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NickStixx
02-25-2013, 09:47 AM
I am going to hopefully start taking classes this fall in Electronics Engineering Technology and I was just hoping that somebody on here that is maybe in that field or a similar field could give me some advice. I might be able to get a job while going to school at a company here in AZ called Freescale. It's a nationwide company I know, but they have a big manufacturing plant here in Chandler, AZ. I am hoping to get that job, start my studies at a community college, and hopefully move onto ASU for my bachelors.
I took a break from school after doing 1 year of general studies at a community college, and am currently 24 years old. So it has been some time since I've done any math or what not. So I feel like it could be a daunting task, but I am up to the challenge, and engineers that I have already spoken with have said that it is all just a matter of determination to get through the schooling.
So if anyone has anything that they would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Tombstone RJ
02-25-2013, 09:51 AM
join the Peace Corps

LRtagger
02-25-2013, 10:02 AM
Make sure you get a degree from an accredited program. Most of those CC "Engineering Technology" degrees are not real engineering degrees. You will need a degree from an accredited program if you want to go anywhere in the industry or get your PE license.

I saw you mention the BS from ASU - just make sure you follow it through to the end if you get started.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 10:08 AM
Make sure you get a degree from an accredited program. Most of those CC "Engineering Technology" degrees are not real engineering degrees. You will need a degree from an accredited program if you want to go anywhere in the industry or get your PE license.

I saw you mention the BS from ASU - just make sure you follow it through to the end if you get started.

Yeah I plan to meet with the community college here to ask if it is an accredited program, so that I can be an engineering tech after I get my AAS. Then I will continue education as I work through ASU. I have a friend that works for Intel and one that works for Freescale and they are getting me information as well.

Are you an engineer yourself?

OBF1
02-25-2013, 10:35 AM
I can not stress this enough... make sure your math and physics skills are polished for the EE study. Who knows, you might be the next Ohm, Faraday or Edison :)

Mogulseeker
02-25-2013, 10:36 AM
Make sure you get a degree from an accredited program. Most of those CC "Engineering Technology" degrees are not real engineering degrees. You will need a degree from an accredited program if you want to go anywhere in the industry or get your PE license.

I saw you mention the BS from ASU - just make sure you follow it through to the end if you get started.

The AA degrees aren't accredited. He'll need at least a 4-year BS, but most state community colleges fully transfer to state schools.

For example, here in Colorado, Arapahoe Community College and Red Rocks Community College actually have degree programs with the same common core curricula at CU-Boulder. So after you've gotten your AS from ACC, the next year you're at CU-Boulder and you wouldn't have skipped a step... it's like spend your freshman and sophomore years at community college, and your junior and senior years at a state university.

Mogulseeker
02-25-2013, 10:37 AM
So I would just say, make sure every class you're taking at CC is transferable to ASU.

MagicHef
02-25-2013, 10:40 AM
Make sure you talk to ASU to ensure that the credits you expect to transfer toward your BS actually will.

I'm a mechanical engineer at a company that does a lot of manufacturing, and they have quite a few engineering techs here.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 10:44 AM
The AA degrees aren't accredited. He'll need at least a 4-year BS, but most state community colleges fully transfer to state schools.

For example, here in Colorado, Arapahoe Community College and Red Rocks Community College actually have degree programs with the same common core curricula at CU-Boulder. So after you've gotten your AS from ACC, the next year you're at CU-Boulder and you wouldn't have skipped a step... it's like spend your freshman and sophomore years at community college, and your junior and senior years at a state university.

Yeah I have looked into it and I believe that is how it is set up here with Mesa Community College and ASU. Thank you so much for the good input. Are you an engineer yourself? Did you go through that same process?

I am also hoping that I can do most of my general studies online. I know that even Math classes given online these days are almost more beneficial than in person. Would you have any input on that? If you did go through it, did they have you working on machines and components in the Community College program? I have tried watching some videos, but I'm not sure if different state/schools programs differ much in their teaching.
So is it hands on much in the first couple years or not?

