Author Topic: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer  (Read 5585 times)

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Offline nixfu

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2019, 04:51:11 pm »
The IT Industry in the USA used to be exactly like this.  No one gave a crap where or if you went to school.  All that mattered is what you could do, and what you have done before. 

But, now in the USA with the current climate people with their easy degrees are starting to get consideration over those who have been in the industry since the early 90s and can run circles around them.
 

Offline MT

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2019, 05:53:11 pm »
Hmmmmm, yeah, the HR droids, the arrogant all knowing HR droids, who dragged them into the industry.
 

Offline BrianHG

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2019, 06:14:48 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)
     As said, for when I decide to do side contract PCB work, all I do is show around 3 of my larger PCB I've done in the past, and since they are all 100% manually routed, immaculately laid out, I never had a problem asking top dollar for my work.  Those who said NO all came crawling back within a few months and had no choice but to accept my now further increased price as I now get to solve the mess their engineers created.
__________
BrianHG.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2019, 07:22:12 pm »
"Engineering Managers" are rarely professional engineers.

It's a huge problem because Joe Boss thinks he can make calls on safety and push engineers to skirt around it.
After all, he's the boss and not following his orders is "subordination". Even if Joe Boss is a PhD, he's not a PE, bound by a code of ethics hence not qualified (or liable) to make calls on safety, in designs or projects.

Many engineers-in-training, junior engineers fall into this trap.

You aren't allowed to use the word "engineering" in a company name or "engineer" in a job title, unless licensed and registered as such. But "engineering managers" can be anyone off the street...
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2019, 08:12:01 pm »
Mr Bean with a soldering iron, what could go wrong.
Very Little. Rowan Atkinson is actually an electronics engineer ....
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Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2019, 08:16:24 pm »
You won't get anywhere with just hobby projects, unless you have prior work experience.
I am from Belgium and i beg to differ ... It all depends on the company and the people you run into.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 08:18:34 pm »
Some of the most commonly asked questions:
-
why did the light fall down ? Bad engineering  :-DD
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Offline Otm831

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 09:30:01 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.

@JayNext, I thought as much :( I suppose the question then becomes is all the put downs worth the trouble? After leaving Uni I haven't really thought about what I would be doing if I was well enough to graduate, but I suppose from my current interests (albeit not huge amounts of time / resources / and a lack of project ideas!) embedded system development would be an area that I would have chosen. my C/C++ isn't up to par for the likes of large gui application development, but I know its more than enough for embedded systems, I have an stm32 Nucleo which I've done barebones, no library/Cube, type projects with over the last 5yrs (literally nothing, just proving how to communicate with various different modules Parallel/SPI/I2C - I was looking into I2S but it started getting too complex for 'non CUBE' type programming - ie not using CUBE to set all the peripherals up and using its methods, and I didn't want to jump into a different way of programming so quickly with the more advanced interfaces). I'm in my late 20's so I can think about it still!

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?

@EEVblog, namely the final project, and a couple of miscellaneous ones like a business module, but it's the final year project that's the scary one I suppose if you're attempting to go back into it after a 5yr hiatus (and there won't be huge amounts of time to get back into that 'zone'). In terms of upgrading the DipHE (which shows I did two full years of an Elec Eng degree) to the full BEng its more of a cost issue (£9,000 kinda issue).

I might do some digging around mind as it feels more achievable now than it ever has done in the last 5yrs! Thanks for the video, its certainly made me think that maybe that door isn't shut after all....
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 09:32:19 pm by Otm831 »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 09:50:22 pm »
Mr Bean with a soldering iron, what could go wrong.
Very Little. Rowan Atkinson is actually an electronics engineer ....
So... is Dave foreshadowing a career change, then?
 

Offline advark

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 10:04:42 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.

Email the Gerber files... (Would love to see the face at the other end...)  :box:
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2019, 10:08:51 pm »
@EEVblog, namely the final project, and a couple of miscellaneous ones like a business module, but it's the final year project that's the scary one I suppose if you're attempting to go back into it after a 5yr hiatus (and there won't be huge amounts of time to get back into that 'zone'). In terms of upgrading the DipHE (which shows I did two full years of an Elec Eng degree) to the full BEng its more of a cost issue (£9,000 kinda issue).

