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post #46 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekSheek View Post

Dragging up an old thread...sorry.
I'm currently finishing up my 3rd year as an academic postdoc in life science. Just the other day, out of the blue, someone I know on a professional basis from an instrumentation company offered me a technical sales job, which would effectively double my pay (kinda like a real job). Here's the thing: I have no sales experience; in fact, I have no relevant professional experience outside of academia. This would be a completely foreign world to me and I'm a little anxious about saying yes to the offer, although they assure me that I am well qualified.
At the same time, my wife is pregnant with our first child, and the extra income would help. The downside here is that this job involves a lot of travel, so time away from my new family would suck. Also, a sales gig is a decisive step away from research, and it would be really hard to go back if things didn't work out. Who knows...maybe this gig would be awesome. Any thoughts?

Do it. I went from ecology degree to medical sales and I'm so glad I did. You can learn to sell the only question will be if you enjoy it. Why not find out?
post #47 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I spoke to an electrical engineer who pretty much confirmed my suspicions regarding the field: there's little need to specialists to design specialized circuits anymore because computers constitute such a huge part of electrical engineering and very few consumer product designs use proprietary parts anymore. It's become so plug-and-play that very few electrical engineers are needed anymore and there were so many from the past few decades during the transition to computers that now have experience that a new graduate is at a severe disadvantage.

I think you are a bit off. Pretty much every single device that humans use now contains significant amounts of electronics. People with electrical engineering degrees are the ones designing these devices. You probably personally interact with 100 different embedded systems in a given day, and thousands more indirectly That is a lot of electrical engineering work. EE is also probably the single most versatile degree in terms of landing jobs in other fields. An EE student who picks his classes right can land any software job, and it's also a common path into business and finance jobs.
post #48 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by austinite 
...EE is also probably the single most versatile degree in terms of landing jobs in other fields. An EE student who picks his classes right can land any software job, and it's also a common path into business and finance jobs.

I've heard EE jokingly referred to as standing for "eventually economics". Lots of math early in the major, with some really tough coursework later that causes many to consider new directions.
post #49 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekSheek View Post

I've heard EE jokingly referred to as standing for "eventually economics". Lots of math early in the major, with some really tough coursework later that causes many to consider new directions.

I believe well over 50% of the my EE class switched majors or flunked out before graduation, and I had moments myself where I was close to switching. For me, however, it was mostly immaturity at 18-20 rather than anything related to my major. It's debatable how good of a career working as an electrical engineer is. I think it's an interesting job that is a good path to six figures in 40 hrs/week, but It's not as high upside financially as some other things. That being said, I think EE as a college major is pretty fantastic if you can handle it. Many of my old classmates are doing extremely impressive things in a variety of fields. You will not graduate without employable skills. That is pretty important these days.
post #50 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by austinite View Post

I think you are a bit off. Pretty much every single device that humans use now contains significant amounts of electronics. People with electrical engineering degrees are the ones designing these devices. You probably personally interact with 100 different embedded systems in a given day, and thousands more indirectly That is a lot of electrical engineering work. EE is also probably the single most versatile degree in terms of landing jobs in other fields. An EE student who picks his classes right can land any software job, and it's also a common path into business and finance jobs.

The problem is that electronics, as I said, are increasingly becoming less proprietary. In other words, a company with a few electrical engineers makes a part that might be found in thousands of electronics. There's no need to design everything from scratch. This lowers the need for many electrical engineers aside from specialized work (maybe aircraft electronics and such which have different operational demands than an MP3 player).

I also don't know of any EE student being able to obtain a job in software, but maybe things are different in the U.S. (where, for what it's worth, I've also never heard of such a thing).

Keep in mind that I'm not saying there aren't opportunities for electrical engineers, but the number of opportunities is much lower than in the past (especially for new graduates) and lower than other engineering fields.
Edited by why - 3/9/12 at 9:59am
post #51 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

The problem is that electronics, as I said, are increasingly becoming less proprietary. In other words, a company with a few electrical engineers makes a part that might be found in thousands of electronics.

Who do you think is responsible for integrating electronics into usable devices? For example, perhaps it's true that "a few" electrical engineers design a certain microcontroller (debatable, define "few"). But who is responsible for implementing that microcontroller into cell phones, vehicles, airplanes, mp3 players, oil rigs, air conditioners, washing machines, ....., pretty much every other device in the world, .....

