Author Topic: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer  (Read 5631 times)

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Offline jnissen

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2019, 11:15:06 pm »
Light in the background is the most annoying item I have seen. I guess that make me an engineer.  :-DD
 

Offline HalFET

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2019, 07:12:09 pm »
Over here "Engineer" is a protected title, like PhD or doctor! You are not legally allowed to call yourself an "Ingenieur" (the translated term) without a 4 year Master of Science ("MSc")!
Then there is a difference between  "Civil Engineer" and "Industrial Engineer":
"MSc in Engineering" or "MSc Bio-engineer"  (title "ingenieur" or "Ir."),  "MSc in Industrial Engineering" or "MSc in Bio-sciences" (title "Industrieel ingenieur", or "Ing.")
Strictly by the letter of the law "ingenieur" is protected in Flanders. But as far as I know you can get away with calling yourself "ingenieur" in a job title as long as you avoid "industrieel", "burgerlijk" or some other protected term. And you probably don't want to go around putting it on legal documents or using the ir. or Ing. prefixes. In industry no one really cares as far as I know, except maybe the same folks who care about the difference between Ing. and ir.? And honestly, all the people I've run into that insist on even making the distinction between ir. and ing. are usually twats of the highest order who feel insecure.

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

The current job market for engineers is great, there is quite a shortage here, but a diploma is still required to get a good job. You won't get anywhere with just hobby projects, unless you have prior work experience.
You'd be surprised, experience outweighs titles in many cases. For the consultancy-firm ones I'll agree, the title is the only way to get in. But for proper EE work in small to medium sized businesses it's simply a matter of how you contact them. People will gladly hire someone who actually knows how to build a circuit. Most of the decent job interviews I've had so far included a technical round of questioning and paid very limited attention to degrees. The main reason why schooling came up was usually when talking about dissertation projects, at which point it's usually a good idea to pull out the book you wrote, a tablet containing the PDF, or even the device you built.

Yup, that's why I'm going for both. I'd like to get the pay and the fun ;)
Yes and no, really depends on what you're willing to do and the management is usually the limiting factor. They don't like their expensive engineering staff spending time doing "technician's work". And then there's the entire job description and insurance issue. That being said, there is no substitute for practical experience when it comes to understanding manufacturing processes, helping out your colleagues is the nice thing to do and it buys you a huge amount of credit with the manufacturing staff. Don't underestimate the effect of having manufacturing take your side when you're in a pickle. (Scheduling is quite flexible when a crate of beer is involved  ^-^ )

When applying for jobs in Belgium I found that the cover letter is usually the most important bit, the resume itself serves as starting point for interviews but rarely seems to be the deciding factor. Pretty much every job interview involved technical questions and a rather extensive talk about non-work related subjects, so in many ways its similar to the situation described by Dave.

Also, the primary reason to get a PhD in engineering is the fact that you are then labeled as a "highly skilled immigrant" when applying for working visas. In Belgium it's also sort of worth it for tax reasons, but feel free to poke me if you want to hear about that bit.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2019, 09:12:47 pm »
Here in the UK it's hard to get a job without a qualification. Not sure what it's like now, but in my uni days the courses were all 75% maths and 25% subject material.

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

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

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

In my experience "the courses were all 75% maths and 25% subject material" is either wrong or a gross simplification, based on a detailed interpretation of those words.

Yes, there is a lot of maths - inevitably. But in my experience there is one dedicated maths class, and all the electronic engineering classes contain the maths necessary for that class.

Now the dedicated maths class can be (arguably should be) "pure maths", but any decent class will only include maths that might be relevant in the rest of your 40 year career. That's very broad, encompassing everything from perfect binary arrays to Cauchy integration to Fourier transforms to queueing theory, and many other topics. Some of the topics I learned only became of interest to me a decade later!

Any electronic engineering class that does not involve maths is likely to be trivial and to be avoided.

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

Decent courses from decent universities use theory to guide practice, plus practice to inform theory. Such courses and universities existed when I got a degree, and haven't changed since then.

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

I've never understood what "professional qualifications" means; I'd be grateful if someone would enlighten me.

If it means "learned on the job", then I'll probably agree with you.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Online tggzzz

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2019, 09:19:28 pm »
When applying for jobs in Belgium I found that the cover letter is usually the most important bit, the resume itself serves as starting point for interviews but rarely seems to be the deciding factor. Pretty much every job interview involved technical questions and a rather extensive talk about non-work related subjects, so in many ways its similar to the situation described by Dave.

Cover letter encourages someone to read the CV.
CV intrigues people sufficiently that you get an interview, and you are grilled on your claims. Possibly beneficial to include a section of buzzwords, to get past "AI" (cough) filters.

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Also, the primary reason to get a PhD in engineering is the fact that you are then labeled as a "highly skilled immigrant" when applying for working visas.

