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Engineering Job Opportunies Question

  1. May 22, 2015 #1
    Hello PF

    I have a BS in Physics and I am currently enrolled in a Masters of Electrical Engineering program. I have had significant difficulty finding jobs/ Interns despite my efforts. I will complete my program in a year and I feel like I am no closer to finding a job.

    Sometimes I really question if engineering is really the field everyone makes it out to be. I am pursuing it because its something that I really want to do. But I have to admit sometimes I get tempted by the success of other professions. And I have read that some other engineers have the same or a similar problem in job search.

    Essentially unless
    a) you had a personal affiliation with someone at a company
    b) you had internship/co-op with said company "competitive process"
    c) you had worked a engineering job prior to your education, so upon graduation you get the same job with better pay or transfer to another company,

    the chances of you having a job will be an uphill battle despite having an BS or MS engineering.

    I am really trying to ask for some advice. Thank You.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2015 #2

    berkeman

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    One thing that can help is if you have worked on projects of your own, and can show prospective employers what you have done. That's one reason that I encourage students to build electronics kit projects, to start to learn how they are built, and how they work. You end up asking more detailed questions when you actually have to get something to work.

    What kind of interests do you have? Are you more into the circuits/systems side of EE, or more into programming? What are your specialties so far? What kind of circuits have you built so far? Can you think of a fun project where you could put something together that shows off your knowledge? For instance, you could design and build an FPGA+uC based equalizer if you are into music. Or you could design and build some projects based on the small uC boards that are available now (like Arduino, PIC, etc.). :smile:
     
  4. May 22, 2015 #3
    Well my currently pursued specialization for my MS In EE is Materials Science and Engineering. I would say that my primary interest is in electronic materials, which is the emphasis of education right now. I have used small uC boards like Arduino and I have some basic experience with Matlab but not much. I have used Unix alot but I dont think that it counts.
     
  5. May 22, 2015 #4

    Dale

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    Yes. Finding a job is usually an uphill battle, so expect it and work even harder at getting the job. Your personal network and personal communication skills are important.
     
  6. May 23, 2015 #5
    Okay then. How does one increase thier network. And I don't mind communication, but how do you get to know the right people.

    My big regret with engineering is that despite how people overhype it, the fact is that it has the same difficulties when actually getting the job.
    I always felt that if you had an engineering degree you should easily be able to get a job with little effort (since that's how it's marketed) are you saying that not true.
     
  7. May 23, 2015 #6

    symbolipoint

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    Companies looking for technologists or scientists want to find people who have skills and knowledge. A person who wants to be hired must be able to show, prove, demonstrate exactly what some of these skills and abilities are. You may have employment interviews, and the companies or principles there may read/see your resume and transcripts. The interviewer would probably ask you what you did or what you know from attending certain courses. IF you impress these interviewers, you could possibly be hired with very little, if any, networking; but part of networking is actually to deal with people, and to talk to people.
     
  8. May 26, 2015 #7
    Why was the government push for more graduates overall when there was already a surplus of them?

    The government is primarily reacting to reports from business saying that there isn't enough engineers in the country. But the government isn't very good at properly understanding what this means, or perhaps doesn't care all that much because it's not a City problem. What it means is that usually at the senior level, there isn't enough engineers with X years of experience with A, B and C skills. It does not mean that there are not enough STEM graduates. It can take several years for a company to transform a typical engineering graduate into an actual productive engineer in industry. It takes a lot of time and investment, and companies are often reluctant to invest a senior's time into training a graduate when said senior is often required elsewhere.

    This is a student room posting and I think it clarifies the topic.
     
  9. May 26, 2015 #8
    " but part of networking is actually to deal with people, and to talk to people."

    I understand that talking to the right people is needed. Is there any way to mock interview with companies. I honestly am trying to find work.
     
  10. May 26, 2015 #9

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    Trade shows and conventions are a good way to build a network. Also, personal connections, start with people you know and have them introduce you to others.

    No degree will hand you a job with little effort. You will always be in competition with many other qualified candidates. The job will take effort, so will the job search.
     
  11. May 26, 2015 #10
    [QUOTE="DaleSpam,

    No degree will hand you a job with little effort. You will always be in competition with many other qualified candidates. The job will take effort, so will the job search.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for the advice, I will try seeking those out.

    More importantly, thank you for being one of the few honest people out here. I dont know your background, but at least you see things rationally.
     
  12. May 26, 2015 #11

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    You are welcome. At the same time, don't be discouraged. It may not be as easy or automatic as you had anticipated, but once you recognize that you can use that to push through and do the hard work needed. You can be rationally optimistic.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  13. May 26, 2015 #12

    russ_watters

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    Little effort when compared to an Art History major, but there is no field where they make confetti with all the superfluous job offers to throw at graduation.

    In today's job market, it should be possible to secure a job prior to graduation, but it isn't a guarantee and you do have to work at it. Yes, networking is important and always will be. Yes, getting experience through an intership is a big help.
    Joining student and professional organizations. Get an internship. Do a capstone project with an industry advisor.
    You're misunderstanding: Difficulty finding a job is a normal, every-day fact of life. It does not mean that there is a surplus of STEM grads. Remember, an unemployment rate can only ever be positive. It can't be zero or negative (though there is another rate, less publicized, of unfilled positions).
     
  14. May 26, 2015 #13

    russ_watters

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    An article on STEM prospects:
    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2014/09/15/the-stem-worker-shortage-is-real
     
  15. May 27, 2015 #14
    I agree with you VoloD, there is a glut of STEM graduates and applicants and this makes finding a job hard. Engineering is the more or most marketable of STEM degrees, but that doesn't make it easy to find work. Finding a job before graduation is almost unheard of in my circles. We get engineering grads and even applicants with masters degrees applying to be technicians and basic process engineers. We turn them down in droves.

    I think an internship is a great idea and I would do whatever it takes to get one. You mentioned you had problems finding one. Does your program not set you up with an internship?
     
  16. May 27, 2015 #15
    It was never true, an engineering degree is not a golden ticket to a job.
     
  17. Jun 2, 2015 #16
    My university has a placement center that I recently found out about. I will most likely try that out before the next semester starts. Officially, we don't have a ingrained internship program like some major universities. To be fair, my first school did not have an intern matching program for engineering either, both only use career fairs and other related services.
     
  18. Jun 2, 2015 #17
    Any idea as to the cause of 'proclaimed shortage'. And I am confident engineering has a bigger market than most liberal/fine art degrees. However this level of difficulty job searching has to based on more than just mere competition.
     
  19. Jun 2, 2015 #18
    Might've been a shortage of 'in-house' STEM people as opposed to foreign people getting their education in the US and then going back home. Engineering absolutely has a bigger market than liberal/fine art degrees, but the degree is a necessary but in-sufficient condition towards getting a job nowadays.
     
  20. Jun 2, 2015 #19
    I actually have read this article before. My only issues are that it seems to be focused on computer science related work and the real problem is that location for demand is absent.

    I feel that there is a shortage of engineering workers in small distributed areas of the US and in certain specializations. Locating them is the hard part.
     
  21. Jun 2, 2015 #20
    I appreciate that, and I have even consider what some of my options might be outside of engineering. I would not mind working in a separate field such as financial analyst or mathematically modeling. However, I have a feeling these positions may possibly be more competitive.
     
  22. Jun 2, 2015 #21
    Would you suggest working on Project or Thesis for Graduate School. My advisor has said he has not seen much discrimination between taking either option as for finding jobs. However, I feel that if I did a project, I would have a more enriching experience and possibly have something to speak about for interviews. I am no sure if thesis work has the same impact to employers.
     
  23. Jun 2, 2015 #22
    I have joined student organizations before in engineering, and I dont really feel that it puts you alot of direct contact with the right people unless you manage to work exclusively on project teams. Even with that, it still is a matter of finding someone who wont just tell you apply online. I am not trying to be a pessimist, but I am trying to be realistic about my situation. The capstone project idea is really sounding like a great option, but will I have the opportunity to do one given that this is grad school and not undergrad. I'll try asking my adviser about it.
     
  24. Jun 2, 2015 #23

    berkeman

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    As a person who interviews and hires engineers (including recent school graduates), I would find the project option much more useful (depending on the project, of course).

    The more impressive projects would be the ones that use the kinds of technology that are used in the workplaces where you are interviewing. For example, here at my company (an embedded systems / control networking company), I'd be looking for experience and demonstrated skill in embedded uC circuits and programming, CPLD/FPGA design and implementation, embedded system programming, etc. You can do some pretty interesting and involved projects with those kinds of things. Can you name a few? :smile:
     
  25. Jun 3, 2015 #24
    I'm surprised that you'd think it would be otherwise.

    Let's suppose you have a choice between two job candidates:
    • One that has either worked for your company productively in the past or has worked with one or more trusted employees who vouch for the candidate's ability.
    • One that has a nicely formatted resume and cover letter and doesn't seem to be insane after visiting your company for a day of interviews.
    Who would you hire?

    (Personally, I have gotten *one* job in my life by sending my resume cold to people who didn't know me at all. That is out of a total of 8-10 jobs.)
     
  26. Jun 3, 2015 #25

    symbolipoint

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    About post #24,

    Not quite "engineering", but my first two career-position jobs after graduating were through the send-a-resume, cold-call method. Never had any internships. The undergrad degree and some parts of courses and my personality counted. I had no personal connections (but maybe some remote ones which I did not initially know about).
     
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