Author Topic: Advice - can I get into engineering?  (Read 2438 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TheHelveticaScenario

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 1
  • Country: gb
Advice - can I get into engineering?
« on: September 08, 2020, 11:20:58 pm »
Perhaps this is off topic, please delete it if it’s inappropriate. I’m in the UK for context. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to do something creative in science/tech, but didn’t have much direction beyond that, so I ‘hedged my bets’ and studied Maths. After spending 4 (miserable) years at uni, I’ve graduated with a 2.1 Maths degree, and I’m now getting the impression that I’ve effectively barred myself from working in anything interesting. Could a career in engineering still be a realistic/sensible possibility or should I look elsewhere? I’d appreciate any thoughts.
 

Online tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 14248
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2020, 11:37:12 pm »
It is, by all accounts, difficult for new graduates to get jobs of any sort now.

Getting a job often, but not always, requires getting "past" the HRDroids that infest most companies and "to" the hiring managers. Most HRDroids aren't very intelligent and usually can't assess technical worth, and get a large number of CVs. Hence they tend to triage applications based on keywords and other simple concepts, putting as many as possible in the bin as fast as possible. Not having a directly relevant degree does not help. So, if possible get yourself a directly relevant qualification.

Beyond that, I've looked for candidates that demonstrate they like the subject by doing more than the minimum necessary. A very good indicator is that they have chosen a home project with stretch goals, implemented it, and know what they would do better next time around.

There are many other posts on this forum with more detailed hints and tips.
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
 
The following users thanked this post: TheHelveticaScenario

Offline ramon

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 121
  • Country: tw
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 09:42:49 am »
Ask yourself what area you like.

- Search job offers that could match.
- Find out or ask HR people what would be the minimum university requirements for those offers.
- Select all the following : university, university degree, university department, and possible master or phd advisors;  BEFORE you apply, and try to reach them to check the relationships or agreements between those professor/departments with the  companies that post those job offers.
- (And look overseas if country technology or market in that area is not strong enough.)

Someone would say that for creativity, the university degree (or even job) is not needed. It's strictly truth, but there are not so many people that create alone, in their spare time, and from their own pockets.

Please, say more details about which engineering area or field you like, in case you have something in mind.

Good luck!
 
The following users thanked this post: TheHelveticaScenario

Offline drdm

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 24
  • Country: bg
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2020, 02:24:04 pm »
IMO Mathematics is a very niche job market if you want to do something other than teaching and it's very difficult to find a job for a pure mathematician worldwide.
BUT if you can combine your knowledge with some other STEM skill that is in demand currently you can find yourself an awesome job that is very well-paid, because not many people can do it.
For example a software developer with a math degree can do wonders and be the core of some interesting projects, but you have to have the ability to communicate with other developers.
If you want to do electronics you can do complex math models of electronic circuits, or mechanical models if you are into mechanics.
It is all up to you what you want to do, but you can do a lot IF you are willing to expand your knowledge.     
 

Offline tszaboo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5627
  • Country: nl
  • Current job: ATEX certified product design
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2020, 03:17:54 pm »
I've seen people working as an EE' with:
- Physics PHd
- Electronics technician high school
- Garden engineering degree
- Software programmer degree
So no, it is not impossible. Look for a small company or startup, apply there. They dont have the HR droids. Or get a job which is "close enough" to your dream job. They would probably hire horses for embedded programming, if they could, the demand is so high. Branching from Firmware to Hardware can be very easy.
Former username: NANDBlog
 

Offline DrG

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1054
  • Country: us
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2020, 03:22:29 pm »
Perhaps this is off topic, please delete it if it’s inappropriate. I’m in the UK for context. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to do something creative in science/tech, but didn’t have much direction beyond that, so I ‘hedged my bets’ and studied Maths. After spending 4 (miserable) years at uni, I’ve graduated with a 2.1 Maths degree, and I’m now getting the impression that I’ve effectively barred myself from working in anything interesting. Could a career in engineering still be a realistic/sensible possibility or should I look elsewhere? I’d appreciate any thoughts.

