Searching \ for '[OT] Non-degree holders as an engineer (Chris Smol' in subject line. ()
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure! Help us get a faster server
FAQ page: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=non+degree+holders
Search entire site for: 'Non-degree holders as an engineer (Chris Smol'.

Exact match. Not showing close matches.
PICList Thread
'[OT] Non-degree holders as an engineer (Chris Smol'
2007\10\13@155811 by Mike B

picon face
I've worked with many "engineers" without degrees, and most of my managers have had A.S. degrees or management training only.

I actually knew what I wanted to do in high school, spent 5 years getting my engineering degree, and spent the next 6 years in jobs that required very little thinking, but had titles such as "Rocket Scientist", "Quality Engineer 2", "Test Engineer"....then got laid off.

After 10 years, I now have a job that is slightly challenging....and I'm actually doing a little engineering work. I wonder when I will be laid off (yes...I typed laid).

And companies continue to say there is no talent in the US and they have to import it. What they really want is an engineer with 10-20 years experience that will work for minimum wage. (jobs -> India).


     
____________________________________________________________________________________
Looking for a deal? Find great prices on flights and hotels with Yahoo! FareChase.
http://farechase.yahoo.com/

2007\10\13@163115 by Chris Smolinski

flavicon
face
>I've worked with many "engineers" without degrees, and most of my
>managers have had A.S. degrees or management training only.
>
>I actually knew what I wanted to do in high school, spent 5 years
>getting my engineering degree, and spent the next 6 years in jobs
>that required very little thinking, but had titles such as "Rocket
>Scientist", "Quality Engineer 2", "Test Engineer"....then got laid
>off.
>
>After 10 years, I now have a job that is slightly challenging....and
>I'm actually doing a little engineering work. I wonder when I will
>be laid off (yes...I typed laid).
>
>And companies continue to say there is no talent in the US and they
>have to import it. What they really want is an engineer with 10-20
>years experience that will work for minimum wage. (jobs -> India).

Certainly. Look at true professions - doctors, lawyers, etc. They all
have trade unions (AMA, Bar Association, etc) which serve to limit
entry into the job marketplace. EE's have the IEEE, which publishes a
pretty monthly journal. The closest engineering has come is the PE,
which is only required for a handful of jobs. Even barbers have a
higher barrier to entry. No wonder so many of us have been called in
to clean up disasters.

Several of the trades have a closed shop (plumbers and electricians)
much like the guild system of the middle ages, I often wonder if I
should have become an electrician rather than an electrical engineer.
Others like carpenters and roofers don't, the pay is worse and the
work appears to be much harder.  Another advantage of the trades is
that it is difficult to outsource to India the guy who comes at 2 am
to fix your drain. I'm seriously thinking of suggesting to my sons
that they consider the licensed trades - working in them to get to
the master status so you can then hang out your own shingle and have
grunts working for you. Go to school part time and get a business
degree. Plenty of time to think about that, the oldest is 5 ;-)

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\13@172139 by Peter P.

picon face
Chris Smolinski <csmolinski <at> blackcatsystems.com> writes:
> the master status so you can then hang out your own shingle and have
> grunts working for you. Go to school part time and get a business
> degree. Plenty of time to think about that, the oldest is 5

Cutting to the chase, the best management position is probably that of
independent (and well regarded) head hunter. Be at the top of the food chain
... (ok, everything is relative, and sometimes getting shot at can be a risk
worth taking, or so I hear).

Speaking of education, in the US, it's likely that your kids will need to be
able to speak Spanish to get their drain and roof fixed, Chinese to be able to
program their DVR and order spare parts for anything at a reasonable
price,enough Arabic to crack a few dhimmi jokes credibly to the nice fuel
salesman with a short fuse related to cartoons of any kind, over the internet,
and Hindi or Pakistani to be able to talk to the doctor, as well as some
Romanian to communicate with the cleaning lady.

