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'[EE] where do I go from here?'
2004\11\20@161226 by Martin Klingensmith

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I have 3 semesters left before I get a BS (so ironic isn't it?) .. in
electrical engineering. My dilemma is that I don't really know what to
do afterward. I'm sure everyone goes through this, right?

I'm *fairly* certain that I want at least a master of engineering
degree. My problem is that I don't know anyone who has a real-life job
designing real things that has a PhD, yet I feel like I want to be the
highest qualified that I can be.

My main interest is power electronics (motor control, SMPS) and audio
electronics (class D) right now. I'm not too interested in devices or
integrated circuits, perhaps because of my inability to experiment with
such things.

I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it has helped me in my
EE classes a lot!). I built a class D amplifier, a few switching power
supplies, a PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My question is:
does hobbyist work reflect well when trying to get a job? Every job ad I
see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols TLA here and there"
The only BS level jobs I see are "technician monitoring xx" or a
beginning engineering management position (yuck).

Surely someone a little older and wiser has something to tell me?
Thanks a lot,
MK at alfred.edu
____________________________________________

2004\11\20@185811 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Martin Klingensmith wrote:
> I'm *fairly* certain that I want at least a master of engineering
> degree. My problem is that I don't know anyone who has a real-life job
> designing real things that has a PhD, yet I feel like I want to be the
> highest qualified that I can be.

A PhD generally indicates you are more interested in research than rolling
up your sleaves and designing something.  However, I know a few PhDs who do
engineering, although this is after they've been in the real world for a
while.  As an employer, I'd be nervous about a PhD right out of school for a
"get it done" type of engineering job.  There is such a thing as a doctor of
engineering, which says more that you want to be a well qualified engineer
rather than a researcher.

Right out of school, a master of engineering in EE is definitely a leg up on
just a BS EE.  While the extra knowledge may not be that important or
relevant, it demonstrates that you had the interest to persue it further,
were good enough in school work to get into grad school, and had the
persistance to see it thru to the masters degree.  Once you've worked for a
few years, your job experience will be much more important and masters
versus BS will be less of an issue.  BS versus nothing will always be an
issue.

> I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it has helped me in
> my EE classes a lot!).

I've never met a good EE that didn't do a lot of hobby stuff on the side
from at least late grade school thru college.  Like with most fields, the
really good people have a passion for it.  In EE this is demonstrated by
doing lots of personal projects simply because it was interesting.

> I built a class D amplifier, a few switching
> power supplies, a PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My
> question is: does hobbyist work reflect well when trying to get a
> job?

Absolutely!  It's the first thing I look for when hiring someone right out
of school.  If someone hasn't done personal projects, then they're just
going thru the motions and they'll be a mediocre EE at best.

One time I was interviewing a kid about to graduate with a BS EE from a
local college.  When I asked what personal projects he'd done on the side he
looked a little surprised and said it wasn't required for course work.  I
told him to find a different profession and threw him out right there and
then about 1 minute into the interview.

> Every job ad I see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and
> protocols TLA here and there" The only BS level jobs I see are
> "technician monitoring xx" or a beginning engineering management
> position (yuck).

Many entry level jobs are never advertised in newspapers and the like.  Most
entry level jobs are in large companies that want to grow their own people
from the inside.  Those companies have deliberate college recruitment
programs and usually work with various college placement offices.  This is
where the right college is important.  Most companies don't need that many
entry level EEs, and can't afford to recruit at all EE schools, so they pick
the top few and maybe the local one to where the job is.

This also depends a lot on the current economy, but there is nothing you can
do about that.  You have to be lucky to be born at the right time so that
you graduate from college when companies are looking for entry level EEs.  I
was lucky that I entered the job market in 1980 when EEs were second only to
chemical engineers as hot commodities.  It comes and goes.  If it's crappy
now and you were thinking about grad school anyway, that might be a good
option.  If it's still crappy two years later, then at least you've got the
extra degree to set you apart.

In any case, keep doing those personal projects.  When you do get that first
job, you'll be amazed at how much more you know than the zombies that just
did the required work.  And, it won't take long for the bosses to notice
this too, even at a large stodgy company.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\11\20@192536 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Nov 20, 2004, at 1:12 PM, Martin Klingensmith wrote:

> I have 3 semesters left before I get a BS (so ironic isn't it?) .. in
> electrical engineering. My dilemma is that I don't really know what to
> do afterward. I'm sure everyone goes through this, right?

