Author Topic: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?  (Read 10785 times)

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Offline Armin_Balija

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Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« on: July 04, 2011, 07:01:07 pm »
The question is pretty straight forward. I've noticed on a few boards that Electrical/Electronic Engineers tend to scoff at people who have only gotten a Tech degree instead of a full Engineering degree.


I looked at a few Univ. around my area and it showed that there are only a few classes difference between attaining a tech degree and a full Engineering degree.

What are your thoughts? Do you tend to see a Tech degree as worthless?
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 08:11:24 pm »
Only on incompetent ones.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
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Offline gregariz

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 08:29:07 pm »
Its the same old story... depends how clued up people are.. many with engineers degrees are pretty dim... and many with tech degrees are clued up.. and vice versa..

Since you are using the word "degree", I assume you are in the the US and you mean the difference between a BSEE and a BSEET. But then again you use the word "Tech" which is a bit funny since BSEET's are often hired as engineers. I have worked in a number of large companies where the head of engineering would not hire a BSEET, as he didn't consider them engineers. But in those cases the Head was a shit engineer himself and had a chip on his shoulder. Me, myself, I usually see them as equal and usually like BSEET's because sometimes they (hopefully) have moved up from a 2 year Associates or Diploma so they have a background with often some practical ability, and hopefully some work experience. Academic's often don't like them because some ET schools don't make the BSEET's catch up to an equivalent mathematical level. As a result BSEET's are often made to do catchup subjects when they enrol in MSEE's so taking longer than the BSEE entrants. The BSEET historically has served as an alternative route to become an engineer and function's as a stepping stone for technicians - especially from the armed forces after the war. But..if someone did the BSEET without having moved up from a 'Technician' level - ie straight through from high school, I'd probably be concerned because it may have meant they did it to avoid some of the harder BSEE courses.

So the simple answer is yes you will find some prejudice against BSEET's in many companies (because BSEE is the common pathway). You most likely will not find any prejudice if the company is headed by a BSEET. Kind of makes sense. To cure that you can get an MSEE (stay away from MSEET's as this just reinforces a 'difference'). In which case you'll be back on an equal footing.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 08:39:14 pm by gregariz »
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 09:34:21 pm »
this is ego matter
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2011, 11:19:11 pm »

Its the same old story... depends how clued up people are.. many with engineers degrees are pretty dim... and many with tech degrees are clued up.. and vice versa..

Since you are using the word "degree", I assume you are in the the US and you mean the difference between a BSEE and a BSEET. But then again you use the word "Tech" which is a bit funny since BSEET's are often hired as engineers.


I never knew this. I was actually quite curious because I'm enrolled in a "Tech" program. The only reason I'm not going for a full engineering degree is because of health problems I'd rather not talk about. If I on the other hand had all the time in the world, I'd gladly devote it to taking the higher level mathematics courses needed for the Engineering program. I'm just glad that the programs at the Univ. I'm going to are ABET accredited which I didn't know about until last year. The more you learn I guess.


I have worked in a number of large companies where the head of engineering would not hire a BSEET, as he didn't consider them engineers. But in those cases the Head was a shit engineer himself and had a chip on his shoulder. Me, myself, I usually see them as equal and usually like BSEET's because sometimes they (hopefully) have moved up from a 2 year Associates or Diploma so they have a background with often some practical ability, and hopefully some work experience. Academic's often don't like them because some ET schools don't make the BSEET's catch up to an equivalent mathematical level. As a result BSEET's are often made to do catchup subjects when they enrol in MSEE's so taking longer than the BSEE entrants. The BSEET historically has served as an alternative route to become an engineer and function's as a stepping stone for technicians - especially from the armed forces after the war. But..if someone did the BSEET without having moved up from a 'Technician' level - ie straight through from high school, I'd probably be concerned because it may have meant they did it to avoid some of the harder BSEE courses.

So the simple answer is yes you will find some prejudice against BSEET's in many companies (because BSEE is the common pathway). You most likely will not find any prejudice if the company is headed by a BSEET. Kind of makes sense. To cure that you can get an MSEE (stay away from MSEET's as this just reinforces a 'difference'). In which case you'll be back on an equal footing.

I'm very glad there are people like you in the world. This gives me hope. Thanks for the replies.
 

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 11:37:49 pm »
This has been discussed in the past here, at least once.

Only on incompetent ones.

Spot on.
 

Offline Precisiontools

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 12:05:45 am »
After spending the first 10 years of my career as a repair tech and the last 10 in development, I must admit its a completely different skill set. A lot of tech jobs can bog you down intellectually and you are looking for quick easy solutions to do your job. Engineering/development pretty much means you nearly always need to be creative, innovative and really know your field. I think engineers don't expect this creative flair and love of innovation in techs because a lot of them don't have it!