Thanks!

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 10:46 AM
I can not stress this enough... make sure your math and physics skills are polished for the EE study. Who knows, you might be the next Ohm, Faraday or Edison :)

Haha will do! Thanks for the encouragement!

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 10:52 AM
Make sure you talk to ASU to ensure that the credits you expect to transfer toward your BS actually will.

I'm a mechanical engineer at a company that does a lot of manufacturing, and they have quite a few engineering techs here.

Very cool, I plan on moving up to a tech, then an engineer. I know that it will take a little longer to get there as I will be working while going to school, but I think it's advantageous to get my foot in the door with a company and move up through them.

My connection at Freescale said the initial position I could have is someone that runs tools or parts to engineers thorughout the plant. I don't know the exact details, but just getting that start would be wonderful either way.

ColoradoDarin
02-25-2013, 11:02 AM
Good for you! EE is a great degree to have. AZ schools are set up pretty well to transfer CC credits to ASU (different degree, but I did Glendale CC to ASU without losing any credits), so I can't see that being a problem for you with Mesa CC.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 11:22 AM
Good for you! EE is a great degree to have. AZ schools are set up pretty well to transfer CC credits to ASU (different degree, but I did Glendale CC to ASU without losing any credits), so I can't see that being a problem for you with Mesa CC.

Thanks! I'm excited to get this all started. I just hope that I have the intellect to make it. But I know if I just focus and work hard enough that I will get it.

Mogulseeker
02-25-2013, 12:18 PM
Thanks! I'm excited to get this all started. I just hope that I have the intellect to make it. But I know if I just focus and work hard enough that I will get it.

My dad's an engineer, and when I was considering it, his advice was, "make sure you have at least a year of advanced mathematics before you even start taking engineering courses."

rugbythug
02-25-2013, 12:33 PM
I went the juco route and was able to dual enroll at my state school and the juco school. All credits were seemless.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 12:35 PM
My dad's an engineer, and when I was considering it, his advice was, "make sure you have at least a year of advanced mathematics before you even start taking engineering courses."

Yeah and I think that is what the CC program will help with. I think it's heavily math based at the beginning, and then you start taking more of the actual Engineering courses. I'm sure that is good advice though. So thanks!

JLesSPE
02-25-2013, 12:51 PM
I started out as an aerospace engineering major and changed majors a couple of times before taking 2 years off. I finally went back and got my BS in mechanical engineering when I was 27. I had taken all of my math through calc 3 and differential equations before that 2 year break. The semester before I went back I took calc 2, 3 and DiffEq at a CC to make sure I wasn't going to be rusty. That was probably the smartest thing I did in preparing for a return. I doubt that helps you much other than showing that having your advanced math courses mastered before getting into your core coursework will certainly help. Good luck and know what you're getting in to. It'll be very difficult at times but if it's really what you want to do you'll find your way through it.

Rother8
02-25-2013, 12:54 PM
I remember optimism. That was cool.
Good luck, boss.

mwill07
02-25-2013, 12:54 PM
Very cool, I plan on moving up to a tech, then an engineer. I know that it will take a little longer to get there as I will be working while going to school, but I think it's advantageous to get my foot in the door with a company and move up through them.

My connection at Freescale said the initial position I could have is someone that runs tools or parts to engineers thorughout the plant. I don't know the exact details, but just getting that start would be wonderful either way.

understand the difference between a full blown engineering degree and an engineering technology degree.

Tech degrees are more hands on stuff, which is great. Engineering degrees are more theoretical and hence you will need more calculus.

Regardless, a tech degree is a 4 year degree in it's own right. if you want to end up as an engineer, do that directly. unless, the tech degree you are talking about is the 2 year JuCo thing, which, as long as everything transfers over, should be just fine.

first two years of most engineering curriculum are are all math/pre-req's anyways. might as well blast them out at the local CC.

pricejj
02-25-2013, 01:22 PM
I'm an EE. You can do whatever you put your mind to.

