Degrees: electronic engineering vs electronic engineering technology

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by TestTones, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. TestTones

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 24, 2011
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    I wanted to create this post because the inaccurate if not simply discouraging information I encountered oppressed my passion and decision to pursue an education. I base this on years of research, contacting numerous employers in the field and a lot of good and bad information from people holding one degree or the other.


    With an electronic engineering technology degree, you are an electronic, technological engineer meaning you are hands on in the design or development of technological equipment invented or advanced by the electronic engineering field.

    Do not be mistaken, electronic engineering technology does not make you a technician. Technicians are low level jobs with the most limited requirement in education and often, it can be done on the job with certification issued by the employer.
    Technicians are basically maintaining and servicing a specific technology such as audio equipment or networking devices. Their knowledge and skill set will be limited to a specific category of technology. Most people will explain Electronic Engineering Technology degrees incorrectly and lead you to believe you are an underling servant to a real engineer which is complete B.S.

    If you're not engineering, you are by no means an engineer as the degree so obviously dictates. A Technological engineer means you might be designing and building the prototype for a stereo preamp while the engineer is the one that designed the op amps, transistors et cetera that you are using. So for example you design something a bit out of your league that you can not make work because no current op amp exists to meet the requirements, the engineer is called in and it is now his/her duty to design that op amp while the technologist then tests it, employs it in their circuit and gives feedback on any necessary changes if any exist.

    The electronic engineering technologist will have a relative understanding of all current technologies but it is of course superseded by the electronic engineer's knowledge and understanding.

    An electronic engineer is educated with a focus on math, theory, development and advancement. Much if not all of their work is done on a drawing board and a computer.

    At the lowest level, the technician is the repairman that fixes the device if it breaks down because it's a simpler job in regards to knowledge but more demanding and timely. At the higher levels in the industry, the employer isn't going to waste the technological engineer's resources on said duty.
    At the lower levels, indeed you may hold a technological engineering degree but stuck doing the work that is the equivalent of a technician.

    This being why some with the Electronic Engineering Technology degrees are mistaken in their explanations. They simply did not earn very good jobs which may be a reflection of many things. That being said, this degree does not mean you can not obtain employment as senior engineer nor be limited to the job title of technologist.
     
    bug13 likes this.
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    In summary: There is no question in the above post.
     
  3. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    If you are a member in good standing with an accredited association of Engineers, you are an Engineer. If not, then your not. I didn't really get what your trying to say.
     
  4. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    Some of the most talented and knowledgeable people I've encountered are electronic technicians with a two year associates degree. The good ones are mostly self taught and the formal education just helps them look better on paper.

    In the old days, degrees and pigeon-holing mattered a lot less than it does today. My father was an engineer with a degree in history, and some technical training in the Air-force.

    My brother worked for years doing engineering work with only a 2 year associates degree. Then, he got sick of getting paid a technicians salary for doing actual engineering work, - so, at age 40, he completed a proper 4 year electrical engineering degree (straight A's with a wife and kid and full time job).

    In the end, it all comes down to talent, dedication and hard work.
     
  5. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    Hey, please don't misunderstand my intent. I'm just adding some of my experience to the thread. One comment only, by the way. The old days were a lot different from the present way of doing things. I'm not looking for an argument either, and certainly not trying to ruin anything.
     
  6. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    It's not so much the title of the degree but the quality of both the school and the student. Unfortunately, right now and for the last many years, there are a lot of schools that are offering junk programs that teach little or nothing and they are much more likely to call the crap they are offering an "engineering technology" degree rather than an "engineering" degree. This does not mean that good programs that offer engineering technology degrees don't exist nor that there aren't really poor programs that award supposed engineering degrees. The sad part is that the bad schools, regardless of which label they use for their crappy degree, prey upon students using a number of techniques but in the end they make it easy for someone to stay in school with junk requirements and easy grades couple with lots of assistance at getting veterans benefits and student loans. What amazes me is that these schools frequently charge twice what a state school would charge for an equivalent, but real, degree.

    As for the "what's an engineer and what's a technician and where does an 'engineering technologist' sit" question, that has no clean answer because the technical world is anything but clean in this regard. Some of the best "engineers" I know have nothing beyond a technical school education, yet because of decades of experience actually designing and building and struggling with circuits are able to design much more sophisticated and reliable circuits than most of the engineers around. By the same token, I have know lots of technicians that, even after decades of experience, couldn't design a voltage divider to save their life. The same is true on the other end of the scale: It is, sadly, increasingly easy to find engineers, either straight out of school or that have years of 'experience', that literally struggle with that same voltage divider problem. They also increasingly have little or no hands-on experience because engineering schools are moving more and more to simulations in place of lab work, which is a travesty in my opinion.

    In the end, it really comes down to the student. A student that wants to really learn electronics can usually make that happen whatever school they go to (or even just self-taught or OJT), while someone that just wants a piece of paper obtained with the minimum of effort and actualy learning can achieve that at almost any school they go to. Each approach is easier at some school's than others, of course. I have seen my share of engineering students that actively loath the notion of engineering -- they want the degree because some guidance counselor convinced them that if they've got that piece of paper that companies are going to throw all kinds of money at them. The point I try to make to them is that if they don't like the subject they are studying they will never put in the time to get really good at it and that while they might not love engineering and electronics, the point they must never forget is that they will always be competing against people that do.
     
