JOBSEACH: A budding engineer asks my opinion?

>>Do we know each other or have some connection i’m blanking on?

>Nope, I’m just a reader of your blog and noticed you were on Facebook.
> Just thought I’d add you.
> Oh and I noticed you’re an engineer. I’m on my way to being a mechanical engineer and
>was wondering if you would recommend electrical over mechanical.

Well, I can’t say much about how you waste your time. :-) Reading my blog. Thanks. It’s a very confused modest effort. I’m happy to do the Vulcan mind meld with you on Facebook.

I’m more of a “computer” injineer. I took an EE program because that was how “computing” was done in those “old days”. My first degree was actually BEEE for Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Did the 148 credts for Electrical and an extra 28 credits of “Senior Level” courses for the “Electronic” side. Semiconductor theory, Compiler theory, and such. For the College, who was just dipping their toe in that “pond”, it eventually became their Computer Science major that was jointly offered between the Engineering and Business Schools. I went on to exploit it in the “business world”, as opposed to “scientific” or “theoretical”. The rest is history.

I’d say you’ve got a Chevy versus Dodge choice. It’s in the eye of the beholder. It really depends upon what your vision for your life is. Does electricity or mechanical systems float your boat. IT’s a tough economy out their right now, BUT, (there is always a big butt), I think “engineering” trains you to think in a certain fashion. Must be all the math. Two important caveats: (1) “Life” and “People” are not suitable for “engineering solutions”. You need diferent skills for dealing with them that you don’t necessarily get in engineering school. Engineers are very blunt; that’s not so good. (2) Engineers always think there is a “right answer”, add a safety factor, and everyone will agree. Doesn’t work that way with “soft” problems.

I can’t tell you to pick one over the other. I can suggest that life is much harder for your generation. Success for your generation is: (1) ruthless financial discipline — no bad debt; (2) a life long interest in learning — education — a degree — they can’t take it away from you; (3) a white collar job in order to save big bux; (4) a blue collar skill for hard times — never saw a poor plumber; (5) one or more internet based businesses — your store is always open; (6) a free time hobby that generates income; and (7) a large will-maintained network of people who can “help” you.

I think: (A) You need to talk to your Deans at school. I assume you have a Dean of Engineering, an “Electrical” Dean, and a “Mechanical” Dean. Seek their guidance. I think you’d find them to be very open and knowledgeable. (B) Talk to at least four alumni from your school. Two in each discipline. Get their opinions of their respective fields. (C) Talk to the jobs people at your school. Find out where the last few graduating classes went. (D) Finally, talk to your parents. (They know you best. And, have your best interest at heart.)

I’m jealous. I wish I was just starting out again. But, I’ve made my mistakes. Paid dearly for them and hopefully learned from them. You’ve got virtually unlimited possibilities. It’s a great time to spread your wings! The world is your oyster. If I were you, I’d seek what made me choose “Engineering” in the first place and carefully “follow your gut” from there.

Good luck, feel free to “stand on my shoulders” anytime. I hope this was helpful.

Your e-freind,

P.S.: Begin to build your professional profile on LinkedIn and connect to me there also. It’s like “Facebook” for recruiters and job seekers.

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I’m humbled that (a) Someone actually reads my blog. (b) Actually asks my advice on their life.

That’s a very scary position to be put in. I could ruin his life and view of people. So I took the time to bang out an honest and complete answer. I include it here because I have always felt that when some one takes the time and courage to ask, then they deserve an answer. That and if there’s one questioner, there are others out their too timid to ask. Not that I am some “temple of wisdom”, but like I once heard a quiz show exclaim: “But I gave my answer quickly!” That’s me, maybe wrong, but quick. And, approachable. :-)

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