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How to seperate myself from the piles of other applicants?

Thread starter #1
Currently I live in the UK.
I have achieved 7A*s 2As in GCSEs
and received 2A*s and 2As in A-levels in Maths (A*) physics (A*) chemistry(A) further maths (A)
I have recently taken up the programming language python and an interest in electronics building up on a poor course that I had in GCSE.
Athletically, I have played in a county final and a regular member in a local club(rugby).

What would you want to see in an applicant especially in the engineering field? Thanks
What do you recommend one should do such as myself to separate them from the rest?

with such growing competition for academic jobs getting an A* is no longer a green light.
 

Nigel Goodwin

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Most Helpful Member
#2
Aren't you going to University?, you should have no trouble getting on a good course at a good Uni with those results.

Although if I'm been 'picky', 9 GCSE's isn't very many :p

But more seriously, what sort of degree courses might you be interested in?, and what field would you like to work in?.
 

DerStrom8

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Most Helpful Member
#3
Aren't you going to University?, you should have no trouble getting on a good course at a good Uni with those results.

Although if I'm been 'picky', 9 GCSE's isn't very many :p

But more seriously, what sort of degree courses might you be interested in?, and what field would you like to work in?.
I think he's actually asking how to set himself apart from other job applicants, not course applicants. He's looking for a job, but is concerned that his high marks in school won't be enough.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#4
I think he's actually asking how to set himself apart from other job applicants, not course applicants. He's looking for a job, but is concerned that his high marks in school won't be enough.
His marks are pretty well as high as they can be, and with good marks, and in excellent subjects, he ought to be considering a decent degree at a decent Uni :D
 

cowboybob

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#5
... What would you want to see in an applicant especially in the engineering field? ...
Beyond any academic achievements(s), your work history.
... with such growing competition for academic jobs ...
On the face of it, a higher degree (uni) and courses in education.

I'm not sure that you've settled on a particular direction (academic vs. non-academic). But, in either case (again), some work experience is always useful towards rising above the pack.
 

Ian Rogers

User Extraordinaire
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Most Helpful Member
#6
Currently I live in the UK.
I have achieved 7A*s 2As in GCSEs
and received 2A*s and 2As in A-levels in Maths (A*) physics (A*) chemistry(A) further maths (A)
I have recently taken up the programming language python and an interest in electronics building up on a poor course that I had in GCSE.
Athletically, I have played in a county final and a regular member in a local club(rugby).

What would you want to see in an applicant especially in the engineering field? Thanks
What do you recommend one should do such as myself to separate them from the rest?

with such growing competition for academic jobs getting an A* is no longer a green light.
With the greatest respect!!! Academic prowess tumbles at the first hurdle when you first project goes up in smoke..

The Uni students with bachelor degrees also fail at the first hurdle.. It's called experience... As an employer I'm not going to get an experienced student ( Rare as rocking horse s**t ), so the only thing we have to go on is:-

a) Smart not smartarse. I hate smug students telling me my job.
b) Willing to learn... Out of the box thinking..
c) Willing to start afresh... Unlearn everything and learn to actually do the job..

Schooling teaches you one thing!! Where to look for answers... Black whisker lines on your face teaches you not to do that again, not a lecturer!!

When applying for a job.. Be you! don't oversell yourself or you'll be on the "don't even respond" list!!

I had a young guy come to see me once... Very intellectual, probably could do the job with his eyes closed... Came across as a smartypants... Threw his contact in the bin!!
 
Thread starter #7
Aren't you going to University?, you should have no trouble getting on a good course at a good Uni with those results.

Although if I'm been 'picky', 9 GCSE's isn't very many :p

But more seriously, what sort of degree courses might you be interested in?, and what field would you like to work in?.
I am going to uni yes, I'm looking into taking a mechanical or electrical engineering course however most likely mechanical engineering.

Regarding your second point, I attended a catholic school and subsequently the time we would have spent doing other subjects we spent on extra religious education lessons hence why the 9 subjects rather than 10-12 other schools do.

some work experience is always useful towards rising above the pack.
Thank you on the pointer, will take that into action.

I had a young guy come to see me once... Very intellectual, probably could do the job with his eyes closed... Came across as a smartypants... Threw his contact in the bin!!
I take it being modest and listening before taking action is the key. Note taken.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#9
hence why the 9 subjects rather than 10-12 other schools do
This rings alarm bells in my poor old brain.
Twelve subjects, and how many of those have any detailed understanding in them?
I digress.

To your main point, how to stand out from the crowd?
If you want to do some kind of engineering, what have you done yourself in your spare time?
You say that you have just started electronics,
what have you made?
Did it work?
If not do you know why?
Have you ever fixed an old radio or whatever? (Apart from the fact that most domestic electronics are throw away items these days)

Have you ever fixed a bicycle, an old car or whatever?
What have you done apart from school work, and in my book, being athletic and playing rugby counts as zero.

To echo what Ian Rogers has said, from experience in industry, it is never a good idea to get a "summer student" on work experience, or a guy whose degree is hot off the press to do any work which you are not prepared to throw away and do again from the beginning.
Academic qualifications are all well and good, but if you do not have the practical abilities to back it up, it is all for nothing.

So what are your practical abilities and experiences?

JimB
 

granddad

Active Member
#10
I am going to uni yes, I'm looking into taking a mechanical or electrical engineering course however most likely mechanical engineering.
The fact that you are asking in my opinion is good , I would suggest , design and make something , doesn't matter if its done before it will show you can think for yourself, keep good documents and a photographic record of your work , remember the student in the USA who had made a large digital clock in a brief case, after his problems with the police I believe he's doing very well .
 
Thread starter #11
The fact that you are asking in my opinion is good , I would suggest , design and make something , doesn't matter if its done before it will show you can think for yourself, keep good documents and a photographic record of your work , remember the student in the USA who had made a large digital clock in a brief case, after his problems with the police I believe he's doing very well .
Oh yes, the fella that was mistakenly labelled as a 'terrorist' he was all over the media.
Realistically is it really useful to document my work since one is not going to just take it all out of one's back pocket in lets say a job interview?

Try and find out what job prospects are like with the degrees you're considering, what Uni are you looking at?.
I'm hoping to get into the big ones the likes of imperial, Cambridge and Oxford and I would be very happy going to other prestigious or Russel group universities such as Southampton or bath.

So what are your practical abilities and experiences?
Interms of electronics projects such as hobbies I made pretty basic circuits with casings such as coin counters, roulette wheel, burglar alarm Etc. and I'm not sure they are note worthy in interviews unless I am wrong.

I have no experience at all since most companies as you have described do not just take up students who are seen as a liability and offer couple day 'tours' to get an insight into industry which we all know is bollocks hence that part will have to come through a years work placement during university and I will have to look for work around local garages etc which is not easy even when one asks for no pay!
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#12
Oh yes, the fella that was mistakenly labelled as a 'terrorist' he was all over the media.
Mmmm... He "re-packaged" a digital clock, it looked like a bag of old bones.
If it had looked good, it would have been noteworthy.
If he had built any of it himself, it would have been noteworthy.

Over reaction by the authorities, I think so.

A genuine effort or a publicity stunt, not too sure.

I'm not sure they are note worthy in interviews unless I am wrong.
Something is better than nothing.

Realistically is it really useful to document my work since one is not going to just take it all out of one's back pocket in lets say a job interview?
You don't have to carry around a filing cabinet full of stuff, but a few pages with schematics and a simple well built project which easily fits in one hand can form the basis of a technical discussion during an interview.
If you can describe how it works, what problems you had and how you overcame them, then you will stand out from the crowd.

couple day 'tours' to get an insight into industry which we all know is bollocks
I know that feeling, been there done that.
When I was your age, I ended up on one of these things. Because I wanted to do "electronics" I spent two days at Rotherham telephone exchange.
A waste of my time and a waste of the poor GPO guys time.

JimB
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
#14
My 2 pence worth here is make sure you have an interest in whatever you're studying. Don't just go for the academic qualifications but make sure you get a bit of practical experience under your belt.

Speaking with plenty of experience, I've seen plenty of graduates with some amazing qualifications trying to drill a hole with the drill set to anti-clockwise ........

