Register to reply

Prospect of Engineering?

by Alex_Sanders
Tags: engineering, prospect
Share this thread:
Alex_Sanders
#1
Dec20-10, 08:34 AM
P: 80
I want some information from those who are currently situated their career as an engineer, I want to know how competitive it is for an engineer to find and expand their career?

I often get conflicted information from search engine results, I know the answer varies from situation to situation, but I didn't expect them to be that different. Some say an engineer would start off at 80k a year and growing, some say a six figure is quite usual and making as much as those wall street jockeys is well within anticipation, while some say 48k a year would more likely be the case. Some went even further to say that one shall not be so optimistic because those companies that hire engineers are taking quite a hit from the recession so job opportunities are shrinking drastically.

As for the problems of which realm makes the most, some say biochemical engineering while some strongly oppose this view and insist on electronic engineering and software engineering, and interesting enough, there are still voices claiming that people in these two fields are a dime a dozen.

So what do you have to say about this? Any information would be appreciated. Also, what's the life of an electronic engineering specialized in embedded system developing are like, in the United States? Tedious and boring or challenging and refreshing?

Thanks in advance!
Phys.Org News Partner Engineering news on Phys.org
'Smart material' chin strap harvests energy from chewing
Lockheed Martin advances live, virtual, constructive training in flight test
Lockheed Martin conducts flight tests of aircraft laser turret for DARPA
fss
#2
Dec20-10, 08:51 AM
P: 1,185
Quote Quote by Alex_Sanders View Post
I want to know how competitive it is for an engineer to find and expand their career?
Define "engineer." Certain engineering fields are more competitive than others. Also, define how you want to quantify competitiveness.

Some say an engineer would start off at 80k a year and growing, some say a six figure is quite usual and making as much as those wall street jockeys is well within anticipation, while some say 48k a year would more likely be the case.
And they're all correct depending on the circumstances.

Some went even further to say that one shall not be so optimistic because those companies that hire engineers are taking quite a hit from the recession so job opportunities are shrinking drastically.
Also correct, depending on the circumstances.


As for the problems of which realm makes the most, some say biochemical engineering while some strongly oppose this view and insist on electronic engineering and software engineering, and interesting enough, there are still voices claiming that people in these two fields are a dime a dozen.
I wouldn't qualify any engineering professional as "a dime a dozen."
AlephZero
#3
Dec20-10, 09:36 AM
Engineering
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
P: 7,285
I'm not sure what your motivation is in asking this question. If you want to make lots of money, there are far easier ways that becoming an engineer. Of course the really good ways to make money are mostly illegal, but that doesn't stop people using them.

On the other hand, most of the engineers I know are motivated by being engineers, not be being rich. The money is kinda nice to have, but that's not the real reason why they do what they do.

Alex_Sanders
#4
Dec20-10, 07:22 PM
P: 80
Prospect of Engineering?

Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
I'm not sure what your motivation is in asking this question. If you want to make lots of money, there are far easier ways that becoming an engineer. Of course the really good ways to make money are mostly illegal, but that doesn't stop people using them.
Whoa! So... you are saying the easiest and legal way of getting rich is becoming an engineer? Just kidding.

My motivation is to see whether among the decent, respectful jobs that also comes with decent wages, engineer is the only/best way to go.


Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
On the other hand, most of the engineers I know are motivated by being engineers, not be being rich. The money is kinda nice to have, but that's not the real reason why they do what they do.
I don't think it is true for most cases, if you are someone working under the big shiny banner of "Boeing", "Lockheed Martin", "Microsoft" then I really can't argue with you, but I can hardly imagine someone work for a small company as a programmer would assume the similar mentality. Of course, my imagination or assertion doesn't really mean anything anyway.

Thank you people, keep posting, I do not really care about the money either actually, I always want to be someone work in theoretical physics, but I wasn't really that much of a genius so... any way, feel free to speak your mind you guys.
russ_watters
#5
Dec20-10, 08:18 PM
Mentor
P: 22,315
Quote Quote by Alex_Sanders View Post
My motivation is to see whether among the decent, respectful jobs that also comes with decent wages, engineer is the only/best way to go.
"Best" is subjective, but engineering is certainly not the only way to go.
I don't think it is true for most cases, if you are someone working under the big shiny banner of "Boeing", "Lockheed Martin", "Microsoft" then I really can't argue with you, but I can hardly imagine someone work for a small company as a programmer would assume the similar mentality.
Speaking only for myself, the money is important, but I'd take less if it meant I could build/design satellites for Lockheed Martin.

Still, I agree with the others that there are easier ways to make money - finance and law come to mind. So if money was by far the biggest factor, I'd have gone into finance.
Alex_Sanders
#6
Dec21-10, 04:20 AM
P: 80
Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
"Best" is subjective, but engineering is certainly not the only way to go. Speaking only for myself, the money is important, but I'd take less if it meant I could build/design satellites for Lockheed Martin.

Still, I agree with the others that there are easier ways to make money - finance and law come to mind. So if money was by far the biggest factor, I'd have gone into finance.
Did a little more research, surprisingly but not that surprisingly the highest paid job are surgeons, anaesthetist and lawyers oh and, those certain managers.

And funny thing is you don't even have to posses a scary diploma to be an engineering program manager, all you need is experience.

This explains why ppl always look at ivy league schools with admiration and awe while relatively easy on super stars like Stanford and UCB.

So, you would spend 7 years in Stanford but still be fiscally owned by those who spent 3 years in Wharton.

Snap.
fss
#7
Dec21-10, 06:17 AM
P: 1,185
Quote Quote by Alex_Sanders View Post
So, you would spend 7 years in Stanford but still be fiscally owned by those who spent 3 years in Wharton.

Snap.
That is a highly subjective statement and depends on the student and the subject.
varshabglr
#8
Dec21-10, 09:23 PM
P: 2
embedded systems have a great future in US and elsewhere..It is the future..In future almost all gadgets will have embedded chips and software..It is already a reality as for example switching on your AC from your office..Cool :)
JakeBrodskyPE
#9
Dec22-10, 12:17 PM
P: 521
About 30 years ago, I decided to become an engineer, knowing too well that other endeavors made more money. I saw it as a reasonable way to make a comfortable living. And so far that's pretty much what it has been.

Engineers aren't always math geeks. They're kids who couldn't stop playing with Legos, tinker-toys, blocks, and so on. In my case, I was fascinated with radios and how they worked. The toy factor for an engineer is huge. I appreciate mathematics; I actually enjoy reading about it. But for me, it is primarily a tool to understand how the world around us works.

I get to play every day with stuff that operates at scales that most will never understand. I participate in standards committees on an international scale. Most of all, Engineering should be fun! If you want money, there are more lucrative ways to earn money.

Keep in mind that the subject matter taught in most colleges is Research engineering. They're designing the tools for engineers to use. So, yes, there is lots of Math there. However, there is also Field Engineering (this term is often badly misused), and Production engineering: for example, designing a Bridge. Bridges are pretty standardized. There are rules of thumb to follow, but, all that said, no two are exactly alike. Each must be customized to meet the conditions on site. That's what production engineers do.

We call upon Field Engineering when weird stuff happens that nobody understands. It takes someone who knows how designs were supposed to work, how things could fail, and then to provide feedback so that others don't repeat this mistake. Such investigations might include forensic discovery, crash site investigation, and so on.

Prospects in engineering do go up and down with the economy. That should be no surprise, however, there are engineering jobs that are nearly recession-proof, such as those associated with critical infrastructure (Utilities, food, energy, etc.). I'm not going to predict what engineering will be like because I'm probably no better than an economist at guessing such things. However, the past several decades have been good to me. They were good to my uncle, who has been practicing since the early 1960s.

If you enjoy playing with cool toys and building more toys of your own, I recommend it. If you're in it strictly for the money, do society a favor and pursue something else.
jefswat
#10
Dec24-10, 09:34 PM
P: 92
I know a civil engineering professor that makes well over 150k and I know another engineer that makes about 30k. I think engineering is such a great field because your efforts usually result in something tangible like a bridge or building. Infrastructure engineering is probably going to see a large increase in work in the next 15 years. The majority of the infrastructure in the US is old and in need of replacement. Sadly this won't get the funding it really deserves until bridges start falling down and killing people because they just wore out. Personally, I love my job and if it paid better, I would be doing it for the rest of my life. I get paid to take full scale bridge girders(and other various structural components) and break them. The best part is, I don't even have to write the report. There are some people that are engineers because they don't really have anything else to do. Me personally, I tried physics and I'm just too lazy for that. But depending on you outlook on life, engineering stuff is just the coolest thing you could do with your life.
Alex_Sanders
#11
Jan9-11, 01:56 AM
P: 80
Hey, late reply but um... I was just thinking that if I get to work in the field of theoretical physics, I really really wouldn't care about the money, as long as I can live, but the reality is, there are only a few rare birds with enough talent and luck to get a job like that. And I was stunned when seeing how sever the competition is.

If you were "lucky", end up with a tenure that gets constant funding for your research really isn't too good, but if you are "unlucky", you might have to teach in a high school for the rest of your life, not to mention there are far more people not only happy to do what I wanna do, but also gifted, really gifted. The first thing you wanna do after you see their resume would probably dig a crater on the ground using your bare hands, hide in it, and never come out.

So I thought I could sacrifice the science part a little bit and make money some kind of placebo , trade-off...
CheckMate
#12
Jan16-11, 10:48 PM
P: 67
Quote Quote by Alex_Sanders View Post
Hey, late reply but um... I was just thinking that if I get to work in the field of theoretical physics, I really really wouldn't care about the money, as long as I can live, but the reality is, there are only a few rare birds with enough talent and luck to get a job like that. And I was stunned when seeing how sever the competition is.

If you were "lucky", end up with a tenure that gets constant funding for your research really isn't too good, but if you are "unlucky", you might have to teach in a high school for the rest of your life, not to mention there are far more people not only happy to do what I wanna do, but also gifted, really gifted. The first thing you wanna do after you see their resume would probably dig a crater on the ground using your bare hands, hide in it, and never come out.

So I thought I could sacrifice the science part a little bit and make money some kind of placebo , trade-off...
It's not about if you're lucky it's about if you have motivation or not. Do you REALLY want to get a PhD and work in theoretical physics ?

It seems that you are not sure of what you want to do. Some people want to be theoretical physics for one day and for the next day they want to be pilots or medical doctors.

You gotta look within yourself. Do a lot of research and do what the heck you want to do.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Job prospect for civil and general engineering. Career Guidance 1
Job prospect for civil and general engineering. General Engineering 2
Prospect of Water Resources Engineering in USA Career Guidance 2
Prospect of an astronomer? Academic Guidance 6
Prospect for Nuclear Power Industry in US Nuclear Engineering 91