The final project and business modules should be easy-peasy!
Plenty of on-line help available here with a final project if you get stuck.
And business stuff (at least the stuff I did) was pretty wishy-washy, certainly nothing that taxed any brain cells.

Quote
I might do some digging around mind as it feels more achievable now than it ever has done in the last 5yrs! Thanks for the video, its certainly made me think that maybe that door isn't shut after all....

It's not!  :-+
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2019, 10:10:46 pm »
"Engineering Managers" are rarely professional engineers.

I'm pretty sure that's were every single graduate of Sydney University EE ends up, because I've never met a practical engineer from USyd.
I did an open day student tour of Usyd once, and in one of the labs they had one of my DSOA digital scopes, they were perplexed when I said, "Hey, that's my design" and didn't believe me with an expression like I was some nutcase ::)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 10:14:22 pm by EEVblog »
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2019, 10:29:05 pm »
I went to school with students that took EE only because their parents told them to.
Realizing they have no talent or real interest there, they quickly go into management positions. There you can hide from actually producing something that works and blame problems on others.

I find the burden of PE is mainly about rolling out safe designs despite corporate pressure to just get something out the door, "safety is just a marketing ploy". I've had to quit jobs where the boss is a dick and won't respect that engineering has a duty to the public.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2019, 11:28:15 pm »
I went to school with students that took EE only because their parents told them to.

That was the vast majority of students I ran into too.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2019, 11:29:11 pm »
Mr Bean with a soldering iron, what could go wrong.
Very Little. Rowan Atkinson is actually an electronics engineer ....
So... is Dave foreshadowing a career change, then?

I have thought about joining a Theatresports group a few times...
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2019, 12:31:33 am »
If you see Rowans payslip .. one could only wonder.

Think about this one:

A huge semiconductor company spends billions of dollar every year in software licenses , hardware, machinery and employees and massive engineering effort . At the end of the year with all this massive investment they scrape a net profit of a few million $.
Someone , using only pencil and a stack of photocopy paper , penned a few texts , based on pure fantasy , and now has more money than the Queen of england.... ( J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter series )
Net investment vs gains ...

Who are the idiots now ?
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Offline snoopy

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2019, 12:32:34 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



You won't get very far in the US without a degree. These days most reputable companies in the US look for candidates with a Masters degree at the very least. A bachelors won't cut it anymore. In Australia they are not serious about technology anyway and there are plenty of risk averse shonks with some hare brained product idea only too willing to exploit an enthusiastic engineer who is willing to do it for next to nothing. I have no shortage of stories of engineers including myself who have been burned by these sorts of scammers. Number one rule is don't do things for nothing and number 2 rule is don't give your IP away ! If they going to give you nothing I can find a lot better things to do that also pays nothing like watching youtube videos etc and a lot less stressful too ! Of course sharing tips on a public forum with other like minded people is a different situation than sharing them with shonks ;)

cheers
 
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Offline SeoulBigChris

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2019, 05:18:13 am »
In the US, the issue of calling yourself an "engineer" was confusing (disclaimer, I have lived and worked in South Korea for over 15 years, and I let my PE license expired in 2002).

To legally use the term "Engineer", you not only needed an engineering degree (there were a few exceptions), you need to pass a pair of tests.  One test covers the fundamentals, is broad and covers many different branches of engineering.  Typically people take this test soon after graduating from college, while all that knowledge is still fresh in your mind.  Then four years later (it may vary by state), you take a professional engineers exam which it tailored to your declared area of expertise - Electrical in my case.  You also need a mentor or supervisor, also a PE, who will sign-up to having supervised your work during the four years.  After all of that, you get a PE license and can call yourself an Engineer.  Once licensed, you have to maintain the license with annual fees and continuing education (CE).  The CE wasn't too much trouble if you were working as an engineer - we had plenty of options for workshops, seminars, etc., put on by manufacturers and at trade shows.  Also, the local IEEE would sometimes have seminars, as well as online classes could count in many cases.  in fact, CE was the reason I let my license lapse, with all the travel and moving overseas, getting enough hours was just a nuisance. And....

