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'[OT] What Makes an Engineer Succesful'
2006\06\23@040103 by Gökhan SEVER

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"What Makes an Engineer Successful", by Walter W. Frey

IEEE Potentials, Volume 16, Issue 5, December 1997 - January 1998

After working as an engineer for over 35 years, I now conclude that a
successful career depends on understanding what engineering is, academic
performance, and personality. And these considerations are not all important
for the right reasons.

Engineering is the art of applying scientific principles to solve a problem.
It is not a separate area of science such as physics. Engineering projects
are bound by three variables: the number of problems to solve, the funds
available to solve these problems, and the delivery date of the finished
items. The catch is you can only fix two of the variables, while the third
is determined by the others.

Although a modicum of academic performance is necessary to graduate, a high
GPA does not predicate a successful career. The real indicators for
engineering performance reside in a person's personality traits, ability to
think innovatively, and skill in interacting with others. Personnel
departments (often for legal reasons) stay away from trying to rate these
subjective areas and stick to easily quantified areas, i.e., "GPA, class
standing, etc." Thus, many potentially good engineers are turned away due to
poor grades.

The following subjective areas also are necessary for a successful
engineering career:

Curiosity - The desire to find out how things work, or why they don't. The
engineer notes the good and the bad approaches to the problem.

Perseverance - This trait is needed to stay with a problem even though the
solution is not adequate or eludes or seems to fight the engineer. However,
this must be not be carried to an extreme, i.e., it becomes a futile
obsession. Also, oftentimes a problem will have to be temporarily shelved to
work on projects which will produce more immediate results.

Self-confidence - The engineer knows his or her capabilities and problem
areas; for example, he or she has a tendency to settle on the first solution
that presents itself.

Common sense - The ability to make decisions on partial or contradictory
information. It is also used to balance perseverance against what is best
for the overall program.

Sense of humor - This trait is necessary to keep from getting depressed when
the solution has been elusive and all sorts of irrelevant problems are
obscuring the answer. Humor is also very useful in handling personality
problems with subordinates and/or superiors.

Ingenuity - This means the engineer is not limited to the "by the book" way
of doing things. This person is open to unique or unproved solutions to
difficult problems; he or she is willing to take a chance if the potential
gains are great.

Communication - Engineering is an occupation that depends on the exchange
and interpretation of ideas. An engineer must be aware of how others have
tried to solve a problem. This knowledge often presents itself when
engineers get together arid talk shop. Very often, the solution requires
merging the best parts of competing solutions into a unified approach.
However, this is not the same as when, stuff is included just to keep
everyone happy. This "team approach" typically results in mediocre products.


Luck - Luck is always useful since "no amount of planning will replace dumb
luck." However, good planning and contingency planning often help or are
confused with luck.

Altogether, these eight attributes will more greatly affect one's
performance as an engineer than his or her GPA.

About the author - Walter W. Frey is an IEEE Life Senior.

2006\06\23@092140 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Gökhan SEVER wrote:

> Engineering is the art of applying scientific principles to solve a
> problem.

I think that engineering is about more than science. Ever heard of the
black arts of engineering? Like high-frequency PCBs or network
configuration? Having a good intuition is crucial, too :)

And this leaves out all the more mundane aspects of realization of
anything: planning, dealing with suppliers, contractors, team members,
juggling conflicting priorities etc. I'd say the process of "applying
scientific principles" is probably not more than 20% to 50% of a typical
engineer's work. It's higher for the ones that work in pure R&D jobs in big
organizations, and it's usually pretty low for the ones who try to do it on
their own.


> Engineering projects are bound by three variables: the number of problems
> to solve, the funds available to solve these problems, and the delivery
> date of the finished items. The catch is you can only fix two of the
> variables, while the third is determined by the others.

This sounds as if the author equalized e.g. available resources with
available funds. That's not the same. To paraphrase a common saying: there
are things money can't buy. It's not always only a question of money. So
I'd definitely add the non-monetary resources to the constraints.

> The real indicators for engineering performance reside in a person's
> personality traits, ability to think innovatively, and skill in
> interacting with others.

Right... this kind of contradicts the above statement about application of
scientific principles as primary activity. These here ("think
innovatively", "interact with others") don't sound like primarily being
application of scientific principles... :)

> Personnel departments (often for legal reasons) stay away from trying to
> rate these subjective areas and stick to easily quantified areas, i.e.,
> "GPA, class standing, etc." Thus, many potentially good engineers are
> turned away due to poor grades.

It's called "politically correct" for a reason (like if there was anything
that could be "political" and "correct" at the same time :). I really
wonder if there ever will be a stable balance between social peace and
individual freedom.

Gerhard

2006\06\23@125325 by Rich Graziano

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This discussion suggests that academic performance is not necessarily an
indicator of future success.  Many have based their predictions on measured
academic performance.  However, I remember once when I had advertised for a
technician (Electronics Tech) a resume came across my desk that made me
chuckle.  I asked for a 4 year college degree and the applicant had dropped
out in the first year, with poor grades.  Furthermore, he had none of the
experience I was looking for.  To make a long story short, he pestered me
until I hired him on condition he prove himself.

I was surprised to find that he was the best tech I ever hired.  He was able
to somehow troubleshoot successfully, build prototypes successfully, and
coordinate the installation of complex control systems.

He eventually decided that music was his passion and went off to pursue
that.  I lost touch with him but I learned something about academic
performance and ability.  It may be the general rule but it is not likely
the cardinal rule.




{Original Message removed}

2006\06\23@150706 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Rich Graziano wrote:

> To make a long story short, he pestered me until I hired him on condition
> he prove himself.

This shows something they also state in the article: perseverance :)

> I was surprised to find that he was the best tech I ever hired.  He was
> able to somehow troubleshoot successfully, build prototypes
> successfully, and coordinate the installation of complex control
> systems.

I'm currently working closely with a young guy who also doesn't have any
degree. But a willingness to learn and the right attitude (as in "I'm here
and doing it anyway, so I just as well might do it right" :) is something
that's hard to beat -- and having sat through four years of college without
it isn't going to have much effect.

> I lost touch with him but I learned something about academic performance
> and ability.  It may be the general rule but it is not likely the
> cardinal rule.

Many of the good ones (in every field) are not only good in one field. So
it's not surprising that at least some of them tend to move between fields
a bit -- which often doesn't look "good" on a resume, if you look at it
with the normal HR eyes. It's important to distinguish the undecided who
never gets really into anything from the one who just can't do the same
thing all life long (but nevertheless does well whatever she does).

Gerhard

2006\06\23@183349 by Gökhan SEVER

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I've known very talented designer from Microchip's bbs. I was very amazed of
his high quailty responses and wrote him my thoughts and offered co-working
through the net. So he responded back three pages long reply plus two pages
of his resume. Those conversations hangs near my monitor. The weird side is
he has no degree but i'm sure that he has much better than our profs. Here
is right place to cite some from his replies...

"I don't have a University degree. Actually, I never set foot in a
University as a student, although I have worked on a few post-grad research
projects as a collaborator, under invitation. Currently I work as a
Electronics Design Engineer, although I don't have a EE degree, nor any
other degree actually. The point here is that I lack the necessary academic
credentials (those letters like MSEE, PhD, et cetera)...

Medical electronics is as vast a field as any ee broad field. You have from
relatively simple measurement and control circuitry (like neonatal thermo
regulation using infrared imagery), to vital signals monitoring like
oxymetry, EKG, EMG, EEG, pH, blood pressure, insulin monitoring, to clinic
diagnostic equipment (like a myriad of sensors and analysis procedures
applied to all areas of diagnostic medicine), to high-end imaging and state
of the art visualization and processing (like computer graphics 3D realtime
modelling and visualization from datasets derived from ultrasound, thermal,
impedance, acidity, radiology, CAT and MRI data), to robotic manipulation
for remote surgical procedures, to body-implanted intelligent sensors and
actuators, to embedded drug dispensers for chronic treatment and pain
control, to sensory and motor intelligent bionic prostetic devices that
interface directly with neural tissue and muscle tissue for
limb rehabilitation/substitution, to personal intelligent assistant devices
that augment the capabilities of handicapped persons, to electronic safety
devices for debilitating illnesses such as dementia, allzheimer, epilepsy,
to cardiac implanted devices like pacemakers and artificial blood pumps, to
digital hearing implants, to artificial sensors for personal safety like
thermal damage warning for hansen disease patients, to name just a few
areas."


His no degreed abilities goes on and on...I'm still half of the way in
contrast to him and i have degree but my experience is just like a sand on
the earth...

