Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Pigeon holed engineer

  1. May 26, 2010 #1
    This is what I want to avoid becoming. I do not want to be a person that comes in plays with the same widget and goes home. I want to do a variety of things and stuff changes day to day. What type of companies should I target. I heard that vendors and utilties are not the way to go for this... I am ME by the way
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2010 #2
    Well, it depends what you do want to do. You might want to do a 'variety of things' - but it's a big world out there, a variety is a minuscule amount.

    You should be able to get a sense of the work you'll be expected to do from looking at companies websites - oftentimes they will have profiles of employees with different job titles such that you can get a flavour for what their typical working week is like. It's in their interests to add a bit of glamour, but also not to stray from the truth: they want to employ people that are actually interested in what they do.

    If you're struggling for a list of companies to look at, speak to your careers service, they'll likely have a book of employers with a section suitable for ME students.
  4. May 26, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Additionally, it's important to remember that you are more likely to be pigeon holed into one thing if that is the one thing you do. If your resume is diversified, it may lead to jobs in which you'll be doing a variety of tasks.
  5. May 26, 2010 #4
    I would like to elaborate on Hayley Sarg's point: your ability as an engineer is the sum of your skills and experience. Note that this experience can be gained at any point in your life, not just your job. If your hobby is building go-karts, chances are you will have a fairly extensive knowledge of vehicle dynamics. If you hobby is building RC aircraft, then chances are you have a fairly extensive knowledge of aerodynamics.

    A "pigeon-holed" engineer who describes himself as such is an unhappy specialist. At some point, you will have to specialize in some pursuit of engineering (even if your specialization is mechanical integration, which deals with interfaces between a variety of subsystems). The moral of the story is that you should only specialize once you have found your area of interest.

    The best way to do this is to find SMALL companies; the smaller the better. Responsibility usually goes hand in hand with an understanding of how the entire engineering system fits together; thus allowing you to develop an understanding for a variety of subsystems. As your understanding of each individual subsystem improves, so will the breadth of you knowledge. To broaden your skill set, you will have to work with each subsystem (this happens naturally in small companies).

    Finally, you will learn far more about engineering from being given responsibility than you will by simply being delegated menial tasks. Furthermore, great engineers are those who seek challenges, not those who are content with repeating menial tasks that will one day be replaced by a software program.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook