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How many of you are mechanical engineers?

billybob

Active Member
I was wondering how many of you are mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, or industrial engineers. Or retired from one of these occupations?
What does your job normally look like on a daily basis?
Do you enjoy it?

I‘m asking because I am trying to pursue one of these options in the future.
I would like to be an electrician for at least a few years to build a resume and only part time, while in college.
 

Ian Rogers

User Extraordinaire
Forum Supporter
Most Helpful Member
Personally... I have a diploma in Mechanical engineering.. I have NTC level 2 in auto mechanical / electrical.. I then did a degree in electrical engineering.

But!! I have run my own design mechanical / electronic company for the last 21 years.. I am lucky I got to do both as my designs are in both industries..

I mainly program Pic's now and don't need different mechanical designs.. Not yet anyway... The electronics though, change yearly sometime monthly..
I do a bit of design for other industries.. But not as much as I would like..
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I would like to be an electrician for at least a few years to build a resume and only part time, while in college.
It's not as easy as you might hope!.

Basically, you need to find a company who are prepared to take you on as an apprentice, and send you to college on day release.

After you've finished, and pasted, your course - you're then a qualified electrician - and also probably unemployed. 'Generally' such companies send teams of two out on jobs, a qualified electrician and an apprentice (who gets paid a pittance) - plumbers work the same. So once you're qualified, unless one of the electricians is retiring (or they need another one) they let you go, and employ a new apprentice. This isn't that bad a thing, as companies who don't employ and train their own apprentices are generally on the look out for qualified electricians to employ.

The other option is to go to college full time - I 'think' it's a three year course?. I know MANY people who have done this, both as electricians or plumbers (many have done both), usually sent on the courses because they are unemployed. The draw back here is no one ever finishes the course, to attend the third year (and become qualified) you have to get a trainee job with an electrical or plumbing company - and not a single one of the many people I know have ever been able to do that. So basically you do two years at college, and have no qualifications - from a personal point of view you're probably quite competent as an electrician/plumber, but you're completely unqualified and unable to work as such.

Local councils usually take on apprentices, but it's normal to get 3000-5000 applications for a single post. If you do apply, read the application form carefully - I've seen one that says to 'fill this form in black ballpoint' - those filled in using blue ink are automatically shredded and never even read.
 

Visitor

Well-Known Member
Electricians and plumbers don't usually attend university (i.e., college) in the US. The path here would be via trade schools or community colleges.
 

billybob

Active Member
Electricians and plumbers don't usually attend university (i.e., college) in the US. The path here would be via trade schools or community colleges.
I was just thinking of electrician because I was trying to think of a way to build up a resume with some form of electrical experience on it. And I have been offered an opportunity to be an apprentice.
 
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Visitor

Well-Known Member
There's certainly nothing wrong with being an electrician or working in any of the trades. In the US, with college costing so much, a college degree is hard to justify against future earnings.

To me, a college degree opened up opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise. Not so much because of things I'd learned, but because somebody decided a degree was required for certain positions.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I trained as a draughtman designing H.V. (6.6 - 25kV) electrical switchgear so did both mechanical and electrical. However, at 22 years of age I started writing games for home computers and did that for the rest of my working life. Electronics (chemistry too) has always been a hobby of mine and came in handy when the NES (famicom) console came out. No keyboard/drive meant the only way to program it was via hardware which had to be built. Not sure what I would do now if I was just starting out but I found that having a broad knowledge gave me a huge advantage.

Mike.
 

vtech

Active Member
I am in the same State as you are.

I started Electrical Engineering thru Southern Tech(now Kennesaw) but decided that I am better with my hands rather than working with papers.
The passion of having a business got me started in my own Electronics repair business for 8 years in Snellville which was pretty much a podunk town at the time but regardless, did very well. Not only I learned a lot and acquired contacts, I was the only Authorized servicer for many Brands.
Sold out and went to work for Hifi buys in Atlanta for over 18 years until they eventually folded.

After a short hiatus, I decided to get involved in Avionics with the Local Airline and I have had no regrets whatsoever. Working with complicated ATE machines and many facets of Aviation Electronics is rewarding.

While there is nothing wrong with pursuing Engineering degrees, I can tell you that one of the best things a young person can do is to learn a trade thru Technical school. Compared to universities, not only it is a fraction of the cost, you will have many well paying jobs waiting for you. It certainly beats the heck out of going in debt to your eyeballs just to get an engineering degree.
 