Yep.
>
> I'm *fairly* certain that I want at least a master of engineering
> degree. My problem is that I don't know anyone who has a real-life job
> designing real things that has a PhD, yet I feel like I want to be the
> highest qualified that I can be.

Having an MS, or a PhD, is a different kind of "qualified" than having
worked in industry over the same sort of time period, and pays
approximately
equivalently (or did, last time I checked.  Which was a better time to
be
looking for work than now.  Arguably, you can always get an MS in two
years,
but getting two years of industry experience requires that you actually
find
someone to hire you an entry level EE position ...)

> My main interest is power electronics (motor control, SMPS) and audio
> electronics (class D) right now.

Are there masters programs and classes along those lines that you can
get into?
One problem I had (and continue to have) is that MS and PhD programs
seemed to
head quickly toward very academic fields that I wasn't very interested
in.

> I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it has helped me in
> my EE classes a lot!). I built a class D amplifier, a few switching
> power supplies, a PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My
> question is: does hobbyist work reflect well when trying to get a job?

Yes, IMO.

> Every job ad I see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols
> TLA here and there" The only BS level jobs I see are "technician
> monitoring xx" or a beginning engineering management position (yuck).

Have you visited with the people doing on-campus recruiting at your
school?
Traditionally, there are a number of largish companies that show up
willing
to take the "wet behind the ears" graduates and get them started in
actual
industry.  You may not do exactly what you had in mind, but then you
won't
have to show two+ years of exactly relevant experience, either.  The
companies
that show up will know what to expect of graduates of your school, and
will
have already decided that "that's OK."  (This is one of the advantages
of
school, after all.  The business "connections.")

Good Luck.
BillW

____________________________________________

2004\11\20@192711 by Nate Duehr

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I'll preface this by saying I'm just a PIC hobbyist, and my trade/craft
is Unix system administration and telephony.

With that said...

On Sat, Nov 20, 2004 at 04:12:44PM -0500, Martin Klingensmith wrote:
> I have 3 semesters left before I get a BS (so ironic isn't it?) .. in
> electrical engineering. My dilemma is that I don't really know what to
> do afterward. I'm sure everyone goes through this, right?

Not everyone.  Everyone's path through life is different, and some
people seem to grow up "destined" to be something, but in general,
you're correct - man's struggle will always be, "Who am I?"

It's important not to get hung up on it.  The biggest thing to remember
is that other than possibly your loved-ones, no one else on the planet
really cares what you do - however, if you do something they find
helpful, useful, or interesting - they will probably be interested in
that regard, but it's about them, not you.  Eventually you build up a
base of friends and contacts who have *similar* but never 100% the same
goals as you have, and you help each other.

And eventually everyone's interests change.

So the honest answer to your question from the honest man is, "What do
you do?  I don't care."

After that really sinks in, you realize you might as well just go do
whatever it is that you desire the most - why?  Because you'll always do
better at something that interests you than something that doesn't.  Of
course, this is tempered by reality -- what most people desire most is
to eat and have a place to live... you work your way up from there.
Maslow's heirarchy and all that.

So being bright, you may ask -- if you don't care, why are you answering
my posting.  Good question, grasshopper.  My interest here is in typing
up my ideas on the human condition with your question as the backdrop
and furthering discussion on the point.  I'm interested in the
discussion for new ideas, you're interested in the discussion for
"answers" to unswerable things.  But we both have a dog in this fight.
So we're both here, discussing.   Cool, huh?

> I'm *fairly* certain that I want at least a master of engineering
> degree. My problem is that I don't know anyone who has a real-life job
> designing real things that has a PhD, yet I feel like I want to be the
> highest qualified that I can be.

Friends and business associates who work in various electronics design
portions of industry typically have only the BS.  What separates those
who create things from those who don't really isn't the degree - it's
sheer willpower to DO.  The PICList is full of successful examples of
people who do not have ANY formal electronics education, but usually
have a little electronics training.  Many times the training is
self-taught by way of lots of calculated mistakes.

(A metaphor that explains the difference between education and training
is best summed up by asking if you'd like your daughter to get Sex
Education in school, or Sex Training.  After reading that, re-read the
above statement.)

> My main interest is power electronics (motor control, SMPS) and audio
> electronics (class D) right now. I'm not too interested in devices or
> integrated circuits, perhaps because of my inability to experiment with
> such things.

