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Job Skills What to say on resume abuout BSET degree?

  1. May 18, 2010 #1
    I am graduating soon from a top university well known for its engineering program, with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Engineering Technology with an electrical concentration. When I was applying for jobs for co-op, I started out listing the name of the degree. Interviewers seemed confused, catching that my degree was called something different than the regular "bachelors of science in electrical engineering". They didn't know what that meant and would ask, so I'd tell them it is much like the regular degree, but more hands on as opposed to theoretical. While the BSEE is heavily research based, the BSET is better for industry because we are taught the current practices of the industry while they are taught theory with very little hands on lab experience. The explanation seemed to satisfy them and I ended up with a pretty decent coop.

    But the experience just kind of left a sour taste in my mouth. I feel that the word technology in the degree kind of gives the impression that it is a technician degree like CHI Institute or Devry or something. In fact I paid the same amount for my degree as the EE students and learned much of the same material, just that instead of calculus 4 we stopped at calculus 2 and had a few ore business/management type courses and a little mechanical engineering dabbling that the regular EEs wouldn't have. My degree is ABET certified and in my state, engineering technology graduates are able to take the FE test for engineering licensure, which I plan to do in a few months.

    So lately I stopped mentioning the exact name of my degree in my resume and simply stated that I have a bachelors in electrical engineering. If they ask about it further I am happy to explain what exactly my degree is and what school of the college I went to. I know that the job market is tough now and I just feel having the "technology" word there gives employers the wrong idea in their head that I have some fake engineering for dummies degree and my resume would be eliminated before I even get in the door.

    My question is... is this an acceptable practice or is it wrong to do this? Do I have the wrong idea about the stigma against BSET degrees and is it better to list it by that title?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2010 #2
    Perhaps you could write a very short line describing the program as "BSEE + ..." (where ... is a succinct description of the additional features)? Alternately, you could put a small hyperlink to the university webpage describing the degree program, though others on this forum may disagree with regard to the extent of professionalism conveyed by such a practice.

    On the other hand, the fact that your interviewers scrutinize you shows that they are taking interest and you're being given an opportunity to explain the specifics of your program. While writing emails (which include your resume as an attachment) you could include a paragraph like "I wish to point out that the BSET degree is...." or something to that effect. That should do the trick.

    I understand your anxiety about this, but I think you just have to drive it in. The best thing is to be able to explain yourself persuasively and cogently. Best of luck!
  4. May 19, 2010 #3


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    This is a potential ethical issue. If there is a difference in BSEE and BSET degrees from your school, then put your actual BSET degree on your resume. Falsifying information on your resume is very unethical and could be the basis for denial of employment or worse, termination. Maybe, just maybe a BSEE would get you an interview easier, but the issue of BSET would come up and it does not give a very good impression that you lied, so you still lose in the end. Just look at it in this way that you have something to talk about in the interview. You have the opportunity to explain to the interviewer what skills a BSET student has.
  5. May 19, 2010 #4
    Stating that you hold a BSEE when in fact you hold a BSEET would not be the wisest thing to do. You may be put in a position where you can not perform the duties required because your education did not prepare you for those duties.

    For some jobs, employees who hold a BSE or a BSET perform many of the same duties. However, those with a BSE typically have more authority in design than their BSET peers.

    The fact that you paid the same in tuition for your BSEET as those who received a BSEE is irrelevant. At most school, every student pays the same in tuition regardless of major. The difference comes in the form of lab and course fees.

    I would suggest that you state you have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology. I copied the text below from the engineering department website for UNC Charlotte. Perhaps you can summarize it and memorize it in your head. When asked about your degree, share the information with your interviewer.

    "Engineering graduates are often considered "innovators." They develop new methods of analysis and solutions for open-ended, complex and unique design problems. New graduates most likely aspire to an entry-level position in conceptual design, systems engineering, product research, or development. Graduates are readily accepted to graduate school for advanced study in engineering (MS or PhD) whereas ET graduates do not usually follow this path. Graduates are also eligible for professional registration in all states through examination and documented experience. Coursework in the engineering curriculum includes multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based theoretical science courses followed by engineering science, analysis, and design.

    ET graduates are often considered "implementers." They apply current knowledge and practices to the solution of specific technical problems and standard design problems. New graduates most likely enter industry in construction, product design, development, testing, technical operations, or technical services or sales. Graduates often pursue graduate study in engineering management, construction management, business administration, or similar programs. They are most likely to get a 'hands-on' laboratory, testing, construction, or in-the-field job. Graduates are eligible for professional registration in most states with wide variation in licensing requirements. Coursework in the ET curriculum includes algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus, and science courses. The level of math and science required in ET is not theoretical as that required in engineering. Instead it is more focused on applications."
  6. May 24, 2010 #5
    Thanks for that. It's a really good explanation of the differences between the two degrees. I guess since the engineering technology degree is such a new concept, there will be a period of confusion and misconceptions about it until it becomes a more well known thing. Until then I hope the false assumption that it's a degree for those who couldn't hack the advanced calculus courses goes away. (Seriously unless you're a professor or high level researcher pushing the boundaries of science, where is all that calculus ever used?) I've seen EE graduates who couldn't analyze a solid state circuit if their life depended on it.

    Its like engineering colleges teach all this theoretical knowledge and throw graduates out there with no practical knowledge of what engineering is really like out in the real world. In response to that, colleges developed a new type of program that caters to that demand. While the EE programs are supposed to be producing the next Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley (inventors of the transistor), EET programs are supposed to develop someone like Martin Cooper, inventor of the cell phone. EEs use theory to develop new science, while EETs use their knowledge of existing science to develop new products and solutions. Neither one is a better degree than the other; they both have their strengths.

    I think the problem is that college degrees have never been about the knowledge gained in classes, it was always about weeding out the smart kids from dumb ones. Most employers assumed you'd graduate with no practical knowledge of whatever specialized thing they do, but your degree and great GPA means you were able to learn all that calculus stuff so you must be a smart cookie. And of course they want the smart ones. So a new kind of program comes along that has less calculus, one can assume that program is easier than the calculus heavy one. The fact that the course content of the new program might actually be more relevant to the job position becomes lost under the fact that the candidate went for an easier degree.
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