Engineering technician a good job?

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I am currently a mechanical engineering technology major. I read in some websites that engineer technicians are the engineer's slaves, are useless, and will reach a "dead end" in life. I am choosing engineering technology because I am a fan of math and science but I also like to focus mainly on building and repairing parts. To be honest, I do feel a little discouraged and lost.

My questions are:
I like building and doing more hands on stuff. Which is better for me to major in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technician?
What are your opinions on engineering technology? Do you think it's a "waste of time"?

Sorry if these questions are dumb.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Averagesupernova
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Slaves? Are they fairly paid? Useless? Then why is there a need for them? Dead end? How do you define that? I know plenty of people that think any EE job is a dead end. Of course your question is regarding mechanical, but my point still stands.
 
  • #3
boneh3ad
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It all depends on what you want to do. Most true engineers aren't going to get their hands dirty as much as it sounds like you would like. Some will, but not most.
 
  • #4
fss
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In my experience, people with engineering technology degrees seem to be degree holders in "advanced workshop skills." They aren't useless, but really don't have much career advancement potential due to their limited skillset. YMMV.
 
  • #5
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Slaves? Are they fairly paid? Useless? Then why is there a need for them? Dead end? How do you define that? I know plenty of people that think any EE job is a dead end. Of course your question is regarding mechanical, but my point still stands.
I didn't say they're "dead end". Someone else said that. I am just trying to make myself not feel discouraged by asking what an engineering technician does exactly or if it is a good career to follow.
 
  • #6
S_Happens
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My thoughts are that if you can do the coursework, go for the engineering degree. It is certainly more marketable, and you can find or work yourself into a job that is hands on if that's what you want. There are lots of field engineers that can be very hands on. I'm more application oriented, but can handle the theory and am going for the BSME. I've worked in the field for years, and that's what I want to continue to do. Around here a lot of the specialty rotating equipment contractors have engineers that come out and service/inspect/troubleshoot/oversee.

I'm not saying that's what you need to do either, or if you'd be unable to handle all the extra theory that it would be a good idea. Just that given the choice and if you'd be able to succeed with either degree, the engineering degree is more beneficial.

There is nothing wrong with Engineering Technology. It's more application oriented like you already know and more limiting than a full blown engineering degree. That's not to say that you won't be completely happy with it or very successful. Keep asking around. Try locally or find job postings that maybe you could contact for information. Get the information from the people who do the work, not the people who don't.
 
  • #7
AlephZero
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Go for the Engineering degree if you can handle it.

"Engineer technicians" are an endangered species now, at least in the UK - your country may be different. Of course there are people who are properly apprentice-trained in practical skills (i.e. they have had several years full-time training in a real industrial environment, not just a couple of machine-shop courses at a college), but the old-style "technicians" who could do a bit of drawing, do the grunt work in running computer models and putting together reports, and other "odd jobs" (including the more practical ones) for the "real engineers" just don't exist any more.

Mech Eng is a very broad field. From your OP I think you would be happiest working on product development and testing or customer support (in a company where that involves visiting customers and getting close to the actual product, not just sitting in an office answering questions by phone and email), rather than the more "office and computer based" jobs like product design.
 
  • #8
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I like the idea of engineering. It's just the fact that I have to use theory kind of scares me. I consider myself good at math and science but not that good. Someone told me engineering technicians do build machines. My community college requires engineer technicians to take math, science, and machine shop courses in order to graduate. My counselor and advisor told me that if I want to specifically focus on building machines then I should major in mechanical engineering technology.
 
  • #9
Integral
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One big difference is that generally techs will be paid on a hourly basis while engineers are salary. The hourly wage means that you are eligable for overtime. It is not uncommon for the shift working techs to make MORE then the engineers they; work with.
A good tech can make a very good living, it the right areas.
 
  • #10
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I like the idea of engineering. It's just the fact that I have to use theory kind of scares me. I consider myself good at math and science but not that good. Someone told me engineering technicians do build machines. My community college requires engineer technicians to take math, science, and machine shop courses in order to graduate. My counselor and advisor told me that if I want to specifically focus on building machines then I should major in mechanical engineering technology.
Don't be scared of theory. Sounds like you're assuming everyone else in engineering classes gets it, and trust me that is a poor assumption to start from. I have a full degree and a very theoretical + hands-on job in a small R&D company. It all depends where you end up; a full engineering degree might be your ticket there moreso than the technology in some instances.

I found that my advisor was full of **** to be honest. Many, not all, are removed from industry and offer misguided advice on some topics, though they mean well.

I think for the time and money investment you'd short-change yourself not getting the full degree if you have the opportunity. Don't be scared of the theory, you'll find a way to make sense of it. Go with what gives you more options in the future.
 
  • #11
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Don't be scared of theory. Sounds like you're assuming everyone else in engineering classes gets it, and trust me that is a poor assumption to start from. I have a full degree and a very theoretical + hands-on job in a small R&D company. It all depends where you end up; a full engineering degree might be your ticket there moreso than the technology in some instances.

I found that my advisor was full of **** to be honest. Many, not all, are removed from industry and offer misguided advice on some topics, though they mean well.

I think for the time and money investment you'd short-change yourself not getting the full degree if you have the opportunity. Don't be scared of the theory, you'll find a way to make sense of it. Go with what gives you more options in the future.
I spoke to the director of the engineering department at my school. He told me how it's like being an engineer and even showed me pictures of one of his creations. I think I do want to become an engineer. I think I can handle theory. My other reason is because I want to take as many different types of maths as possible because I love math ^.^
 
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  • #12
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I spoke to the director of the engineering department at my school. He told me how it's like being an engineer and even showed me pictures of one of his creations. I think I do want to become an engineer. I think I can handle theory. My other reason is because I want to take as many different types of maths as possible because I love math ^.^
Go for it! Enjoy the ride, you'll be out before you know it.
 

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