I cannot comment on your interests, they're exclusively yours and you'll
always follow your interests, that's human nature.  As far as the
perception that you cannot experiment with "devices or integrated
circuits", you may wish to note that most electronics suppliers do have
free sample programs and many treat students with special favor.  Search
the list archives for MANY discussions on this topic.  There's nothing
stopping you, but you.

> I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it has helped me in my
> EE classes a lot!). I built a class D amplifier, a few switching power
> supplies, a PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My question is:
> does hobbyist work reflect well when trying to get a job? Every job ad I
> see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols TLA here and there"
> The only BS level jobs I see are "technician monitoring xx" or a
> beginning engineering management position (yuck).

Many "educated" people (see comments above) are asked and expected to
manage others who are supposedly less qualified to manage themselves and
others.  The only advice I can give you here from my own experience in
business is to tread lightly if you take one of those opportunities.
You can do well, but not if you step on everyone's toes the first week.
You've been there 5 hours, they've been there, probably years.  If you
choose to go into management, your interpersonal skills are far more
important than your engineering knowledge.

As far as your questions about whether or not your hobby activities are
useful to an employer -- only you and the employer can determine that.
Some employers might find your things you've built to be an indication
of intelligence, ability to do a job, various things -- or they may be
under strict rules that their corporation can't hire anyone without
certain pieces of paper.  The answer to the question lies in the truth:
Have you asked the right person?  Some people here will say, "Yes, my
hobby work helped me get a job!"  Others will say, "My company doesn't
hire people without XYZ diplomas."  And in both cases, there's a very
high probability that neither is any way involved in hiring anyone.

You have to judge for yourself.  If you apply for a job at a small mom
and pop shop who's got a creative, inventive type running the place and
you show him your own creative, inventive stuff -- he'll probably like
it.  If you show that same stuff to a large Aerospace Engineering's HR
front-people, they're probably not going to care.  It's situational.

> Surely someone a little older and wiser has something to tell me?

Unfortuntely it's up to you to decide if the advice is wise or foolish,
and the only way to do that is to take it or leave it and record the
outcome.  ;-)  And then you end up "wise" yourself.  I fit the "little"
older profile well (early 30's) but there are those here I love to read
messages from that are even older and even more wise.

> Thanks a lot,
> MK at alfred.edu

I would say, and if you wish to check my opinion, just thumb through a
few history books, that the absolute most important advice anyone can
give you at any age is simple: Just go do whatever it is that you're
willing to do.  And don't wait.  The great movers and shakers of the
world didn't ask on mailing lists for advice for their lives.  They were
passionate about something and they woke up in the morning and put
themselves in situations and around other people where they would have
no choice but to pursue that passion - and then they overcame whatever
apathy they might have had, and just did it.

The second most important piece of advice: If you think your education
is over after you finish school, you're sadly mistaken.  School is just
a base of knowledge to start from.  It's your choice how far up you go
on every possible learning curve you wish to travel.  Schools spend
almost zero time on preparing you for things like business politics, how
to meet people who have similar interests and goals, and in many
specializations, people leave school with 10 years of higher mathematics
and no idea how to balance a checkbook.

Look for holes in your own knowledge of the things that interest you and
make it your personal responsibility to fill them, by whatever means.

Summing it up:
Do it.  Keep learning.  Look around once in a while.

--
Nate Duehr <spam_OUTnateTakeThisOuTspamnatetech.com>
____________________________________________

2004\11\20@205503 by Peter van Hoof
picon face
I can tell you a little about my story, a rather strange one you might say
but perhaps it can show you how a strange beginning of a carreer can still
get you where you belong in the end.

I was born in the netherlands , now live in the usa.
When I was about 7 years old I used to hang out with my cousin , who was
several years older and got interrested in things he built  transmitters,
radio's amps etc. ever scince I have built electronic projects and read
literally hundreds of electronics, programming, mechanical and engineering
books. My average sleep time when attending school was limited to what I had
time for (about 4 hours a night) I always thought I would end up with a
university degree of some kind in electronics.

After finishing something similar to highschool I started my technical
education, but soon found out in disgust that most of my fellow students in
their final year there knew nothing more than I already did. This
discouraged me so much I dropped out and started working for an employment
agency doing minimum wage jobs for several years.

