Author Topic: How old is too old to join the EE field?  (Read 13904 times)

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Offline janaf

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2015, 05:35:02 am »
IMO, if you have personal connections in the business, your age is no problem. In big business, the CV-way, you may have problems.

I did my MSc when I was 35, changed career at 50, again at 55. Thinking of taking up a sports career at 60...

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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2015, 05:35:35 am »
...in EE... This followed mechanical engineering...I can now think of an idea, shake it down, design it, engineer the mechanics and electronics together, design and write the software (my first career), and then manufacture it without having to rely on others. Keep in mind, my goal is to 'invent' things and get them to the point of manufacture. I am not really great in any specific engineering discipline to be honest, but there is no real reason I could not focus on something to become an expert if I choose.
at last since all this while... another "mechatrommer" is spotted!
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2015, 05:49:56 am »
The young kids are going to beat you by knowing a lot of math identities by rote.

I'm not sure this is important. Knowing some basic things, sure, but mathematics is more about analytical skills and conceptual understanding and less about remembering formulas or identities.

Bullshit. There is no time in a 50 minute closed book closed notes exam to derive fundamental identities from concepts. Either you know it and execute, or you fail. Maybe other people had less ball busting profs, we had no such luxuries.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2015, 05:54:56 am »
I personally think that that is not too old to get into the field. as long as you can get your degree in a college or university then you can get into the EE field.

You don't need a degree to get into the EE field. Just show what you can do.

I must strongly disagree. The Bachelors is the new High School diploma. If one wants a good engineering job in the states, a Masters is the new standard. No degree is just a non-starter here.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2015, 06:01:37 am »
The young kids are going to beat you by knowing a lot of math identities by rote.
I'm not sure this is important. Knowing some basic things, sure, but mathematics is more about analytical skills and conceptual understanding and less about remembering formulas or identities.
Bullshit. There is no time in a 50 minute closed book closed notes exam to derive fundamental identities from concepts. Either you know it and execute, or you fail. Maybe other people had less ball busting profs, we had no such luxuries.
memorizing can help speeding things up, but its not the essence of mathematics, IanB is right about analytical skills and conceptual understanding, esp true in applied math field such as engineering, thats why in higher grade edu, you have open book text, there are too much to remember. i'm not sure in pure math arena, you have to prove your case by like saying you are pure mathematician and can memorize 7352 formula's and identities at a finger snap.
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Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2015, 06:05:39 am »
You don't need a degree to get into the EE field. Just show what you can do.
I must strongly disagree. The Bachelors is the new High School diploma. If one wants a good engineering job in the states, a Masters is the new standard. No degree is just a non-starter here.
in my area, master is nothing much than proving something is politically correct. not much offer for that kind of job. maybe the only reason to set it as standard is due to 1) bachelor is too cheap there, or 2) the country think it wants to be politically correct.
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Offline lapm

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2015, 06:46:56 am »
I would say your newer too old. Its about your brain and how smart you are then how young you are.

My personal tag line is: the day i stop being able to learn new things is day im dead and lying in table at morgue.. But at least then i have good reason  ::)
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2015, 06:58:43 am »
The young kids are going to beat you by knowing a lot of math identities by rote.
I'm not sure this is important. Knowing some basic things, sure, but mathematics is more about analytical skills and conceptual understanding and less about remembering formulas or identities.
Bullshit. There is no time in a 50 minute closed book closed notes exam to derive fundamental identities from concepts. Either you know it and execute, or you fail. Maybe other people had less ball busting profs, we had no such luxuries.
memorizing can help speeding things up, but its not the essence of mathematics, IanB is right about analytical skills and conceptual understanding, esp true in applied math field such as engineering, thats why in higher grade edu, you have open book text, there are too much to remember. i'm not sure in pure math arena, you have to prove your case by like saying you are pure mathematician and can memorize 7352 formula's and identities at a finger snap.

I never mentioned rote memorization. I said knowing. Two different skills. And open book open notes on a EE exam doesn't mean you don't have to know your shit before you sit down.
 