Just some thoughts, as you asked for.....

Maybe get into an assistantship/apprentiship program working (almost for free) for folks whose work you *think* you might want to do. Seeing, from the inside, what they do, day in and day out, is a good way to get the data to draw some conclusions. You will need a second job doing something else to keep you in Ramen noodles, but that is par for the course.

One other thing - your use of the word "miserable" to describe your education years may call for some further introspection on your part, including talking to vocational counselors. Work and school can certainly be tough, grueling at times, require large amounts of perseverance and all of that, but if it is truly miserable for you, I have to wonder if your lack of passion and drive is the big issue.  If so, you have to address why that is the issue - you did stick with it for 4 years and completed it, so it is unlikely that you are just plain lazy - and that is a good thing.
- Invest in science - it pays big dividends. -
 

Online IanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10029
  • Country: us
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2020, 04:11:17 pm »
Perhaps this is off topic, please delete it if it’s inappropriate. I’m in the UK for context. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to do something creative in science/tech, but didn’t have much direction beyond that, so I ‘hedged my bets’ and studied Maths. After spending 4 (miserable) years at uni, I’ve graduated with a 2.1 Maths degree, and I’m now getting the impression that I’ve effectively barred myself from working in anything interesting. Could a career in engineering still be a realistic/sensible possibility or should I look elsewhere? I’d appreciate any thoughts.

Nothing is barred and no doors are closed at this stage of your life. You can do anything you want to do if you have the interest, enthusiasm and motivation.

But first, as others have hinted, maybe you need to do a little introspection? Why were you miserable at university? Was it the subject matter or the environment?

In a sense, mathematics is more like one of the arts than one of the sciences. It is sort of similar to philosophy, although the logical arguments and structures are much more formal and precise. So it is not necessarily a good road into science, which is more about the real world than the abstract world.

On the other hand, the formal, structured and logical reasoning required for mathematics is very good preparation for engineering, which is often a branch of applied mathematics. You could certainly go there if that is really what interests you.

To get there, you will need to look for additional education to get you started. There are conversion courses for prospective engineers coming from other disciplines. If you could find an internship in an engineering company where your current skills fit, you could perhaps get them to sponsor you in taking additional specialized courses or training to help you increase your value to them.

Over the years, I have known and worked with several people with a mathematics degree who have found an opening and made a career in engineering. Software development is one area in particular that can be a way in. Think of Google, Microsoft, any company that produces engineering software, and for that matter banking and finance. All those companies have mathematicians working on complex algorithms and software that implements them.

The world can be your oyster, but you will somehow need to figure out what pursuits you enjoy so you can focus your efforts in the right direction.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 04:12:49 pm by IanB »
I'm a ChemE--I know all about the flow of fluids.
 

Offline Electro Fan

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2942
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 10:15:51 pm »
All the advice above is good.  Review each and see what you can apply.

This is not exactly your situation but the concept of trying to think a few steps ahead before determining your next step might be useful:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/wayward-ee-lost-and-lamenting/msg3263706/#msg3263706
 

Offline boyddotee

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 3
  • Country: gb
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2020, 04:16:30 pm »
I know this post is a month old, but if in the UK and you've recently graduated from a stem subject look into KTP's http://ktp.innovateuk.org/ well worth it, typically you will find that SME's in the scheme don't have HR departments ;).
 

