Career in Industrial Electronics Repair

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by john_doe01, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. john_doe01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
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    Hello, new to the forum,

    I have been working in industrial electronics repairs for the past few years, working as a bench engineer.
    Past few months I have been thinking about expanding my skill set and maybe moving into a related field.
    I do enjoy what I do now and the salary is ok but I want more, at this company I will always be a bench engineer with no chance of 'climbing the corperate ladder.'

    My question to the experienced engineers out there is what else is there, I am currently in my first job since university and am struggling to get my foot in to any design or research roles
    any tips or advice

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    I am in industrial repair too, I have been sitting at a bench mostly fro 9 years now out of my 30 years here. as far as advancing the corporate ladder, none of that here unless you are a friend or family member. did you take any classes that might have helped you with social skills? it seems that ability takes a backseat to that everywhere I have worked. at least I can keep up with technology here.
     
  3. wmodavis

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2010
    737
    150
    What did your university training include?
    What degree did you receive?
    What are your hopes, strengths and interests in the field of electronics?
    Any interest in management positions?
    Are you known as "GOOD" at what you do by colleagues?
     
  4. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Are you interested in field maintenance, there is a dearth of technical trouble shooting people for Computer Numerical Controls etc and servo systems.
    Or there is one-off motion control designs for many of the unique applications out there that are not served directly by an off the shelf systems.
    The beauty of one-off is it is seldom to do two systems the same so variation makes it interesting.
    Lucrative too, when you get good at it.;)
    Max.
     
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  5. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    Talk to us about what you like and don't like in electronics and what kind of person you are.
    - Do you like the repair work you are doing now?
    - What do you want to do?
    - What do you see your self doing in ten years?
    - How much stability do you need in your life? Are you married? Thinking of Kids?
    - What is your level of adventure?
    - Do you like Monte Python?
    - What's your favorite color?
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    "Bench engineer" was a good job to polish my skills...until I found out there was no possibility of advancement and I got 10 cents an hour for my first year pay raise. I quit there and kept changing jobs at an average of over 100% increase in pay every time I changed jobs. In the 1970's, it went, $1.75 per hour, $3.50 per hour, $5.00 per hour, $13 per hour...That's the lesson I got from life. Nobody is going to give you a significant raise after you're on the payroll, but you can get 2x, 4x, 8x your original pay if you keep watching for the next chance to jump ship. Oh yeah, and you have to be good at your profession. I never met a machine I couldn't figure out and I can't remember failing to get one running, except the one that had been bought from a scrap metal recycler and had over a hundred holes in it. (I quit that job because the boss thought I should learn how to solder copper to stainless steel so he could get a $5000 circuit board cleaner for $100 and a couple of days of my labor.)
     
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  7. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    I agree with #12 in a way. The old typical strategy for a newly graduated engineer is to spend only about 3-4 years per company early in their career. Each time they move to a new company they get a 20% to 50% (or more) pay raise. So by the third or forth company your salary is competitive and you have much more experience than if you had stayed with one company for 12 years. Now, having been in the industry for 12+ years, look for a company you would like to stay with/retire from. Human resources reconciles this strategy and identifies you as an aggressive worker, which is good. Unfortunately, this is the old way of getting ahead.
    Today it generally works the same except that big companies have structured themselves to function entirely on a transient work force, expecting a very small percentage of employs to stay longer than 4-5 years. Before, if a major company hired a 35 year old engineer there was a high probability that they would retire from the company. Today this is not the case, at least with a large portion of companies.
     
  8. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Agreed #12. I've quadrupled my salary in the past 6 years, and done it by job hopping, on average every 18 months.
    Grains of salt:
    I'm using my Navy salary as a starting point.
    I've transitioned ROLES, not just companies.
    Job hopping is a risky move; one day you might might find nobody wants to hire you as you obviously won't be there long.
    my results are not typical.
    I'm now self employed.

    If you, like me, want, and have always wanted to be self employed, then there's really not much to worry about in terms of making yourself unemployable due to job hopping. Worse thing that can happen is you end up forced into self employment before you think you're ready to take the plunge. But that's the thing about taking a plunge; if you wait until you're ready to jump off an overpass into a dangerously shallow mirky creek, you'll wuss out. Just as well your buddy shove you off before you get a chance to take a deep breath and plug your nose.
     
