Electronics > Beginners

Re-routing a career

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McPete:
G'day all,

I've asked questions about career paths before, but here, but I'm back again :P

I had a lot more here, but I've trimmed it off in the interests of sparing you all a rant.

Here's the situation; I'm a third year apprentice. I work in a predominantly electrical/electronic calibration, service and repair workshop for a public-sector power transmission utility. I'm not sure how much of a future is in this work.
The trade I'm enlisted in (and have been studying for the last two and a half years) is a process control qualification that is mostly irrelevant to my work and my interests...
I've had to chase down secondments to get any chance of having that qualification recognised, as our workshop has NO involvement in process control- While the HR/Training people have been very supportive, I can't really say the same of my supervisor. Next year, when my trade course ends, I want to start some sort of electronics engineering studies.


I suppose my first question then would be; What's the path that makes most sense for me to get into the electronics industry?

Thankyou in advance!

EEVblog:

--- Quote from: McPete on September 23, 2010, 07:16:40 am ---I suppose my first question then would be; What's the path that makes most sense for me to get into the electronics industry?

--- End quote ---

There are lots of variables in this, including your country, age, financial status, family and living status, desire to study etc.

If you have the money, time, and financial means, then obviously an engineering degree should be under consideration.

At a minimum I'd suggest you consider an "associates degree". The name varies a lot from country to country, but is generally a 2 or 3 year course (full time, longer part time) that essentially gets steps you up from the technician/trade level industry and into the professional or paraprofessional level of the electronics industry.

But of course, it's all really comes down to your work experience. If you want to get more into electronics then you have to try and get a job that is more electronics/engineering/design oriented, and not "trade" oriented. This can be done without any suitable qualifications, but it's a bit harder.

Dave.

McPete:
I'm glad you've answered first up Dave, because I'm an Australian like yourself (just down the road in Wollongong, no less).

I was planning to do an Advanced Diploma in "Electronic Technology" at TAFE (I posted the link here and you responded to that), which if I'm able to do, will be doing part-time, so that's a four year course as it stands.

Are there any electronics engineering cadetships available in Australia, to your knowledge? Is there a major advantage to having a Degree as opposed to an Advanced Diploma or similar?

Thanks mate!

tycz:
McPete,

I did the TAFE's Electronics Trade course (three years p/t) several years ago and in 2008 went back and completed the Electrical Engineering Advanced Diploma (one year f/t). Effectively it's the same as the Electronics Technology, the modules are shared and most of my classmates were enrolled in this course. This was at North Sydney TAFE - they had a really hard time attracting enough enrolments, many of my classes had only four or five other students attending. The whole engineering department folded at the end of the year. I recall hearing that those who still needed to complete modules had a choice of transferring one of only two campuses in Sydney which still offered electronics.

I don't know much about Wollongong TAFE but because there is such low demand for this course I recommend against doing it part time. Even if they run it initially, they will likely cancel it before your four years are up.

No that is has done a me a lot of good in the career department anyway! Make no mistake, I enjoyed TAFE and learned a lot there, but I don't think a TAFE diploma is very well regarded for any kind of white collar engineering position, even the entry level ones (as few of them as there are around here).

EEVblog:

--- Quote from: McPete on September 23, 2010, 07:53:41 am ---I'm glad you've answered first up Dave, because I'm an Australian like yourself (just down the road in Wollongong, no less).

I was planning to do an Advanced Diploma in "Electronic Technology" at TAFE (I posted the link here and you responded to that), which if I'm able to do, will be doing part-time, so that's a four year course as it stands.

Are there any electronics engineering cadetships available in Australia, to your knowledge? Is there a major advantage to having a Degree as opposed to an Advanced Diploma or similar?

--- End quote ---

Electronic cadetships? Not really that I'm aware of. Cadetships are really a trade level thing.
Having a degree gives you that wanky bit of paper that supposedly makes you a "real" engineer, and yes, there are a few companies around that are very strict on this requirement.
But in general it all comes down to your actual experience, once you get a foot-hold into an engineering level job then what course you did or where you did it becomes almost pointless.

You can even get a professional graduate level status from Engineers Australia without any qualifications, provided you can prove you have the relevant experience.

Technically there are 3 levels of professional engineering qualifications in Australia. 2 year Diploma level, 3 year "technologist" level, and 4 year "bachelor" level.
Here is a list of technologist level courses:
http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/shadomx/apps/fms/fmsdownload.cfm?file_uuid=0FE385BC-F77C-59DF-EA5A-EF1641C66BC7&siteName=ieaust
Some are offered part-time by correspondence.

In practice no one really cares about the Technologist level, and it can in fact fool many people because it has the worlds "Bachelor" and "degree" in the title so can sound like a full 4 year traditional engineering degree.

If you have the time, inclination, money, and patience to sit through endless boring math, physics, and advanced theory classes whilst learning little real practical electronics, go for the full degree. Because then you automatically tick the box on job requirements that say "degree", and you sail through step #1. If not, then it's possible to get a great professional design engineering job in the industry with just a Diploma level (or even nothing at all), but you have to work harder at it.

But like I said, it all comes down to what experience you have. if you want to get into electronics engineering then it's vital that you get out of that "trade" level job and into an electronics engineering job and work your way up. just by being enrolled in a Diploma or Degree part time is usually enough for you to go looking for those level graduate jobs even though you are no where near graduating yet.

Dave.

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