Author Topic: New Electronics technician questions?  (Read 3293 times)

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Offline etstudent

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New Electronics technician questions?
« on: July 26, 2012, 12:03:51 am »
Hi everyone, I'm new here. I am getting closer to graduation from my Electronics technician course. About 2-3 months to go. I just have a few questions. What do employers expect from new Electronic techs? What I mean is yeah I'll have a diploma, no real experience of course, so what do employers expect from you? Is it just learn from other seasoned techs for a while? I was told to expect to make around 18 bucks an hour out of school, does that sound correct? Thanks for the help, for a new or soon to be ET.
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 01:32:49 am »
In terms of wage, locality and industry play a significant role. For example, around here (Jacksonville, FL), avionics flightline and backshop technicians are amongst the highest paid positions in the city for individuals without degrees, commanding $25.20 for entry-level and capping at $29.40 for the most experienced, with incentives to boot. This is atypical and there are a lot of caveats, e.g. positions aren't open to anyone who meets basic qualifications, and are competitively filled from within. Reference WG-13 pay scale: http://www.cpms.osd.mil/wage/scheds/af/survey-sch/030/030R-06Mar2012.html

Recently, I separated from the military and completed a proper EE degree from a reputable research university around the same time. I had some time to kill, so I decided to test the civilian employment waters for shits and grins; the military structure was the only thing I knew before then.

I interviewed with a telecomm company for a bench tech position at one of their field service offices, but I didn't disclose that I had an EE degree. The position required a minimum 10 years experience (which I just barely met), and I went through 3 interviews with a 4-page written test riddled with trick questions (aced), in-lab practical test (aced), and theoretical drill-down largely pertaining to modulation schemes and circuit topology identification (aced). In the 3rd interview, I was told that not only would I have to repair my fair share of fiber optic and RF devices, but I would also have to teach less experienced techs (all techs were 40+ years old; I'm 28), and reverse engineer/document devices that no one else could figure out...for $14.50/hr, no performance appraisal system implemented, and no prospect of upward mobility. I wasn't serious about the position anyways, so I didn't have any qualms about pissing all over the hiring manager's (a veteran tech turned manager) corn flakes in a respectful manner for his unrealistic expectations and lowball wage. Needless to say, I walked out and never told them that I was an EE. I also didn't tell him that I had already secured an EE design position that paid more than double his offer as entry-level salary with a ton more benefits and lots of room for performance-dependent upward mobility in a company that apparently has their shit together.

I tested the waters more with another bench tech position in the aviation industry with a large, well-known private corporation. This time, I disclosed my EE qualifications to see how that would leverage. Ironically, they sent me an e-mail back saying that I wasn't being considered for the position. WTF?? :-\

In terms of entry-level expectations, know your fundamental theory, be proficient with common lab equipment, express a desire to learn, and show a willingness to adapt. The more knowledge you have going in, the better your prospects of success. You'll learn just about everything you need to learn on the job, but professionals distinguish themselves by taking the initiative.

I recommend looking at sites like salary.com to get an idea of what entry-level positions like yours make. Make sure you do a shit ton of research before you step into that interview and be prepared to back your claims up without any fluff. Private industry will lowball you any opportunity they get, viz. you show weakness in fundamentals, lack of confidence, or inability to negotiate. Spend a lot of time preparing a single-page cover letter and single-page resume; to put "a lot" into perspective, it took me 2 days to put together a rough working draft, and I continued to modify it here and there over a 3 month period.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 01:36:22 am »
Best thing you can do is design some of your own projects. It will help to have some item which you designed and built that works well and looks good. (It don't have to be really complex)

That way you have something to backup the qualification and prove you have the skills.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline Psi

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 01:42:49 am »
single-page cover letter and single-page resume

This depends on the job culture in your country, some want a 1 page resume, others 2-3.
However, for someone new, a 1 page CV might be all the room you need.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 01:45:30 am by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline IanB

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 01:49:43 am »
This time, I disclosed my EE qualifications to see how that would leverage. Ironically, they sent me an e-mail back saying that I wasn't being considered for the position. WTF??

Overqualified. Salaries for engineering professionals in the US run from $80k to $200k, give or take. You wouldn't apply for an hourly paid position with an engineering degree.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline etstudent

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 02:13:13 am »
Thanks guys for ALL the advice. I checked salary.com many times, and and it said a Electronics/electrical tech I should make $46,000 which is just fine A-OK with me. I'm just getting nervous, and excited to be nearing completion of my course.
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 02:32:33 am »
Overqualified. Salaries for engineering professionals in the US run from $80k to $200k, give or take. You wouldn't apply for an hourly paid position with an engineering degree.

I've come to the conclusion that when private industry renders a candidate "overqualified", their disposition has absolutely nothing to do with qualifications and everything to do with retention prospects.


Thanks guys for ALL the advice. I checked salary.com many times, and and it said a Electronics/electrical tech I should make $46,000 which is just fine A-OK with me. I'm just getting nervous, and excited to be nearing completion of my course.

Salary.com is not the end-all-say-all and doesn't disclose caveats, e.g. $46k/annum likely includes overtime pay rather than just base salary. Be prepared to negotiate.
 

Offline etstudent

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Re: New Electronics technician questions?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 11:19:36 am »
Thanks again, I emailed a Master CET, in my area and he said that salary was about right for someone directly out of school. He likened ET school to be a doctor, meaning you have all this theory you learned but wherever you work will still need to teach you about what they specifically work on. I'd like to hook up with a company like AT&T, or I'd like to work on railroad signals or railroad Locomotive electronics. Those would be dream jobs. I'm also thinking about getting PLC troubleshooting training while I'm working as a new ET.
 


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