They would also take classes in Political Correctness For School And Office
(including the special course Do Not Kiss, Hug, Or Grope Whomever You Like)
from age of 7 or lower, How To Survive Being Sued Poor By Thy Good Neighbor,
and How To Blog Really Anonymously And Only Get Caught, Drawn And Quartered
Only Sometimes. English should be reserved for literature, arts and liturgy, as
befits the language of the upper classes. Yes, I am seriously sarcastic,
however, the heater in the U.S. 'melting pot' seems to be broken at the moment,
as seen from here, so I'm making a little gratuitous fun extrapolating French
ethnic riots, Polish speaking plumbers in Germany, kindergarten suspensions
involving preschoolers, and other contemporary news items into a hypothetical
sarcastic projection of the future as it looks from here (I am not in the US).
I apologize if this offends someone, it is not meant to.

Elsewhere, where 'liberalization' (aka mercantilism, or 'global economy at your
doorstep, and it stinks') has caught up with the local dinosaurs, f.ex. in
Germany, many plumbers now speak Polish (and in Sweden many plumbers speak
German, as a consequence ...). So with those huge Dreamliners in the building
stages, not even plumbers will have a safe occupation anymore, even overseas.

Peter P.


2007\10\14@025754 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face

On Oct 13, 2007, at 2:14 PM, Chris Smolinski wrote:

> Certainly. Look at true professions - doctors, lawyers, etc. They all
> have trade unions (AMA, Bar Association, etc) which serve to limit
> entry into the job marketplace. EE's have the IEEE, which publishes a
> pretty monthly journal. The closest engineering has come is the PE,
> which is only required for a handful of jobs. Even barbers have a
> higher barrier to entry. No wonder so many of us have been called in
> to clean up disasters.

So true, so true.  This sentiment also applies to support staff,  
typically called "System Administrators" these days.  There's plenty  
of vendors willing to sell you their training and certification  
processes, but nothing that stands out as an overall "professional"  
certification.

It just doesn't get any traction because businesses see no value in it.

I think the tuning point computer engineering, support, and  
maintenance is coming in the form of high security costs.  A recent  
article showed that companies are spending 20% of their overall IT  
budgets on security.

Obviously, this can't last indefinitely -- companies will start to  
demand that programmers have certifications that show they can write  
generally sane/secure code (how many more simple memory allocation/
buffer overflow bugs is the world going to put up with in mission-
critical software?), and that the people administering the critical  
servers meet some sort of standards before the servers can have  
things like customer's personal data on them, etc.

But it'll take some landmark (and very expensive) lawsuits and other  
momentous events before the CEO's really take notice.

It has to start digging HARD into their wallets, and that's coming...  
tougher personal information security laws, and tougher penalties for  
that -- as well as tougher laws surrounding computer use in financial  
and medical industries, are so far, just making things more complex  
and expensive... but that expense will drive decision-makers to look  
for better ways of ensuring their systems are security-compliant.

> Several of the trades have a closed shop (plumbers and electricians)
> much like the guild system of the middle ages, I often wonder if I
> should have become an electrician rather than an electrical engineer.

It all depends on the industry.  Airline pilots enjoyed one of the  
tightest unions and best pay scales and lifestyles for many years,  
but those are all but broken now.  ALPA tries, but first year First  
Officers at regional airlines are still making less than $20/hour  
with only 80 hours of guaranteed work a month.

> Others like carpenters and roofers don't, the pay is worse and the
> work appears to be much harder.

The major disadvantage for these trades is the cost of health  
insurance which usually isn't provided.  One of the guys I know  
locally watched his own son have an on-the-job accident and he now  
has a permanent disability (loss of an eye).

Their medical bills are such that they can literally work the rest of  
their lives and die in debt to the hospital.  He's the type that  
won't quit fighting, but he knows he's lost the financial battle of  
the rest of his life.

Same thing with another almost-retired acquaintance who works in  
sales in a small store-front.  He recently fell ill, spent 6 days in  
the hospital (diagnosed as a heart-attack, but he says he felt no  
heart-attack symptoms at all, and was feverish and vomiting, not  
"typical" heart-attack signs... but he says the docs are going to say  
what they want to say) without insurance, and was billed for $117,000  
US.

His comment to me yesterday when I saw him was, "What are they going  
to do, garnish my wages?  I'm old enough I'll just quit, but I'd  
rather be here working -- it gives me something to do."  He'll never  
pay it off in his lifetime.  They did offer him a "10% discount" if  
he pays in full in 30 days, strangely.

(In both cases, these are folks who had somewhat "catastrophic"  
events happen, and while they're both understanding that the cost for  
patching someone up that's had a major problem like theirs is  
understandably expensive, neither can ever possibly pay back the real-
world bills they received.)

> Another advantage of the trades is
> that it is difficult to outsource to India the guy who comes at 2 am
> to fix your drain. I'm seriously thinking of suggesting to my sons
> that they consider the licensed trades - working in them to get to
> the master status so you can then hang out your own shingle and have
> grunts working for you. Go to school part time and get a business
> degree. Plenty of time to think about that, the oldest is 5 ;-)

If you're willing to put up with the years of apprenticeship, Master  
Electricians make a decent living.  If they get lucky and work for an  
electrical company that gets some large public works or other such  
big contracts, they'll be doing great.  And there's certainly no  
reason they should feel any "worse off" than a highly-educated  
engineer who gets laid off at the drop of a hat after a bad quarter  
in the stock market prompts a tech-executive to take action to  
protect their own personal stock option income by slashing 1/3 of the  
company overnight.

Mostly teach your kids to a) do something they enjoy or at least view  
their jobs as a means to do something they enjoy outside of work, and  
b) take pleasure in life just because it's life.  Some of the  
happiest people I've ever met just "follow their bliss" no matter  
what -- money, no money, status, no status, big car, little car, no  
car, whatever.  They simply enjoy their lives, with a deep-seated  
enjoyment that seems to come about early in life.  The key seems to  
be that they know good things and hardship come and go, but they only  
have one shot at their own life.

--
Nate Duehr
spam_OUTnateTakeThisOuTspamnatetech.com



2007\10\14@082233 by Gerhard Fiedler
picon face
Nate Duehr wrote:

> It just doesn't get any traction because businesses see no value in it.

I'm not sure that such things are really driven by businesses. The areas of
engineering that are strongly regulated (public buildings) are probably not
because businesses see value in it, but because there are government
regulations.

> I think the tuning point computer engineering, support, and maintenance
> is coming in the form of high security costs.  A recent article showed
> that companies are spending 20% of their overall IT budgets on security.

It is probably true that this will become a major area of attention (and
you are in a much better position to say this than I am), but are there any
precedents that such costs have lead to the regulation (or valorization) of
a profession?


> The major disadvantage for these trades is the cost of health  
> insurance which usually isn't provided.  

I know this is a pretty hot topic, and I'm afraid there is no silver
bullet, but I could never warm up for this thing with reasonable cost
health insurance being tied to a regular employment in a big company. Where
is "the market" when you need it? There's nothing inherently cheaper in
health provider costs for an employee of GE than for an employee of Joe's
Burger down the road (or for the independent engineer or software
developer, to get back on topic), yet the latter probably pays double or
more.


> The key seems to be that they know good things and hardship come and go,
> but they only have one shot at their own life.

I just thought this deserves to appear more than once :)

Gerhard

2007\10\14@100441 by Chris Smolinski

flavicon
face
>It all depends on the industry.  Airline pilots enjoyed one of the 
>tightest unions and best pay scales and lifestyles for many years, 
>but those are all but broken now.  ALPA tries, but first year First 
>Officers at regional airlines are still making less than $20/hour 
>with only 80 hours of guaranteed work a month.

Yep. An uncle of mine was a pilot for Eastern
(remember them??). His job was to fly from New
York to San Juan PR, stay over night, then fly
back the next day. Five days off, and repeat the
following week.

{Quote hidden}

You've really got to work for yourself today. As
you've said, find something that you enjoy doing,
get a few years experience and learn the ropes on
someone else's dime, and then go out on your own.
I left my day job almost 4 years ago, and the
improvement in my lifestyle has been immense. I
don't think I could go back to working for
someone else again.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2007\10\14@154329 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

>> I think the tuning point computer engineering, support, and  
>> maintenance
>> is coming in the form of high security costs.  A recent article  
>> showed
>> that companies are spending 20% of their overall IT budgets on  
>> security.

And of course highly regulated "security industries" with more stringent
entry requirements, tighter regulation, and closer oversight have such
stellar reputations for professionalism and effectiveness.  Like, say,
Airline Security!

BillW

2007\10\15@115456 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Sun, Oct 14, 2007 at 09:22:10AM -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Yes there is, from the insurers perspective. GE is buying coverage
for all its' employees, high risk or low risk. The independent engineer
is more likely to buy coverage when they know they are a high risk than
a low risk. Couple that with the difficulty, from the insurers
perspective, of asessing risk and a 2x difference suddenly becomes
rather reasonable.

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFHEuby3bMhDbI9xWQRAtgBAJ90588DiyxnfNMC7ivPXxygJWc06gCaAkdb
+CGNTvhX0OKF7v1HerUHHzw=
=RYia
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\10\15@164957 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> On Sun, Oct 14, 2007 at 09:22:10AM -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>>> The major disadvantage for these trades is the cost of health insurance
>>> which usually isn't provided.  
>>
>> I know this is a pretty hot topic, and I'm afraid there is no silver
>> bullet, but I could never warm up for this thing with reasonable cost
>> health insurance being tied to a regular employment in a big company.
>> Where is "the market" when you need it? There's nothing inherently
>> cheaper in health provider costs for an employee of GE than for an
>> employee of Joe's Burger down the road (or for the independent engineer
>> or software developer, to get back on topic), yet the latter probably
>> pays double or more.
>
> Yes there is, from the insurers perspective. GE is buying coverage for
> all its' employees, high risk or low risk. The independent engineer is
> more likely to buy coverage when they know they are a high risk than a
> low risk.

I think that's mainly because it's not readily available for the price the
employees get it, and as such reverses cause and effect. If it were
available at the same cost, that difference would go away pretty quickly.
Independents in Germany, who are not required to have health insurance,
usually have it -- even when low risk.

Besides, this argument still doesn't explain the many smaller companies
without health insurance.

> Couple that with the difficulty, from the insurers perspective, of
> asessing risk and a 2x difference suddenly becomes rather reasonable.

Why is it more difficult to assess the risk of insuring GE's employees than
it is to assess the risk of insuring the employees of a thousand Mom and
Pop shops, or 100k independents? Assuming that health care insurance is
reasonably available, what's the difference?

Gerhard

2007\10\15@170552 by Chris Smolinski

flavicon
face
>I think that's mainly because it's not readily available for the price the
>employees get it, and as such reverses cause and effect. If it were
>available at the same cost, that difference would go away pretty quickly.
>Independents in Germany, who are not required to have health insurance,
>usually have it -- even when low risk.
>
>Besides, this argument still doesn't explain the many smaller companies
>without health insurance.

Some of the "40 million people without health insurance" don't have
it because they've done the math and decided that paying out of
pocket is cheaper. As I detailed in another email, many states
(blueish ones in particular) require insurers to offer coverage at
group rates to individuals, so people *can* buy their own insurance,
at exactly what would be paid in premiums if they worked for a
company.  When I went solo, I decided to use the same insurer as my
current job had, as we liked the doctors. I paid the same premium as
my boss was paying.  YMMV, and AFAIK this is not an option in some
states.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

More... (looser matching)
- Last day of these posts
- In 2007 , 2008 only
- Today
- New search...