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Anyone in the engineering field?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by 04LTtacoma, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM
    #1
    04LTtacoma

    04LTtacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about going back to school to be an electrical engineer or a mechanical engineer... Currently I am going to trade school to be an electrician. I will be graduating this year with a certificate, then i will have to go take my state test to get my journeyman's card. That card allows me to go work out in the field by myself... I have worked with electrical for about three years and have been learning about how electricity works in school. Why I was leaning towards the mechanical engineering is because you don't necessarily have to go to school as long and I like to learn about something other than electricity...

    The reason why I want to get into a different field is because I am really thinking about the future for myself and the family I may have one day.:)
    I have a coworker who is having a hard time paying his bills and keeping food on the table for his wife and kids... Lately we have been really slow with work... I don't have a problem paying bills or rent because I live at home still.
    I know our country is experiencing a difficult economy, but even if my boss had lots a work, it's not a guarantee that I will always stay busy. There are more reason why I want to get into the engineering field.
    I think it's a great opportunity for myself while I am still young... I can't imagine myself working as a low volt electrician for the rest of my life. I guess what I am asking is what does it take to go through the schooling and what do you do for work as a mechanical or electrical engineer? Thanks

    -Zach
     
  2. Dec 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM
    #2
    SOSHeloPilot

    SOSHeloPilot Well-Known Member

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    Great idea = getting more education ... especially an engineering degree.

    Whatever you decide to do in your BA or BS ... getting more education is really important ... it is great that you are thinking ahead of the curve.

    FWIW ... pick a good school that will have no accreditation problems in the future .... beware of "diploma mills" (as seen on TV).

    Employers are starting to look at the "for profit schools" (like Phoenix) as "expensive diploma mills" where you buy a degree.
     
  3. Dec 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM
    #3
    04LTtacoma

    04LTtacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well, thanks for the info. I need to first finish trade school before I even think about starting college. I am gonna probably go to PCC which is a local community college and get my basic education there. Then transfer to PSU or OSU in Oregon..
     
  4. Dec 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM
    #4
    SOSHeloPilot

    SOSHeloPilot Well-Known Member

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    ... ^^^ ... Good choice and you usually save money and acclimate yourself to the college life that way too.

    Once you start ... do not let anything get in your way of finishing your degree either ... :D

    .
     
  5. Dec 29, 2010 at 3:39 PM
    #5
    Blumpkinson

    Blumpkinson Fuelled by plutonium and wild animals

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    Thats the same thing i did, i'm currently at Rutgers for mechanical engineering. Community college is a great choice since everyone messes up their first semester/year, so this saves you alot of money.

    However, be careful since engineering programs at universities can be very picky about accepting credits. Even if they do accept the credits, you might find you are really behind everyone else. I'm running into this problem, since at Rutgers the general education courses are structured differently for engineering majors. Since my gen ed courses were "normal" at community college, i'm significantly behind the other engineers that started there as freshman.

    Engineering is a extremely difficult major, expect to spend the vast majority of your time doing homework and studying. If you do decide to go for it, which you should, just stick with it because it's not going to be easy. Engineering will always be a in-demand job, so it will definitely be worth it.
     
  6. Dec 29, 2010 at 3:42 PM
    #6
    04LTtacoma

    04LTtacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    ^^^Yep, that is what I have heard... I got a friend who is a mechanical engineer he says once your in you are committed for life. lol
     
  7. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM
    #7
    04LTtacoma

    04LTtacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Bump, does anyone else have anymore advice for me?
     
  8. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:33 PM
    #8
    PatHLC128

    PatHLC128 College.

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    The Community College idea is a good one. I went to Westchester Community College in NY for 1.5 years and I busted my ass there. I ended up with a 3.8 GPA and a lot of my gen. ed./calculus/chem/physics courses out of the way. More importantly I got accepted to the University of Texas at Austin for Civil Engineering. Like Blumpkinson said you will lose credits but without WCC I wouldn't be here in Texas.
     