Then a friend contacted me , needed someone to make cables at a company that
made machienes to manufacture CD's. I started working and within a few
months I was designing plc software and industrial robot software for their
equipment i started traveling worldwide making modifications, doing
installations etc till I met my wife in the USA. Applied for a job at a
customer I was working at the time. Now I do design and integration of new
machienery modifications to make new product types program in probably 40 or
more languages do cad work etc. It's a rather large company with several
plants worldwide and now some of our sister companys are starting to request
my help.

The only thing I had not really forseen is that with a job like that , and a
family is that I rarely find the energy to tinker anymore.

Though things looked pretty bad at times my puzzle piece fell in the right
place.

Even when you initially might not be on the right track with some luck and a
lot of hard work you may eventually find your spot in life.


Peter van Hoof



{Original Message removed}

2004\11\21@095937 by kravnus wolf

picon face

--- Peter van Hoof <.....pvhKILLspamspam@spam@adelphia.net> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

 I had a similar experience. I was doing an IT course
but did not figure what to do after graduating. I
discovered assembly language and started tinkering
with it during my final year. It was a blast! I
finally understood computers. From then on I wanted a
career in programming.

Regards,
John Chung

> {Original Message removed}

2004\11\21@110147 by D. Jay Newman

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face
> --- Peter van Hoof <pvhspamKILLspamadelphia.net> wrote:
>
> > I can tell you a little about my story, a rather
> > strange one you might say
> > but perhaps it can show you how a strange beginning
> > of a carreer can still
> > get you where you belong in the end.

> > The only thing I had not really forseen is that with
> > a job like that , and a
> > family is that I rarely find the energy to tinker
> > anymore.

Unfortunately I can relate to that now.  :(

>   I had a similar experience. I was doing an IT course
> but did not figure what to do after graduating. I
> discovered assembly language and started tinkering
> with it during my final year. It was a blast! I
> finally understood computers. From then on I wanted a
> career in programming.

Well, I had a college career like that of Zonker Harris (Doonebury); I
spent eight years as an undergrad changing majors several times. I *did*
start out in EE, but switched after the second year and eventually
graduated with a degree in German. I did always have an interest in
tinkering - I built my first computer with a 6502 and a wooden case (I
spent all my money on the electronics, I couldn't afford a professional
case).

Before I graduated I worked part-time for University of Delaware's Office
of Computer Based Instruction (OCBI - pronounced ok-bee). After graduation
this continued until a full-time slot opened up. After a move, I now
program for Penn State's Eduation Technology Services.

Frankly I feel my study of human languages has made computer programming
easier (if you can learn French by listening to some friends, Java and
C are trivial in comparison).

Especially after your first job, your degree rarely means little.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
.....jayKILLspamspam.....sprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\11\21@115324 by Dave Tweed

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"D. Jay Newman" <EraseMEjayspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTsprucegrove.com> wrote:
> Before I graduated I worked part-time for University of Delaware's
> Office of Computer Based Instruction (OCBI - pronounced ok-bee).
> After graduation this continued until a full-time slot opened up.
> After a move, I now program for Penn State's Eduation Technology
> Services.

Interesting! I went to U of D as well, graduating in 1980 with a BSEE.
And I worked part-time for OCBI (mostly Plato Project at the time) as
well. If you were tinkering with the 6502, it sounds like you might have
been there at about the same time.

This is relevant to this thread as well -- I almost quit going to classes
full-time in order to work full time for OCBI, but my mother insisted that
I complete my degree first, and I'm really glad she did. By the end of the
summer after I graduated, I was doing some very interesting supercomputer
architecture and design work for Burroughs, which was a much better job to
start a career with.

> Especially after your first job, your degree rarely means little.

Are you sure you said what you meant? :-)

I think a degree is important only in that it gives an indication of
how solid the engineering fundamentals are (e.g., math and physics).
Work experience (and before the first job, extracurricular activities)
are a much better indication of interests, motivation and practical
skills.

-- Dave Tweed
____________________________________________

2004\11\21@121757 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> "D. Jay Newman" <jayspamspam_OUTsprucegrove.com> wrote:
> Interesting! I went to U of D as well, graduating in 1980 with a BSEE.
> And I worked part-time for OCBI (mostly Plato Project at the time) as
> well. If you were tinkering with the 6502, it sounds like you might have
> been there at about the same time.

Hmmm. I don't remember the name, but I was in school from 1976-1983 and I
only started working for OCBI in the last couple of years.

> summer after I graduated, I was doing some very interesting supercomputer
> architecture and design work for Burroughs, which was a much better job to
> start a career with.

Ayup. But I like the university environment. Most jobs wouldn't let me take
several months leave to care for my sick wife.