Offline dmills

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2015, 07:05:40 am »
Without a degree, small companies are the way to go (Oh, and get an amateur radio ticket (the most advanced one your jurisdiction offers, not usually a difficult test), it together with being able to say you designed and built an all band HF set with some twists impresses the hell out of the better sort of senior engineer for some reason).

I ended up as junior man at a sonar company for a few years on the basis of having designed a set of passive crossovers for my hifi, and being able to talk about impedance matching (surprisingly relevant), and low noise design.
Low noise analogue is worth learning to do as well, because it is a sort of niche skill that most universities do not really teach, and when it matters they really need someone who can do it (High speed layout is the same, be good and the lack of a calfskin matters not a lot).

There will always be outfits that will not hire without the paper period, but the smaller players tend IME to be somewhat more flexible, and the jobs more varied, bet it costs me maybe £5,000/year, but I am still bumping higher rate tax....   
 
The nice thing about entering the field with an already 'interesting' CV is that you can go from junior man to senior electron whisperer in only a few job moves, and a few years.

The dirty little secret that nobody tells the undergrads is that almost all design these days is cookie cutter datasheet stuff, sure I can design a switched mode supply from component level without ICs, but why on earth would I want to?
Once in a blue moon you end up playing where the engineering meets the physics (That is fun), and very rarely you end up where the maths meets the physics (Scary place, also fun), but mostly it is cookie cutter data sheet stuff, the valuable skill is mostly up at the systems level, and knowing how the unwritten assumptions about whatever the task domain is will interact with the electronics.

Regards, Dan.
 

Online IanB

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2015, 07:10:19 am »
The young kids are going to beat you by knowing a lot of math identities by rote.

I never mentioned rote memorization. I said knowing.

You will have to forgive us for misunderstanding what you wrote there.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline jpb

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2015, 07:27:23 am »
33 - you're a babe-in-arms!

I actually went the other way, I switched from Electronics (research) to Computer Science by going back to university at the age of 45!

The main issue if you want to train is that the loss of salary while training is more painful when you're going from a better paid job than when you do it before you've had a job at all but it all depends on your priorities. Also most people acquire responsibilities (family/mortgage etc) so it is more complicated to manage but then I think that older people have more staying power and commitment to overcome such obstacles.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2015, 08:45:54 am »
The young kids are going to beat you by knowing a lot of math identities by rote.

I never mentioned rote memorization. I said knowing.

You will have to forgive us for misunderstanding what you wrote there.

Sorry for my poor wording. I differentiate knowing and regurgitation. Two different skills.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2015, 01:12:16 pm »
The best way to avoid HR filters is to find direct connections to hiring managers inside a company, which really depends on networking and industry contacts. Hiring decisions are ultimately made by budget holders and their departmental staff and if they find the right candidate they will make every effort to make it happen.
This method has always landed the best jobs I've ever had. Even with a piece of paper, my experiences going through HR hasn't yielded as effective of results.

The Bachelors is the new High School diploma. No degree is just a non-starter here.
This is what I've observed as well.

Even small companies seem to have gotten on board by using employment agencies to fill positions.
 

Offline janaf

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2015, 07:18:18 pm »
Some related questions I'm sure you already thought of : do you have a family you need to support? Mortgage/loans? Economically independent? Do you risk something? Can you come back to your current field? I'm not asking for a reply  ;)
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Offline optoisolated

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2015, 07:22:37 pm »
Quote
do you have a family you need to support? Mortgage/loans? Economically independent? Do you risk something? Can you come back to your current field?
Very good questions indeed. The hardest one to work through for me personally is the financial position. Hence the attempting to work out if it's feasible for me to do it. If it's something I can enter without having to go through 4 (8) years of University (which I would actually love to do), is the challenge. I've heard the stories of the hobbyist getting into the field though smaller design firms, or starting it on their own, both sound interesting and daunting.
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2015, 10:09:30 am »
33 - you're a babe-in-arms!

