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How to be an Electrical Engineer?

Helo people, researching about Engineering career paths .

Currently still attending school
but if I were to drop out and go to Tafe(like a technical college)[In Australia] to get a diploma( in electrical engineer) will that be enough to be an electrical engineer?

Or is the only way,being getting a bachelors degree of electrical engineering at university?

Anyone know how to be an electrical engineer?
 

Ian Rogers

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Depends on the level of engineer you are aiming for.... Design or repair.... Design engineers have almost certainly achieved a certain level of education... I would say at least Higher diploma.... Here in England we have City and Guilds, NVQ 3 and 4, Ordinary diploma (ONC), Higher diploma (HNC) and then the several levels of University...

If you are good at your job, you can become an Electrical Engineer with a very basic education, It's definitely easier it you have achieved a higher level.... I wouldn't drop out of school... When you go to technical college you will need maths and physics as electrical science can be a bit tricky without learning the basics... There are bridging courses to get up to speed, but you'll find if you have missed certain area's of maths then it will bite you in the but!!
 

ronsimpson

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In the US most engineers take 4 years of college. Some take 6 years and a small number go for more.
There is a number of engineers that have less than 4 years and much experiance. You have to be good to do this.
There is a 2 year level but we do not call them engineers.

If you are working for the government, and many large companies, there is a formula. (Years in college = wages.)
In smaller companies, they are just looking to get the job done and years in college are not as important.

Your first job greatly depends on school. Your last job, they don't ask.
 

Overclocked

Member
In the US most engineers take 4 years of college. Some take 6 years and a small number go for more.
There is a number of engineers that have less than 4 years and much experiance. You have to be good to do this.
There is a 2 year level but we do not call them engineers.

If you are working for the government, and many large companies, there is a formula. (Years in college = wages.)
In smaller companies, they are just looking to get the job done and years in college are not as important.

Your first job greatly depends on school. Your last job, they don't ask.
I dont want to change the subject, but out Of curiosity why are people with 2 year degrees not called Engineers? I cant speak for everyone, but I only have a 2 year degree and I have that title. Also I didnt have much experience when I first got the job, only my hobbies (ie Engineering circuits, programming, things we do as a hobby, etc) for experience. Maybe Im in a league of my own?

I would like to add back to the topic that if possible, try to get into it as a hobby. When Ive gone to factories younger people (Im 27) have come up to me and asked me where to go to do what I do (Industrial Automation). Ive told them to start with Books, and the local community college. Ive also suggested Arduino as a means to get started in programming.
 

steveB

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There is a guy that I went to high school with. He sat behind me in home room class for 3 years. He is a self taught artist. Aside from a few sporadic classes, he never studied formally. He is better than many highly schooled artists. We are 50 years old now, and I've found out that he eventually taught at prestigious art schools later in life and and is very successful artist selling his works.

There is no reason why an engineer can not do the same. But, it's not easy. It takes talent, drive and dedication to learn the critical things on your own.

Basically, if you can do it ... then you are it. You need to be born to it and then dedicate yourself to it. There are many people with engineering degrees that are not even close to being "real" engineers. Still, I highly recommend formal schooling to be the best engineer you can be.
 

ronsimpson

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Most Helpful Member
A small number of people are born engineers. It is very hard to prove that to a employer.
Many people are trained as engineers and now are a engineer.
Probably 1/2 of the people that go through engineering school will never be a engineer. (they might work as one)
(You can change the word engineer for the word artist, teacher, etc.)

Please pay me big money I am an engineer. I have no training, no experiance. I want big money.
This will not work!

Go to school. Read books. Make hobby projects. All at the same time.
 

Nigel Goodwin

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All at the same time.
That's the important bit! :D

We used to take school kids on work experience, and one or two claimed to be interested in electronics - but when asked what they have built, they hadn't built anything - that's NOT an interest in electronics.

Perhaps the OP might like to post what he's built?.
 

Ian Rogers

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I have a young lad here on work experience now!!

When asked what he's been doing in school.... He programmed a chip and made an LED blink!

"Oh yeah!" I said "Which chip"
"Dunno" came the reply..
"What compiler did you use" I asked..
"Basic" came the reply..

I booted Oshonsoft and placed him in front of the computer..

"What's this" said the little man..
"Basic" I replied..

"Weren't that then" came the reply...

Where do I go from here.... I tried ASM ... C .... other basics..... He didn't recognize any... I'm wondering if it was block basic...

I don't think educational institutions are up to date with today's stuff.... How can these youngster learn if all they get at schools and colleges is Motorola 6809 and crappy dev boards...
 

Overclocked

Member
@ Ian, When I was in college we had a micro-controller course that used PICbasic and the associated Dev Board. In the digital course we used a FPGA (Xlinx) and the associated software. Other courses were just the basic electrical stuff, and then one calc-electrical course towards the end (It went into Stuff like PID control and relating derivatives and integrals to electrical components). This was all a few years ago, but PICs are still relavent now.
 
I haven't made any circuits yet of my own, :p not even the lighting of an led.
But how would you program a microchip, I have taken all the other non surface mount devices from circuit boards but have left the microchips in place(not sure how to use them). Do you need to like program them first with a specific code?
 

cowboybob

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I haven't made any circuits yet of my own, :p not even the lighting of an led.
But how would you program a microchip, I have taken all the other non surface mount devices from circuit boards but have left the microchips in place(not sure how to use them). Do you need to like program them first with a specific code?
The term "microchip" covers a very wide range of electronic devices, both analog and digital.

For instance, an analog microchip might be an Operational amplifier (an OpAmp).

If by "microchip" you mean "microcontroller" (or "uC", a digital device) then, yes, you program them with specific code.

By no means the only explanation of uCs and their programming issues, but a start:
http://www.build-electronic-circuits.com/microcontroller-programming/
 
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ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
For those that want to become an Engineer with out school:
By second/third grade I make two simple electronic projects by kits.
Then I got one of those 150 project boards and built everyone and made my own.
Back then there was two monthly hobby magazines and a HAM radio magazine. I started making one project every month. (simple at first)
Later there was a monthly computer magazine. Built many of those.
This was before the internet. You have a huge advantage now!

If I was starting out again:
Build a simple power supply, later a complicated power supply.
Build a simple signal generator. Later a RF generator.
Build a simple audio amp.
Build a capacitance meter. A inductance meter. etc.
I was probably in 3rd grade and built a simple crystal radio.
Get a white bread board and use a 5V and 12V "wall wort" to power it.

MAKE SOMETHING. Make a LED light up.
Ask us for help.
DO SOMETHING even if it is wrong!
read-read--read--and do it.

Between 6 and 8:00 every day I will read and do something that makes me one step closer to becoming an engineer.
Every weekend I will work hours toward my goal.
-----edited-----------
When you go to get your first job you will be competing against people that have studied 40 hours a week for 4 years.
If this sounds like work, then there are many openings in fast food.
If studying engineering sounds fun, then welcome
----edited again----
Then I went to the university and the community college and read and build things.
Now I get payed to do my hobby. I read and build and some times help others on the internet.
 
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Overclocked

Member
I second what Ron Said above. It made me sad to see my classmates not as interested in Electronics as I. Pretty sure the professor saw it too and it stuck out, so it will defiantly impact your teachers too. Depending on how social you are, you might even get a few friends interested.

OH! Hackerspaces! These are new thing these days where people who like electronics (and other stuff) congregate. Find one in your Area. Where are you located?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I haven't made any circuits yet of my own, :p not even the lighting of an led.
My personal opinion based on that, is that you're unlikely to 'have what it takes' to become an electronics engineer (unless you're far younger than you appear), you don't have the drive, the interest, and the 'obsession' which drives most of us here in electronics.

I've known a number of people who have randomly gone to Uni to study Electronics with no previous experience - it never works out well - it's like going to do a maths degree when you don't know how to count yet.
 

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