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Engineering as a career

  1. Jun 1, 2015 #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm new to the forum with regards to the membership but I've always found it helpful with homework during the school year, so I decided to ask for career guidance.

    So this is my second summer interning with a construction company building 2 new nuclear reactors, and it's fairly miserable for me. Granted, I'm not working for engineering, I'm working with QA/QC, but I walk through the engineering department all the time, and it doesn't look much better. I don't like being confined to a desk all day, and I wanted to do laboratory/experimental work as a career, possibly in robotics or another type of electronics. I'm currently seeking an EE degree (and I'll only be a sophmore this fall, so I have time to change my degree). Is what I want in a career attainable with an EE degree? I just don't want to be miserable for all of my professional life doing something that I don't enjoy.

    Thanks for the advice in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2015 #2
    Personally I feel job market is changing gradually and is geared for drastic change in next decade. Learning and implementing will not be the same as we understand it. With information flow on the tap, and plethora of resources will create a new learning ecosystem. Unfortunately similar trend is going to diminish lot of existing jobs. The silver lining is it will also open up new opportunities. Engineering is the basis of human's ruling the world as well to make them capable to extend their supremacy beyond earth. As a job, I would recommend mixing enjoyment as what you personally like and partly doing the job routine to make money and support your family. You will figure out the drift as needs & opportunities will define your path.
  4. Jun 1, 2015 #3


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    Consider taking a few Mechanical engineering courses too. The more, the better. Look into Mechatronics. That is the buzzword for robotics. Your current EE course work should certainly help.

    Yes, you do need to be concerned about your future and where you will work. If you just get by, you will end up with the job that is offered, not necessarily the one that you want. If you excel in your studies you will be offered a large selections of jobs and you will be able to cherry pick the one you want.
  5. Jun 1, 2015 #4
    Let's talk a little bit about expectations. Even in research positions, a substantial amount of time is spent at a desk or in meetings. Different jobs and different companies have these things in differing proportions, but in nearly all cases you need to expect to spend a lot of time at a desk. The kinds of jobs in science and engineering that are desirable are office work. The difference is primarily in the margins.

    Research is something almost every new graduate says they want to do. Most have no experience with how this works outside of the academic world. There is a spectrum of research and development tasks, moving from blue-sky research to prototyping to new product development. This is like a pyramid built on a base of manufacturing engineering support, as you get further from making something for sale, fewer and fewer people are involved. Most technical jobs involve supporting someone making something, because if you don't sell anything, you don't have any money to support further research.
  6. Jun 1, 2015 #5
    I'm just going to point out that electrical engineering is an extremely broad field that encompasses a huge amount of industries. So it is not unreasonable to say that there are plenty of jobs in electrical engineering you would not like, and plenty that you would like.
  7. Jun 2, 2015 #6
    Thanks guys, I appreciate the replies. Like I said, I would rather have an outside job and I don't like the idea of being confined to a desk most of my life. The only problem is, I'm somewhat intelligent and I guess I feel like I should use any amount I have to the best of my ability. I just really would rather work outside.
  8. Jun 2, 2015 #7
    Don't feel like a job where you work outside is one that will necessarily underutilize your intellect. There are lots of interesting jobs in this vein. It just depends on whether *you* find the work and the problems interesting enough to want to do. Let's talk about some things off the beaten path. I don't know where you live or what your employment status may be, so these should be taken as examples only. Have you heard of the NOAA uniformed service? This is a technically-oriented branch of the United States government that conducts field work in oceanic and atmospheric research. http://www.noaacorps.noaa.gov/recruiting/ [Broken] [along with lots of other things]. This program is really, really hard to get into, but it is technical, outside work. You might also check out everything listed in this thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Jun 3, 2015 #8
    Life offers unlimited options, we limit them to choices & our decisions embark us to intended destinations.......Best of luck
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