  9. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
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    To follow up on #12. One of my professors actually told us that we should work on one job for maybe 2 years (if I recall correctly he said that if you stay more than 2 years then your other skills get stail), then move to another job. The professor was in his 60s at the time, that was probably 6-8 years ago. I think he came from the same "school" as #12. That is pretty much what I plan to do. Spend about 2-3 years on one job, then use this as experience to get another job.
     
  10. KL7AJ

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    You might look into freelancing or some other entrepreneurial arrangement. I started doing that last year...and I'm so busy I hardly have time to think. :)
     
  11. Sensacell

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    1,132
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    Work your way into freelance, start your own thing then you don't need to have a degree, it's up to you to make or break it.
    If you remain an employee, quit each job the very week you stop learning new things, you should know when that happens.
     
  12. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    You are at the beginning of your career. Ask your self the hard questions. Be honest with your self. How truthful you are to your self will be multiplied by the years you have in your life, so make your early choices based on the best of you. If you base your choices on fear, you will fear your entire life. If you base your choices on strength, you will be strong your entire life.
     
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  13. john_doe01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
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    Thank you guys, I didnt realise there was a community in industrial electronics , to answer your questions:

    I received a first in a Beng electronics and computer engineering degree
    What I love about the field is the way it makes sense, theres no maybe, its only a yes or no
    Would hate to be in a management roles, I need to get my hands on the jobs
    At the company I work for we have 22 engineers at the minute, based purely of jobs out and successes id put myself in the top 10%
     
  14. john_doe01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
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    Interesting questions,
    I love what I do, different jobs every day and always a challenge
    The main drive for me at the minute is financial, ten years from now i want to be great at what i do, a few engineers at the company are in a position where theyve demanded salaries and got the rises, to have that much knowledge would be the dream
    At the moment im living with my girlfirend, financial limitations mean no marriage or kids in the near future but thats the end goal
    Level of adventure is high but right now cant afford to take risks, to many people depending on a steady salary, two years and thatll change, just need to figure out what i want to do when the chance arises
    Hate Monte Python, dont get the dry humour, how does saying shrubbery make people laugh...
    Favourite colour has to be the black with a blue tinge you see in flash marks from a blown comp, so pretty <3....

    Looking at all your comments there seem to be a lot more industrial repair companies in the states, here in the UK we have 3 big ones and after that mainly white good repair stores, might consider a move
     
  15. john_doe01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
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    Problem is there are only 3 main industrial repair companies in the UK, i would have no problems moving to one of the other ones but can only make the jump a few times, thats the reason i was considering going in to a less specialised electronics career
     
  16. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
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    Or imigrate. US, Canada, Australia, then maybe back to UK.
     
  17. john_doe01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 27, 2011
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    ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!!
    Definitely on the table, financially wouldn't be viable for the next 2 years but will definitely be looking into that
     
  18. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Did you think I was working in an industrial repair business? The bench engineer position I had was in precision analog design...1% meters in 1973. (The second job where I was inspector #32 :D ). It was a factory in an industrial park, but I don't think it was what you are imagining. Just clearing that up in case you were confused...or maybe I'm confused :confused:?

    Anyway, you can polish your skills in places that are not your long term goal. Precision analog design is not a good bet for your future. Digital methods are replacing analog methods well and quickly. In my case, precision analog design was what I happened to be doing when the light bulb in my head suddenly turned on. After that, I could figure out nearly anything I needed to stay employed. You learn as you go. Everybody does. Every job you have will be an asset in your future, even if it seems to be a side track or a dead end at the moment. Just don't stop! You will become ever more versatile as your experience accumulates.
     
  19. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    Those words are so important. You can not buy those words, no mater how much money you make.

    Thank you for boldly answering my questions, even the Monte Python one.

    What your life is to be, is not what my life has been. I will turn 61 in a few days and have been retired for 5 years. I am looking back, you are looking forward. So, I will try to give advice that will not mess you up.

    - Trust yourself. The harder you are challenged the more you will learn to trust yourself. Seek hard challenges often. They are the fires that will burn away the baby fat and teach you that you can do anything.
    - Be truthful. Be strong in communicating what you know and what you don't know. No one knows everything, but people will trust a person who is honest.
    - Be kind. Read the "Art of War" by Sun Tzu.

    What you are on the inside will either help you or hinder you every day of your life in everything you do. You can learn something new in a few seconds. It takes a long long time to fix a bad attitude.
    Always question yourself. Am I doing the right thing.

    It is your life. Live it as well as you can.
     
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  20. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    I have had a long and interesting career and always say I feel Iv'e never worked a day in my life.
    Max.
     
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