Anyway, although Albert Einstein wasnt an engineer did he get a degree
before explaining "special relativity" phenomenon

2006\06\24@140552 by Gökhan SEVER

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Complementary article to this posting written by Jack Ganssle...

Do You Need a Degree?
http://www.ganssle.com/articles/Doyouneedadegree.htm

An excerpt from that article..

"Book learning is very important, but in the end we're paid for what we can
do."

2006\06\24@144958 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
In our days engineering is the art of working as less as possible for
good results. Which of course is not possible without background
knowledges and tons of fortune.
A succesfull engineer is an engineer which is doing exactly what is
want, and the term "success" has absolutely no connection with
"money". A happy engineer it's a succesfull engineer. A succesfull
career could be a career reasonable paid when you're not sleeping,
eating an making love in the office with your osciloscope, but at home
with your family.

greetings,
Vasile



On 6/23/06, Gökhan SEVER <spam_OUTgstr2005TakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2006\06\24@234750 by Rich Graziano

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I like your philosophy Vasile.  I think you also have a good sense of humor.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vasile Surducan" <.....piclist9KILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <piclistspamKILLspammit.edu>
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] What Makes an Engineer Succesful


In our days engineering is the art of working as less as possible for
good results. Which of course is not possible without background
knowledges and tons of fortune.
A succesfull engineer is an engineer which is doing exactly what is
want, and the term "success" has absolutely no connection with
"money". A happy engineer it's a succesfull engineer. A succesfull
career could be a career reasonable paid when you're not sleeping,
eating an making love in the office with your osciloscope, but at home
with your family.

greetings,
Vasile



On 6/23/06, Gökhan SEVER <.....gstr2005KILLspamspam.....gmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2006\06\25@010838 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/24/06, Gökhan SEVER <EraseMEgstr2005spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
> I've known very talented designer from Microchip's bbs. I was very amazed of
> his high quailty responses and wrote him my thoughts and offered co-working
> through the net.
> ...
>
> "I don't have a University degree. Actually, I never set foot in a
> University as a student, although I have worked on a few post-grad research
> projects as a collaborator, under invitation. Currently I work as a
> Electronics Design Engineer, although I don't have a EE degree, nor any
> other degree actually. The point here is that I lack the necessary academic
> credentials (those letters like MSEE, PhD, et cetera)...
>
> Medical electronics is as vast a field as any ee broad field.

That is interesting. He is an excellent engineer. Moreover he is also
very very nice...

That being said, I think he is one of the exceptional cases. It is harder and
harder for an engineer without a degree to climb the corporate ladder. For
example, there are so many steps to be called an engineer in some
companies for a non-degree holder. An example, a diploma holder
will join the company as Technicial . After that, there are
Senial Technician, Technical Specialist, Senior Technical Specialist,
Associate Engineer, Senior Associate engineer. Afer that he can be
promoted to be an engineer...

Regards,
Xiaofan

2006\06\25@021417 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> For example, there are so many steps to be called an engineer in some
> companies for a non-degree holder. An example, a diploma holder will
> join the company as Technicial . After that, there are Senial
> Technician, Technical Specialist, Senior Technical Specialist, Associate
> Engineer, Senior Associate engineer. Afer that he can be promoted to be
> an engineer...

Oh man... This is so f***ed up that it's really hard to believe. Not that I
doubt your word, but I've never seen something like this -- and I'm so glad
I haven't :)

Gerhard

2006\06\25@030235 by Russell McMahon

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When I worked for the NZ Post Office many years ago they ran all
postal and telephone services. Engineer's were required to hold a
Bachelor of Engineering degree. The highest position in the
organisation was "Engineer in Chief" this man (invariably) had a
number of direct report underlings titled 'Assistant Engineer in
Chief'. Men of great power and authority. However, the title given to
engineering graduates fresh out of university was "Assistant
Engineer". The apparently un-noted near equality of job title with the
men at the top was no doubt a psychological boost. To get from one
position to the other one would have had to traverse Engineer, Senior
Engineer (I think), Supervising Engineer, Divisional Engineer, a side
branch of Regional Engineer (one in each of about 6 Regions),
superintending Engineer and finally Assistant Engineer in chief.

Over time they split up the organisation, corporatised it,
corporatised it again, sold it and sold it again. Along the way the
understanding that engineers were valuable (let alone in charge)
vanished and a woman was appointed to the top position (no correlation
claimed for these events :-) ). Main requirement to successfully run a
Telecom company is now, according to a recent speech she made, the
ability to scare and confuse your customers into believing that it is
a good idea to pay unjustifiably inflated prices for your service.
Seems to work.


       RM


2006\06\25@042053 by dal wheeler

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Yes, but at the end, he lamented not having completed his degree.

Maybe I'm impatient, but why should an employer be concerned with
interviewing non-degreed people for a degreed position?  There are
enough applicants these days to find good candidates among those that
have enough drive to (at the very least) complete the educational
requirement.  I see a lot of posts that declare over and over the
virtues of finding that "great guy who taught himself without the need
for school".  Thats all well and good, but it bugs me that there seems
to be an expectation that employers should automatically "grandfather
in" non-degreed people into engineers.  "Engineer" suggests a level of
formal education, not just technical abilities.  I know it's weird to
suggest, but those that want to be called an "Engineer" could actually
pursue a degree in it.  I've done it while working and trying to have a
family life, so I know it can be done.  Maybe I'm the only one, but it
bugs me when someone who didn't earn it calls themselves an engineer.  
And, no, I don't have some kind of inflated ego because of a stupid
degree; it's just that I know how much work went into getting it.

I think I might be channeling Olin tonight.


> Do You Need a Degree?
> http://www.ganssle.com/articles/Doyouneedadegree.htm
>
> An excerpt from that article..
>
> "Book learning is very important, but in the end we're paid for what we can
> do."
>  

2006\06\25@051753 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
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Rich Graziano wrote:

> He eventually decided that music was his passion and went off to pursue
> that.  I lost touch with him but I learned something about academic
> performance and ability.  It may be the general rule but it is not likely
> the cardinal rule.

Personally I've seen a lot of this in my career.

In fact, I'd say right now that at my current employer, the non-degreed
techs ALL outshine the performance of the degreed techs and Engineers,
and have orders of magnitude more passion for their work than many of
the long-term degreed engineers.

My personal belief is basically that if you WANT to do something bad
enough or WANT NOT to go back to your former "life", career, or lower
rung on the ladder -- you typically value your job more and do better at it.

Far too many degreed Engineers treat that degree like a mandate and walk
around with an entitlement attitude a mile wide that says they truly
believe they're entitled to their pay, perks, and work conditions JUST
because they went the academic route through life.  And many of them
didn't even pay for that route.  If they worked their way through, that
usually shows up in their character also, positively.

The sad part is, lack of management knowing how to REALLY measure true
performance, and the silly HR practices mentioned already -- PROTECT
that belief in many degree-holding Engineers, and keep the numbers of
non-degreed people that worked their way up "the hard way" who truly
want the jobs, from ever getting them.

Any company that has hard requirements for degrees based on anything
other than law (say, Civil Engineering and a PE for certain roles), is
missing out on a LOT of GREAT technicians and people who are far more
capable as "Engineers" than some of their dull
daddy-paid-for-a-good-school counterparts who fondly remember their
frat-party days and couldn't care less about building or fixing things,
other than it brings them a nice paycheck to take home to their huge
mortgage, er... house in the 'burbs.

Nate

2006\06\25@093134 by Rich Graziano

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Nate:
I think there is tremendous merit to your analysis.  I believe you have a
realistic perspective on the general conditions in the technological
community.  Thank you for your assessment.  I came to similar conclusions
myself over the years.  Yes, many organizations are missing out on valuable
talent by insisting on a degree.  I have to say also that I have hired
degreed engineers out of college who really didn't know very much and
actually became good engineers after working a few years.




{Original Message removed}

2006\06\25@122208 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Rich Graziano wrote:

> I have to say also that I have hired degreed engineers out of college who
> really didn't know very much and actually became good engineers after
> working a few years.

I'd say that's probably the normal case.

Few have had enough experience before finishing the degree and starting in
their first as engineers to be any good. Even though I had some experience
as a hobbyist and some experience working as a technician, my first jobs as
an engineer after getting my degree still gave me a /lot/ to learn...
imagine someone who didn't have electronics as hobby and who didn't work on
a technician level before.

And most do become good after a while, in some areas and in some ways.