The best reason for doing a PhD is "because I want to". Increased salary and/or increased job opportunities are questionable reasons.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline HalFET

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2019, 10:02:19 pm »
Cover letter encourages someone to read the CV.
CV intrigues people sufficiently that you get an interview, and you are grilled on your claims. Possibly beneficial to include a section of buzzwords, to get past "AI" (cough) filters.
A few remarks about this:
a) Where? Large or small company. At large companies you'll get filtered out by HR drones anyway if you have to depend on your cover letter to get in.
b) You can really screw with the AI software by using a PDF editor and putting text behind a white box or filling in the meta information fields. Though some seem to be catching onto that by now.
c) Forgot an important bit: go to job fairs. Five minutes of talking can get you further than any PDF attached to an email.
d) CVs are highly dependent on the country, check what's the local norm and work towards that. i.e. In some countries a picture on a CV will get you banished while in others it's defacto mandatory.

The best reason for doing a PhD is "because I want to". Increased salary and/or increased job opportunities are questionable reasons.
That's quite obvious, but lets be frank about this subject for a minute: You're never going to get a PhD if you don't want it, it's a worthless scrap of paper that's not worth the effort invested into it. You have virtually no social life for four to six years, the pay per hour is lousy, its extremely stressful, it barely advances your career, you get to be infuriated with teaching assignments, the salary increase is negligible and it also shuts down many job opportunities (speaking from experience). And for all of that you get a piece of paper, a stupid cap or hat, a sword if you're lucky enough to live in Finland (most likely not done here to avoid decapitations of PhD supervisors), and the opportunity to make lame doctor jokes. Arguably, the last bit is probably the most valuable as far as return on investment goes if you exclude the visa advantage.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2019, 10:50:27 pm »
All good points.

The main reason for mentioning "because I want to" is to cut through many reasons that sound good, but (in the UK at least), are only rarely valid.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline HalFET

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2019, 11:47:34 pm »
All good points.

The main reason for mentioning "because I want to" is to cut through many reasons that sound good, but (in the UK at least), are only rarely valid.
There is a valid financial reason to do it in some European countries, you get paid slightly below what you would in industry but your pay is categorised as a non-taxable fellowship. As a result you pay zero income tax and it's a net profit compared to an industry job. And at least here it's relatively easy to get into a PhD program if your grades are okayish during your masters.
 

Offline brendond

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #57 on: September 01, 2019, 06:20:51 pm »
So I am curious about something, when working as an engineer with no formal qualifications, how do you work with mains power stuff (Power supplies and what not) from a legal perspective. In Queensland BTW
 

Online nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #58 on: September 01, 2019, 09:46:30 pm »
So I am curious about something, when working as an engineer with no formal qualifications, how do you work with mains power stuff (Power supplies and what not) from a legal perspective. In Queensland BTW
This is a question for a lawyer. My guess would be that if you wreck your home's electrical installation that the insurance may not pay in case of fire or an accident. In case of a work related incident your employer may not be covered by insurance.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline brendond

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #59 on: September 01, 2019, 10:14:25 pm »
True, but I was thinking more along the lines of electrical licence. The electrical safety office says engineers do not need to hold a licence while performing the work of an engineer but there doesn't seem to be any mention of weather you need to hold a qualification or not.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2019, 10:38:18 pm »
True, but I was thinking more along the lines of electrical licence. The electrical safety office says engineers do not need to hold a licence while performing the work of an engineer but there doesn't seem to be any mention of weather you need to hold a qualification or not.

I have zero knowledge of this specific case, but you may do well to look out for chains such as:
  • must be competent to do the work
  • qualification X is recognised as assuring competence
  • if you don't have qualification X, you may need to prove competence in a court of law after Something Bad has happened
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #61 on: September 02, 2019, 11:52:57 am »
So I am curious about something, when working as an engineer with no formal qualifications, how do you work with mains power stuff (Power supplies and what not) from a legal perspective. In Queensland BTW

You can't if it's past the power point. If it's on the user side of the power point you can do anything you want in terms of industrial equipment etc.
If your designs something and your company sells it then the regulatory compliance mark testing ensures that it's up to standard.
You can have a master or PhD in electrical engineering, it doesn't matter, in QLD you are not allowed to even change a power point.

In any case an individual may always be personally legally liable if they do something willfully deliberate or against "best practice" that causes the injury or death of a person, qualifications won't save you.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #62 on: September 02, 2019, 12:27:51 pm »
You can't if it's past the power point. If it's on the user side of the power point you can do anything you want in terms of industrial equipment etc.
If your designs something and your company sells it then the regulatory compliance mark testing ensures that it's up to standard.
You can have a master or PhD in electrical engineering, it doesn't matter, in QLD you are not allowed to even change a power point.

In any case an individual may always be personally legally liable if they do something willfully deliberate or against "best practice" that causes the injury or death of a person, qualifications won't save you.
"Best practice" is always an interesting one.
 

Offline Mike Warren

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Re: EEVblog #1175 - How To Become A Professional Engineer
« Reply #63 on: September 05, 2019, 03:23:55 am »
So I am curious about something, when working as an engineer with no formal qualifications, how do you work with mains power stuff (Power supplies and what not) from a legal perspective. In Queensland BTW

I have had a Queensland Restricted Electrical Work Licence for many years which allows me to work on 240V equipment as long as it's connected via a power point.

Unless the law has changed in recent years this is a requirement when working on 240V powered equipment.     
 


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