  9. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM
    #9
    kbp68

    kbp68 hey...I can change this!

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    Switch to civil. 90% of civil engineers work for governments which means better pensions, union wages, better job security (recession proof).
     
  10. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:44 PM
    #10
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    mechanical is a good choice since its very broad.

    Im in my 3rd year in mechanical engineering at NMT and all I can say is be ready to have no free time lol. Its all worth it in the end though :thumbsup:
     
  11. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM
    #11
    TexAggie

    TexAggie Well-Known Member

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    JC is a great idea. I did it for two years and transferred into Texas A&M Civil Engineering school and got almost all of my credits to transfer. Some courses I had to take a test to prove I learned the material before they would accept it, but they did after I passed the tests. While going to JC you need to decide what school you want to transfer to and see what courses are required in their program, and not take classes that are not needed. Anyways I hope this helps. I am a senior now and going to JC didn't slow me down at all.
     
  12. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM
    #12
    0wrx2

    0wrx2 Well-Known Member

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    mechanical engineer here!

    there are literally thousands of places you could end up with a mechanical degree. anything that has a part that needs to be designed has mechanical engineering in it somewhere.
     
  13. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:50 PM
    #13
    PreRunnerSeth

    PreRunnerSeth Well-Known Member

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    I was in the Navy as an Electronics tech. I am currently working on my EE. I hold the same position as you would get as an new EE grad. I am putting down over 90K this year. Only problem with Electronics is that you limit where you can work. you have to go where the industry is. Which means higher cost of living, but Its really not THAT bad as long as you stay out of the San Jose/SF bay area.
     
  14. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM
    #14
    SmilingMark

    SmilingMark Well-Known Member

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    Everyone here has good advice. (well, except for the civil engineering one! :) )

    ME or EE are both good directions. While ME has been considered to be somewhat "easier" than EE, I'm not sure I buy it. But both are more difficult and more rewarding that Civil.

    It's all about what YOU want to be working on. If you're going to take the time to get your BS, you're probably commiting to that field of work for a long time so make sure it's what you like. Luckily the core courses are similar so you don't have to decide right off the bat.

    I'm an EE and love it. I actually went to work pulling wire like you after I got my degree and earned my Journeyman. It's great experience and now that you have it, you'll be a better engineer for it. You'll understand the problems of real world issues outside of the theoritical engineering behind it.

    Listen to all the advice posted above, make sure credits transfer, go to an accredited school, and don't give up! It's a solid 5 year full time commitment. Now for the fun part:

    What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
    Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.

    What did the Civil Engineer say to the Electrical Engineer?
    "Do you want fries with that?"
     
  15. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM
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    Trachito

    Trachito Well-Known Member

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    and payed the least. civils don't make off that great working for fed/most local gov'ts. no engineers do, in fact. i make a good salary working for the fed but it's still 50% less than what i could be making in the private oil sector.

    -------
    what do you mean you won't be in school as long for ME? Just about all engineering degrees are roughly the same in credit hours, maybe about 3-6 credit hours difference, which is only a class or 2. total, my ME degree was about 148 credit hours, which is a year more than a standard business degree.

    while i was getting my ME degree, i thought i was going to get my pick of jobs because i always read how technical jobs didn't go filled in this country. i learned that it's a bunch of hype. the competition for employment out there is still tough and if i'd been smarter i would have gotten a related vocational degree, like what you're doing, first. with background experience and vocational education you'll have way better chances than a regular engineering graduate. of course, which university you choose and your grades are also important. a colleague of mine hasn't worked in the engineering field in well over a year and he also has a BSME. i've met several layed off engineers that have to find work in other areas or even switch careers altogether to make a living.

    as far as choosing between ME and EE, not sure. with your technical background EE makes more sense to me, but ME is the most versatile of all engineering disciplines. in my opinion, you'll be worth more as an EE and your employment opportunities will be greater.
     