Gerhard

2006\06\25@130553 by Gerhard Fiedler

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dal wheeler wrote:

> Maybe I'm impatient, but why should an employer be concerned with
> interviewing non-degreed people for a degreed position?  

I don't think they should be concerned with that, and I don't think anybody
really said that they should. You may be barking up the wrong tree... :)

I don't think we are talking about "degreed positions" in the sense that a
degree is required. This are a few, and usually it's required by law. I
think those positions were meant to be excluded from the discussion.

This is about positions that require adequate knowledge, and are more
"knowledge positions" than "degreed positions". I think in general,
requiring a specific degree is not a good way to filter people for a job.
(This may be tainted by working a lot in software development, where it's
more common than in other areas to find good people that don't have a
degree of the correct type.) Knowledge and experience are better criteria;
the degree is one indication towards knowledge, but as pretty much all
agree, not a good one, and certainly not a specific one. At least for me, I
can say that my working knowledge for the type of work I generally do is
probably around 90% post-degree. If I had studied biology and then done the
same jobs I did, I'd probably be just as good (well, or bad :) as I am now.
And my EE degree could have just as well been in HVAC design, which
possibly would have helped less in many of my jobs than a degree in math,
tilted towards computing.

I think the thing is that if you have an applicant that strikes you as
interesting, discarding that person for the lack of the specific required
degree may not be a wise choice.


> There are enough applicants these days to find good candidates among
> those that have enough drive to (at the very least) complete the
> educational requirement.  

I'm not so sure. There may be many applicants, but I think finding the
"right" person is still not easy. And as the first article cited in this
thread explains, there are many other criteria besides the degree. You
(almost) never get the ideal candidate, so you have to prioritize. And here
comes the question: say you have two top candidates, one with and one
without degree. The one without degree can show that she has the required
knowledge, maybe the one with degree can't show that otherwise. And the one
without degree seems to be a much better team player. So should it be the
degree?

I think the discussion was more along these lines. Of course, once you get
into HR departments that receive thousands of applications for a single
job, they'll probably do a pre-filtering based on formal criteria like a
degree. And they don't care whether they miss out on the "right" applicant,
because in such an organization, it's not about the "right" person, it's
about reaching efficiently a sufficient average.


> Thats all well and good, but it bugs me that there seems to be an
> expectation that employers should automatically "grandfather in"
> non-degreed people into engineers.  "Engineer" suggests a level of
> formal education, not just technical abilities.  

Since you seem to be from the US... It seems there are some (not usually
enforced state) laws that restrict the term "engineer" to people who passed
the PE exam. I think they are the minority among the "engineers". So in the
same way that you get angry when someone who doesn't have a college degree
in engineering calls himself engineer, a PE could get angry when someone
with just a college degree calls himself engineer...

At the informal end (of what is an engineer) are the criteria of knowledge
and experience, at the formal end is the law. Most use the term somewhere
in between...


> I know it's weird to suggest, but those that want to be called an
> "Engineer" could actually pursue a degree in it.  

I don't think the discussion was about people who "want to be called an
engineer"; it was about applicants for jobs that are usually held by people
with a degree who don't have one. Or who have the wrong one.

My father doesn't have an engineering degree. Nevertheless he worked the
latter two thirds of his working life in engineering positions. Not because
he thought to "shortcut" any engineers (IMO he has even too high an opinion
about what a degree really means), but because he believed in doing things
well, and wanted the job. I think that was always a win-win situation for
him and his employers, and it would have been sad if both had to miss out
on this because of them (stupidly) insisting on a degree in a situation
where really knowledge, experience and all the other qualities already
mentioned count.

Gerhard

2006\06\25@134723 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 24, 2006, at 10:08 PM, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> It is harder and harder for an engineer without a degree
>  to climb the corporate ladder.

"Climbing the corporate ladder" probably has little to do with
engineering talent,

2006\06\25@144540 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 25, 2006, at 10:05 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

> I don't think we are talking about "degreed positions" in the sense
> that a
> degree is required. This are a few, and usually it's required by law.

Not in the US.  Almost ALL engineering positions will have a
"BSEE/CS required" in the description.  Take this "Software Engineer
1" position (which is pretty junior) from cisco's job board:

    Typically requires BSEE/CS combined with 2-4+ yrs related
    experience, or MSEE/CS combined with 1-2 years of related experience

I guess the "typically" is our out, but I bet it's difficult to get
past the HR resume screeners without the BS.

BillW

2006\06\25@191037 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/26/06, William Chops Westfield <westfwspamspam_OUTmac.com> wrote:
>
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 10:05 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>
> > I don't think we are talking about "degreed positions" in the sense
> > that a
> > degree is required. This are a few, and usually it's required by law.
>
> Not in the US.  Almost ALL engineering positions will have a
> "BSEE/CS required" in the description.  Take this "Software Engineer
> 1" position (which is pretty junior) from cisco's job board:
>
>     Typically requires BSEE/CS combined with 2-4+ yrs related
>     experience, or MSEE/CS combined with 1-2 years of related experience
>
> I guess the "typically" is our out, but I bet it's difficult to get
> past the HR resume screeners without the BS.
>

That is very true in Singapore as well as in China. And often the BS
degree should be earned from a better institute. Those from part-time
study or online might not be considered as "true" BS degree.

2006\06\25@210306 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> On 6/26/06, William Chops Westfield <@spam@westfwKILLspamspammac.com> wrote:
>>
>> On Jun 25, 2006, at 10:05 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>>
>>> I don't think we are talking about "degreed positions" in the sense
>>> that a degree is required. This are a few, and usually it's required
>>> by law.
>>
>> Not in the US.  Almost ALL engineering positions will have a
>> "BSEE/CS required" in the description.  

> That is very true in Singapore as well as in China.

Guys, it seems I didn't make myself clear. I thought the context would do
that, but apparently it didn't... :)

I meant that a degree is actually required for the work that the hiree
should do, not (somewhat arbitrarily) required by the employer.

Gerhard

2006\06\25@234313 by dal wheeler

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Hmmm...  I guess I didn't go to a engineering "party school".  It's a
difficult for me to imagine engineers as "partying on daddy's money"
while still graduating with good grades.

I too have seen great techs that would easily cross into design.  I've
also seen some pretty gifted engineers that could also out solder a
Chinese assembly line worker.  I've seen more than a few lazy slobs in
both.  I think that if you are passionate about something you will find
a way to do it.  But, if you make it difficult for yourself, don't
expect a lot of understanding from those doing the hiring.

That said, we've got a pretty good NDE here; but he'd be the first one
to tell you its not the easiest way to maintain a career.  I've seen
these people in other companies and it is very difficult for them to
change jobs, because it would require working from the bottom up again
(typically).  Management is aware of this so they can get dumped on as a
result.

I think talent and passion will keep you employed regardless.  Good
people generally find work fairly quickly.   But around here, the degree
will open your options a good deal more if you gravitate towards R&D or
design.

BTW, I'm still waiting for my nice paycheck to afford the huge house in
the 'burbs. :)
{Quote hidden}

2006\06\26@001838 by Bob Barr

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On Sun, 25 Jun 2006 22:02:54 -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:


>
>Guys, it seems I didn't make myself clear. I thought the context would do
>that, but apparently it didn't... :)
>
>I meant that a degree is actually required for the work that the hiree
>should do, not (somewhat arbitrarily) required by the employer.
>

Unless there's some specific legal requirement that the person doing
the job must hold a particular degree, any determination as to whether
or not a degree is required will always be "somewhat arbitrarily"
decided by the employer.

The term "or equivalent experience" is frequently used in job listings
to open things up for non-degreed, but otherwise fully qualified,
people to perform engineering jobs that supposedly "require" a degree.


Regards, Bob

2006\06\26@011938 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 25, 2006, at 8:43 PM, dal wheeler wrote:

> he'd be the first one to tell you its not the easiest way to
> maintain a career.  I've seen these people in other companies
> and it is very difficult for them to change jobs...

That matches the experience of assorted friends and relatives.  In
times of significant company loyalty to the employees, a non-degreed
engineer can do fine.  But if, say, the Internet Bubble pops, your
company goes Poof! (and with it your chances of glowing recommendations
and identifiable accomplishments), and you find yourself with a mortgage
and kids to support at the same time as thousands of people with similar
skills, similar resumes, AND college degrees...  Well, you'd better have
a good nest-egg or many and/or wealthy friends.

A 4 year college degree is probably worth 2 or 3 years worth of "real"
experience (of the sort that it is very hard to get when you're 18.)
It doesn't exercise the SAME skills as actual work, but the skills it
does imbue aren't as worthless as some people think.