> > Especially after your first job, your degree rarely means little.
>
> Are you sure you said what you meant? :-)

I'm rarely sure about anything, especially with the lack of sleep I've
been getting lately. What I think I meant was:
 Your degree rarely means anything after you've landed your first job.

> I think a degree is important only in that it gives an indication of
> how solid the engineering fundamentals are (e.g., math and physics).
> Work experience (and before the first job, extracurricular activities)
> are a much better indication of interests, motivation and practical
> skills.

Ayup. I've been on the hiring process now, and I've found a lot of people
with little or no practical experience who have great degrees.

My favorite story is about a coworker of my wife (the coworked had a masters
in computer science) and she asked my wife to explain the concept of pointers
to her! Twice!

If it were just the syntax I could understand, but the concept. Sheesh.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
@spam@jayKILLspamspamsprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\11\21@122044 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> "D. Jay Newman" <KILLspamjayKILLspamspamsprucegrove.com> wrote:

> Interesting! I went to U of D as well, graduating in 1980 with a BSEE.
> And I worked part-time for OCBI (mostly Plato Project at the time) as
> well. If you were tinkering with the 6502, it sounds like you might have
> been there at about the same time.

Hmmm. I might have been known as "Duke" back then. I was short, thin,
obnoxious, arrogant, and a bad dresser. I'm no longer thin and I'm less
arrogant. My main project as a part-timer for OCBI was the Latin Skills
Project on the Apple II along with Pat Sine and Louisa Frank.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
RemoveMEjayTakeThisOuTspamsprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\11\21@125457 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Especially after your first job, your degree rarely means little.

The situation in other countries is probably different, but in my
country (Netherlands) there are two variations of 'high' education: the
more theoretically/scientifically oriented (university, and the old
technical highschool) and the more practically oriented (plain
highschool, or higher technical school). The statistical truth (as far
as sopmething like that exists) is that starting positions and salaries
for both type of studentes are the same, sometimes the practically
educated even get a higher starting salary. But grow rate and especially
the maximum end levels of both salary and position for the practically
educated have some kind of ceiling, so in the end the theoretically
educated end (much) higher.

My educational career: I started (in the theoretical variant) with
Electronics, but after 1 year I had only one good mark (maybe 5% of the
curriculum), so I bailed out to Informatics. There I started more
seriously and completed the education more or less in the alotted time.
I have always been an eletronics hobbyist, so I do have most of the
practical experience my (only) theoretically educated colleagues lack.
But I always found the theoretical (especially mathematical) parts of my
education very helpfull in my work. Nowadays I teach (part-time) at a
higher technical school :)

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\11\21@153720 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Sat, 2004-11-20 at 16:12 -0500, Martin Klingensmith wrote:
> I have 3 semesters left before I get a BS (so ironic isn't it?) .. in
> electrical engineering. My dilemma is that I don't really know what to
> do afterward. I'm sure everyone goes through this, right?

For sure. I was lucky enough to do co-op work during my 4 years of
school that allowed me to have a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do
afterwards.

> I'm *fairly* certain that I want at least a master of engineering
> degree. My problem is that I don't know anyone who has a real-life job
> designing real things that has a PhD, yet I feel like I want to be the
> highest qualified that I can be.

I am certain many here will disagree with what I'm about to say, but
here goes: hold off on the masters.

Most of the engineers I work with at my level and quite a bit above only
have a BS. The only ones who have a Masters are managers with alot of
experience.

Due to the way most companies hire you may find yourself in the weird
situation of being bother over qualified with education and
underqualified with experience. By this I mean the "masters" will put
you into a salary bracket that your experience won't be able to support.
I've seen this sort of thing happen.

Most people I work with have a BS and go for their Masters later in
their careers.

A PhD is pretty much IMHO only useful if you want to teach.

> I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it has helped me in my
> EE classes a lot!). I built a class D amplifier, a few switching power
> supplies, a PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My question is:
> does hobbyist work reflect well when trying to get a job?

Absolutely. I'm almost certain my hobbyist experience is THE reason I
got the job I have.

The ONLY problem is if an HR person with no EE experience is doing the
interview they won't realize how useful that experience is and basically
ignore it.

> Every job ad I
> see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols TLA here and there"
> The only BS level jobs I see are "technician monitoring xx" or a
> beginning engineering management position (yuck).