I actually went the other way, I switched from Electronics (research) to Computer Science by going back to university at the age of 45!

The main issue if you want to train is that the loss of salary while training is more painful when you're going from a better paid job than when you do it before you've had a job at all but it all depends on your priorities. Also most people acquire responsibilities (family/mortgage etc) so it is more complicated to manage but then I think that older people have more staying power and commitment to overcome such obstacles.

Mine is worse!

I'm 30 and lack of education,  I was an undiagmosed ADHD that failed at most of his topics in life.

These days I managed to pass an entry exam and enter a vocational training school, buy it's very hard to arxhieve and I'm having a very great challenge by approving with second chance exams and finishing zillions of pending homework. I get distracted easily, severe sleep problems, anxiety, lack of memory, organizational and spatial skills.

I want to go to university. I love both electronics and computing, not use about getting interested more in EE or CS. I even consider physics, robotics or telecommunications.

Being an old fart isn't so bad. Being mildly mad and classmates bullying you because or your weird behaviour, not able to overcome that attitude because lack of social skills and anxiety blocking and distorting your reactions is worse. Because my brain lacks development, I'm in some ways a.teenage in the body of an adult but that is too aware of his fails (ADHD shares some stuff from Autism Spectrum).

Despite all the suffering, morons, crappy therapies, lack of incomes and crappy educational system... I prefer to die than give up!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2015, 10:26:47 am »
You don't need a degree to get into the EE field. Just show what you can do.
How common is this now though?  :-//
I ask, as it seems HR at most places have a "degree only" policy these days.

You are in America. The OP is in Australia and I can only speak for Australia.
 

Online Alex Eisenhut

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2015, 12:56:35 pm »
33 - you're a babe-in-arms!

I actually went the other way, I switched from Electronics (research) to Computer Science by going back to university at the age of 45!

The main issue if you want to train is that the loss of salary while training is more painful when you're going from a better paid job than when you do it before you've had a job at all but it all depends on your priorities. Also most people acquire responsibilities (family/mortgage etc) so it is more complicated to manage but then I think that older people have more staying power and commitment to overcome such obstacles.

Mine is worse!

I'm 30 and lack of education,  I was an undiagmosed ADHD that failed at most of his topics in life.

These days I managed to pass an entry exam and enter a vocational training school, buy it's very hard to arxhieve and I'm having a very great challenge by approving with second chance exams and finishing zillions of pending homework. I get distracted easily, severe sleep problems, anxiety, lack of memory, organizational and spatial skills.

I want to go to university. I love both electronics and computing, not use about getting interested more in EE or CS. I even consider physics, robotics or telecommunications.

Being an old fart isn't so bad. Being mildly mad and classmates bullying you because or your weird behaviour, not able to overcome that attitude because lack of social skills and anxiety blocking and distorting your reactions is worse. Because my brain lacks development, I'm in some ways a.teenage in the body of an adult but that is too aware of his fails (ADHD shares some stuff from Autism Spectrum).

Despite all the suffering, morons, crappy therapies, lack of incomes and crappy educational system... I prefer to die than give up!

Have you been checked for sleep apnea?
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2015, 11:27:16 am »
33 - you're a babe-in-arms!

I actually went the other way, I switched from Electronics (research) to Computer Science by going back to university at the age of 45!

The main issue if you want to train is that the loss of salary while training is more painful when you're going from a better paid job than when you do it before you've had a job at all but it all depends on your priorities. Also most people acquire responsibilities (family/mortgage etc) so it is more complicated to manage but then I think that older people have more staying power and commitment to overcome such obstacles.

Mine is worse!

I'm 30 and lack of education,  I was an undiagmosed ADHD that failed at most of his topics in life.

These days I managed to pass an entry exam and enter a vocational training school, buy it's very hard to arxhieve and I'm having a very great challenge by approving with second chance exams and finishing zillions of pending homework. I get distracted easily, severe sleep problems, anxiety, lack of memory, organizational and spatial skills.

I want to go to university. I love both electronics and computing, not use about getting interested more in EE or CS. I even consider physics, robotics or telecommunications.