BillW

2006\06\26@055209 by John Chung

picon face
In today's context it seems that we are chasing for
more paper qualification. It is true that with that
paper makes us more knowlegable but does it weigh so
heavily until I don hire the others that are less
qualified? So far the argument is this.

No degree not easy to find job - true.
No PHD no do research - true.


But no PHD in business management can run
multinational company.

Funny that technical ppl are subjected to such
guidelines........

John


--- William Chops Westfield <KILLspamwestfwKILLspamspammac.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\06\26@060103 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Maybe I'm impatient, but why should an employer be concerned with
>interviewing non-degreed people for a degreed position?  There are
>enough applicants these days to find good candidates among those that
>have enough drive to (at the very least) complete the educational
>requirement.  I see a lot of posts that declare over and over the
>virtues of finding that "great guy who taught himself without the need
>for school".  Thats all well and good, but it bugs me that there seems
>to be an expectation that employers should automatically "grandfather
>in" non-degreed people into engineers.  "Engineer" suggests a level of
>formal education, not just technical abilities.  I know it's weird to
>suggest, but those that want to be called an "Engineer" could actually
>pursue a degree in it.  I've done it while working and trying to have a
>family life, so I know it can be done.  Maybe I'm the only one, but it
>bugs me when someone who didn't earn it calls themselves an engineer.
>And, no, I don't have some kind of inflated ego because of a stupid
>degree; it's just that I know how much work went into getting it.

I do get the feeling that you are equating "lack of a degree" with "dropped
out of school". Possibly not, but that is how it does come across to me.
There is room for calling non-degreed people "engineers", and I do consider
myself in this group, having completed a polytechnic course as part of my
apprenticeship, and receiving a certificate to the effect that I have a "New
Zealand Certificate of Engineering". As a person that now has something in
the region of 40 years experience in a wide range of electronic equipment, I
can see no reason to not be called an engineer.

However what I cannot do in NZ is call myself a "Registered Engineer", a
title that requires one to have completed a suitable project that meets the
requirements of an engineering professional body, that then vets the work
done and decides that one is of a suitable calibre to be registered with
them. In the UK this same status is called a "Chartered Engineer", and
appears to be the title that is slowly growing in use world wide for a
person in this position.

I do remember at one stage working in a government laboratory, where one of
the guys who had his PhD quite openly admitted that he relied on some of the
non-degreed technicians to keep him out of trouble, which they could do
because of their practical experience, which he didn't have. This is as much
engineering as anything taught on a degree course. Similarly I got my
present job because I knew practical things that I could demonstrate by
sketching circuits and giving reasons for use of things like balanced lines,
which people straight out of university with a masters degree couldn't do.
These are all just as much engineering as the book learning - if not more
so.

>Yes, but at the end, he lamented not having completed his degree.

Which is why I am doing one now ... but really only because of the
artificial "glass ceiling" against those without degrees - which in reality
has made the "chartered engineer" status the "new degree" that employers use
to sort job applications.

2006\06\26@064803 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> A 4 year college degree is probably worth 2 or 3 years worth of "real"
> experience (of the sort that it is very hard to get when you're 18.)

That is probably true in some fields, but in my experience (IME?) the
reverse can also be true. Hard mathematical/statistical/theoretical
stuff is difficult to get in a practical environment, just as the
reverse (practical expericence) is hard to get at any sort of 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
 

2006\06\26@071009 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/26/06, Wouter van Ooijen <RemoveMEwouterTakeThisOuTspamvoti.nl> wrote:
> > A 4 year college degree is probably worth 2 or 3 years worth of "real"
> > experience (of the sort that it is very hard to get when you're 18.)
>
> That is probably true in some fields, but in my experience (IME?) the
> reverse can also be true. Hard mathematical/statistical/theoretical
> stuff is difficult to get in a practical environment, just as the
> reverse (practical expericence) is hard to get at any sort of school.
>

Very true. Quite some R&D engineering work does require some good
theoretical backgroud. That is why some company actually like to
take in people with high qualifications but without practical experience.

2006\06\26@072339 by Rich Graziano

picon face
Dal:
There are different levels of engineering.  I think it may have been Gerhard
that mentioned it.  Some levels of engineering require ability in
very advanced mathematics. These positions are typically not open to
engineers who do not have the math that comes at the graduate or post grad
level.  I had the impression that we were considering those positions where
fundamentals of circuit theory, digital and analog design techniques at
typical engineering levels were required.  There are numerous areas of
design where intuitive understanding and creative thinking are sufficient.
But if you are designing something like a 15 GHz multiplexing system on a
PCB, that includes the oscillator and multipliers, a lot of math analysis is
essential?  There are some research engineering positions that require going
beyond, Fourrier or LaPlace, L'Hospital, etc.  But the great majority of
engineering position, I think, are not in these areas.  I see no real reason
why those should not be open to anyone who can be creative enough to do the
work.  I think it can perhaps be somewhat problematic if or when an engineer
has had to work hard to get his or her degree and competes with a
non-degreed engineer that eventually becomes the lead engineer or the
manager.  I am not sure what to say about that except in my organization, I
would not consider moving a non-degreed engineer in a supervisory position
over a degreed engineer even if the non-degreed engineer was a better
organizer and administrator.

Keeping peace is important also.  I once had two excellent engineers.  They
were both technically outstanding.  But they couldn't stand one another.
They would get downright nasty to one another and I had to reprimand them
both regularly.  But I did not want to loose either so I kept them on
projects that did not connect and I would invite them to meetings
alternately so they were never in the conference room together.  This went
on for years.  I never could understand what it was that evoked such
animosity. But I learned that ill feelings between employees could be very
counter productive.  So, I would not open up the kind of resentments that
could be destructive by placing a non-degreed person over a degreed person.
I am sure some will disagree.


{Original Message removed}

2006\06\26@075613 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Sun, Jun 25, 2006 at 10:19:36PM -0700, William Chops Westfield wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I'm in the middle of a 4-year arts degree, every single thing I make
uses stacks of complex technology in the fields of electronics, computer
science, and machining. Add in some contract work and I've got a few
years of "industry" experience. At my school people who have already
gotten engineering degrees, even in electrical engineering and computer
science and who worked in industry for awhile, ask me for advice on
building things all the time.

That said, I'm still very seriously considering getting a second degree
once I graduate. It'd be worth it just to get a better understanding of
math for one. And this is my thinking *regardless* of if I can launch a
successfull arts career, if I do, I'll just get my degree part time.

What can I say, it took me a good 4 days of solid work to to figure out
the math needed to display and rotate a wireframe cube on a PIC chip.
That's just basic high-school matrix math. If I'm going to ever be able
to write something like a PID algorithm I've got a lot of studying ahead
of me.

--
spamBeGonepetespamBeGonespampetertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\06\26@082527 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Bob Barr wrote:

> The term "or equivalent experience" is frequently used in job listings
> to open things up for non-degreed, but otherwise fully qualified,
> people to perform engineering jobs that supposedly "require" a degree.

This seems to be much more frequent in the USA than in Germany. But the
lack of it doesn't stop people like my father to apply for and get the job
anyway :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@083006 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> I do remember at one stage working in a government laboratory, where one
> of the guys who had his PhD quite openly admitted that he relied on some
> of the non-degreed technicians to keep him out of trouble, which they
> could do because of their practical experience, which he didn't have.

Don't we all do this every now and then (I mean relying on somebody to help
us out of trouble, degree or not)? :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@083527 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> What can I say, it took me a good 4 days of solid work to to figure out
> the math needed to display and rotate a wireframe cube on a PIC chip.
> That's just basic high-school matrix math.

Don't kid yourself into thinking that this might go faster for every
engineer out there...

Seriously, many haven't use more math than is required to check a bill
since they got their degree. The selection that's active here is probably
not representative.

> If I'm going to ever be able to write something like a PID algorithm I've
> got a lot of studying ahead of me.

Knowing you, I'd say "another 4 days"... :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@084605 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Rich Graziano wrote:

> I think it can perhaps be somewhat problematic if or when an engineer
> has had to work hard to get his or her degree and competes with a
> non-degreed engineer that eventually becomes the lead engineer or the
> manager.  I am not sure what to say about that except in my organization, I
> would not consider moving a non-degreed engineer in a supervisory position
> over a degreed engineer even if the non-degreed engineer was a better
> organizer and administrator.

I think this is possibly common and possibly necessary to keep the peace
with all the egos floating around in the workspace, but in essence, it's
counterproductive. As is that the one higher up in the management chain has
to make more money than the lower ones.

