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Other Job Hunting Concerns of a Physics to Engineering Graduate

  1. May 31, 2016 #1
    Hey Everybody,

    A while back I made a thread about being a BS Physics graduate trying to go back to school. After changing universities, I finally graduated this May with my MS in Engineering (Electrical). While searching for jobs, I noticed there is a dilemma regarding specific jobs. I don't want jobs that require a PE (obviously), but I am not sure which jobs match my skill set. I have experience but the majority of it was mainly in research with scripting and programming (UNIX, C++, etc.)

    Can anybody give me some advice for a new MS engineer grad. Should I still be seeking BS engineer work, like what I am doing now. I am considering doing the Professional Level Exam for my state and seeking government employment.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2016 #2
    Electrical engineering typically does not require a PE certificate unless you're working on high power circuitry, such as a variable frequency drive for a large motor.

    First, from the way you write, I presume you live in the US. Are you willing to relocate? Are you willing to travel? If not, roughly what area of the country are you living now?

    Mostly the PE is used for electrical power engineering, such as medium voltage motors, Variable Frequency Drives, substation design, and the like. It is also recognized as a qualification for testifying as an expert witness in court (note: it can be lucrative, though thankfully infrequent, work).

    I'd consider audio systems design (PA systems, concert sound systems, etc), Antenna Systems design, instrumentation design, even SCADA integration and design. Consider various aspects of Telecommunications systems design, such as satellites, Two Way Radio systems, Cellular Radio systems, Broadcast Radio systems, Long Distance Fiber Optics design, and so on. I have barely scratched the surface.

    All that said, even if you do not think you want to deal with a PE, take the Fundamentals of Engineering (EIT) exam! You may change your mind later, and trust me, it will be much easier to pass that test now while the material is still fresh in your mind.
  4. Jun 1, 2016 #3


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    There is an easy way to find what jobs match your skillset. Look for the projects you enjoyed and the classes you excelled at. Try to determine why that occured.

    Then try to find jobs that match that. If you don't tell us anything but "I don't know what to do." then we really cant help you too much.

    scripting and programming is extremely broad. If your skillset really is just that broad, I suggest finding an application you are passionate about.
  5. Jun 1, 2016 #4
    I'll second JakeBrodskyPE, take the EIT now. There isn't any downside to this, and the upside is that it may come in handy later.

    As for what to do, well, you *should* have lots of options, especially if you are willing to move to where the work is. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what you like, but if you come back to us with questions about specific postings, maybe we can help you.
  6. Jun 1, 2016 #5


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    My suspicion is that most electrical PEs are doing building design work.
  7. Jun 1, 2016 #6


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    You can cast a wide net, but don't sell yourself short; not only do you hit low if you aim low, but aiming low can actually count against you in an application ("what's wrong with this guy?" and "he's probably too expensive for us").

    EE is such a broad field, you should probably spend some time browsing the types of jobs available. Decide what you like and what your priorities are (big/small company, desk/field work, type of industry, location, etc.).

    Or if you are desperate for a job, just apply for everything that matches your qualifications...
  8. Jun 2, 2016 #7
    They also design Electrical Transmission Systems and Substations, Electrical Generator systems, and critical designs such as grounding systems, and high availability ventilation systems, such as what one might find in a long tunnel or with water distribution pumps.

    Basically it is any system where the public's wellbeing is at stake.
  9. Jun 3, 2016 #8


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    A PE for electrical engineering is a complete waste of time and money unless your employer insists you get one. Its not an entry level position.
  10. Sep 5, 2016 #9
    Does anyone know of any jobs which would look favorably on an MS engineer
  11. Sep 5, 2016 #10


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    Most of them?

    That's a really broad and unanswerable question. Have you been searching job postings?
  12. Sep 6, 2016 #11
    I have been relentelessly searching for jobs and I have even called businesses and alumni. Unfortunately, I can not seem to find work ANYWHERE. I dont know if its my underwhelming resume or that I simply am doing something wrong. My network is not very vast. I have tried to reach out, but I keep hitting the wall.

    Can somebody on here review my resume or suggest a resume reviewer. I have tried a few local ones but I dont think it is helping.
  13. Sep 6, 2016 #12


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    How many jobs have you applied for, and in what time period?
  14. Sep 7, 2016 #13
    I have applied to numerous jobs in multiple states ( I am in the United States). I think the problem is that I really do not have any industry contacts that can help. I can not find any recruiters or the ones I have tried did not work out.
  15. Sep 7, 2016 #14
    Regrettably, recruiters are not likely to help you much at this point. I get cold-called by recruiters on a regular basis, because I have experience. Early in your career, [effective] recruiters are not going to pay much attention to you, for the simple reason that you don't need a recruiter to find a new graduate engineer.

    This is probably the hardest part of breaking into the job market: differentiating yourself from thousands of outwardly similar candidates in the same market. Unfortunately, there is probably not much I can really do to help you, since I am a random stranger on the Internet.
  16. Sep 8, 2016 #15
    Thanks for your responding. Its cool. I got some helpful advice so its a good start.
  17. Sep 8, 2016 #16


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    VoloD, I suspect that part of the problem you're experiencing in finding employment is a lack of practical work experience (through internships or summer jobs) that is relevant for engineering work, which may be tied at least partly to having first received a BS in physics before earning a MS in electrical engineering.

    In Canada, all engineering students are required to complete a minimum of 6 months (or 1 year?) of work experience (either through formal internships, co-op work terms, or through summer jobs) under a trained registered engineer as a pre-condition of graduation, and if for 1 year, that 1 year can count partially toward the 4 years of work experience required to complete the P.Eng. designation (roughly equivalent to the PE designation). Lacking that may count against you.

    Unfortunately, there is not really all that much any of us can do to help you. The only suggestion we can give is to cold-apply as much as possible, expand your network (attending conferences, etc.) and apply to related technical work like software development. If the latter, build up a portfolio through sites like Github, so that you have something to present to a prospective employer. Best of luck.
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