... not once in my entire career did I ever use my PE license.  The whole system is geared for engineers working in the area of public safety, construction, etc.  In these fields, a responsible engineer has to sign and seal the final drawings which carries legal and liability ramifications.  As an electronics engineer, I never worked in that area.  The only reason I got my PE was that my mentors kept pushing it, and to be honest, it wasn't that difficult to get.  In fact, my university required graduating seniors to TAKE the fundamentals exam (not pass it, just take it) up until the year I graduated. Some interesting observations on the system:

* Even though the second test is in your specialty, there is no official designation. A mechanical, civil, and electrical engineer all have the same license.  As an Electrical engineer, the only thing legally keeping me from approving plans for a bridge was my professionalism, knowing that I wasn't competent as a bridge engineer.

* While engineers working in the public sector are subject to these regulations, engineers working for the government are not.  So a government engineer can design a bridge without a PE license, but a public engineer cannot.

* The regulations vary by state.  Some states have reciprocity agreements, it was helper skelter when I was licensed, maybe it has improved these days. 

* People without a PE license could not claim to be a Professional Engineer, e.g., use the PE suffix with their name, nor could they legally sign documents for safety-related designs.  In my opinion, this doesn't seem unreasonable.

* Where it gets crazy, is that people without a PE license, in theory, can't even call themselves an "engineer", as we saw in the Oregon case. This doesn't make sense to me.  In my city (Huntsville Alabama) there were hundreds, if not thousands, of engineers working on projects not related to public safety nor construction, all calling themselves "engineers", even on their business cards.  So this was a rule, but rarely enforced. I suppose if someone started a consulting company, and hung their shingle as "Bob's Engineering", they might draw some attention from the state licensing agency.  But in general, everyone in my situation flew under the radar.

Looking back, I probably would tell my younger self not to get it.  It wasn't directly helpful in my career.  But it wasn't a negative experience, either.  I enjoyed learning stuff from outside my field (in the case of the first test), and forcing myself to attend continuing education events over the years was good, I think.

About the Oregon case, I see two separate issues:

(1) an unlicensed person calling themselves an engineer
(2) an unlicensed person performing engineering services

Clearly from the ruling this month, #1 is not a problem (at least in Oregon). Regarding #2, in the situation which brought about the suit you could hardly call it "practicing engineering" in my opinion.  This fellow collected data and presented it to the city for their analysis.  They were free to examine it an evaluate it, and act on it or not.  Suppose someone thinks of an improved way to do a surgery, and sends his idea to a hospital to consider.  That person isn't "practicing medicine".  Anyway, I'll shut up, the Oregon courts finally got this right, although it took almost two years.

 

Offline VanitarNordic

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2019, 08:51:35 am »
That's a very good point that in Australia nobody cares about your degree and who are you or where you come from. Just experience and if you are nice and polite.

I was in Sweden before, the only thing that was important was your favorite or connection who put you somewhere in a typical company, not your personal qualifications. otherwise, they easily and silently put your resume in the trash box because you are a "foreigner"
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2019, 02:59:25 pm »
So... is Dave foreshadowing a career change, then?
What change? He's already running a comedy channel! ;D
 

Offline Barny

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2019, 04:47:10 pm »
Here in Austria there many manager & engineers.
The therm is used this inflationaire, it's ridicolous.

I knew many companies, which sorts out "real" engineeres, because selfe thought people and similar have often better practical knowledge & better intuition.


But the advice to mail the people direct here in Austria backfires most of the time.
Because they dont have the time to bother about searching for new worker.
Most time it gets you on the blacklist and you'll get sorted out automatically.

Its more important to send the data in the right format.
The company in which I work for example deletes job application e-mails with zip or similar compression formates or word documents like *.docm without being looked at because of security problems.
The best is to use PDF
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2019, 04:58:38 pm »
Here in Austria there many manager & engineers.
The therm is used this inflationaire, it's ridicolous.

I knew many companies, which sorts out "real" engineeres, because selfe thought people and similar have often better practical knowledge & better intuition.


But the advice to mail the people direct here in Austria backfires most of the time.
Because they dont have the time to bother about searching for new worker.
Most time it gets you on the blacklist and you'll get sorted out automatically.

Its more important to send the data in the right format.
The company in which I work for example deletes job application e-mails with zip or similar compression formates or word documents like *.docm without being looked at because of security problems.
The best is to use PDF
Pdf isn't any more secure, but it doesn't surprise companies weed out people for imagined reasons.
 