I've been in charge of projects with /very/ good specialists on board; they
were much better than I was in certain fields, they sometimes had higher
degrees, and they sometimes made more money than I did. But my job wasn't
to be better than everybody on my team, my job was to make the team work,
to make sure everybody has everything she needs to be productive, provide
the infrastructure, coordinate the work of every individual with everybody
else and the client, and so on -- project management work.

And for every single of those very good specialists it would have been a
big mistake to put him in charge of the project -- that's /not/ what they
were good at. And they knew that. So we got along quite well.

> I am sure some will disagree.

Here you got it... :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@085520 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
dal wheeler wrote:

> It's a difficult for me to imagine engineers as "partying on daddy's
> money" while still graduating with good grades.

It doesn't have to be with good grades...  

Of all the ones who do have a degree, when was the last time anybody looked
at it (the grades in detail)? I know that nobody ever wanted to see the
grades on my degree. Ever. It could have been all bad grades, nobody would
care.

Gerhard

2006\06\26@085645 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Alan B. Pearce wrote:
>
>> I do remember at one stage working in a government laboratory, where one
>> of the guys who had his PhD quite openly admitted that he relied on some
>> of the non-degreed technicians to keep him out of trouble, which they
>> could do because of their practical experience, which he didn't have.
>
>Don't we all do this every now and then (I mean relying on somebody to help
>us out of trouble, degree or not)? :)

Err, yes, but he was happy to acknowledge that his degree qualifications
hadn't taught him everything he needed to know.

This guy was quite a practical guy, he was involved with one of the local
steam train preservation societies, so he was practical as well. Just
prepared to acknowledge that university training didn't provide everything
he needed.

2006\06\26@090008 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
William ChopsWestfield wrote:

> That matches the experience of assorted friends and relatives.  In times
> of significant company loyalty to the employees, a non-degreed engineer
> can do fine.  But if, say, the Internet Bubble pops, your company goes
> Poof! (and with it your chances of glowing recommendations and
> identifiable accomplishments), and you find yourself with a mortgage and
> kids to support at the same time as thousands of people with similar
> skills, similar resumes, AND college degrees...  Well, you'd better have
> a good nest-egg or many and/or wealthy friends.

I think nobody suggested it wouldn't be better for the individual to get a
degree, as a career fertilizer, so to speak. But that's a different
perspective than the hiring person looking at a few resumes and maybe not
discarding the one that's not degreed.

Here comes also the question how you treat foreign degrees. Most degrees
are not valid outside of a certain area. Like mine (German) is not valid
neither in the USA nor in Brazil. So what does that mean when I'm in
Brazil? I'm not an engineer? A Brazilian engineer can rightfully claim
that, and I don't call myself an engineer here (nor in the USA). But I
don't think I lost it all when I moved across the border... :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@090252 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Mon, Jun 26, 2006 at 09:35:01AM -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> > What can I say, it took me a good 4 days of solid work to to figure out
> > the math needed to display and rotate a wireframe cube on a PIC chip.
> > That's just basic high-school matrix math.
>
> Don't kid yourself into thinking that this might go faster for every
> engineer out there...

Well, I can add it took me a good 3 days on top of that to figure out I
needed matrixes to do proper rotations, I had some pretty funny looking
results before that...

> Seriously, many haven't use more math than is required to check a bill
> since they got their degree. The selection that's active here is probably
> not representative.

Oh that's definetely true I'm sure. It was amusing watching my boss try
to remember the math behind IIR filters last time he needed it... This
is from someone with a PhD specificly in computer audio.

Hadn't touched the stuff in years.

> > If I'm going to ever be able to write something like a PID algorithm I've
> > got a lot of studying ahead of me.
>
> Knowing you, I'd say "another 4 days"... :)

I hope... Nah, what I'm really worried about for that wireframe project
is I have to figure out the math to take a x,y,z reading from an
acellerometer and convert it into a two part roll (whatever is the
proper terminology for that) to rotate my wireframe model.

Don't have the clue how I'm going to do it. Don't even know if it's an
easy problem or a hard one. At least with an education that touched it
I'd have a vague memory of where to start, even if it took me another 4
days to relearn all the details I'd forgotten!

--
TakeThisOuTpeteEraseMEspamspam_OUTpetertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\06\26@090938 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/26/06, Gerhard Fiedler <RemoveMElistsspamTakeThisOuTconnectionbrazil.com> wrote:
>
> Here comes also the question how you treat foreign degrees. Most degrees
> are not valid outside of a certain area. Like mine (German) is not valid
> neither in the USA nor in Brazil. So what does that mean when I'm in
> Brazil? I'm not an engineer? A Brazilian engineer can rightfully claim
> that, and I don't call myself an engineer here (nor in the USA). But I
> don't think I lost it all when I moved across the border... :)
>

A German Dipl-Eng is very well recognized here. It is equivalent to a
MSc or MEng here. I do not really think it is not recognized in USA.
It only matters when you go to the academia, where only the PhDs
from a few oversea universities are recognized.

2006\06\26@123458 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> Err, yes, but he was happy to acknowledge that his degree qualifications
> hadn't taught him everything he needed to know.

I think every reasonable degreed person would do that. (Of course there are
always a few who aren't :)

> This guy was quite a practical guy, [...]

Which of course usually enhances (rather than reduces) the appreciation for
the practical skills. You have to be one to know one :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@124247 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> A German Dipl-Eng is very well recognized here. It is equivalent to a MSc
> or MEng here.

Good to hear that it's worth something somewhere :)

> I do not really think it is not recognized in USA.

It's probably usually recognized in the sense that I can apply for a
"degree required" job, claim that I have one, and they accept it. But I
don't think it's recognized for anything formal -- anything where a degree
is really /required/.

Gerhard

2006\06\26@142622 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 26, 2006, at 1:05 AM, John Chung wrote:
>
> But no PHD in business management can run
> multinational company.

Heh.  Cisco's first CEO (the one you've never heard of) had
a PhD in Physics.  When we got venture funding, one of the
first things the VCs did was to fire him, since "Physicist"
were NOT the sort of image they wanted "company about to go
public" to project.

In the realm of college classes I didn't have, I wish there
had been one or two semesters about MONEY, both from a personal
(investing) and a business (invest-ee) perspective.  In between
personal, small business, medium business, venture capital,
evaluating compensation packages, business internal accounting
(capital expenditure spending limits and their abuse), signs
that the company you're working for is going broke, etc, there
should be plenty that everyone should know at least a little
bit about...

(of course, ignorance has its own rewards.  Conventional advice
for people who were working at cisco when we went public was to
sell all the stock options you could and diversify.  I suspect
some people did just that (at an equivalent price of about $0.10))

BillW

2006\06\26@150546 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Jun 26, 2006, at 5:54 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
>
> It doesn't have to be with good grades...
>
It's like the old joke:

  Question: The person graduating with the highest grades in Medical
    School is called "Valedictorian"; the second highest rank is
    "Salutatorian."  What do you call the person who graduated with
    the lowest grades in the class?
       :
  Answer:  "Doctor."

BillW

2006\06\26@152013 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
William ChopsWestfield wrote:

> In the realm of college classes I didn't have, I wish there
> had been one or two semesters about MONEY, both from a personal
> (investing) and a business (invest-ee) perspective.  In between
> personal, small business, medium business, venture capital,
> evaluating compensation packages, business internal accounting
> (capital expenditure spending limits and their abuse), signs
> that the company you're working for is going broke, etc, there
> should be plenty that everyone should know at least a little
> bit about...

Exactly. Also a bit about company finances (from the inside) and project
budgets. It seems they don't really know that most do become engineers to
make money with those skills :)  But then, we already established that the
colleges and universities lack on the practical side.

Gerhard

2006\06\26@153357 by Walter Banks

picon face
Half of the graduate doctors did so in the bottom half of their class.

William Chops Westfield wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\06\26@154151 by Walter Banks

picon face
Graduation in anything  and marks are an indicators.  What else a person does with their time can be quite revealing.

There are lots of exceptions to various rules. Paul McCartney does read music

w..


2006\06\26@160231 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 26, 2006, at 9:42 AM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

> But I don't think [a German degree] isrecognized for anything
> formal -- anything where a degree is really /required/.

You keep talking about those positions, but I don't know that I've
ever seen such a position in the US within the realm of EE/CS,
except for university professors...  I've heard of assorted
special certifications that can be required, but those are
different than degrees; it's like we're WELL acquainted with
the general uselessness of an EE/CS degree when it comes to
guaranteeing any particular knowledge set...