Unfortunately that is a sign of the times. I say take whatever you can
for a year or two to build up experience. Remember, some experience even
remotely related to your field is better then nothing. With your
hobbyist experience that will put you ahead of many out there.

> Surely someone a little older and wiser has something to tell me?
> Thanks a lot,

I'm likely not much older, and certainly not much wiser, but that
doesn't stop me from opening my mouth! :) TTYL

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

____________________________________________

2004\11\21@172856 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Nov 21, 2004, at 9:57 AM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> but in my country (Netherlands) there are two variations of 'high'
> education: the more theoretically/scientifically oriented (university,
> and the old technical highschool) and the more practically oriented
> (plain highschool, or higher technical school).

Hmm.  I wonder if I could go so far as to claim that in the US, we
completely
lack the "higher technical school" track, and have only a track aimed at
producing academic researchers and professors.  Industry, where all the
work
actually gets done, consists primarily people who have 'dropped out' at
some
level of the academic track...

Scary thought, but sometimes it feels that way.

BillW

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@010300 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
> Hmm.  I wonder if I could go so far as to claim that in the US, we
> completely lack the "higher technical school" track, and have only a
> track aimed at producing academic researchers and professors.  Industry,
> where all the  work actually gets done, consists primarily people who
> have 'dropped out' at  some level of the academic track...
>
> Scary thought, but sometimes it feels that way.

It seems to me to be the case, too. But it isn't that scary -- it's
actually a good thing (or may be). Rather than having to choose early on
which path to take, you just go to school/college/university as long as you
feel it makes sense and then "drop out" and start with a job. Later on, if
you feel the urge, you might again "drop in" and continue more or less
where you left off. The system Wouter describes (and that exists similarly
in Germany, if I understand it correctly) makes it sometimes difficult to
step up, degree-wise, to the higher level.

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\11\22@010620 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>> Every job ad I  see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols TLA
>> here and there"  

> Unfortunately that is a sign of the times. I say take whatever you can
> for a year or two to build up experience.

It's not that obvious in electronics as it is in programming, but when you
see ads requiring 5 years of experience in a technology that has been
available for 2 years, you start taking these "requirements" with a grain
of salt :)

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\11\22@012741 by Jason S

flavicon
face
From: "Gerhard Fiedler" <spamBeGonelistsspamBeGonespamconnectionbrazil.com>
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2004 10:02 PM

> it's actually a good thing (or may be). Rather than having to choose early
on
> which path to take, you just go to school/college/university as long as
you
> feel it makes sense and then "drop out" and start with a job. Later on, if
> you feel the urge, you might again "drop in" and continue more or less
> where you left off. The system Wouter describes (and that exists similarly
> in Germany, if I understand it correctly) makes it sometimes difficult to
> step up, degree-wise, to the higher level.

AFAIK, in the US a Master's degree is a terminal degree; you have to decide
before starting grad school if you want to go for a Master's or Doctorate.
I found that out when I was looking into grad schools.  In Canada the
Master's degree is a step on the way to a doctorate, so you you don't have
to decide if you want to go for a Ph.D until you already have your masters.

To me, the Canadian way makes a lot more sense.

Jason

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@032759 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> The (Dutch) system Wouter describes (and that
> exists similarly
> in Germany, if I understand it correctly) makes it sometimes
> difficult to
> step up, degree-wise, to the higher level.

In the Netherlands it is fairly common to drop down from the scientific
level to the practical level after an unsatisfactory first year, or to
do a final year or two on the scientific level after having completed
the practical level. The latter has been made a lot more difficult
lately. A pity, because in my experience those guys (and the occasional
gal) combine the best of both worlds. I did not follow that route, but a
lot of the colleguas that I worked with closely (on things that require
both practical experience (please do include that series resistor or
you'll have serious ringing) and theoretical experience (no, we can not
tolerate 20% more delay on this function because the control loop will
start to oscillate)) were of this type.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\11\22@075135 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Jason S wrote:
> AFAIK, in the US a Master's degree is a terminal degree; you have to
> decide before starting grad school if you want to go for a Master's or
> Doctorate.