Part of my job role is to mentor graduates and apprentices (who I may add generally have more qualifications than me). If we had an applicant who turned up with something they had designed and built (and it worked !) I'd be far more impressed than someone who couldn't make a hole in a metal panel !
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#15
I've seen plenty of graduates with some amazing qualifications trying to drill a hole with the drill set to anti-clockwise ........
I once had a graduate assigned to me as an "assistant" to give him some exposure to our equipment.
I needed a test panel, just 10 switches on an aluminium panel and some wires to the field terminals in the back of the computer cabinet. I told him what to do and how to do it, and he did it.
Next day the software guy asks "can you check those inputs, they seem a bit intermittent?"
I go and have a look, and oh dear!
The holes were not exactly in a straight line, they were not deburred, and not one of the solder joints on the back of the switches was any good.

Hey ho!

JimB
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
#16
I must admit the last panel I made (last week) had a couple of the BNC sockets about a millimetre out but as they were hand filed and the box had to be made in a hurry (16 D shaped BNC holes and a 25 D sub) I forgave myself ;)
 

Flyback

Well-Known Member
#18
The Degree in electronics in UK is a pre-PhD course. Its an excellent course, but its directed towards showing people who want to do a PhD what the various subject fields are for doing at PhD. The UK electronics degree is an excellent course, taught by excellent people, and its for excellent people, -people who want to go on and do a PhD, and who want to be the world’s future brilliant research scientists.
A standard electronics engineering job in UK industry does not need the content of a UK electronics degree….the degree is massive overkill, and results in many graduates, who weren’t good enough to do a PhD, falling short of the actual skills that they actually need to get by in UK electronics industry.
What I am saying is, many people, who would have made good industrial electronics engineers if given a relevant course toward that, would have become good industrial electronics engineers…but at uni, because they were exposed to all that high rocket science, they come out of uni with no skills that are useful in actual industrial jobs....they get too distracted and stymied by the large amount of high rocket science.
What is needed is some way of separating out the PhD types from the “industrial electronics engineer” types, and putting them on different study paths….the industrial types could do a more practical based course after year one say.
In fact I have written the basis for exactly such a course……and I have offered it to virtually every political minister and industrial body in UK, but they have all totally ignored me.
Take switch mode power supply (SMPS) design…….general SMPS design needs no more maths than in the attached document, in other words, it’s a maximum of A Level maths. So if you are going to end up NOT being a PhD rocket scientust, then much of your time at uni will be wasted.
Industrial electronics Engineers in UK who DO manage to get into electronics industry jobs, do so IN SPITE OF HAVING DONE A DEGREE IN ELECTRONICS…not because of it.
Every year, loads and loads of people who could have contributed to the uk electronics industry, do not get the chance, because they went on a course which is not suitable, and they got their brains fryed by the high science.
I speak of UK because its all I know, maybe it’s the same in other countries too.

JimB in your post #15 you are rightly complaining of a useless graduate that you had assigned to yourself. It is not your fault that he/she was useless.
But this is all that is happening, everyone is simply moaning and complaining about poor graduate standards and NOBODY is doing anything about it…the politicians have all done degrees in “Law” or “Media studies” so they don’t understand enough to influence university/academic/training policy correctly.
I have written a course which could solve this issue, but nobody is interested.
All anyone does is point the finger and moan, and say that SOMEBODY ELSE HAS GOTTEN IT ALL WRONG…nobody is doing anything constructive, and when some one does do something constructive, like write my course, then we are just told where to get off.

Other countries like Germany get by better, and always report a trade surplus, because they actually help each other along with teamworking in their industry, and they have practical courses set up by retired german engineers who do it out of love of Germany.

But in UK this does not happen, we always report a big Trade deficit, UK cannot stand on its own two feet, but currently manages to do so because of north sea oil…when north sea oil runs out….UK IS DEAD. We will have such a hard landing that we won’t know what hit us.
John Murdock if you want to get the skills of a SMPS engineer I would give them to you in quick time, but this will not happen, as nobody wants my course, so it will not be available to you.