Offline Kerlin

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 144
  • Country: au
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2021, 01:18:15 am »
Getting an engineering job also means being proficient in the art of the interview.
Those HRDroids can be an even worse problem in an interview situation.
Be well aware they often also try to conduct a technical interview.
It is important to be prepared for this by having answers to unexpectedly stupid questions ready.
A few stories to convey what can happen -

I once got an interview and rang the interviewer (I had heard the employer enthusiastically describe her as gorgeous looking).
During that phone call she asked me if I knew how to use a multimeter, I near fell off my chair, how could some one read my resume and ask that!
When I assured her I could she said that it didn't say that on my resume and none of my qualifications or experience indicated that I could!!
After using the comment to make friends roar with laughter I decided I better take it seriously and went to the interview with my Fluke meter in my brief case.
When she asked me that question again I opened my brief case and produced my Fluke and told her "This is a top line multimeter it costs $xxxx and I have seen it being used in news footage by astronauts on space missions, it is mine I own it is twenty years old (at the time). There is never a day goes by when I don't use it at home"
I got the job.
Along the same line I was asked by an interviewer who had been supplied with copies of my experience, employers and qualifications if I could explain what SWR was.
Again I so was amazed that I was speechless and didn't answer the question so he went onto the next question and assumed didn’t know. I could talk on that subject for three days but was speechless. I didn't get the job. So be ready for anything.

The other side to this is that I have been asked such stupid questions, which crossed my line, by technical managers that I decided to throw the interview. I didn't want the job.
You not only want to get the job but to also, as a minimum be happy to stay in the job.
   

« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 01:41:37 am by Kerlin »
 

Offline Dan_Ohm

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 6
  • Country: us
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2021, 05:17:22 pm »
Do you have friends that are working as engineers?  Ask them what they do to get an idea if it's right for you.

However every job is different, the better your qualifications are the more you will be able to cherry pick the best situations.
 

Offline ebastler

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4014
  • Country: de
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 05:35:36 pm »
You have not given us much background. What did you minor in? Do you have technical hobbies or other experience with hands-on tinkering in any field? (Electronics, mechanical models, wood-working, whatever?) Do you enjoy programming? Which areas of engineering or technology do you find exciting?

On the other hand, I am a bit surprised by your perception that a math degree is "barring you from any interesting work". There is a lot  going on which requires in-depth math skills and applies them to very active fields of science and technology: Artificial intelligence, bio-mathematics and bio-informatics, genomic analysis in particular, ... Again, it depends on the field(s) you are interested in, and a suitable background from your minor in university might help.

Maybe some additional studies in an applied/minor field that interests you would be a better bet than starting over with an engineering degree. Unless you have a clear idea what you are after, you might find yourself disappointed again once you can call yourself an engineer -- if you have overly idealistic ideas what a "creative job in science/tech" should look like, and then can't find that as a first (or second) job.
 

Offline Kerlin

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 144
  • Country: au
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2021, 10:53:20 pm »

Have you found it helpful for engineering job prospects to have an active Github profile with good embedded software examples, used by many and maybe even well known?
I am most interested to hear from others who have presented this at an interview.


 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 11:33:12 pm by Kerlin »
 

Offline Berni

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3765
  • Country: si
Re: Advice - can I get into engineering?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2021, 06:52:30 am »
Sure you can get into engineering.

Having the right kind of education to go with it helps but is not vital. On the job knowing how to get things done is more important. But as others have said having the right education makes it easier to get trough HR departments. But you can still get your foot trough the door fairly easily at smaller companies that don't have a HR department, just make sure to make a good first impression. Unless you are going for a civil engineer, those need proper certification because a bridge falling over is too big of a whopsie.

More specific advice depends on what field, but in general getting the basic experience trough doing it as a hobby is typically the best path. If you want to do electronic engineering then make some electronics projects in your free time to learn how things are actually put together and what challenges are there to face. If you want to be a mechanical engineer, get to learn some popular CAD tools and design some things. Lots of engineers fresh out of school in the proper field are actually useless in actually getting a project done, the school doesn't teach everything.

Once you do get to the guy that says "You are hired" what will matter the most is what you can do, not what fancy papers your school gave you. A great way of proving you can get the job done is showing your hobby projects. This saves the company a lot of work in actually having to train you in how to get stuff done. Once you get the first job you will learn lots more in the first few years and you can use this extra experience to land your next job.

The economy might be in the toilet right now, but there are still engineering jobs to be found, but still be patient, it might take a bit to find THE right job.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf