Which types of engineers travel the most?

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  • Thread starter bentley4
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  • #1
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Which types of engineers usually travel the most?
Which types of engineers usually travel the least?
I think I travelling over to a certain country for say 4-5 days and then go to a next assignment would suit me well.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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Depends on what your company or institution requires of you. There is no way to answer your question in general terms.
 
  • #3
turbo
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Many engineers are pretty well wedded to a particular location or plant. However, if you go into technical consulting, you'll be on the move more often. Travel gets pretty tedious after a while if you *have* to do it, and you may not like it as much as you expect.
 
  • #4
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Depends on what your company or institution requires of you. There is no way to answer your question in general terms.
Off course, I expect as much, but I can imagine eg for a civil engineer he has to be at a certain location(can be anywhere) but be there for a pretty long time depending on the scale of the project. As opposed to an electrical engineer for example which has to build a certain electrical component of a device which is likely to be ready faster. No?
Even if you consider yourself not qualified to judge about this, I'd rather have 'some' examples then knowing nothing at all.
 
  • #5
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Many engineers are pretty well wedded to a particular location or plant. However, if you go into technical consulting, you'll be on the move more often. Travel gets pretty tedious after a while if you *have* to do it, and you may not like it as much as you expect.
Thanks for that. But I meant linked to a specialisation at uni. Such as Electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer, specialist in chemistry, ... .
 
  • #6
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Thanks for that. But I meant linked to a specialisation at uni. Such as Electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer, specialist in chemistry, ... .
It *really* depends, but if you had to speculate I would say, on average, civil engineers travel more because of the nature of the work. My dad was one and he traveled quite a bit. It depends, of course, if you are working for a consulting or construction firm.
 
  • #7
Astronuc
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Thanks for that. But I meant linked to a specialisation at uni. Such as Electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer, specialist in chemistry, ... .
It really doesn't depend on the discipline, but the particular job. I've know some engineers who work mostly at a corporate research facility, and that is where the work most often, unless attending a conference. I've known field engineers of different disciplines who travel to different customer sites.

An electrical engineer work on basic IC design might work in lab without much travel, but an electrical engineer who works on installing power system will travel to different sites.

Similarly, a chemical engineer doing basic research might work in a lab and perhaps a corporate plant, but otherwise not travel, while another chemical engineer may travel to different customer sites.

Similar for a mechanical engineer, nuclear engineer, aerospace engineer, civil engineer, . . . .
 
  • #8
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What you are looking for is a job as a Field Service Engineer (FSE), but be careful.
1 You need to be with a company that has it's products used world wide so it needs to be a large company.
2 But not so large that it has service bases set up around the world.
So your really looking at the large engine, steam/gas turbine type field.
In order to get the juicy exotic jobs (lets face it repeated trips to North Sea oil platforms are a drag) you are going to need 10 to 15 years seniority (oh and by the way be pretty good at your job).
The trouble is that in 10 to 15 years time you'll have a wife and kids who will all be pissed off, when on Saturday morning, when you'd planned a barbecue, you get a phone call to be on the next flight to Dubai and places east.
You'll end up with a messy (and costly) divorce turn to drink and end up with a Thai ladyboy in a shack in Phuket.
Seriously that kind of firefighting service job can be very rewarding, but when you're om site on your own and you don't have a clue as to what the problem is, it can also be a little bit frightening, and it plays merry hell with your social life.
 
  • #9
161
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What you are looking for is a job as a Field Service Engineer (FSE), but be careful.
1 You need to be with a company that has it's products used world wide so it needs to be a large company.
2 But not so large that it has service bases set up around the world.
So your really looking at the large engine, steam/gas turbine type field.
The same applies to the software industry - there are also field engineers employed by Microsoft, CISCO etc. who do onsite firefighting. Probably seniority requirements are not that hard in the IT industry.

As Astronuc said, it is the type of job that defines the extent of travelling not so much the area of expertise.