The answer is more electrical engineers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

There's no need to design everything from scratch. This lowers the need for many electrical engineers aside from specialized work (maybe aircraft electronics and such which have different operational demands than an MP3 player).
Yeah, no shit. Nobody designs anything from scratch. You design from sub-assemblies, which were designed from other sub-assemblies, which were designed from other sub-assemblies, repeat about 500 times until you land in some factory in china that is processing natural resources like sand , gold, and oil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I also don't know of any EE student being able to obtain a job in software, but maybe things are different in the U.S. (where, for what it's worth, I've also never heard of such a thing).
At least half of my graduating class ended up in some sort of software company. IE places like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and many other places you haven't heard of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

Keep in mind that I'm not saying there aren't opportunities for electrical engineers, but the number of opportunities is much lower than in the past (especially for new graduates) and lower than other engineering fields.
Regarding the first part, the "number of opportunities is much lower than in the past (especially for new graduated) in pretty much every field. I am not certain that EE is one of them.

The second part of your statement is blatantly false. EE is better off than the majority of other engineering fields.
post #52 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by austinite View Post

Who do you think is responsible for integrating electronics into usable devices? For example, perhaps it's true that "a few" electrical engineers design a certain microcontroller (debatable, define "few"). But who is responsible for implementing that microcontroller into cell phones, vehicles, airplanes, mp3 players, oil rigs, air conditioners, washing machines, ....., pretty much every other device in the world, .....
The answer is more electrical engineers.

I didn't say electrical engineers don't do anything. I can't make that any more clear. I said the number of electrical engineers has grown to a point that more are no longer needed to the same degree that they were in the past because a) there are a lot of them and b) it requires fewer of them to produce a product now compared to the past.
Quote:
At least half of my graduating class ended up in some sort of software company. IE places like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and many other places you haven't heard of.

But are they actually doing anything with software?
Quote:
Regarding the first part, the "number of opportunities is much lower than in the past (especially for new graduated) in pretty much every field. I am not certain that EE is one of them.

The second part of your statement is blatantly false. EE is better off than the majority of other engineering fields.

No, it's not lower now than in the past in every field. Many fields are growing (especially biomedical, petroleum, geological/mining, etc.).

Here's the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics since you don't believe me:

92

Note that in the next decade the number of mechanical engineering job openings is projected to be nearly double that of electrical engineering.
post #53 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by why View Post

I didn't say electrical engineers don't do anything. I can't make that any more clear. I said the number of electrical engineers has grown to a point that more are no longer needed to the same degree that they were in the past because a) there are a lot of them and b) it requires fewer of them to produce a product now compared to the past.
But are they actually doing anything with software?
No, it's not lower now than in the past in every field. Many fields are growing (especially biomedical, petroleum, geological/mining, etc.).
Here's the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics since you don't believe me:
92
Note that in the next decade the number of mechanical engineering job openings is projected to be nearly double that of electrical engineering.

You are really getting out of your element here. People in electrical and computer engineering programs study programming and computer science in significant depth. Many of these people take jobs at software companies and, *gasp*, write software for a living. That you are unaware of this should probably disqualify you from having an opinion on the matter.

Regarding your chart, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at. The raw number of "mechanical engineers" has always been greater than the raw number of "electrical engineers". Your chart says that the growth of each is roughly equal, and that EEs get paid more. Furthermore, a huge number of EE graduates end up not only in management and sales, but also in completely unrelated fields like Finance and Real Estate. Former engineering students are not forbidden from taking other paths after college or later in their career, and in fact they are quit well equipped to do so.
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by austinite View Post

You are really getting out of your element here. People in electrical and computer engineering programs study programming and computer science in significant depth. Many of these people take jobs at software companies and, *gasp*, write software for a living. That you are unaware of this should probably disqualify you from having an opinion on the matter.

It depends on the program and the school. I'm aware of such programs in the United States (they don't exist here though). But since I'm speaking about electrical engineers in general and not specialized programs like computer systems engineering or electronic engineering using the data from such programs is pretty pointless to draw any conclusions (especially since they vary between schools). The original inquiry was a general one so I responded in general.

I don't understand why you seem to be getting so upset because mechanical engineering graduates generally have better job placement than the path of study you decided to take -- seemingly upset enough to insult me. It's not a slight against you.
Quote:
Regarding your chart, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking at. The raw number of "mechanical engineers" has always been greater than the raw number of "electrical engineers". Your chart says that the growth of each is roughly equal, and that EEs get paid more. Furthermore, a huge number of EE graduates end up not only in management and sales, but also in completely unrelated fields like Finance and Real Estate. Former engineering students are not forbidden from taking other paths after college or later in their career, and in fact they are quit well equipped to do so.

Please read the data more carefully, especially since I specifically noted the part that confirmed my initial post (i.e. the number of job openings for mechanical engineers due to growth and replacement needs in the next decade will be double that of electrical engineers -- in other words, a new graduate will have more job opportunities).
post #55 of 62
I have a BS in marine biology. I started my career working for the government for 6 years making crap pay doing an awesome fisheries job. I was out on the water constantly catching fish, for science of course.