(Medical degrees are required to be a Doctor, and there have
been assorted international disagreements on whether a medical
degree from country X should be accepted in country Y.  And
there are a bunch of rather arbitrary requirements placed on
school teachers...  But  EE/CS?)

BillW

2006\06\26@191444 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/27/06, William Chops Westfield <westfwEraseMEspam.....mac.com> wrote:
>
> On Jun 26, 2006, at 1:05 AM, John Chung wrote:
> >
> > But no PHD in business management can run
> > multinational company.

Actually this is not true.

http://www.siemens.com/index.jsp?sdc_p=ft4mls4uo1042401i1030112pcz3&sdc_bcpath=1327885.s_0,:1030112.s_4,&sdc_sid=16802762616&

Klaus Kleinfeld, Dr. rer. pol., Dipl.-Kfm.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG

He earned a Master's degree in Business Administration/Economics from
the University of Goettingen (Germany) in 1982, followed by a Ph.D. in
Strategic Management from the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) in
1992.


> Heh.  Cisco's first CEO (the one you've never heard of) had
> a PhD in Physics.  When we got venture funding, one of the
> first things the VCs did was to fire him, since "Physicist"
> were NOT the sort of image they wanted "company about to go
> public" to project.
>

That is a bit odd. There are many CEOs with Engineering
degree and start as an engineer. A physicist can be a good engineer.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2006\06\26@195042 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 26, 2006, at 4:14 PM, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

>> Cisco's first CEO (the one you've never heard of) had
>> a PhD in Physics.  When we got venture funding, one of the
>> first things the VCs did was to fire him, since "Physicist"
>> were NOT the sort of image they wanted "company about to go
>> public" to project.
>>
>
> That is a bit odd. There are many CEOs with Engineering
> degree and start as an engineer. A physicist can be a good engineer.

It wasn't THAT odd.  A longer resume that included additional
startup management experience might have saved him in spite of
the PhD in physics.  The original CFO met a similar fate for
similar reasons.  I don't think anyone liked it much, but it
was understandable even in the trenches...

BillW

2006\06\26@205758 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
William ChopsWestfield wrote:

>> But I don't think [a German degree] isrecognized for anything
>> formal -- anything where a degree is really /required/.
>
> You keep talking about those positions, but I don't know that I've ever
> seen such a position in the US within the realm of EE/CS, except for
> university professors...  

IANL, but here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_Engineer they say:

"The exact licensing procedure can vary from state to state, but the
general process is: 1. Graduate with a degree from an accredited four-year
university program in engineering. [...]"

"The title "Engineer" is legally protected in many states, meaning that it
is unlawful to use it unless permission is specifically granted by a state,
through a professional engineering license, an industrial exemption, or
certain other non-professional engineering licenses such as Operating
Engineer."


I think I have said before that I never have been in a situation where
something like this was important, and I probably could get my degree
recognized somehow if it was... at least by paying a university for it :)

Gerhard

2006\06\26@225205 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/27/06, Gerhard Fiedler <EraseMElistsspamconnectionbrazil.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

"Professional Engineer" is not equal to "Engineer". In order to be a
PE, even a US graduated engineer needs to go for some tests. And
actually one of my university classmates is now trying to pass the
test in Canada (Toronto area). His degree (BS and MSc) were
earned in China.

2006\06\26@232053 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Jun 26, 2006, at 5:57 PM, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:

> "The exact licensing procedure can vary from state to state,
>  but the general process is: 1. Graduate with a degree from
>  an accredited four-year university program in engineering.

I think you gloss over the rest of the requirements, which
I include below:

The exact licensing procedure can vary from state to state, but the
general process is:
   1. Graduate with a degree from an accredited four-year university
program in engineering.
   2. Complete a standard Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) written
examination, which tests applicants on breadth of understanding of
basic engineering principles, and optionally some elements of an
engineering specialty. Completion of the first two steps typically
qualifies for certification in the U.S. as an Engineer-In-Training
(EIT).
   3. Accumulate at least four years of engineering experience under
the supervision of a P.E.
   4. Complete a written Professional Engineering Examination, testing
the applicant's knowledge and skills in a chosen engineering discipline
(mechanical, electrical, civil, etc.), as well as engineering ethics.

Of these, I think (1) is the easiest to accomplish, and the
most likely to be flexible...

> I think I have said before that I never have been in a
> situation where something like this was important, and
> I probably could get my degree recognized somehow if
> it was... at least by paying a university for it :)
>
I have little doubt that your German Engineering degree would
be accepted as step 1 here (I could be completely wrong.)  That
means you just have to take those tests and get the four years
"journeyman" experience under an existing PE, which is likely
to be the tough part.  The "profession engineer" is sort of the
official union-style apprentice/etc track, that has been rejected
as inefficient by most of the high-tech industries.  I've never
seen a job that required "professional engineer" status, nor
offered professional engineer as a potential perk after the four
years experience had been garnered.  Such things might still happen
in SOME fields of engineering ("public works" like power station
and grid engineering?  Designing nuclear power plants?), but like
I said, I haven't seen in in the computer or electronics industry.
(Ok, I surfed over to jobs.com and typed "professional engineer."
The results pretty much match my expectations: professional civil
engineer, professional structural engineer, power systems engineer,
etc.  It's actually a sort of interesting list...)

BillW

2006\06\27@001600 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 6/26/06, Wouter van Ooijen <RemoveMEwouterEraseMEspamEraseMEvoti.nl> wrote:
> > A 4 year college degree is probably worth 2 or 3 years worth of "real"
> > experience (of the sort that it is very hard to get when you're 18.)
>
> That is probably true in some fields, but in my experience (IME?) the
> reverse can also be true. Hard mathematical/statistical/theoretical
> stuff is difficult to get in a practical environment, just as the
> reverse (practical expericence) is hard to get at any sort of school.

These are both true as forward and reverse equation. Unfortunately a
pretty good
graduating student with his brain full of math is unable to make any
difference between a thyristor and the doors knob. If he wants to
become a teoretician, will be a perfect choice, but he has no chance
as practical (meaning design, manufacturing, repairing etc) engineer.
Unfortunately the actual school (at least in Romania) prepare the
engineers for anything else than real life, because the teachers are
also very good teoreticians, and just that.

Vasile

2006\06\27@002353 by dal wheeler

flavicon
face
Not at all.  I was a technician before becoming an engineer.  No, VoTech
!= EE dropout.  I'm not sure where you got that.  I just believe I
needed to get an academic degree to get what where I wanted.  YMMV.  
Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> I do get the feeling that you are equating "lack of a degree" with "dropped
> out of school". Possibly not, but that is how it does come across to me.
>
>  

2006\06\27@014808 by John Chung

picon face


--- Gerhard Fiedler <RemoveMElistsspam_OUTspamKILLspamconnectionbrazil.com>
wrote:

{Quote hidden}

 Actually you are right. Plenty of programmers like
Charles Petzold from the Win32API fame are engineers
become programmer.

John

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2006\06\27@032038 by Rich Graziano

picon face
One could make the case in America that a good technician makes a successful
engineer :-)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Xiaofan Chen" <RemoveMExiaofancTakeThisOuTspamspamgmail.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <EraseMEpiclistspamspamspamBeGonemit.edu>
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 10:52 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] What Makes an Engineer Succesful


{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\06\27@120910 by Darrell Wyatt

picon face



{Quote hidden}

>

2006\06\27@125016 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Darrell Wyatt wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>> --

2006\06\27@142534 by gacrowell

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face


{Quote hidden}

Comments on PE licensing, since it was brought up. http://www.ncees.org/
is the organization which handles most (all?) EIT and PE testing in the
US.  It has plenty of information on the process and links to all of the
state licensing boards.

I just got notice that I passed the FE exam that I took last April,
which makes me an Engineer-in-Training.  As much as anything I took it
as a mental exercise, just to see if I could, almost 30 years after my
BSEE degree.  Was interesting, as probably the oldest person sitting in
the exam room with ~50 undergraduates - many didn't seem well prepared.
I hadn't prepared as well as I thought I should, but the test really
turned out to be pretty straightforward.

The part I don't understand is the low pass rates (posted on the ncees
site) for EE's, just about the lowest of all disciplines.  Overall the
pass rates for the FE and PE exams are only about 2/3, so the exams
really aren't a walk.  Maybe the EE's tend to slack more in the
mechanical, chemical and other subjects that are on the general part of
the exam.