This is not true.  I know two people who got masters and then went back
later to get a PhD.  However, it is more effecient to get a PhD if you enter
grad school with that stated goal.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\11\22@081418 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> I do a lot of hobbyist things outside of classes (it
>> has helped me in my EE classes a lot!). I built a
>> class D amplifier, a few switching power supplies, a
>> PIC datalogger that I actually got paid for. My
>> question is: does hobbyist work reflect well when
>> trying to get a job?
>
>Absolutely. I'm almost certain my hobbyist experience
>is THE reason I got the job I have.
>
>The ONLY problem is if an HR person with no EE experience
>is doing the interview they won't realize how useful that
>experience is and basically ignore it.
>
>> Every job ad I see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems
>> and protocols TLA here and there" The only BS level
>> jobs I see are "technician monitoring xx" or a
>> beginning engineering management position (yuck).

Any experience is going to be putting you ahead of people without. Despite
not having a degree, I got my present job ahead of well qualified people
straight out of university because I could draw a basic op-amp circuit, say
what a balanced line was, and why one might use it, and describe what the
signal would look like when a short pulse is sent down a transmission line
which is open ay the other end.

However, I have hit a "glass ceiling" now at the lab where I work.
Theoretically there is no reason why I could not be promoted up a grade, but
with the number of graduate engineers around this is not very likely at all.
So now, approaching my mid 50's, I am looking to add a BEng to my
apprenticeship qualifications by distance learning from the Open University
here in the UK.

For the experience part of your CV, it would be worth putting in that the
you did get paid for the datalogger, as well as having the various hobby
projects, although I would be tempted to list them as "projects I have
worked on" without including that they were hobby projects, to get past the
first sorting. Be frank in an interview about it though. Perhaps others who
have been involved on the other side of hiring might comment on my thoughts
here.

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@081748 by Madhu Annapragada

picon face
Hah! went to UD myself and was out by 97'..I was a EE working for a ME
professor specializing in advanced controls for my Ph.D in Spencer lab on
Academy street.
And to get back on subject, no my Ph.D did not narrow my options any and
potential employers were interested in the fact that I was a EE who went on
to get a Ph.D in ME to "round" off his education. This dual background has
helped me a lot in the real world and I am still a design engineer working
with embeded systems, robotics, machine design etc..
It all boils down to how passionate you are about your choosen calling.
Anyway, good luck.
Madhu

{Original Message removed}

2004\11\22@090731 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Mon, 2004-11-22 at 04:06 -0200, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> >> Every job ad I  see wants "3-5 years using XYZ systems and protocols TLA
> >> here and there"  
>
> > Unfortunately that is a sign of the times. I say take whatever you can
> > for a year or two to build up experience.
>
> It's not that obvious in electronics as it is in programming, but when you
> see ads requiring 5 years of experience in a technology that has been
> available for 2 years, you start taking these "requirements" with a grain
> of salt :)

Unfortunately those "requirements" usually come from a cookie cutter HR
realm, and there's rarely a way past them. It a shame that in most
companies the engineers themselves aren't the ones hiring, but that how
things work. TTYL

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@091307 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Mon, 2004-11-22 at 07:52 -0500, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Jason S wrote:
> > AFAIK, in the US a Master's degree is a terminal degree; you have to
> > decide before starting grad school if you want to go for a Master's or
> > Doctorate.
>
> This is not true.  I know two people who got masters and then went back
> later to get a PhD.  However, it is more effecient to get a PhD if you enter
> grad school with that stated goal.

Depends on how you look at it Olin. I see it as "terminal" as well since
you have to pretty much "start over" grad school to get your PhD after
getting your Masters. Not "terminal" in the stricktist sense of the
word, but certain quite a hill to climb.

Think of it as two destinations. In the Canadian situation the PhD is on
the same road as the Masters, you just have to travel twice (or more)
the distance. In the American way the PhD is one side of a fork in the
road, the Masters the other.

Not a perfect analogy but I think you can see why some might consider it
"terminal". The point is getting a Masters is PART of getting a PhD in
many streams in Canada. TTYL


-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@095058 by Dave Lag

picon face
With the excess of applicants we better be prepared to enter all those
keywords online into the screening software that all major corporations
have now adopted. Dazzle them with your minimally formatted ascii CV
which you have to paste into a box ;)
D

Herbert Graf wrote:
>
> Unfortunately those "requirements" usually come from a cookie cutter HR
> realm, and there's rarely a way past them. It a shame that in most
> companies the engineers themselves aren't the ones hiring, but that how
> things work. TTYL
>
> -----------------------------
> Herbert's PIC Stuff:
> http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/
____________________________________________

2004\11\22@113524 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Nov 22, 2004, at 6:07 AM, Herbert Graf wrote:

> It a shame that in most companies the engineers themselves
> aren't the ones hiring

Oh, in many cases it IS the engineers themselves hiring, and the
frustration with the HR department happens on BOTH sides.  Sigh.