From there I moved to a local government environmental department with better pay and benefits, lots of field work, and a wide variety of biological and environmental tasks. I started getting into project management.

Five years ago I made a move to a manager position at an environmental/engineering firm, where I am doing very well and am extremely happy. The pay is MUCH better and advancement opportunities exist at a much higher rate than in the public sector. I do about half management and business development, but also still do a lot of technical work and get to go in the field at least once a month, wading through estuaries doing cool science-stuff! I also think at this point in my career, as I have my eye on moving even further up the chain, it's essential to keep up on what's it like in the field. I am activ eon many committees and present at conferences at least once a year. It's good to keep your name out there and at the forefront of the field.

I started going back for my MS in the late 90s, but was sidetracked by a hobby that turned into a second career. i decided to stay with that and it was by far the right choice, for me. In lieu of a MS I made sure to get as much specialized training as I could that would help my 'brand' as well as technical knowledge and management expertise (something many scientists sorely lack).

I started off thinking I'd go into fisheries research., Now, I found the mix of science and management and business development suits me well. But I still like getting out on the water, and getting paid for it!
post #56 of 62
many EE students end up in programming. many.

EE and ME are both good majors in the discipline. both are good in terms of employment outlook.
post #57 of 62
Any general advice for upcoming phone interview for faculty position? teacha.gif
post #58 of 62
Well, if I have to guess, based on the fact that it's a phone interview and it's sort of late in the recruiting season, I would venture that this position is at a primarily undergraduate institution, and that the institution is not classified as research intensive. That said, I suspect they will want to know more about what you would be like as a teacher and potential colleague, as opposed to your research strategy. Minimally you should research the department (other faculty members teaching and research interests) as well as the university at large to get a sense of the student body and the mission statement of the university...in other words, do you homework, thoroughly. Have a list of several thoughtful questions prepared in advance and know when to ask them. Don't ask about salary...it's presumptuous at this stage. Have a pad of paper and a working pen ready so you can write things down (whatever you need to record, like the name of the interviewer, etc). Make sure you have a reliable phone line in a quiet space where you won't be interrupted. Have a back-up ready (fully-charged cell phone in a location with good service).

You said phone interview, but you may want to be ready for a surprise skype interview (not unheard of). Wear a pressed collared shirt and nice pants, and tidy up your office ahead of time. Make sure you have a skype account and know how to use it (test it with someone, practice). This last bit may be a little over the top, but it's generally not a bad thing to be over prepared for an interview...should the unexpected happen, you will ready for it and minimally, you will feel more confident going in. This leads to my last suggestion, which is to enjoy yourself. Be polite and remember to use good phone manners (identify yourself at the beginning of the conversation, thank them, etc). Also, apparently smiling while talking on the phone can have a subtle but audible positive effect on your voice quality that may make you sound more likeable.

The forums at the chronicle for higher education website may be helpful, but they tend to be populated by a bunch of entitled academics that dwell on petty bullshit.

Good luck...hope you land a campus visit!
post #59 of 62
Thanks. You've surmised correctly.
I've dug through various other forums and have done homework but the surprise Skype interview is news to me. That could be ugly if one's not prepared.

Did you take the sales job?
post #60 of 62


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SD1 View Post

I have a BS in marine biology. I started my career working for the government for 6 years making crap pay doing an awesome fisheries job. I was out on the water constantly catching fish, for science of course.
From there I moved to a local government environmental department with better pay and benefits, lots of field work, and a wide variety of biological and environmental tasks. I started getting into project management.
Five years ago I made a move to a manager position at an environmental/engineering firm, where I am doing very well and am extremely happy. The pay is MUCH better and advancement opportunities exist at a much higher rate than in the public sector. I do about half management and business development, but also still do a lot of technical work and get to go in the field at least once a month, wading through estuaries doing cool science-stuff! I also think at this point in my career, as I have my eye on moving even further up the chain, it's essential to keep up on what's it like in the field. I am activ eon many committees and present at conferences at least once a year. It's good to keep your name out there and at the forefront of the field.
I started going back for my MS in the late 90s, but was sidetracked by a hobby that turned into a second career. i decided to stay with that and it was by far the right choice, for me. In lieu of a MS I made sure to get as much specialized training as I could that would help my 'brand' as well as technical knowledge and management expertise (something many scientists sorely lack).
I started off thinking I'd go into fisheries research., Now, I found the mix of science and management and business development suits me well. But I still like getting out on the water, and getting paid for it!


The is always this good feeling that comes with a manager who is able to balance his managerial and technical duties. What about your career is how humble you took off and finally got to combine it with your hobby. I was thinking about it and realized that if you gave your best at your work place at the end of the day you will still find something that interests you and concentrate on it from there. Life can never be predictable but you can control it this is the reason you never ended into fisheries :)

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