Visitor

Well-Known Member
My path wasn't quite so straight forward. I went to a large state University (30,000 students) right out of high school, and I wasn't ready for that. While I was there, I got a summer job at a naval shipyard, and by chance ended up in a group responsible for making sure submarines were quiet. A big part of the job was conducting machinery vibration measurements, sonar trials and all the instrumentation to accomplish that. Our group also supported testing/troubleshooting on surface ships. What a fantastic learning opportunity. To troubleshoot problems, I never knew what was coming up next. Main propulsion turbine with excessive vibration? Off to the machine shop where a similar turbine was in the middle of being overhauled. I got to see the internal workings, talking to the machinists who actually knew how things went together and where problems could occur. 300 horsepower motor with a problem in the electrical shop? Off to talk to the electricians.

I had found my calling. I went back to school for a quarter, and decided to take "a quarter" off. My boss in the shipyard was happy to have me back full time. Duties and responsibilities ever increased, and as the guy who understood the instrumentation beyond the routine uses, a lot of strange and unique measurement and analysis tasks fell to me. I was working well beyond my pay grade, including often managing engineers in projects, but without a degree, my pay was never going to be commensurate with the work I was doing.

My "quarter off" turned into 7 years before I went back to university, as a co-op student with the shipyard (meaning they paid my tuition and books). Older and wiser, this time I went to a small private school (where many of the students were in a similar position) and graduated with a BSME degree.

I stayed with the shipyard for a while after that, until I was lured away by an engineering services firm. A large part of their work was supporting machinery vibration analysis on the aircraft carrier fleet, but given my talents, most of my work there was in engineering services, centered around measurement and analysis of "strange problems". The phone would ring, and suddenly I'd be off doing something completely different for a few days or weeks.


One hint I learned working in the shipyard. Our group was in an open office area, and my desk was near, but behind my boss's desk. Everybody thought that was the worst place to be, because he'd take a phone call about something that needed to be done, turn around and I'd be the first person he would see.

If I heard him talking about something I wanted to do, when he hung up the phone, I'd ask him if he'd heard anything more about whatever he was talking about, or ask him if there was something I could do. On the other hand, if the call was about something I didn't want to do, I'd either be head deep in some project or I would have suddenly gone for a walk when he turned around. "I though Jon was here. Will you go take care of this?"
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I was just thinking of electrician because I was trying to think of a way to build up a resume with some form of electrical experience on it. And I have been offered an opportunity to be an apprentice.
Sorted then - take the offer - it's a decent paid job where you can make a good living.

Oh - one extra thing - learn to drive. Been able to drive is essential, and you'll struggle finding work without it.

A friends son (Richard) was an apprentice electrician, actually for his Uncle (one of my friends brothers, I knew him as well). So he finished his apprenticeship, but still couldn't drive, so was made redundant as he was no use to the company - and wasn't prepared to learn to drive. He ended up doing some kind of electrical assembly work in a factory - since then things have gone far worse, and he killed himself by jumping off a cliff last year.
 
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MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
I have a high school in the field of industrial electrical engineering, power electronics and automation. The only technical school in my area was focused on software engineering. After about a month, I found out that it was more economical than programming and I left. Now I work as an electrical designer. I hate it when someone tells me how to do something. If you don't have your own business, don't have a hobby like your job. It will no longer be your hobby (unless magic circumstances happen).
 
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billybob

Active Member
Sorted then - take the offer - it's a decent paid job where you can make a good living.

Oh - one extra thing - learn to drive. Been able to drive is essential, and you'll struggle finding work without it.

A friends son (Richard) was an apprentice electrician, actually for his Uncle (one of my friends brothers, I knew him as well). So he finished his apprenticeship, but still couldn't drive, so was made redundant as he was no use to the company - and wasn't prepared to learn to drive. He ended up doing some kind of electrical assembly work in a factory - since then things have gone far worse, and he killed himself by jumping off a cliff last year.
I agree, driving really helps. fortunately I’ve been driving for a little less than a year so while I’m a beginner it helps with responsibilities so I don’t have to drag my parents into it.
 

billybob

Active Member
My path wasn't quite so straight forward. I went to a large state University (30,000 students) right out of high school, and I wasn't ready for that. While I was there, I got a summer job at a naval shipyard, and by chance ended up in a group responsible for making sure submarines were quiet. A big part of the job was conducting machinery vibration measurements, sonar trials and all the instrumentation to accomplish that. Our group also supported testing/troubleshooting on surface ships. What a fantastic learning opportunity. To troubleshoot problems, I never knew what was coming up next. Main propulsion turbine with excessive vibration? Off to the machine shop where a similar turbine was in the middle of being overhauled. I got to see the internal workings, talking to the machinists who actually knew how things went together and where problems could occur. 300 horsepower motor with a problem in the electrical shop? Off to talk to the electricians.