At the moment I'm filling out the application for the PE exam.  I might
as well since I've come this far.  Employer pays for it anyway.
Although, I have never had a need for a PE, or even known an EE PE.  The
prestige thing may be part of it, but who knows?  It might be handy to
have in the future.

Gary Crowell
Micron Technology


2006\06\27@173909 by Dmitriy Kiryashov

picon face

Two things that are vital to focus missed for sure :)
( on top of all those brain, brave & black magic things )

1. Cool & quite climate in the "think tank" room
2. "Endless" cup of good strong tea or coffee ( who prefers what :)


WBR Dmitriy.


GÃkhan SEVER wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2006\06\27@190148 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
gacrowell@micron.com wrote:

> The part I don't understand is the low pass rates (posted on the ncees
> site) for EE's, just about the lowest of all disciplines.  Overall the
> pass rates for the FE and PE exams are only about 2/3, so the exams
> really aren't a walk.  Maybe the EE's tend to slack more in the
> mechanical, chemical and other subjects that are on the general part of
> the exam.

One reason may be that there is a very small number of EEs that need the
PE. This is different in other disciplines. A friend of mine is a French
chemist specialized on waste treatment; she has to take certification exams
whenever she moves to another country (first to the US, then to Canada), as
she's working mostly on public waste treatment plants. For such people,
these certifications are essential, for most EEs they are a "prestige
thing" or "maybe handy sometime" as you say -- so maybe on average they
don't take it as seriously.

Gerhard

2006\06\27@234134 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 6/27/06, Xiaofan Chen <spamBeGonexiaofanc@spam@spamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:
> "Professional Engineer" is not equal to "Engineer". In order to be a
> PE, even a US graduated engineer needs to go for some tests.

In Romania there is only the equivalent of PE (diplomat engineer), all
engineers must graduate the test, else the school in which they waste
their 4 years of life is usless.
But don't imagine that all PE graduating engineers (here, China, USA
or worldwide ) are indeed "proffesionals" just because they have a
paper attached to their CV...

Vasile

2006\06\28@000725 by John Chung

picon face
Yes. Hard theoratical stuff are required to be studied
extensively. There are times when education give a
upper hand but still require testing of one's
knowledge as how much did he/she understand in Uni :)

John

--- Wouter van Ooijen <TakeThisOuTwouterspamspamvoti.nl> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\06\28@020935 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face

On Jun 25, 2006, at 11:19 PM, William Chops Westfield wrote:

>
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 8:43 PM, dal wheeler wrote:
>
>> he'd be the first one to tell you its not the easiest way to
>> maintain a career.  I've seen these people in other companies
>> and it is very difficult for them to change jobs...
>
> That matches the experience of assorted friends and relatives.  In
> times of significant company loyalty to the employees, a non-degreed
> engineer can do fine.  But if, say, the Internet Bubble pops, your
> company goes Poof! (and with it your chances of glowing  
> recommendations
> and identifiable accomplishments), and you find yourself with a  
> mortgage
> and kids to support at the same time as thousands of people with  
> similar
> skills, similar resumes, AND college degrees...  Well, you'd better  
> have
> a good nest-egg or many and/or wealthy friends.

Been there, done that.  Lost the nest egg, after being employee #42  
of over 500 at a company that built very nice data centers.  Was the  
first "engineer" assigned to maintain a site while we built 18 of  
them, and was the 3rd hired into the Corporate HQ Operations group  
after we built #3.

At the pop (literally two months after 9/11), I was the second most  
expensive "Operations" person -- but they never asked if I was  
interested in staying to maintain what I built and knew like the back  
of my hand at a lower salary... so the nest egg I thankfully built  
with the bubble money was *poofed*, as you say.

> A 4 year college degree is probably worth 2 or 3 years worth of "real"
> experience (of the sort that it is very hard to get when you're 18.)
> It doesn't exercise the SAME skills as actual work, but the skills it
> does imbue aren't as worthless as some people think.

I'm having a hard time deciding what it's worth in my mid-30's  
though.  Another "poof" and I could find myself eating up another  
nest egg I've been slowly working on.

The market is due for a very long prolonged downturn in the U.S. as  
the Baby Boomers retire without enough money in savings to keep the  
government from taxing the beejeezus out of us "young-uns"... I can  
already see that coming from a macroeconomic perspective (yes, I do  
have SOME college courses done), so I'm hunting around for what  
Boomers will by paying for with that government money (long-term  
care, home health care, stuff they get to write off on their taxes --  
because they'll all be trying to hold on to the little that they've  
bothered to save) and of course, secondary things like "Who's going  
to make money when the Boomers SELL OFF major things and who's going  
to lose money on them (short 'em)."

I guess I'll know if my strategy worked in 30 or so more years...

First Warren Buffet stops investing stating that cash is more  
worthwhile to his shareholders, and then he starts giving all his  
personal cash away -- a sure sign the world is coming to an end, eh?  
Heh heh.  :-)

But back to the topic at hand... what's adding a degree to a resume'  
worth to a 30-something who's been supporting and building stuff for  
his entire career?  I certainly don't need the "3 years experience"  
to tack on at this point.  But I do need that "foot in the door in  
bad times".

It's a harder analysis than watching Boomer's slide through their  
natural economic life-cycle!  :-)

In down times, it's key.  In "normal" times or good times,  
worthless... so it's really hard to do an Opportunity Cost analysis.

Not enough data.  Can not compute.  Heh ... such is life.

Nate

2006\06\28@061940 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>But back to the topic at hand... what's adding a degree
>to a resume' worth to a 30-something who's been supporting
>and building stuff for his entire career?  I certainly
>don't need the "3 years experience" to tack on at this point.
>But I do need that "foot in the door in bad times".

and that is what the degree gives you I think, isn't it? It does mean that
you get through the first cut along with those with the bare 3 years exp.,
and then they look at the experience, and your >10 years, or whatever it is
then starts to stand out.

I do remember on my CV when I went for my current job "fiddling" it by
saying "nearly 30 years experience" for something like 28 years, to get it
that bit more noticed.

2006\06\28@071622 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
>But back to the topic at hand... what's adding a degree
>to a resume' worth to a 30-something who's been supporting
>and building stuff for his entire career?  I certainly
>don't need the "3 years experience" to tack on at this point.
>But I do need that "foot in the door in bad times".

probably (hopefully?) a more solid theoretical background.

Wouter van Ooijen

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


2006\06\28@081349 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> I do remember on my CV when I went for my current job "fiddling" it by
> saying "nearly 30 years experience" for something like 28 years, to get
> it that bit more noticed.

I don't know... I get the feeling that in EE/CS, focusing on more than ten
years experience may not be that good -- having it or not :)  The industry
is moving fast, and hirers (more often than not with less experience than
30 years) may associate long experience with outdated knowledge.

Gerhard

2006\06\28@093342 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/28/06, Gerhard Fiedler <listsEraseMEspamconnectionbrazil.com> wrote:
> Alan B. Pearce wrote:
>
> > I do remember on my CV when I went for my current job "fiddling" it by
> > saying "nearly 30 years experience" for something like 28 years, to get
> > it that bit more noticed.
>
> I don't know... I get the feeling that in EE/CS, focusing on more than ten
> years experience may not be that good -- having it or not :)  The industry
> is moving fast, and hirers (more often than not with less experience than
> 30 years) may associate long experience with outdated knowledge.
>

That depends on the field, CS perhaps will always moving very fast. In
EE, some of the fields are not moving that fast. For example, analog
electronics engineer do needs a lot of years to get the experience. I will
soon go for a training and there are plenty of engineers there with 20+
years of experience in hardware/firmware. This is a big industrial
automation company. In this industry, Ethernet is considered quite new.
In fact, fieldbus technologies are all quite new.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2006\06\30@112416 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Peter,

On Mon, 26 Jun 2006 09:23:18 -0400, Peter Todd wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Isn't it fairly straightforward Trigonometry?  Solve the vector for x & y then for this and z?

Where:
x is the magnitude of the x-axis movement (have to resolve the previous speed and the current acceleration
into a distance moved in a fixed, small, time period)
y is the magnitude of the y-axis movement
z is the magnitude of the z-axis movement

By Pythagoras:

A = SQRT(x^2 + y^2)  this is the magnitude of the resultant of x and y.  
The angle between this resultant and the x axis is arcTan(y / x)

B = SQRT(A^2 + z^2)  this is the magnitude of the final resultant.  
The angle between this and the x-y plane is arcTan(z / A)

So you now know how far to move (B), and the direction to move (the two angles).  You'll have to work out the
signs to get the overall direction right, but a quick test should soon solve that - probably quicker than
thinking it through!  :-)

Of course, it's over thirty since I did this stuff, but it flashed back to me.  Hopefully correctly, but you
never know!  :-)  As for the matrix calculations, you're on your own - I haven't done those since I was 11...

