of the top performers.  They also represented a much smaller percentage of the work force, though the numbers were more in the 10% ish range.  Those general statistics like observations would suggest that at the very least you should not ignore either non-degreed candidates or PhDs in your hiring decisions.  Many large organizations are rejecting non-degreed individuals.  This seems unwise, but it is true. 

As others on this thread have pointed out, selecting high performing individuals in the hiring process is tricky.  I have known people quite skilled at this.  I am not one of them, and only know that those who were good at it worked very hard at the job.  It is much more difficult than checking a degree box, or a GPA box, or extra-curricular activities boxes and so on.  I have known (and I am sure most on this forum have known) PhDs who were total duds, and folks with high GPAs in degrees at many levels at many different universities who were total duds. 

How does all this pertain to the original posters question?  In summary -No a degree is not necessary.  But as has been pointed out, there is a positive correlation between degree level and salary.  So in general you will get paid more with a degree.  You will have to do your own math to determine if the generally higher salary results in higher lifetime earnings.  And as I have pointed out, not having a degree is a very high barrier for entry in some organizations - not limited to universities.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #65 on: June 01, 2015, 07:03:08 am »
Quote
"I never took a course in electronics."
Paul Horowitz  interview with Timor Fried @ 3:16  https://youtu.be/iCI3B5eT9NA?t=3m16s
 

Online IanB

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #66 on: June 01, 2015, 07:08:25 am »
Quote
"I never took a course in electronics."
Paul Horowitz  interview with Timor Fried @ 3:16  https://youtu.be/iCI3B5eT9NA?t=3m16s

And that, of course, is the point of a formal education. Your capacity is in no way limited to what you are taught, it is limited only by what you can learn. I don't imagine Richard Feynman ever took a course in electronics either, but I'm equally sure he could design, build and troubleshoot electronic circuits quite comfortably.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline tggzzz

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #67 on: June 01, 2015, 07:15:06 am »
Quote
"I never took a course in electronics."
Paul Horowitz  interview with Timor Fried @ 3:16  https://youtu.be/iCI3B5eT9NA?t=3m16s

And that, of course, is the point of a formal education. Your capacity is in no way limited to what you are taught, it is limited only by what you can learn. I don't imagine Richard Feynman ever took a course in electronics either, but I'm equally sure he could design, build and troubleshoot electronic circuits quite comfortably.

Precisely!

I wish technicians could realise that.

Technician != engineer, fortunately. Both have unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Vive la difference!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 07:16:51 am by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #68 on: June 01, 2015, 07:42:23 am »
My employer had a big problem when they opened a new plant in an Asian location. As expected, they had thousands of applicants and hired and trained them, afterwhich 100s of them promptly quit and went to work elsewhere because they had signed up only for the training and not for the job.  Apparently the name-brand recognition of the company and the reputation of the training were highly valued among other tech employers.
That does indeed happen. We (previous job, not current one... I still use 'we'...) had the same problem.
People sign up , get a year or two of training , then jump to the next payer.
But, who's fault is that ? The fault of the guy fishing for cheap labour ! Just because he is 'bigcorp' attracts people and he can get away paying less. Well , then do t be surpirsed if they bail for smallcorp with better benefits ...
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #69 on: June 01, 2015, 07:49:29 am »
Recent grads are so used to very formal presentation of problems followed by a structured test where >70% is passing. This is not even close to how a real EE environment will work. The problems can be obscure and hard to identify, there is no one to grade your interpretation of the problem. The 'semester final exam' is delivering something to paying customers that can crush your reputation on the internet if you make less than 100% on that 'exam'
That is a very interesting description of the problem.
In reality problems are not structured. Stuff changes on the fly , and any grade less than 100% means the end product is not ready for production.

May e that is the root of the problem. Students simp,y are not prepared for this reality shock. 'I got it done 80%' is not right. I am 20% from finished should be a better description.... In the i dustry somithing is 'done' at 100%
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Online nctnico

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #70 on: June 01, 2015, 11:22:40 am »
Quote
"I never took a course in electronics."
Paul Horowitz  interview with Timor Fried @ 3:16  https://youtu.be/iCI3B5eT9NA?t=3m16s

And that, of course, is the point of a formal education. Your capacity is in no way limited to what you are taught, it is limited only by what you can learn. I don't imagine Richard Feynman ever took a course in electronics either, but I'm equally sure he could design, build and troubleshoot electronic circuits quite comfortably.
Getting a degree is not just learning the subject but also learning how to tackle problems and work in a structured way. If you can work in a structured way and have the ability to learn only time is limiting what you can achieve. What I see with many self-taught people is that they never learned or got mentored on how to structure their work. What results is total chaos.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online rx8pilot

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #71 on: June 01, 2015, 11:35:14 am »
What I see with many self-taught people is that they never learned or got mentored on how to structure their work. What results is total chaos.

