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Engineering Engineering Application

  1. Feb 13, 2010 #1
    I am currently in school getting ready to start on the electrical engineering program. I decided on this major for quite a few reasons. One of them being the obvious technical skills I would learn as well as application to my interests in everyday life. Another reason is the challenge, I wasn't any good with math to begin with and I figured that if I could learn to master this elusive beast called mathematics I could do anything.

    Now I hear alot about engineers having to work in large groups of people. I am ok with this for the most part, but I suppose that I had a different idea in mind. When I'm done with school I'm not really sure what Ill be doing. I would like to use my skills for repair or freelance engineering (if it exists) instead of working for a large corporation or in an environment where I have to work closely with lots of others.

    I apologize for my disjointed post and obvious lack of direction. I suppose I will boil this down into points in question form. Really I only have the one right now but I'm sure if you guys are willing I will have more later.

    -Can an engineer be hired on a contractual/freelance basis? If so what kinds of things is he expected to do (electrical/computer engineer) and what sort of pay might he receive?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2010 #2
    Science and engineering are highly collaborative fields. You'll need to be sociable and willing to work with others to get by. In engineering, you'll have skills in a specific area, but likely not enough to handle a project on your own. Engineers of different types, along with individuals having other kinds of skills, all combine for the realisation of a project.

    I'm not sure what directly concerns you, but contractual or freelance work of any type always requires a great network of contacts. A lot of people will build these networks when they work for larger companies.

    I have had friends that have worked as electrical engineers in a 'lone' type position within a larger organisation. An example is of a friend that worked in a hospital repairing and replacing components in medical equipment. He did this job essentially on his own. It depends what sort of thing you want to be doing day-to-day.
  4. Feb 13, 2010 #3
    What type of experiences have you had while working in groups? I assume once you get to a professional level things are different. But in my experience (school and retail management) I have always had trouble working within groups. People act immature don't take responsibility for their own work and I find it obnoxious. I can obviously deal I just worry about stuff like this. Another one of my motivations for doing anything school related what so ever is to not work in retail or a similar environment ever again.

    I suppose I don't really have a point, I just wanted to talk to some engineers about engineering. Sometimes questions like these pop into my head. :)
  5. Feb 13, 2010 #4


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    Well, by the time one works through an undergraduate degree (BS) in EE, and probably a Master's (MS), one will find that most colleagues are pretty responsible. Immature people tend to wash out pretty early.

    Engineers can work as contractors, often through an agency, or as self-employed individuals. Pay depends on the particular specialty, skill and experience.

    If one is serious about EE, then look into the IEEE - www.ieee.org, which is the largest international society in EE.
  6. Feb 13, 2010 #5
    Is there a lot more jobs available for Engineers with a Masters than with a Bachelors? I read somewhere that the pay was like 10,000 higher starting wages for a masters, but engineering work can be done with a bachelors.

    Thank you for the link btw.
  7. Feb 13, 2010 #6


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    One can certainly work as an engineer with just a bachelor degree, and then gain experience on the job. Essentially a bachelor's degree covers the basics. The Master's degree involves supervised research and usually one does a thesis. For a PhD, one does independent (original) research which contributes to the field or extends the state-of-the-art.

    The starting salary for MS is about $10K (give or take) greater than for a BS.

    Browse IEEE's site for the various areas of specialty, as well as ideas on research and job opportunities.
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