BillW

____________________________________________

2004\11\22@125739 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> For the experience part of your CV, it would be worth putting in that
> the you did get paid for the datalogger, as well as having the various
> hobby projects, although I would be tempted to list them as "projects I
> have worked on" without including that they were hobby projects, to get
> past the first sorting. Be frank in an interview about it though.
> Perhaps others who have been involved on the other side of hiring might
> comment on my thoughts here.

Maybe that will help get past some HR clone at a large company, but for a
college hire I want to see a few projects you did *without* getting paid for
them.  It shows a true interest in the chosen career path, not just thinking
about it as a good gig.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\11\22@130242 by Kevin

flavicon
face
> On Mon, 2004-11-22 at 07:52 -0500, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> > Jason S wrote:
> > > AFAIK, in the US a Master's degree is a terminal degree; you have to
> > > decide before starting grad school if you want to go for a Master's or
> > > Doctorate.
> >
> > This is not true.  I know two people who got masters and then went back
> > later to get a PhD.  However, it is more effecient to get a PhD if you enter
> > grad school with that stated goal.
>
> Depends on how you look at it Olin. I see it as "terminal" as well since
> you have to pretty much "start over" grad school to get your PhD after
> getting your Masters. Not "terminal" in the stricktist sense of the
> word, but certain quite a hill to climb.

Well, I am currently in the Master of Software Engineering
at Penn State, and they are trying to add a Doctor of
Engineering in Software Engineering.  The Masters is 39
credits and the Doctorate Degree is another 39 Credits.
So, going by credits that is similiar to most PhD programs
I have seen. Also, somebody told me that PhDs are for people
without Masters and for example (D. Eng) would be for
somebody with a Masters.

YMMV,
       Kevin


____________________________________________

2004\11\22@183611 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Nov 22, 2004, at 6:13 AM, Herbert Graf wrote:

> I see it as "terminal" as well since
> you have to pretty much "start over" grad school to get your PhD after
> getting your Masters. Not "terminal" in the stricktist sense of the
> word, but certain quite a hill to climb.
>
I dunno.  The main stumbling block for most PhD candidates seems to be
the
thesis, rather than any "course work" they might have to do.  
Logically, you
have to start the thesis from scratch whenever you start the PhD...

BillW

____________________________________________

2004\11\23@072346 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>> The (Dutch) system Wouter describes (and that  exists similarly in
>> Germany, if I understand it correctly) makes it sometimes  difficult to
>> step up, degree-wise, to the higher level.
>
> In the Netherlands it is fairly common to drop down from the scientific
> level to the practical level after an unsatisfactory first year, or to
> do a final year or two on the scientific level after having completed
> the practical level.

In Germany, it's really a mad mess. There are a number of decisions very
early on that can make "stepping up" later difficult (not impossible,
though), and the first one happens after 4th grade :-\

Stepping down happens all the time, though, especially as many students (or
their parents) choose the "higher" paths at first, just to keep the options
open -- without really considering the actual interests.

Talking about the college or university level education, I don't think that
the move you are describing (switching to the more practical oriented level
after the first year) is too common. I think most who drop out of the
scientific level tend to choose a different field.

The move into the scientific level from the more practical one is (or used
to be -- I'm away for too long now and don't know about more recent
developments) complicated in Germany by the requirement to have credits in
two foreign languages for the higher level. Most of the students who chose
the practical level come from a school background without a second foreign
language (remember the early choices...), and need to provide this before
they can attend university at the scientific level. As I said, it is a mad
mess... :)  and I really like the system that exists in Canada and the USA
in this respect. It offers much more flexibility.

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\11\23@114444 by Bob Barr

flavicon
face
It surprises me just a bit that there seems to be quite a number of
Blue Hens in the group.

I attended UD in 1965-66 as a chemistry major. It was only after I got
there that I  realized I should have majored in ChemE instead. I did
better at Fortran programming while helping my roommate than I ever
did in my chemistry classes.

And no, 1966 was not a good year for guys to flunk out of college. :=)


Regards, Bob


On Mon, 22 Nov 2004 08:17:47 -0500, "Madhu Annapragada" wrote:

>Hah! went to UD myself and was out by 97'..I was a EE working for a ME
>professor specializing in advanced controls for my Ph.D in Spencer lab on

<snip>
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