  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    That's very funny! Someone who drives is a driver. Someone who paints is a painter. Someone who does engineering is an engineer. What has any organisation got to do with it? :)

    Now that's the real point. The best racing car driver is the one that can drive the best, not the one that went to the best "racing car driving school". ;)
     
  8. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    This conclusion doesn't appear to hold up too well in light of the fact that nearly all highly regarded engineering schools, such as MIT, Purdue, Stanford, CalTech, Colorado School of Mines, USAF Academy, Georgia Tech, Carnegie-Mellon, Princeton, Cornell, etc., etc., are ABET accredited.

    Having said that, ABET accreditation is, in my opinion and that of many people I know and respect, not nearly as strong as it once was.
     
  9. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Engineer/technologist/technician... I find these unnecessary labels.
    Guess what? I hold a technician's job and I teach and train engineers.
    What does that make me?
     
  10. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
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    A good example of what I was trying to say above, and an extraordinary person to boot.
     
  11. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Thanks, but I don't enjoy being booted.;)
     
    #12, steveb and strantor like this.
  12. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Ok, let's keep it civil, boys.
    TestTones, you started the thread with some rather grand statements.
    You must realize that not everyone will agree with you.
     
  13. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    This, for example, is total B.S.

    You are the one who started this and you put yourself in hot water.

    Chill out!
     
  14. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
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    What is the difference between jobs for someone that has received an associates degrees in electronic engineering technology and a bachelors degree in electronic engineering technology? Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't both degrees fairly common?

    EDIT: looks like I should have read the entire thread....
     
  15. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    I'm done feeding this troll. I recommend everyone else consider doing the same. Go ahead and let him get in the last insult and then we can be done with him.
     
  16. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Hey guy you got mrchips all wrong. He's the kindest and gentlest person on this forum. You came here, and your post #1 reeked of defensive posture. Then you conjured up supposed oppression out of innocent statements to justify flying off the handle at people you don't even know.

    How do you know youre right? I get the impression you're still in school, so haven't put that degree to the test and see what kind of job it really gets you. If 90% of the people who you talked to who had that degree said it was a technician job then maybe it's because 90% of the people who get that degree end up with a technician job.
     
  17. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Oh is that what he is? That explains it. We get so few of them around here I didn't even identify him. I didn't realize trolls put so much time and effort into their activities, I thought he was sincere. Oh well, live and learn.
     
  18. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Paraphrasing some other words of wisdom in this thread, a troll is one who trolls. It really doesn't matter if that is their purpose, or merely the effect of a self-righteous attitude that believes no one has the right to disagree with them, that any disagreement at all is a personal attack motivated by malice, but who yet feels no restraint in making personal attacks on anyone that has the slightest different take on anything from them. There is no discussion in such an environment, hence they are behaving like a troll and should be treated as such.

    Now, the rest of us can continue to discuss the matter and just ignore the rants of the troll unless and until they become civil and give an indication of being willing to participate in the give-and-take of civil discourse.

    We do seem to have a very limited number of trolls, though I can think of a couple that seem to stick around. But I've noticed that when they post to a thread, their posts are almost always completely ignored (usually because the are little more than incoherent ramblings) and after a few attempts to bait a response, they give up and seek out other threads to hunt in. Seems like some people just have a wire or two loose.
     
  19. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    I get it, someone that adds is a Mathematician, someone that sells thier house is a Realtor, and someone that self prescribes is a Pharmacist. I agree, you can hang whatever diploma on the wall, but you can be sure that your work will entail whatever the employer wants from you. I'm wondering if someone hasn't caught the wrong bus on the way to thier career.
     
  20. cabraham

    Member

    Oct 29, 2011
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    I would never call a technician position a "low end job". I've been an EE for 34th year now. In my management days, I only assigned one subordinate a perfect score across the board. He was a technician, with an AAS-EET degree. He was among the most valuable people in the whole company.

    He is a crack technician. In addition he excels at troubleshooting. Debugging board assemblies is easier when you have a worker who can help you. I don't have to do it all myself.

    He is a crack artwork designer & CAD user. He can create schematics, libraries, BOMs, etc. and translate them into pcb artwork. He is not a circuit designer, but does most of all else. This guy made my job easy.

    The technician is an important player on the team, believe me. Only a 2 year degree, yet he was more productive than people with more formal education. Education is very important, but it is only one qualifier.

    To be successful, as a technician, technologist, FAE, R&D, sales, etc., requires more than just technical skill. Creativity is very important. Being a team player is all important. Great work ethic is very needed. Being a calm low-key type of person is great. Versatility is much needed. Understanding business methods, as well as company and customer needs is very important.

    Anyway, more education can only help you. Because, a person with an associates, or HS diploma, may have the attributes above, but lacks deep technical knowledge. A person with a full BSEE or MSEE has more tech skill/ability. Of course, they need the other skills as well, but they may have those too.

    A person with limited education and great other skills will be applying for their desired job while competing with those who have better education. If those with better education happen to lack the other skills, the person with less school with more other skills has a chance. But if there is 1 or more applicants with more education with other skills as good as the lesser schooled candidate, it's a no-brainer, the stronger degree wins.

    Summary, get all the schooling you can. If feasible, go for a Ph.D. in EE. After 27 years since the MS, I returned for the Ph.D. I only have the dissertation left, I completed my courses and qualifier exam.

    More knowledge only helps, can not hurt you. FWIW, the optimum degree for being most employable is likely the MS. If a job calls for a BS, you are not too over-qualified for it. If the job calls for MS, you are it. If it calls for Ph.D., you are not too under-qualified. It seems to be the best fit for most EE jobs.

    Have I helped?

    Claude
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
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