Seriously that kind of firefighting service job can be very rewarding, but when you're om site on your own and you don't have a clue as to what the problem is, it can also be a little bit frightening, and it plays merry hell with your social life.
I agree (from experience), I think these firefighting job are something to pursue for a few years and then switch to a backup career. Do not miss the right moment - I stepped back when I still enjoyed, when I was onsite ('feel the adrenaline rush'). But on the other hand when I was at home again motivating myself for the next trip before had become harder and harder.
 
  • #10
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It really doesn't depend on the discipline, but the particular job. I've know some engineers who work mostly at a corporate research facility, and that is where the work most often, unless attending a conference. I've known field engineers of different disciplines who travel to different customer sites.

An electrical engineer work on basic IC design might work in lab without much travel, but an electrical engineer who works on installing power system will travel to different sites.

Similarly, a chemical engineer doing basic research might work in a lab and perhaps a corporate plant, but otherwise not travel, while another chemical engineer may travel to different customer sites.

Similar for a mechanical engineer, nuclear engineer, aerospace engineer, civil engineer, . . . .
Thank you astronuc!
Complementary to your signature:
"Getting the 'right' answer is important, but understanding how to solve the problem (i.e. how you get the right answer) is just as important, if not more so."
You might also be interested to know that when Feynman came back from school he was asked by his parents ; "What did you ask?" instead of "what did you learn?"
Asking the right questions is the road to understanding imo.
 
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  • #11
66
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What you are looking for is a job as a Field Service Engineer (FSE), but be careful.
1 You need to be with a company that has it's products used world wide so it needs to be a large company.
2 But not so large that it has service bases set up around the world.
So your really looking at the large engine, steam/gas turbine type field.
In order to get the juicy exotic jobs (lets face it repeated trips to North Sea oil platforms are a drag) you are going to need 10 to 15 years seniority (oh and by the way be pretty good at your job).
The trouble is that in 10 to 15 years time you'll have a wife and kids who will all be pissed off, when on Saturday morning, when you'd planned a barbecue, you get a phone call to be on the next flight to Dubai and places east.
You'll end up with a messy (and costly) divorce turn to drink and end up with a Thai ladyboy in a shack in Phuket.
Seriously that kind of firefighting service job can be very rewarding, but when you're om site on your own and you don't have a clue as to what the problem is, it can also be a little bit frightening, and it plays merry hell with your social life.
Wow, thnx. Very valuable info!!! Not knowing these types of info could cost me a few years of my life lol! I can imagine it can stress marriage a lot.
When you go on such trips, do you have ANY time at all there to explore around?
 
  • #12
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What type of engineering job would you see as the most socially rewarding one?
Giving oppertunity to meet woman, not too taxing on family if you have one, ...?
 
  • #13
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You usually don't get any time to look around, the client is paying by the day so (s)he wants you off site and out of country ASAP. As plant downtime is expensive they want you to fix the job so will probably expect a minimum of 12 hours/ day so at the end of it you probably will not want to go off sightseeing.
 
  • #14
turbo
Gold Member
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If you want a social life (meeting women, marrying, raising a family, etc) and chances to get away on weekends and holidays, you'd probably want to choose a field of engineering that is in demand near where you want to live, so you won't have to travel frequently. In Maine, chemical engineering was/is a great field because the pulp and paper industry needs lots of technical expertise. I suspect that would also be the case in LA and east TX because of the refineries and chemical plants in that region.

As Astronuc explained, the job you end up in will dictate how much you are expected to travel, more than the field that you study. If you want a home-life with lots of personal time, picking a consulting job in a demanding field is not a good choice. You will end up being unhappy, IMO. If you want to stay near your friends/family, then you might have to consider which field of engineering you want to choose. If you choose a field that is in high demand where you live, you'll have a good chance of landing a good steady job near home, and get to take your time meeting women, etc. You don't get a lot of free time for socializing when you are a consultant who is in demand. You might be well-paid, but your social life, hobbies, and avocations will have to take a back seat.

Good luck, whatever you choose.
 
  • #15
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Thnx Jobrag and turbo-1. That was really helpful.
 
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