Being an old fart isn't so bad. Being mildly mad and classmates bullying you because or your weird behaviour, not able to overcome that attitude because lack of social skills and anxiety blocking and distorting your reactions is worse. Because my brain lacks development, I'm in some ways a.teenage in the body of an adult but that is too aware of his fails (ADHD shares some stuff from Autism Spectrum).

Despite all the suffering, morons, crappy therapies, lack of incomes and crappy educational system... I prefer to die than give up!

Have you been checked for sleep apnea?


Yes. I don't have it. I gave insomnia and anxiety issues...
 

Offline Rupunzell

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2015, 06:41:15 pm »
This has become the sad and tragic reality of analog electronics design today.  Earlier this year, I spent some time with Dobby (CTO of Linear Technology) and a few of their Field Applications Engineers. They shared more than a few customer request stories with me that simply put me on the floor. Know LT does an absolutely excellent job of supporting their customers with samples, design help and even reviewing board layouts and customer designs as added customer value. What they are actually doing is much of the design work customers cannot do or are not able to do. Much the same was echoed by a friend who is a FAE at Ti.

This conversation supports the realty that so much of "electronics design" aka hardware design has become cook book implementations of chip sets, demo-boards and similar. Any wonder why most electronic widgets today are so similar in so many ways  :scared:

Another friend is a lab aid at Stanford Uni, he told me the majority of the students are allergic to solder  |O

There was a time when being an EE meant doing the entire design from start to finish, at the individual component level (this means two and three legged devices or more legged devices), directing how pc boards components are places and traces routed out, how the item is to be built-produced, how it must be tested and define what the end specifications are. It was then up to marketing to sell it. Today, that as all been turned around to where marketing dictates what engineering will design, to what level of performance, what degree of being "bug free", what it's service live will be and when it will be tossed into the land fill.

What much of "electronics design" today has become code writing for cook book - generic chip sets that are designed by a given manufacture for a specific market need.

Much of this is reflected in the instrumentation designed and built today as they are computer centric, virtual in most cases and has become very much design by keyboard, mouse, software simulations and mostly by visual display.

Friends who have graduate degrees (Masters, Phd) tend to start their own companies and shy away from working at a corporation or work at a small start up company.

In light of all this, what does a college degree in EE really mean today beyond meeting the HR requirements and becoming a cog in the machinery?
 
There was a time when engineers held the equal to an executive position with real authority on the companies product offerings or they were responsible for the technical out come of a project. Today, many EEs have been relegated to cook book design to meet a schedule dictated by marketing and management that often results in half-baked products that barely meet customer expectations and intended to be obsolete in shot time forcing the customer to make another purchase.. This might the "good" for the economy and corporate profits, but it is not good for the customer and how humanity is using resources overall.


Bernice



The dirty little secret that nobody tells the undergrads is that almost all design these days is cookie cutter datasheet stuff, sure I can design a switched mode supply from component level without ICs, but why on earth would I want to?
Once in a blue moon you end up playing where the engineering meets the physics (That is fun), and very rarely you end up where the maths meets the physics (Scary place, also fun), but mostly it is cookie cutter data sheet stuff, the valuable skill is mostly up at the systems level, and knowing how the unwritten assumptions about whatever the task domain is will interact with the electronics.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2015, 04:19:56 am »
I would not called it 'Tragic' myself, it's more like 'progress'. Look how software coding has evolved over the years. In the early days you needed to be a computer scientist to get a computer to do something you want. Today we have Python, HTML, and a slew of other high-level ways to get a computer steered in the right direction. It does not matter that the programmer has no idea what is happening under the hood. If all programs had to be developed in assembly, computers would have a fraction of the use they do today. The low-skill level programmers use high level languages. When they run out of power or functionality they look to the higher-skill level programmers for a tool.