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\06\30@115046 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Of course, it's over thirty since I did this stuff, but
>it flashed back to me.  Hopefully correctly, but you
>never know!  :-)  As for the matrix calculations, you're
>on your own - I haven't done those since I was 11...

and he I am 5 times as many years later attempting it ...

The maths modelling course I am doing at the moment would suggest that doing
it in a matrix is probably the "best" way.

2006\06\30@213048 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Fri, Jun 30, 2006 at 04:24:13PM +0100, Howard Winter wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I think those definitions are incorrect. x, y, and z are acellerations
along their respective axises. However I think to try to integrate them
into a distance moved isn't possible.

Essentially, take the device and orient it with z perpendicular to
gravity. Now rotate it around the x axis. The y value will look like a
sign-wave as it's value is essentially something based on sin()

So how are you going to know if that is meaning accelleration, or
rotation, without a gyroscopic component to directly measure rotation?

{Quote hidden}

As above, if I'm not mistaken your approach may work, but I think only
if the orientation of the device is fixed. My problem is the opposite.


My intuitive thinking on it is essentially that if I were trying to
calculate small angular movements, say +-10degrees on x and y, it'd be
some simple trig to convert that into "rotate about x, then rotate about
y" angular co-ordinates.

But given that I have three coordinates, x, y, z, my intuition tells me
that turning that into two values will be tough. Especially given that
one of the two value's, y, has a meaning that changes depending on what
the other is because of that "rotate about x, *then* rotate about y"
meaning.

Oh well, I'm sure reading up on more angular coordinate math will help.

> Of course, it's over thirty since I did this stuff, but it flashed back to me.  Hopefully correctly, but you
> never know!  :-)  As for the matrix calculations, you're on your own - I haven't done those since I was 11...

Damn smug and lazy child prodigys! :)

--
RemoveMEpeteEraseMEspamspam_OUTpetertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\06\30@213258 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Fri, Jun 30, 2006 at 04:50:41PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >Of course, it's over thirty since I did this stuff, but
> >it flashed back to me.  Hopefully correctly, but you
> >never know!  :-)  As for the matrix calculations, you're
> >on your own - I haven't done those since I was 11...
>
> and he I am 5 times as many years later attempting it ...
>
> The maths modelling course I am doing at the moment would suggest that doing
> it in a matrix is probably the "best" way.

Sounds like it. Doing the code to rotate x,y,z co-ordinates for the
3d-display part of the project was much easier once I fully understood
how to manipulate matrixes to do it. Multiplying by matrixes is just so
*nice* a way to do it.

What's the maths modelling course you are doing?

--
@spam@peteRemoveMEspamEraseMEpetertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca


'[OT] What Makes an Engineer Succesful'
2006\07\01@005153 by Gerhard Fiedler
picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> I think those definitions are incorrect. x, y, and z are acellerations
> along their respective axises. However I think to try to integrate them
> into a distance moved isn't possible.

I'm not sure about your setup, but it seems to me that without additional
assumptions you can't convert acceleration into rotation. Think about it:
you can rotate a point as long as you want, it won't accelerate. You only
get acceleration along a line (of movement) -- which requires a defined
distance from the center of rotation. If you don't know the distance (and
direction) from the center of the rotation to the point where you measure
the acceleration, I'm not sure you can know what you are measuring.

To me it seems your problem is physical/mechanical before mathematical.
Matrices are just a more generic way to deal with vectors -- but first you
have to know which vectors :)

Gerhard

2006\07\01@015403 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Sat, Jul 01, 2006 at 01:51:38AM -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
> Peter Todd wrote:
>
> > I think those definitions are incorrect. x, y, and z are acellerations
> > along their respective axises. However I think to try to integrate them
> > into a distance moved isn't possible.
>
> I'm not sure about your setup, but it seems to me that without additional
> assumptions you can't convert acceleration into rotation. Think about it:
> you can rotate a point as long as you want, it won't accelerate. You only
> get acceleration along a line (of movement) -- which requires a defined
> distance from the center of rotation. If you don't know the distance (and
> direction) from the center of the rotation to the point where you measure
> the acceleration, I'm not sure you can know what you are measuring.

I think you're right, but fortunately I have a very important assumption
I'm depending on, I'm only looking for the static angular position of
the cube and I happen to be near a couple quintillion tonnes of mass, IE
earth.  So the only accelleration present is that due to gravity and I
only care about the cubes angle in reference to gravity. I'm also
assuming that it's ok if rotations perpendicular to gravity, ie
rotations about z, get ignored.

Of course if someone moves the device I'll get some funny "banking"
effects, due to the non-gravitational acelleration, but that's no big
deal in this application.

> To me it seems your problem is physical/mechanical before mathematical.
> Matrices are just a more generic way to deal with vectors -- but first you
> have to know which vectors :)

Agreed!

--
EraseMEpetespam@spam@petertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\07\03@041219 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>What's the maths modelling course you are doing?

Open University course MST209.
http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C02MST209

There is also a week long associated residential course which I intend to do
next year. MSXR209 http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01eMSXR209


2006\07\03@094250 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Mon, Jul 03, 2006 at 09:12:15AM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >What's the maths modelling course you are doing?
>
> Open University course MST209.
> www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C02MST209
>
> There is also a week long associated residential course which I intend to do
> next year. MSXR209 http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01eMSXR209

Thanks, looks like a interesting set of courses, and for that matter,
interesting school.

Good luck!

--
@spam@petespam_OUTspam.....petertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\07\04@075950 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Peter,

On Fri, 30 Jun 2006 21:51:28 -0400, Peter Todd wrote:

{Quote hidden}

I can't see how else you'd do it - take a sufficiantly small time period and any movement, even rotation,
looks like a straight line.  I was then resolving these into a single vector that points in the direction of
rotation at that moment in time.

> Essentially, take the device and orient it with z perpendicular to
> gravity. Now rotate it around the x axis. The y value will look like a
> sign-wave as it's value is essentially something based on sin()

Yes, but only because the Earth's gravity is acting on it.  You couldn't detect rotation about the vertical
axis from acceleration because it's constant all the way round in the two sensors in the plane of rotation,
and zero in the other.  Unless the object is contrained to *only* rotate, and not move in space - I don't
remember if this was part of the problem definition.

> So how are you going to know if that is meaning accelleration, or
> rotation, without a gyroscopic component to directly measure rotation?

I can't, because at step 1 I used a timescale short enough to mask the rotation.  In fact if you only have one
accelerometer in each plane, I'm not sure you can tell rotation from linear acceleration in a reasonably short
time anyway, (if x and y are showing the same acceleration it may be rotating about z, or it may be
accelerating in a straight line at 45 degrees to x and y).  Only by looking at the signals for some time would
you see the sine wave, and I'm not sure if you have that much time to react?

>...
> >  As for the matrix calculations, you're on your own - I haven't done those since I was 11...
>
> Damn smug and lazy child prodigys! :)

Quite the reverse!  (Well, I am lazy :-) I went to a primary school that did what was later called "Modern
Maths" - Matrices, Venn diagrams, different number bases, and so on.  When I went to Grammar school (at age
11) they did Traditional Maths, with lots of arithmetic, "Problems", and so on.  In my first Maths test there
I scored zero!  And I never had a decent Maths teacher from that point on (they were all teachers of something
else, pressed into doing Maths because of a shortage of "proper" Maths teachers).  I have to understand things
to work with them, and it seems there are some things in Maths that you just have to accept without really
understanding them, and as a result I never "got" some vital parts (complex numbers, Integration beyond it
being the reverse of Differentiation...), and ended up failing Maths "A Level".

But Geometry, I get!  :)))

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\07\04@094728 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


{Quote hidden}

Howard,

All the best people fail their maths A level!

Like you I had an awful time trying to grasp some of the more abstract theories, and my teachers response was: "I've told you once, if you don't understand it find out for yourself as I don't want to waste the rest of the classes time".  I've always tried to dsicover and learn things for myself, but sometimes you need a nudge in the right direction.  I was very smug when I got a B in Physics though, much to the maths teachers disbelief.  Physics had some fairly heavy maths, but you got to see the maths working in the real world!

When I went to Uni, I took extra maths classes, and the lecturer was simply a revelation. Things that I had never understood through high school suddenly clicked into place when she explained them.

Regards

Mike

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