BTW, I have a first class degree in electronics from one of the uni’s groups that you mentioned
 

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Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#19
The Degree in electronics in UK is a pre-PhD course. Its an excellent course, but its directed towards showing people who want to do a PhD what the various subject fields are for doing at PhD. The UK electronics degree is an excellent course, taught by excellent people, and its for excellent people, -people who want to go on and do a PhD, and who want to be the world’s future brilliant research scientists.
A standard electronics engineering job in UK industry does not need the content of a UK electronics degree….the degree is massive overkill, and results in many graduates, who weren’t good enough to do a PhD, falling short of the actual skills that they actually need to get by in UK electronics industry.
What I am saying is, many people, who would have made good industrial electronics engineers if given a relevant course toward that, would have become good industrial electronics engineers…but at uni, because they were exposed to all that high rocket science, they come out of uni with no skills that are useful in actual industrial jobs....they get too distracted and stymied by the large amount of high rocket science.
Sorry, but you're talking nonsense - ALL Bachelor are obviously pre-Phd, but courses certainly aren't there just to prepare you to do a Phd. In any case, you would normally do a Masters between the two.

If the course is hard, it's because it needs to be - and is why UK degrees are highly respected throughout the world.

The problem with your course is that people take it who know nothing about Electronics, and you're REALLY going to struggle under those circumstances.

A Uni friend of my daughter did Electronics, she never saw him - he was too busy trying to keep up with the workload, as he had no electronics experience. Eventually he dropped out, just a couple of weeks before his finals :(

What you appear to suggesting is simple College classes, rather than degree courses - as used to be common (Hnd and Hnc etc.)
 

Flyback

Well-Known Member
#20
Well what I am suggesting is that a degree in electronics is not necessary to design for example a general switch mode power supply. And a degree will result in many people who go on it getting totally and unecessarliy lost in theory which they would never ever need for many many industrial engineering jobs.

Really it would be best if for a start, instead of doing useless “year-in-industry” placements, students did a year of my practical based course instead. –Actually designing and building SMPS etc.
And yes , my course is centred on SMPS, but then, every single product needs a power supply, and the analog experience one gets from SMPS training sets people up for massive numbers of other electronics hardware jobs. It would be good for someone else to do a course in software, say

But better still, at the end of year one, or half way through year two of the electronics degree, students should be split into two groups…

Group 1: Those people who are going to go on to study PhD or at least to a high level of innovative research scientific level (be a ‘research fellow’ etc)...
Group 2: Those people who are not like the Group one’s, but who will go into general industrial engineering jobs, and will design stuff like offline flybacks, design solar battery chargers, write software to control various bits of industrial machinery , etc etc….these people would come away and do the remainder of the “degree” on a course such as my own one.

During my degree course in electronics, I remember doing endless, long integrals with pen and paper, -not software, -even though I graduated in 2002. That was all not very useful for general SMPS design, where, yes, its useful to know what integration is, but you do not have to do an integral in order to design say a 30W offline flyback. Some people say you do because you need to calculate the RMS of waveforms….but no, there are standard form equations for the trapezoid waveforms that you get in a flyback..and you use those to get the RMS. Virtually all hard-switched SMPS have trapezoid waveforms in the FET, for example….(OK DCM Flyback is right angled triangular…but that’s just a trapezoid with one side zero).
The universities know that many of their students are getting wasted, but they of course do nothing about it because if another course were introduced, then they fear their own funding would decrease….i say it would not decrease because the increase in revenue from a stronger engineering industry would mean more money for all for funding. Of course, some say that lecturers don’t particularly want many of their students to become engineers, because if they did, then the shortage of engineers would go, and politicians might then think that we don’t need to keep paying so many lecturers. But its true that the last thing a university wants is a country overflowing with engineers, because then there might be cutbacks to their university/college.
I believe we all agree that a university degree is massive overkill for the vast majority of industrial engineering jobs, and as a consequence, grads who’v had their heads in high science simply don’t have the actual skills that are needed in industry.
Yes bring back in the HND style courses…but even those have almost become degree-like.

If the course is hard, it's because it needs to be
..it needs to be hard for the "Group 1" people above...but does not need to be anywhere near so hard for the "group 2" people.
 

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