In EE, there is still a need for the PhD level people developing analog circuits on silicon. The field is just being divided more and more. Not everyone can understand everything since the field is so massive. To make compelling and small devices with high-performance and low power requires huge teams of people and a large market. The trend toward 'cookie-cutter' designs enables a business like mine. A one man band essentially that can put together a sophisticated blend of technologies into a tiny space and sell relatively tiny volumes at a profit. If I had to design multiple SMPS's from discreet components, AD converters, LCD drivers, current sense amplifiers, etc.... it would not be possible. I use the datasheets and the demo boards to get familiar with a device the same way I would a discreet component. I still have to design the glue circuits that hold it all together.

This way of working is not tragic at all. This is leveraging the intelligence of others so that I can put a whole bunch of tricks into one hat. I never wanted to be cornered into a specific discipline of EE.
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Offline jlmoon

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2015, 04:24:51 am »
There is no age limit.... ,
     you only get better with time,  just like a fine wine!
 
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Offline Rigby

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2015, 04:34:03 am »
whether or not 33 is too old

Ok, don't be ridiculous.  Even professionally, there is no "too old."  You and I (7 years older than you) are not too old to start a new career.  Most people wind up doing this, according to The Internet Of Unknown Truthiness. 

Every person I know who's been hired as an engineer of any type has been hired on their portfolio of personal work.  Professional work is almost always covered by NDA anymore, so it can't be covered in interviews.  Your Github profile, your participation in forums, your attitude, and most of all, your personal work that you share with the interviewers is what will get you the job beyond anything else.  As soon as you reveal something physical in an interview, you've done more than 99% of job interviewees.  If you pull out the shittiest PCB ever designed, you've already exceeded every candidate that doesn't show a board at all.  They will want to see some sort of history of longevity somewhere, be it college or a long term of employment at a few places (several years or more each), just so they can know that you can sit in your seat long enough to give a return on the overhead of hiring a new person.

Don't expect "veteran" range salary immediately; you'll get there.

So, do whatever you need to do to get by in your current profession/life/etc.  If you have rich parents who can support you while you learn, take advantage of that.  If you need to continue working in your present career to pay rent, do that. 

Study, build, read, try, fail, learn, repeat.  Passion is your fuel.  Find a way to have it if you don't.  If you don't have passion for something, you'll find it very difficult to advance yourself.

There is no age limit.... ,
     you only get better with time,  just like a fine wine!

My recall ability would argue this if it could.
 

Offline jlmoon

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2015, 05:43:20 am »
whether or not 33 is too old

Ok, don't be ridiculous.  Even professionally, there is no "too old."  You and I (7 years older than you) are not too old to start a new career.  Most people wind up doing this, according to The Internet Of Unknown Truthiness. 

Every person I know who's been hired as an engineer of any type has been hired on their portfolio of personal work.  Professional work is almost always covered by NDA anymore, so it can't be covered in interviews.  Your Github profile, your participation in forums, your attitude, and most of all, your personal work that you share with the interviewers is what will get you the job beyond anything else.  As soon as you reveal something physical in an interview, you've done more than 99% of job interviewees.  If you pull out the shittiest PCB ever designed, you've already exceeded every candidate that doesn't show a board at all.  They will want to see some sort of history of longevity somewhere, be it college or a long term of employment at a few places (several years or more each), just so they can know that you can sit in your seat long enough to give a return on the overhead of hiring a new person.

Don't expect "veteran" range salary immediately; you'll get there.

So, do whatever you need to do to get by in your current profession/life/etc.  If you have rich parents who can support you while you learn, take advantage of that.  If you need to continue working in your present career to pay rent, do that. 

Study, build, read, try, fail, learn, repeat.  Passion is your fuel.  Find a way to have it if you don't.  If you don't have passion for something, you'll find it very difficult to advance yourself.

There is no age limit.... ,
     you only get better with time,  just like a fine wine!

My recall ability would argue this if it could.

 :-DD not to mention the ability to not shake..<grin>
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Offline electr_peter

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Re: How old is too old to join the EE field?
« Reply #49 on: April 03, 2015, 07:24:04 am »
Too old is when you are carried out from your home legs first...
 


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