  16. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM
    #16
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    thats just mean :laugh:
     
  17. Jan 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM
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    SmilingMark

    SmilingMark Well-Known Member

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    Respectfully disagree.

    Pensions?
    No one is doing pensions anymore. Antiquated system that nearly all companies are moving away from. Defined contribution instead of defined benefit. Think 401k matching and profit sharing.

    Union Wages?
    A salaried non-union engineer is going to pull in more $$ and better benefits than waged union engineer. At least based on my experience with both.

    Job Security?
    Not sure any of us are safe in the day and age, but I'd rather be job hunting with an EE or ME degree than Civil. (Actually Chemical Engineering is really where the demand and money is at if you really want to work hard!)
     
  18. Jan 18, 2011 at 3:20 PM
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    trouble

    trouble Member

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    I graduated two years ago with my Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from NMSU. I'm currently working for the department of the Navy and I love my job. While at school I took some mechanical engineering courses as electives. From my experiences, the coursework in electrical engineering is often hard to visualize, it's sorta abstract. For example, you will be solving wave propagation equations for charged particles moving through the air. These are used in radar theory and digital communications (cell phones). Electromagnetic waves and other aspects of electronics are not visual and sometimes it's diffucult to get you'r head around the theory. Mechanical engineering is more concrete. You can visualize the physics used in mechanical engineering better.

    So it really depends on what type of thinker you are. I suggest taking both intro. classes to mechanical and electrical your first year. See which area best fits you. I know students who struggled in electrical and went to mechanical and did very well. I also know students who did not feel challenged enough in mechanical and did better in electrical.

    Now on to another point. Hopefully you don't mind my little essay. Just giving you a heads up from my experiences. When I graduated school there were a lot more job opportunities for electrical engineering than mechanical. I got my job offer months before my graduation date. Almost 90% of my fellow classmates were able to get jobs upon graduation. On the mechanical side it was the complete opposite. Maybe only 10% of the students in mechanical actually got jobs. Most of them, which I still talk to today, had to go on to get a masters degree or some of them are still looking for employement two years later. I think you would have a better time landing a job if you were an electrical engineer and you will typically make $5k to $10k more starting out on your salary. Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  19. Jan 18, 2011 at 3:26 PM
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    mtucker

    mtucker Tacoma addict

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    Many Junior colleges have "contracts" with local four year schools that lock in the requirements so you don't have to worry about the four year school changing their requirements on you. If you still have to take all the math and physics, then you might be there awhile so get locked in. You don't need a degree to work as an engineer, but a degree will certainly get you in the door and more $$ over a person with "just experience". I work with a few people that are excellent engineers, but don't have the four year degree and I think it limits them some.

    If you are a fairly practical person, engineering school can be painful. Every thing is theory and very little practical. I think this is more true for the electrical major. I was an electronic technician and hobbyist before I went back school for engineering (electrical) and sometimes I wondered if I could handle the extreme lack of any practicality. Most professors can do the math, but don’t know the business end of a soldering iron or how to make something real that actually does something. Once you get past the math/physics, you will take the same classes as everyone else for a year or so, but then eventually you have to decide on your emphasis (RF, analog, digital…… in the case of electrical).

    Good software engineers make good money, but software is one of the easiest fields to out-source. Bottom line is go with your interest.

    Matt
     
  20. Jan 18, 2011 at 3:45 PM
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    HomeGrown

    HomeGrown Well-Known Member

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    Although I don't have an engineering degree, I've held the title a few times in my past jobs, mostly as a Tool Design Engineer. I've also done a good bit of Civil Engineering design work, which I found to be extremely interesting.

    I'm not so sure I'd rather be job hunting with a Mechanical degree vs. Civil. Manufacturing jobs (and hence the engineering that supports them) are still leaving this country. And a LOT of engineering design work is still being outsourced to India.
    We will always have a crumbling infrastructure in this country that will require Civil engineering, which is not practical to outsource.
     
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