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Engineering Should I be a technician?

  1. May 9, 2016 #1
    I had an interview today for 'maintenance technician' apprentice, but I am hesitating as to whether I want it. I am interested in hands on work and I would want to stay away from being chained to a desk on CAD all day at all costs. I could do an Engineering BS or I could do this, I am confused as to which to do. Are there any technicians here and what are your experiences?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2016 #2
    I'm not a technician. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering
    Just cause you have a B.Eng doesn't mean you'll be stuck at a desk doing CAD.

    I work in field services and spend ~half my time out at sites fixing stuff.

    But of course there are many engineering jobs that you are chained to a desk. My last COOP placement I was a glorified CAD monkey and that is what the engineers did all day everyday. I knew pretty quickly that it wasn't for me.

    I'm tempted to say that the B.Eng is a better route to go as it will give you more flexibility in what you can you do as a career.
  4. May 10, 2016 #3


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    Science Advisor

    Hey Parsifal1.

    If you want to do technical work then an associate degree might be better suited to you.

    I would recommend you find out the difference between an associates degree in the branches of engineering that interest and suit you and decide whether you would like to do the associates degree of the full bachelors degree.
  5. May 10, 2016 #4
    A lot of OEMs want Degreed Engineers in the field - hands on. Many, if not most graduating engineers do not want to do the work, it is beneath them. This IMO is a great route - an Eng Degree with 5 or 10 years in the field is a very valuable employee.
  6. May 10, 2016 #5
    One of the best books I ever read about Programming was https://www.amazon.com/C-Traps-Pitfalls-Andrew-Koenig/dp/0201179288 --it's about all the classic mistakes that people make when programming. And although the book is about the C language, it can apply equally to many other languages.

    As a student pilot, I was initially horrified that people would study morbid, deadly accidents with such dispassionate detachment and clinical precision. And then I caught a few problems myself, before things got ugly, having learned from those experiences. That's when I discovered that the forensic engineers have to be very sharp people. There are research engineers and production engineers. These are problems that have eluded two previous generations of engineers. This is where the feedback comes from to improve safety, efficiency, and security.

    Likewise, one of the best things you can do as an engineer is to figure out why things break and how people get things wrong. Field service engineering, forensic investigations, and working at the tail end of a design project are fantastic places to learn things. This is where you figure out where the impact of a few misconceptions, who the users really are, and what the failure modes are. It is hard work, it's exciting, and sometimes dangerous work. You need to be on your toes. It can be very sobering and it's not for everyone.

    Nevertheless, even if it is only a year or two of experience, it will last you a lifetime. And when you move on to other things, these experiences will remind you of the mistakes that others without your experience made. It keeps me grounded and I hope it would do the same for you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  7. May 10, 2016 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the Pf.

    What exactly is a "Maintenance Technician"? I'm not familiar with that term/title. What kinds of work would you do as such a technician? In my experience, electronics technicians do a lot of lab testing and work, and the computer work they do is in support of analyzing and documenting that lab test work.
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