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Electrical Career Choices

  1. Mar 5, 2010 #1
    I'm currently a freshman at the University of North Florida pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. I've yet to start any coursework directly associated with this field so Im speaking from a place of no experience. I just want to plan ahead a bit. When I was in highschool I didn't think about my future in college besides the fact I knew I was going. I won't make the same mistake twice.

    So right now I'm thinking about future career choices. Im at a bit of a crossroads frankly. I want to work in a field dealing with computer hardware and electronics. I don't mind dabbing in software work but I don't want to be a programmer. I've always loved these things and have had an interest on what makes them tick along with a dream of making them.

    However here in Florida all the jobs are construction type jobs or like large power stations. Stuff like this doesn't make interested or excited. From what my small research has led me is that most of the type of jobs I want are in CA.

    So how hard would it be for a new grad to get a job cross country and what could I do in the mean time. Would unrelated internships help?

    Thank you for any help in this, I know its a bit early since I don't even know if I'll like this subject but I can't help but think (and feel excited) about it. First I have to pass Physics 1 >_<
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2010 #2


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    Well if you are going to do an internship, then you might as well get it as close to your major as possible.

    You should prepare yourself by:
    -getting good grades,
    -doing relevant academic projects (personal projects are fine),
    -get involved in relevant student groups such as IEEE,
    -doing an internship/co-op or REU if possible,
    -do work-study if you qualify. You may be eligible to be a lab assistant.
    -become a tutor in your learning center. At your level, teaching others actually benefits you more than them,
    -hang out here on PF. You will get a lot of advise from professionals in the field,
    -and have fun from the experiences as an undergrad!! Go on spring break, join the gym, or a sports team. Heck, become the school's Mascot! Whatever you do, don't stress yourself out. You only get to do this once!

    Do all of this, and you will be employable no matter which corner of the States (or the world) your future career will be.
  4. Mar 7, 2010 #3
    Thank you for that information, its been insightful.

    Quick question though; What do you consider good grades to find a good job. Honestly, I'm not the best student so I don't want to set a goal too high.

    I find it very very easy to make a B while As are quite a jump higher.

    I also see you highlighted projects. Do you mean that doing projects and entering competitions for them are very valuable. I would love to do something like that.
  5. Mar 7, 2010 #4


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    Good grades (at least B average) would give you a starting advantage when applying for that first (or second) engineering job or applying to grad school. Beyond this, no one really cares if you got < B or which school you went to.
    Oh yes, projects are great way to show your applied knowledge. Everything thats known has already been written down somewhere. Employers won't hire you because you are human engineering encyclopedia; rather they want to see how you apply the concepts you have learnt. If you are a new grad, then projects are the perfect way to demonstrate this. It will also give you a lot to talk about during interviews.

    I also forgot to mention that in my first post that you should develop very good relationships with your professors. Letters of recommendations would do wonders for you.
  6. Mar 7, 2010 #5
    So I dissuade most people from going into computer engineering, but that seems to be what you actually want to do. At the least, take any course that has VHDL or Verilog, anything on computer architecture, and lots of digital logic courses. This is so you've got some relevant coursework on your resume and have a shot at passing the technical interview.

    Don't worry about interviewing cross country, a lot of people move for their jobs and lots of companies even have policies in place to help with the move.
  7. Mar 7, 2010 #6
    Hmm a B average is very doable, I generally average around a 3.0-3.4 GPA.

    Why do you dissuade people from entering this field?
  8. Mar 7, 2010 #7
    'cause a lot of the guys I know in it end up leaning towards CS or EE and would have been better served talking more courses in the discipline they actually like then hacking their way through the discipline they don't.

    3.2 is the usual threshold I see for less competitive internships, but find one you want to do and take it from there.
  9. Mar 7, 2010 #8
    Well Im an EE major anyway since we don't have a CE program.

    However our EE program has two tracks system and computer design. So I'll end up with a relevant classes to CE and a more varied degree.

    Well thank you for all your answers, we'll see what the future holds for me.
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