Here's what I have found; Techs who are bogged down in their job can still do it. Engineers who are over their career or never really had a flair for it don't last in the field. They can find money more attractive so either get pushed out or seek a different path to pure engineering. So who then is left? The real engineers, the ones who eat and sleep innovation and are generally pretty good at what they do and they also have pretty high expectations of the people they work with.

I found engineers will respect you if you care about what you are doing...as others stated here; you have to be competent.

The fact that your on this forum and watching Dave's videos in your own time says to me you "have the knack" (look it up)...congratulations!
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 12:19:07 am »
After spending the first 10 years of my career as a repair tech and the last 10 in development, I must admit its a completely different skill set. A lot of tech jobs can bog you down intellectually and you are looking for quick easy solutions to do your job. Engineering/development pretty much means you nearly always need to be creative, innovative and really know your field. I think engineers don't expect this creative flair and love of innovation in techs because a lot of them don't have it!

Here's what I have found; Techs who are bogged down in their job can still do it. Engineers who are over their career or never really had a flair for it don't last in the field. They can find money more attractive so either get pushed out or seek a different path to pure engineering. So who then is left? The real engineers, the ones who eat and sleep innovation and are generally pretty good at what they do and they also have pretty high expectations of the people they work with.

I found engineers will respect you if you care about what you are doing...as others stated here; you have to be competent.

The fact that your on this forum and watching Dave's videos in your own time says to me you "have the knack" (look it up)...congratulations!

That's really interesting. In your 10 years as a repair tech were you happy? Indifferent? Looking for more out of your career? Were you able to sustain yourself (and family) with your pay? These are a lot of the questions that plague me as I keep going forward in my academic career, constantly wondering.

It's rather quite strange.. the more and more I learn about electrical / electronic components and the mathematics and creativity behind their inception..it REALLY starts to give you that humble feeling and huge respect towards engineers and anyone else brave enough to venture into the world of innovation and design. I have quite high respect for everyone on these forums and it's nice to have a community you can look up to and strive to be more like them.

The first time I heard about the "knack" was dilbert! Great episode :P.

I've seen every single one of Dave's videos, all of the electronic tutorial and MIT coursework videos on electronics. I love the damn thing!

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-002-circuits-and-electronics-spring-2007/video-lectures/
 

Offline Precisiontools

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 12:59:43 am »


That's really interesting. In your 10 years as a repair tech were you happy? Indifferent? Looking for more out of your career? Were you able to sustain yourself (and family) with your pay? These are a lot of the questions that plague me as I keep going forward in my academic career, constantly wondering.

It's rather quite strange.. the more and more I learn about electrical / electronic components and the mathematics and creativity behind their inception..it REALLY starts to give you that humble feeling and huge respect towards engineers and anyone else brave enough to venture into the world of innovation and design. I have quite high respect for everyone on these forums and it's nice to have a community you can look up to and strive to be more like them.

The first time I heard about the "knack" was dilbert! Great episode :P.

I've seen every single one of Dave's videos, all of the electronic tutorial and MIT coursework videos on electronics. I love the damn thing!


Your question about the first 10 years of my career is an interesting one. Was I happy? No I don't think so. The longest I held down a job was 2 years. I would move into a new field and once I learned all the things I needed to know to do the job I got bored and moved on. I did PC, TV, Video, Audio, DVD repair, always moving around the domestic field. Then RF, PCB assembly and some industrial automation stuff. After this I went to uni and discovered the wonders of engineering but didn't finish that either! It gave me cred though and I managed to get into development work. The people I worked for loved it...they could pay me tech wages and make me do engineering work! I loved working with that group of people though. You felt like what you did mattered.

Here's the thing with being a tech; you will have limited opportunity to be creative, all that will matter to people is how fast you can pump something out whether its a repair, PCB construction, or testing. Time is money and that's usually all that it means to the people involved in your employment. 

Engineering is about money too but its different. Its about being innovative and creative within financial boundaries so it can be very challenging. If your up for a challenge then this is where its at.

The pay for a tech here in Australia is poor and the repair field is dwindling anyway. I wouldn't recommend being a tech to anyone now really. Unless you just want to do the 9 - 5 thing and work at a big broadcast station or something like that.

I think only you can decide what you really want from a career. A job or maybe something a bit more...
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 01:39:38 am »
I'm just glad that the programs at the Univ. I'm going to are ABET accredited which I didn't know about until last year. The more you learn I guess.