I saw this first hand. A few self-taught engineers that were smart and capable - but only by themselves. The work was so chaotic that no one could work with them because they would go about solving problems in such a unique way, that outsiders could not understand. In some cases, this can work. In my case, I have put very considerable effort into being able to integrate into a team. As my present business grows, I want to peel off the tasks and assign to to someone else without much loss in translation. A far off dream......

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Offline free_electron

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #72 on: June 01, 2015, 01:23:13 pm »
they would go about solving problems in such a unique way, that outsiders could not understand.

i say the outsiders are not up to snuff...
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Offline zerorisers

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #73 on: June 04, 2015, 12:10:05 am »
After the time of this posting I am very surprised as to how long it has still been going! Many of you have valuable inputs, and opinions.
I have personally gotten a step closer to my goal by adding in work experience. I got lucky and somehow managed to lang myself a job at Precision Technology Inc. as a testing technician. I have been learning quite a bit. due to an article they have shared on linkedin I think I know the main reason they keep me. I have even spoke to a representative of my Local keysight office and they said to try and apply when I finish college.
You can read the article here.

So it seems to me to get started at the least you will not even need a college education. I am in my sophomore year of high-school going on to Jr. But in order to get a higher end job you will either need a portfolio with plenty of experience, or a degree. (Answered my own question after a few months after all of the debate going on in the thread.  :popcorn:)
 

Offline old gregg

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Re: Degree necessary for EE field?
« Reply #74 on: June 04, 2015, 02:48:50 am »
As an employer, I will offer a salary based on what you can actually do. If an applicant shows up claiming various skills, experience, degrees, etc and therefore demanding a salary they think is fair. I simply tell them that if they want the big bucks, they have to earn the big bucks. No company on earth makes profits from promises or degrees. They make money for actually doing something.

What I see as a problem is not lack of experience or a problem with education, it is laziness and unrealistic expectations on the part of the employees. This is not true of everyone, but where I live it is the dominant reality. The cold hard truth from the perspective of an employer (especially in small business), is that everyone has to carry double their own weight. If you are young you may struggle because you lack practical experience - you need to work harder to make up the gap. For the older engineers, they tend to spend too much time thinking that they have so much experience that they should get paid more money. What they need to do is take that experience and use it to accomplish more than anyone else instead of just talking about what they have done in the past. Companies do not make profits on what the engineering team in the past.

I have seen this laziness streak across the US from machinists, to EE, ME, assembly, finance, marketing, etc. In the real world, companies need bottom line results just to stay in business as we live in a global economy. I am competing with China daily and cannot afford to have ANY dead weight. This is why I fired the whole company and starting all over. The re-boot is focused on automation and other tools that reduce/eliminate the need for people as much as possible. Those that I do hire may or may not have degrees, but they will be expected to be smart and clever for the 8 hours they work. They also need to be someone that chose that job because they like it and have a personal interest in it. It is not good for small businesses to have the "I got this degree because I wanted a good job" applicants. That will work at big firms where the engineering tasks get sub-divided a thousand times before the entry-level engineers ever see it. Small to medium businesses switch gears often and fast. The whole team needs to be fast a nimble, but most important is never stop learning. Self-educate on a daily basis. Your degree is merely your first step that shows you have some initiative and you test well.

Be valuable. That is how you get a job that pays well. Your interview skills may get you an entry-level job, but you will go nowhere if you are not valuable. If you get demonstrate value during your interview, you may even start with a good salary.

Side note: I am a self-educated ME and EE that has built and sold numerous small businesses during the past 20+ years. If I don't know something, I learn it. If I run into a problem, I solve it. If I cannot figure it out, I ask. Super simple. I am not in the minority of business owners that expect work out their employees. Showing up is not working.

It's very nice to read that kind of things.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 06:30:22 am by old gregg »
 


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