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Salary Expectations / When to Apply

  1. Jun 23, 2011 #1
    I was curious about my salary expectations for the South East area in Electrical Engineering.

    I have my BSEE and will be finishing up my MSEE this year (May 2012).

    My gpa's are decent, 3.4 and 4.0 respectively. I have had 2 internships and am the president of an honor society and am active in a few other things as well. I have done some research online for the starting MSEE salaries but couldn't find much. What should I expect/ask for? All of my BSEE friends have jobs in the SouthEast in various industries ranging from 55k-64k, so naturally I'm expecting more than that, but exactly how much is unsure.

    Next, since I graduate in May '12 when would be a good time to start applying for jobs? I'm currently researching companies to see which I'm really interested in but when would be a good time to actually apply for some of the available positions? I know that new positions will definitely pop up in January 2012 or sometime next year but wouldn't mind getting a head start on the job hunting!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2011 #2


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    Start looking now. You don't have much to lose, especially in this economy.
  4. Jun 23, 2011 #3


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    You can start looking now, but I wouldn't start seriously applying until after the New Year. I worked in the electronics industry for many years, and I can tell you that people simply can't afford to think that far ahead. If you send them a resume now saying that you aren't available until May, 2012, they will probably just throw it away. I would have. However, starting to research companies and make contacts for when you are ready is a good idea.
  5. Jun 24, 2011 #4
    I work as an engineer in the south east as well and I think you should be happy with 55k-64k unless you had some really good internship experience (did actual engineering work). When I started ten years ago a BSEE in the area was starting at about 10k less than that.

    Here is what I have found in my limited experience on the subject.

    1.) Experience trumps a MS unless you have solid internship or an excellent thesis (if you went that route). In reality, a BS with 2-3 years good experience and an MS are about equal if not favoring the BS. The MS can open up some jobs the BS might not be able to get and will help once you get experience.

    There are a lot of intangibles that make a good engineer that aren't necessarily tested/reflected on education. Attention to detail, persistence, troubleshooting, initiative, business acumen (unfortunately), etc.

    2.) If you are good, your salary should go up pretty quick. In my first 4 years of working I had a 20% raise on merit and a 30% raise to keep me from taking another job.

    As far as when. Most companies are advertising openings are looking to fill them within a few months if not immediately. I would really start hitting it the beginning of your last semester. There isn't any harm in sending stuff out now, but don't expect a lot of interest if you can't start for a year.
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