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Engineering Master's, and what does my future hold?

  1. Apr 7, 2014 #1
    I have a BSc in information technology. I worked as a technician for a long time after the military, and I did really well. The engineers were handing off their hard work to me, so I quit my job and got my Master's in computer engineering. Now it's time to find a job again.

    Two questions:

    First, will I be considered a real engineer, with my undergrad in another field?

    Second, it seems like all the jobs that I'm able to get (just started searching) are technician jobs still. Same stuff I was doing before. I am in my 30s, I enjoy what I was doing before, but I want to move up. Should I settle, or is that a career killer for getting into engineering?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2014 #2
    Many States and perhaps a few Canadian provinces have professional engineering certification for computer and software engineering.

    If you take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, get experience working with a registered PE, and then take the Principles and Practices (PP) exam, you will be an engineer in the eyes of the law.

    Even without all that hoopla, you'd still be an engineer as far as I'm concerned. There is nothing wrong with starting off as a technician. That's where I got my start.
  4. Apr 8, 2014 #3


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    I agree that you are a real engineer as is. If you want to go another step....
    Pass the tests mentioned above and you will be a state licensed engineer, and yes there is a computer engineering option on the PE.
    Go for it.

    Some companies/firms/government/armed forces only recognize Masters degrees, some only recognize the PE.
    So finding out where you are working might be wise first.
  5. Apr 8, 2014 #4
    I appreciate the input. Does anyone have advice about my second question? To reword it, I wonder if going back to work as a technician (for example as a 'systems engineer' that really does sysadmin or programming) will stunt my ability to progress in 'real' engineering.

  6. Apr 8, 2014 #5


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    No, it will not stunt your ability. If anything, it will improve your ability.

    Hands on work is always a good idea before design work. There are tons of threads on here talking about hands on work. Almost always a good thing.

    You do have an interesting background. As far as concrete information on qualifying for the PE, I would go on the online Professional Engineer site for your state. (assuming USA). On this site you can email the person in charge with your specific details and get factual information.

    For example, if someone has the 4 year electronic technology degree, they need 8 years in field instead of 4 years to qualify. Hopefully, you have just the 4 year wait, but if not, you will know. That's electronic technolgy degree WITHOUT masters. So you have a very special case you'll need to check in to.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  7. Apr 8, 2014 #6
    Firstly, CompE masters is something to REALLY be ecstatic about IMO much more than a Masters in just EE because its focused. It's what a masters degree should be.

    Secondly what kind of projects for school have you done? Find out if that work is translatable to jobs. Search keywords from your courses in school on INDEED like "Verilog HDL", "PID controller". If you did school work with microprocessors note the type your school was using and see if companies need that skill.

    Thirdly, I don't think you should have a problem getting through HR filters so when it comes to the phone screening part of interviews research the company extensively and ask questions.
  8. Apr 8, 2014 #7
    Thanks everyone, your answers all lifted my spirits. I now feel that my effort the last 3 years was worthwhile ;)
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