SeedReaver
02-25-2013, 01:27 PM
I got my BS in Electrical Engineering two years ago. I was at a University the entire time, so I'm not sure how community college's curriculums differ.

It's not that bad. I'm assuming you were good at math, leading you in the engineering direction in the first place. If you have not yet taken Calculus, it is really not as difficult as most perceive. Calc II (integrals) is the most difficult, Calc I (derivatives) is second, and Calc III is the easiest (just applying what you learned in I and II to word problems). I would rank them that way in importance as well (integrals are by far used the most, with some derivatives sprinkled in). Differential equations (DiffEQ) was a waste of time for me, but was a prerequisite anyway.

Engineering isn't hard if you put the time into it. Being older, you have probably experienced what a 40 hour work week involves. Most of the kids entering the program are used to spending 2-3 hours/week on homework from high school, and are surprised/fail when they need to spend 15-20 hours/week on homework to get good grades.

I have no idea how an 'engineering technologist' has any idea of hands-on material if it only requires a 2-year degree. Most of the 'labs' (i.e., building circuits, using oscilloscopes and multimeters, etc.) don't start until junior year.

broncosteven
02-25-2013, 01:28 PM
I am encouraged to hear that kids these days are still interested in Engineering!

You should read Gene Kranz's book "Failure is not an Option" if it is not already required reading. It will teach you how to be a better Project Manager as well as a better Engineer!

Good luck and stick it out!

Requiem
02-25-2013, 01:33 PM
engineer of meth

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:00 PM
Thank you all for the advice (besides Rother8 and Requiem) I really appreciate it!
I know it's going to be difficult at times, but I know that I want to do this. It has been quite sometime since I have been in a math class, so I am sure I will need to brush up and learn some new stuff before I get into the full swing of things. But after that I know I will enjoy it.

MagicHef
02-25-2013, 03:02 PM
Very cool, I plan on moving up to a tech, then an engineer. I know that it will take a little longer to get there as I will be working while going to school, but I think it's advantageous to get my foot in the door with a company and move up through them.

My connection at Freescale said the initial position I could have is someone that runs tools or parts to engineers thorughout the plant. I don't know the exact details, but just getting that start would be wonderful either way.

Moving up through a company sounds good, but know this: the best way to increase your salary/responsibilities/etc. as an engineer is to switch companies as often as possible.

Not joking.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:03 PM
I got my BS in Electrical Engineering two years ago. I was at a University the entire time, so I'm not sure how community college's curriculums differ.

It's not that bad. I'm assuming you were good at math, leading you in the engineering direction in the first place. If you have not yet taken Calculus, it is really not as difficult as most perceive. Calc II (integrals) is the most difficult, Calc I (derivatives) is second, and Calc III is the easiest (just applying what you learned in I and II to word problems). I would rank them that way in importance as well (integrals are by far used the most, with some derivatives sprinkled in). Differential equations (DiffEQ) was a waste of time for me, but was a prerequisite anyway.

Engineering isn't hard if you put the time into it. Being older, you have probably experienced what a 40 hour work week involves. Most of the kids entering the program are used to spending 2-3 hours/week on homework from high school, and are surprised/fail when they need to spend 15-20 hours/week on homework to get good grades.

I have no idea how an 'engineering technologist' has any idea of hands-on material if it only requires a 2-year degree. Most of the 'labs' (i.e., building circuits, using oscilloscopes and multimeters, etc.) don't start until junior year.

I have experienced the 40 hour work week for quite sometime, so I do understand what it's like to work. But it has been a while since I have been in a math class. Though in high school I was good at it. Thanks for your input!

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:05 PM
understand the difference between a full blown engineering degree and an engineering technology degree.

Tech degrees are more hands on stuff, which is great. Engineering degrees are more theoretical and hence you will need more calculus.