Offline LapTop006

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2019, 10:27:49 pm »
Its more important to send the data in the right format.
The company in which I work for example deletes job application e-mails with zip or similar compression formates or word documents like *.docm without being looked at because of security problems.
The best is to use PDF
Pdf isn't any more secure, but it doesn't surprise companies weed out people for imagined reasons.

More critically, send it in the format asked for if you're applying based on an ad. Possibly not as common outside IT jobs, but there it's common to use submission in the specified format as a basic competence bar.
 

Offline Dundarave

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #48 on: January 31, 2019, 12:33:53 am »
I've been on both sides of the degree vs no degree issue:  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend full-time for a 4-year EE degree after 15 years of being an electronics repair tech (self-taught & with significant on-the-job mentoring and years of subsequent experience) after dropping out of school at 16.

The tech job was great: After 15 years I was at the "top of the heap" inside the company, but no other company would even look at my resume due to my lack of formal education, and no further advancement was realistically possible.  I had always wanted to be a P. Eng. (as they are labelled in Canada), in any event, and realized that it was going to be key for me to advance further.  My kindergarten teacher had also prophesied that I would one day be an engineer! (she didn't specify what discipline, lol.)

I'll skip to the relevant points of what I've learned:

- Most organizations, big and small, when soliciting for resumes, end up splitting them into two piles:  no & maybe.

- The key is to either do whatever you need to do to get into the "maybe" category or

- Bypass the initial resume screening by having an acquaintance of one form or another get your resume in front of the decision-makers, bypassing the HR department or the clerk opening the mail and sorting the resumes.

If you don't have what it takes to "tick the boxes" and make it to the "maybe" pile, then you are going to have to do a whole bunch of personal marketing and make as many friends as you can who either work for, or are in a position to influence, those who are responsible for making hiring decisions.

Join meet-ups, hang out in pubs where the techs have beers after work, whatever:  if you don't have the formal credentials being asked for, you're going to need to make friends who can tell you about openings, and who will feel comfortable about taking your resume in and telling them what a great guy/gal you are, and how they know you personally, blah blah.

Many larger companies (at least here in Canada) have incentive plans that actually bonus employees for referring candidates that are ultimately hired.

The takeaway from all this tldr is that yes, it's not fair that you get ignored simply because you don't have the formal credentials, but there is a way around it.  And secondly, when you are in this situation, finding employment really is all about "who you know".
 

Offline JayNext

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #49 on: January 31, 2019, 08:59:35 am »

@JayNext, I thought as much :( I suppose the question then becomes is all the put downs worth the trouble?

That's always a personal decision. The job is, more often than not, frustrating, which is something you can probably say about any job. But over the years I found that what makes the bad parts of a job bearable are your colleagues, and I found the smartest and most like-minded people in engineering. Personally, I love working surrounded by really smart people, learning from them and chatting with them about anything over a coffee. And if you're an engineer at heart, you won't find anything more satisfying than solving an engineering problem.

After leaving Uni I haven't really thought about what I would be doing if I was well enough to graduate, but I suppose from my current interests (albeit not huge amounts of time / resources / and a lack of project ideas!) embedded system development would be an area that I would have chosen. my C/C++ isn't up to par for the likes of large gui application development, but I know its more than enough for embedded systems, I have an stm32 Nucleo which I've done barebones, no library/Cube, type projects with over the last 5yrs (literally nothing, just proving how to communicate with various different modules Parallel/SPI/I2C - I was looking into I2S but it started getting too complex for 'non CUBE' type programming - ie not using CUBE to set all the peripherals up and using its methods, and I didn't want to jump into a different way of programming so quickly with the more advanced interfaces). I'm in my late 20's so I can think about it still!

Don't worry too much about the specifics of the position, big companies will have opportunities to move to different positions, spend periods of time in different teams working on different projects, and help you find your place. If you're still in you're late 20's, most of your professional career is still ahead of you, you're just starting!

On a more personal note, if all you have left is one course and the bachelor thesis, you've effectively finished your degree. You've already completed the hard part, all that's left is a bit of hard work and a test. I believe it's worth the trouble (and the money). Even if it doesn't lead to a job, finishing is the only thing that will give you peace of mind. Anyone who's been in your situation (and I have many friends who have) will agree, you will not be able to shake off that feeling of urgency and "unfinished business" until you actually finish.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 09:01:11 am by JayNext »
 


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