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Engineering Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employers?

  1. Jun 12, 2012 #1
    Basically, I took a bunch of credits at around age 19-23 and did not do so well. Most of these were gen ed. courses that I did not take seriously. I attribute that mostly to being young (I was focused on goofing off) and not knowing what I wanted with my life.

    At age 25 (I'm 26, almost 27 now) I decided I wanted to be a chemical engineer and began studying in earnest. I took calc, ODEs, 3 semesters of chem, physics, thermo, and matlab. I got As and Bs despite being a part time worker. I know I am capable of this stuff! I am going back to school in the fall but this time I will bring my school load from 12 credits down to 9 or 10 credits. I was really stressed working part time and being a full time student.

    This will put me at around age 30 (my god it's crazy thinking how close I am to 30!) when I graduate. Will employers frown on this? If they see my transcripts and see the education gap will I be doomed from the start?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2012 #2
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    I would hope not. A former college lab partner of mine was in his mid-30s. He was an MBA and worked for Siemens before, but he got laid off early in the recession. He personally came to the conclusion that MBA's aren't worth as much as they used to be, so he decided to go back to school and live off of his severance package and savings while he got a degree in chemistry. He works for a company that makes veterinary drugs now.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2012 #3
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    I have a similar concern. I am 27, and shall be embarking on an Engineering degree properly in a year. I have a prior liberal arts degree in History and Political Science, but I cannot yet put aside the need to contribute. Engineering offers the opportunity to do so directly, and I will be greatly upset if I am prevented by virtue of advanced age from doing so.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2012 #4
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    I've hired a lot of new engineers over the last decade (although not in my current job) and I can tell you it isn't looked down on *one bit* to be a more mature graduate. In my experience it is a bonus in that you'll probably be more serious and focused.

    Congratulations on your decision to go back to school. If you can do a quick master's after (like a one year coursework only program) you'll be in even better shape.
     
  6. Jun 16, 2012 #5
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    I am in a remarkably similar situation. I am 27 and already have a BA in Japanese Studies (almost bilingual) and Political Science. I honestly don't know how I ended up with such a non-technical degree because my passions and interests have always been in science and technology, I suppose I was afraid of failing at my "purpose" so I avoided it. But I am more determined than ever to go back (already registered for this Fall 2012) and get a brand new BS in Physics (or Engineering). But I am very concerned that I will be 30 before I ever really start my career. It concerns me greatly that I will have a huge amount of student debt, and nearly zero work experience, and be 30 with a fresh degree. It seems like graduating with that much debt only to be shunned would be quite literally fatal. I do intend on getting a Master's too, hopefully through one of those "fifth year" programs.

    Actually my problem is even more complicated than fearing an employer's perspective toward older graduates, as it may not even be possible. My first degree put me in $40k student loan debt, and the maximum for an undergraduate is $55k. I don't know how I can get a new bachelor's with just $15k. I could go for the private student loans... but I am also considering foregoing the standard university deal. I have been looking at University of London - Creative Computing BSc which appears the entire bachelor's degree costs about $7k total but this creates new concerns, like how much will employers or master's programs respect a distance-education degree from a foreign university (I'm in USA). Also, my interest was more about hardware than software, so this is sacrificing my true interest again. So I also looked at a distance-education degree in Physics from University of South Africa, for about $7k again. But it seems even more concerning for this one about the respectability and credibility of such a degree in the eyes of employers or master's programs. It appears the safer option is the higher cost option, just take the private student loans and get into the standard over-priced brick-and-mortar university and hope I can get a good enough job to pay off all this debt.

    If anyone has any input or advice about how to get a lower-cost education or the viability of these other distance-education programs, and the employer's potential attitude toward such a degree, I would greatly appreciate it.
     
  7. Jun 17, 2012 #6
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    I think as long as you have other relevant experience, they won't care.
     
  8. Jun 17, 2012 #7
    Re: Is being a fresh chemical engineering graduate at 30 looked down upon by employer

    You will be going in to entry level positions. However, there will be points given for maturity and experience doing other things. I doubt it would count against you.

    If it does, you might do well to look elsewhere. Chances are those places are a disaster anyhow.
     
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