I had found my calling. I went back to school for a quarter, and decided to take "a quarter" off. My boss in the shipyard was happy to have me back full time. Duties and responsibilities ever increased, and as the guy who understood the instrumentation beyond the routine uses, a lot of strange and unique measurement and analysis tasks fell to me. I was working well beyond my pay grade, including often managing engineers in projects, but without a degree, my pay was never going to be commensurate with the work I was doing.

My "quarter off" turned into 7 years before I went back to university, as a co-op student with the shipyard (meaning they paid my tuition and books). Older and wiser, this time I went to a small private school (where many of the students were in a similar position) and graduated with a BSME degree.

I stayed with the shipyard for a while after that, until I was lured away by an engineering services firm. A large part of their work was supporting machinery vibration analysis on the aircraft carrier fleet, but given my talents, most of my work there was in engineering services, centered around measurement and analysis of "strange problems". The phone would ring, and suddenly I'd be off doing something completely different for a few days or weeks.


One hint I learned working in the shipyard. Our group was in an open office area, and my desk was near, but behind my boss's desk. Everybody thought that was the worst place to be, because he'd take a phone call about something that needed to be done, turn around and I'd be the first person he would see.

If I heard him talking about something I wanted to do, when he hung up the phone, I'd ask him if he'd heard anything more about whatever he was talking about, or ask him if there was something I could do. On the other hand, if the call was about something I didn't want to do, I'd either be head deep in some project or I would have suddenly gone for a walk when he turned around. "I though Jon was here. Will you go take care of this?"
I like your example of being at the right place at the right time and finding a job you enjoy without even knowing about it beforehand.
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
Oh - one extra thing - learn to drive. Been able to drive is essential, and you'll struggle finding work without it.
I agree with that drive is essential, but how far is too far? Before coronavirus i spent 2 hours daily driving to job and back to home.
Thanks to coronavirus i am working remotely...
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I agree with that drive is essential, but how far is too far?
It's not so much a question of that, we were talking about working as an electrician or plumber, where you will almost certainly have to drive to get to your jobs.

However, my drive to work is about 20 minutes, most of it in fairly pleasant countryside, and the worse parts only in small towns and villages. Bit tricky when it snows, as it's all hilly round here - but that's why I have a 4 wheel drive car :D

I worked from home during the first lockdown, and generally went in to work on a Sunday, to drop stuff off and collect more.
 

Reloadron

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Electrical Engineering retired. I was fortunate in that I enjoyed my work and had the opportunity to work with some really great people. Regardless of a chosen field I figure it is important to enjoy what you are doing and look forward to each day. My dad was an EE and I just always, growing up, wanted to follow him. I also had the pleasure of working with some outstanding Mechanical Engineer types and a few Industrial Engineers. Working with and interfacing with those people made the work enjoyable. I can't imagine doing something one dislikes for 30 or 40 years. Anyway what I see as most important is choosing a field one enjoys working in and a field which puts beanies and weenies on the table and pays the bills. I retired at 63 back in 2013 and have enjoyed life ever since. Just choose a career path wisely based on what you like, not what anyone else thinks you should like.

Ron
 

gary350

Well-Known Member
If you get a degree it will not get you a job. First thing most companies asked is, what is your job experience. No experience, if you get offered a job it will be minimum wage and probably not related to your education. Go to a 2 year technical trade school first then get a job so you get experience. Big companies will often have their own classes called on the job training to learn their equipment and some companies will pay you to go to trade school or college. You should take some tests to learn things about yourself, do you like working at an office desk all day, are you a hands on person, do you like working with people, what work shift do you like, do you like a good challenge, do you work well under pressure with a deadline, what geographical location do you want to live in, etc. People that get into the wrong line of work are often miserable and hate their job. Job is something you will probably do for 40 years but you can often branch off in different directions every few years, some big companies let you change jobs within the company and change geographical locations too. Big companies are easier to work for than small companies. If your the only person in a small company that can do a job it is often very hard to get a vacation with no one to take your place. Best way to keep a job is be smarter than others at work they will get laid off before you if work is ever slow. Best way to get a pay raise is, quit or threaten to quit. Anytime you change jobs, either give your self a pay increase or do it for, more, different, better, job experience at the new job. Job experience is worth several times more than education when applying for a job. If you have a large amount of job experience you will never have trouble finding a job.
 
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I got my papers in electronics while going to work for the New Zealand Post Office (straight out of school) back many, many moons ago.

They had their own training plus sent us off to Polytechnic (trade school) for courses.

A lot of other companies I worked for had on the job training, plus there was a reasonable bit of self learning to fill in gaps.
 

MacIntoshCZ

Active Member
Also i dont think that having degree will be some sort of useful in this kind of job - electrician or plumber. If am i right, most of work is done by hand. No rocket science.
 

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