If that is the case and you are enrolled in a BSEET, you should be eligible to sit the Professional Engineer exams PE in your state (although you should check that).

I have heard BSEET's debated from time to time at work and I think its a lack of confidence. When you are applying for jobs you should be applying for jobs as engineers, not technicians. If your university is telling you that the ET program is to produce technicians they are either lying to you or they are also teaching a BSEE and the staff want to differentiate the two. Either way close your ears and sell yourself. If you are doing a AS in EET then it is a technician training program and everything I said only applies if you continue on to the BS.
 

Offline MrPlacid

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 02:16:11 am »
Just curious, Armin_Balija, how much does college cost a year for you?
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 02:18:17 am »
Just curious, Armin_Balija, how much does college cost a year for you?

A year or per semester? Tuition per semester is dependent on classes I'm taking.

Per semester it is around ~$4,000-~$5,000.
 

Offline Frangible

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 03:37:57 am »
Pretty much anybody who looks down on someone else because of job/title differences is basically an ego-maniacal jerk.  I try to give everyone a fair chance to prove themselves before I decide if they are worth working with or not.  That's all I expect from people I work for - I don't always receive it, but at this point I know how to deal with it.
 

Online mzacharias

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 10:12:36 am »
I would allow that engineers are somewhat entitled to feel that techs are on a lower rung of the evolutionary ladder. They've worked hard to get where they are, after all. Most techs have about two years tops in technical training, and the training itself is more toward the practical and not theoretical or design aspects. Sadly I would also have to admit that your average tech (myself included) simply haven't the IQ power of an engineer. There are exceptions, of course.

There are those (technicians) who feel that engineers intentionally design some products to be difficult or impossible to work on; that there is pressure from above to prevent repairs from competing with new product sales.

There can be no question that sometimes engineers miss important practical aspects. Even just a few obvious test points might make a vast difference in serviceability, especially where service data is not available.

I personally feel that part of the problem is the low labor costs in places like China, Malaysia, etc. The manufacturers don't need to care if something is difficult to assemble, since their labor costs are low, they don't care about warranty service being unnecessarily difficult, and they certainly don't want the product life being extended much beyond the warranty period.

Been a repair technician for 30 years. I love what I do, but there are plenty of frustrations as well.
 

Offline TheWelly888

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 05:00:18 pm »
I am a technician myself ( repairing medical equipment ) and I do agree that engineers sometimes overlook the need for maintenance ( cars for example! )

Sometimes I say that the "Engineers designs it and the technicians gets and keeps it bloody working!" - that's the difference!  ;)
You can do anything with the right attitude and a hammer.
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2011, 05:32:26 pm »
I am a technician myself ( repairing medical equipment ) and I do agree that engineers sometimes overlook the need for maintenance ( cars for example! )

Sometimes I say that the "Engineers designs it and the technicians gets and keeps it bloody working!" - that's the difference!  ;)

I think you will find that most equipment including cars are not designed to be maintained beyond the warranty period. As an engineer the trick is to build just enough quality in to last that period. Its simple economics.
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2011, 06:09:16 pm »
I am a technician myself ( repairing medical equipment ) and I do agree that engineers sometimes overlook the need for maintenance ( cars for example! )

Sometimes I say that the "Engineers designs it and the technicians gets and keeps it bloody working!" - that's the difference!  ;)

I think you will find that most equipment including cars are not designed to be maintained beyond the warranty period. As an engineer the trick is to build just enough quality in to last that period. Its simple economics.

That's quite sad to hear as a consumer as well as a student. I don't see why people complain about bad quality chinese products if this is what top engineers do anyway :/.
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2011, 06:20:21 pm »
I am a technician myself ( repairing medical equipment ) and I do agree that engineers sometimes overlook the need for maintenance ( cars for example! )

Sometimes I say that the "Engineers designs it and the technicians gets and keeps it bloody working!" - that's the difference!  ;)

I think you will find that most equipment including cars are not designed to be maintained beyond the warranty period. As an engineer the trick is to build just enough quality in to last that period. Its simple economics.

That's quite sad to hear as a consumer as well as a student. I don't see why people complain about bad quality chinese products if this is what top engineers do anyway :/.

That's the reality - very few engineers run businesses these days and often the manufacturing decisions regarding material quality and project management etc are no longer performed by engineers. These are usually critical factors in determining product quality. Governments removed the need for corporations engaged in product design to have designs approved by registered engineers a long time ago. IMO I see alot more badly built products than badly designed products.
 