Regardless, a tech degree is a 4 year degree in it's own right. if you want to end up as an engineer, do that directly. unless, the tech degree you are talking about is the 2 year JuCo thing, which, as long as everything transfers over, should be just fine.

first two years of most engineering curriculum are are all math/pre-req's anyways. might as well blast them out at the local CC.

Thank you for the clarification, I had not looked at it that way. I didn't know there was a big difference. But yeah I think I would enjoy more of the hands on tech aspect of it.
And my thoughts exactly about the math and pre-req's.
Thanks!

broncosteven
02-25-2013, 03:06 PM
Moving up through a company sounds good, but know this: the best way to increase your salary/responsibilities/etc. as an engineer is to switch companies as often as possible.

Not joking.

This is true in other fields as well. It is good to stick with a company that trains or that helps pay for college if it is in the same field your working in but if you want to make more money, changing companies prudently is the best way to go.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:08 PM
Moving up through a company sounds good, but know this: the best way to increase your salary/responsibilities/etc. as an engineer is to switch companies as often as possible.

Not joking.

I believe you, it makes sense and probably increases your leverage.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:09 PM
I'm an EE. You can do whatever you put your mind to.

That's the attitude I'm going to have with it.

NickStixx
02-25-2013, 03:10 PM
I am encouraged to hear that kids these days are still interested in Engineering!

You should read Gene Kranz's book "Failure is not an Option" if it is not already required reading. It will teach you how to be a better Project Manager as well as a better Engineer!

Good luck and stick it out!

Thanks! I will definitely check into that book.

INbronco
02-25-2013, 03:17 PM
Be absolutely sure the credits will transfer; there are lots of schools which are not properly accredited, charge a lot, let anyone in and will be an absolute nightmare down the road. Also be aware that university will probably not accept any course credits that do not have an exact course counterpart at their university. Generally state supported junior colleges will be predetermined to transfer; if in doubt check with the university first at the department you plan to transfer to. Review the 4 year curriculum first and then compare to you JC curriculum.

As an aside, you may be able to do better taking calculus, physics, chemistry, computer programming and other technical courses at JC because you may get more help. The courses may actually be easier, but you may pay this back at university by finding the courses are a lot harder; You must stay sharply focused after transfer.

I did exactly what you are doing many years ago after leaving the navy with electronics tech rate. About 90% of my courses transferred and after transfer I still only had 80% of the credits other university sophomores completed because of the difference in curriculum; plan to lose some credits in transfer but try ahead of time to minimize this loss.

Also be aware there will be cultural shock after the transfer. The first semester at university will be hard and is crucial so do more than enough to make it. Try hard to get study buddies ASAP to help with homework

Jekyll15Hyde
02-25-2013, 04:02 PM
understand the difference between a full blown engineering degree and an engineering technology degree.

Tech degrees are more hands on stuff, which is great. Engineering degrees are more theoretical and hence you will need more calculus.

Regardless, a tech degree is a 4 year degree in it's own right. if you want to end up as an engineer, do that directly. unless, the tech degree you are talking about is the 2 year JuCo thing, which, as long as everything transfers over, should be just fine.

first two years of most engineering curriculum are are all math/pre-req's anyways. might as well blast them out at the local CC.

I am an EE and work with EETs and I will say that this message is the one I agree most with in the thread. There is a huge difference between EET and EE. There is so much of a difference, particularly in the last 2 years that they aren't really comparable.

The math skills in particular are what is needed the most at the end. The ability to write code is also quite helpful. The classes that killed me the most were the Eng Prob/Stats class, Linear Systems, Feedback Control. The Comm classes were also brutal but I never took those as that wasnt my track. The thing that makes them so tough is the lack of applying the material. Its all paper exercises with complicated equations. Now with many years in the industry, there are a few classes I would love to take again because now I understand what the big picture intent.

Another thing to remember is this... Every class seems to be geared toward becoming a designer when in reality, EEs are needed in Development Eng (usually device physics stuff), Product Eng, Test Eng, and Quality Eng. So you need to think about which role you want to be in and target your courses accordingly.

I would say its a tie for the most demanding/difficult of the mainstream engineering fields out there with chemical engineering (nuclear deserves a shout too but not very many jobs in this field). This is usually a highly debated topic. And lots of arguing ensues.

My best advise is plan on having no life in the last few years. The more organized and meticulous my work was, the better I did. but that is just me. Oh and if you add some business classes (minor or MBA afterward), you will never have a problem finding a job.

SeedReaver
02-26-2013, 06:37 AM
I am an EE and work with EETs and I will say that this message is the one I agree most with in the thread. There is a huge difference between EET and EE. There is so much of a difference, particularly in the last 2 years that they aren't really comparable.

The math skills in particular are what is needed the most at the end. The ability to write code is also quite helpful. The classes that killed me the most were the Eng Prob/Stats class, Linear Systems, Feedback Control. The Comm classes were also brutal but I never took those as that wasnt my track. The thing that makes them so tough is the lack of applying the material. Its all paper exercises with complicated equations. Now with many years in the industry, there are a few classes I would love to take again because now I understand what the big picture intent.

Another thing to remember is this... Every class seems to be geared toward becoming a designer when in reality, EEs are needed in Development Eng (usually device physics stuff), Product Eng, Test Eng, and Quality Eng. So you need to think about which role you want to be in and target your courses accordingly.

I would say its a tie for the most demanding/difficult of the mainstream engineering fields out there with chemical engineering (nuclear deserves a shout too but not very many jobs in this field). This is usually a highly debated topic. And lots of arguing ensues.

My best advise is plan on having no life in the last few years. The more organized and meticulous my work was, the better I did. but that is just me. Oh and if you add some business classes (minor or MBA afterward), you will never have a problem finding a job.
Yes, typically of the mainstream engineers, from most difficult to easiest goes (from what I've heard and experienced):

Chemical (and Petroleum) -> Electrical (and Computer) -> Mechanical -> Civil

Edit: The pay generally trends the same way. Petroleum Engineers get far and away the highest pay (big oil baby), then chemical and electrical get paid similarly, and at the bottom are the mechanicals and civils. Note that even civil engineers make about two times the median salary of most people.

NickStixx
02-26-2013, 07:34 AM
Be absolutely sure the credits will transfer; there are lots of schools which are not properly accredited, charge a lot, let anyone in and will be an absolute nightmare down the road. Also be aware that university will probably not accept any course credits that do not have an exact course counterpart at their university. Generally state supported junior colleges will be predetermined to transfer; if in doubt check with the university first at the department you plan to transfer to. Review the 4 year curriculum first and then compare to you JC curriculum.

As an aside, you may be able to do better taking calculus, physics, chemistry, computer programming and other technical courses at JC because you may get more help. The courses may actually be easier, but you may pay this back at university by finding the courses are a lot harder; You must stay sharply focused after transfer.

I did exactly what you are doing many years ago after leaving the navy with electronics tech rate. About 90% of my courses transferred and after transfer I still only had 80% of the credits other university sophomores completed because of the difference in curriculum; plan to lose some credits in transfer but try ahead of time to minimize this loss.

Also be aware there will be cultural shock after the transfer. The first semester at university will be hard and is crucial so do more than enough to make it. Try hard to get study buddies ASAP to help with homework

That's cool to hear that you had a similar track to becoming an engineer. I have to admit that I am a little worried when it comes to being intelligent enough to do some of the courses. But I am just keeping the mindset of staying focused and working hard enough to get what I want.
I will definitely be sure to ask about the credits though. Thanks for advice!

NickStixx
02-26-2013, 07:40 AM
I am an EE and work with EETs and I will say that this message is the one I agree most with in the thread. There is a huge difference between EET and EE. There is so much of a difference, particularly in the last 2 years that they aren't really comparable.

The math skills in particular are what is needed the most at the end. The ability to write code is also quite helpful. The classes that killed me the most were the Eng Prob/Stats class, Linear Systems, Feedback Control. The Comm classes were also brutal but I never took those as that wasnt my track. The thing that makes them so tough is the lack of applying the material. Its all paper exercises with complicated equations. Now with many years in the industry, there are a few classes I would love to take again because now I understand what the big picture intent.

Another thing to remember is this... Every class seems to be geared toward becoming a designer when in reality, EEs are needed in Development Eng (usually device physics stuff), Product Eng, Test Eng, and Quality Eng. So you need to think about which role you want to be in and target your courses accordingly.

I would say its a tie for the most demanding/difficult of the mainstream engineering fields out there with chemical engineering (nuclear deserves a shout too but not very many jobs in this field). This is usually a highly debated topic. And lots of arguing ensues.

My best advise is plan on having no life in the last few years. The more organized and meticulous my work was, the better I did. but that is just me. Oh and if you add some business classes (minor or MBA afterward), you will never have a problem finding a job.

So if I'm understanding correctly from what you're saying, EET's are the ones actually building and creating things, and EE's are the ones that come up with the ideas? Is that correct?

I think I would enjoy having the hands on job more, just in my opinion. So I think I will go the EET route as of now... things could change though if I find myself exceling more or less in certain areas.
Thanks for the advice man, I hope I can still have somewhat of a life though haha!

Jekyll15Hyde
02-26-2013, 08:00 AM
So if I'm understanding correctly from what you're saying, EET's are the ones actually building and creating things, and EE's are the ones that come up with the ideas? Is that correct?

I think I would enjoy having the hands on job more, just in my opinion. So I think I will go the EET route as of now... things could change though if I find myself exceling more or less in certain areas.
Thanks for the advice man, I hope I can still have somewhat of a life though haha!

The hands on part yes as most of the time you are running tests or assembling or in some way supporting what the Eng team wants. It can be rewarding and other times you are really just a grunt. That really depends on the company and role you are in. I work with a group that runs a reliability testing lab and there is only 1 engineer, and a handful of operators. Only 1 of the operators is an EET and he is gets to do more thinking and applying than the rest.

But I would say that the majority of the time that at the end you are just following a procedure, taking readpoints, etc.

You can have a life no doubt afterwards but if you want to have one while in school, you are not doing yourself any favors. Its a short term sacrifice. If you go for the EE route, it is up and down with a life as there are often deadlines that mean getting revenue or not getting it. So sometimes you have time to play golf in the afternoon and sometimes its 60-70hr weeks.

mwill07
02-26-2013, 08:03 PM
In the EE vs EET debate, keep in mind that EET's earning potential will be capped. EET's generally won't be placed in a management or senior role, whereas engineers will be.

Generally speaking, the engineer will design something (product, test plan, manufacturing process, etc), and the tech executes the design. There's nothing wrong with that, I have several good friends who have done this for 20+ years. But for me, I like to be the guy making the decisions and creating the designs.

At one time Freescale was Motorola. I worked for Mot before the split; I'd assume they have lots of the same corporate culture. @ Mot, it was very rare for a non-degreed engineer to advance to a position of authority...thats just the way it worked.

mwill07
02-26-2013, 08:07 PM
And also - you can have a life during engineering school, its just a different life. While some folks will be at nickel beer night, you will be in a lab somewhere with all of your nerdy friends and you will make it fun. It's not all bad. Probably get laid a lot less though.

Broncojef
02-26-2013, 08:12 PM
Excellent degree, one of the best!!! If you are going to take the time and spend the money its one of the degrees that translates into the real world and a good job IMO. I would encourage you to find a big company like Northrup/Lockheed etc...to act as an intern in during your latter years. The experience will lead to a job in programs that can transition you to higher payscales quickly.