Offline Armin_Balija

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2011, 06:38:42 pm »
I am a technician myself ( repairing medical equipment ) and I do agree that engineers sometimes overlook the need for maintenance ( cars for example! )

Sometimes I say that the "Engineers designs it and the technicians gets and keeps it bloody working!" - that's the difference!  ;)

I think you will find that most equipment including cars are not designed to be maintained beyond the warranty period. As an engineer the trick is to build just enough quality in to last that period. Its simple economics.

That's quite sad to hear as a consumer as well as a student. I don't see why people complain about bad quality chinese products if this is what top engineers do anyway :/.

That's the reality - very few engineers run businesses these days and often the manufacturing decisions regarding material quality and project management etc are no longer performed by engineers. These are usually critical factors in determining product quality. Governments removed the need for corporations engaged in product design to have designs approved by registered engineers a long time ago. IMO I see alot more badly built products than badly designed products.

I didn't know that in the past products had to be approved by engineers. I guess that's why my parents say "They don't make them like they used to." I guess that's just how the world is, everything is run by the dollar.
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2011, 06:54:33 pm »
I guess that's just how the world is, everything is run by the dollar.

Most companies today are Marketing Operations. Some companies still sell products based on quality ie Fluke. but there's generally alot more that sell based on Price... marketing plans are just based on the competitive environment.. just all business school stuff. Engineers used to run alot of companies based on quality (ie. build a better mousetrap) but its not really possible anymore with the emergence of chinese slaves.
 

Offline Sionyn

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2011, 07:44:19 pm »
Only on incompetent ones
say it all agreed

the ones to watch out for are the ones who claim to know everything that why tech journalist piss me off especially that one from bbc
eecs guy
 

Offline ipman

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2011, 08:06:14 pm »
I am both a tehnician and an engineer. What should I do?  :)
Wife hates words like Fluke, Ersa ...
 

Offline onemilimeter

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2011, 08:27:25 pm »
In our department, a MSc degree holder in EEE is known as a senior technician.

A company would like one of my colleagues to develop a product and one of the product specification is to ensure that it has 500 hours (only) lifetime.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2011, 07:58:12 am »
I would allow that engineers are somewhat entitled to feel that techs are on a lower rung of the evolutionary ladder. They've worked hard to get where they are, after all. Most techs have about two years tops in technical training, and the training itself is more toward the practical and not theoretical or design aspects. Sadly I would also have to admit that your average tech (myself included) simply haven't the IQ power of an engineer. There are exceptions, of course.

There are those (technicians) who feel that engineers intentionally design some products to be difficult or impossible to work on; that there is pressure from above to prevent repairs from competing with new product sales.

There can be no question that sometimes engineers miss important practical aspects. Even just a few obvious test points might make a vast difference in serviceability, especially where service data is not available.

I personally feel that part of the problem is the low labor costs in places like China, Malaysia, etc. The manufacturers don't need to care if something is difficult to assemble, since their labor costs are low, they don't care about warranty service being unnecessarily difficult, and they certainly don't want the product life being extended much beyond the warranty period.

Been a repair technician for 30 years. I love what I do, but there are plenty of frustrations as well.

I,& most Techs of my generation (Old codgers),had around 4 years of both theoretical & practical training to start with,& have had to keep learning throughout their working lives,as equipment using new technology is constantly being placed into service,with one thing constant---failure!
Having the boss freaking out that his latest magic box isn't working does concentrate the brain! ;D

That said, I look askance at the current method of Technical training which seems to rely on learning a number of tricks "monkey fashion",& repeating these to show that the course "Outcome" has successfully been met.

I've only met one Engineer I didn't like,& even with him I could grit my teeth & bear it,but High IQs,---I don't think so!
They are usually just normal,rather nice people,who had the interest & determination to successfully complete their degree,for which I applaud them.

I would dispute whether the average Engineer has a great opportunity to show much creativity & innovation.
A lot of Engineering I've seen consists of a good knowledge of National Semiconductors application notes! :D

One thing that some Engineers tend to do is, to make a guess when they are consulted by a Tech with a problem,& will not be swayed
from that idea,even if it is incorrect.
Once you have proven that their initial idea is wrong,they are usually much more helpful.
With such people,you need to be very diplomatic,which is not always a characteristic of older Techs,so the Engineer is sometimes left out of the loop & the issue sorted at a Tech level.

Perhaps the idea of Engineers "looking down on" Techs comes from a Tech who has had this experience.

VK6ZGO





 

Offline Frangible

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Re: Do Engineers look down upon Techs?
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2011, 10:10:43 pm »
A lot of Engineering I've seen consists of a good knowledge of National Semiconductors application notes! :D

And God bless Pease, Widlar and others like them for that! :)
 


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