getting a job in electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ninjaman, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. ninjaman

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2013
    306
    1
    hello,

    my name is simon and i am 36. i have had an interest in electronics since i was very young. now i want to try working in electronics at a beginner level, then hopefully move up as i gain more qualifications and experience. i worked for about 6-7 years as an electrician. then completed an hnc electronics course. i am going to start an hnd soon. i have some arduino stuff and learning about c programming and arduino.
    what sort of thing should i know to work in electronics as an undergraduate. i understand this level to be none degree but working toward. hnc and hnd are degree level so i was hoping that i would be able to get work in the industry with these.
    what sort of thing should i be aiming at. i have tried getting work as a solder/assembler but with no work experience of soldering (or very little) the agencies wont take me on. i contacted a company and they said that i needed a degree and to look at their vacancies page. this put me off as i dont yet have a degree and would someday like a masters. i am going the distance learning route. i am happy to take a minimum wage job if i know that it will lead somewhere but getting past the agency is a nightmare.

    any advice would be great.

    thanks

    simon
     
  2. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Go to school and get at least an associates degree in some EE program. Without applicable work experience, no one will give you a chance without a degree.

    The semiconductor industry hires a lot of techs with only an associates degree (related to EE); no experience required.
     
  3. ninjaman

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2013
    306
    1
    hello,

    sorry, i should have mentioned that i live in the uk. we have foundation degrees but i think that an hnd is equilvalent to that.
     
  4. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    I can only speak for US requirements. I worked in the industry for almost 40 years and part of my job was hiring/interviewing technicians and engineers.
     
  5. tindel

    Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    193
    My company hires assemblers with no degree / no experience. I think they get paid pretty good - more than minimum wage, but it's definitely entry level. Many of them have previous experience and interest with electronics, but no degree. One of our techs has no degree and is a 'engineering technician'. He is there to do the engineering's dirty work. Stuff that is too mundane for engineering, but requires more skills than some of the assemblers have. He is a tinker at heart and is honestly a skilled engineer, but he doesn't have the degree. He complains about the work sometimes, but that's his job, and he doesn't have the degree. Get that degree ASAP.
     
    Sinus23 likes this.
  6. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    @tindel is right. Some companies will take a risk, but the large ones won't. It's much easier to hire someone than to fire them; even for poor performance. The company I worked for had problems with being inconsistent in performance management. Anyone who sued for wrongful termination based on performance would have had a decent chance of winning.

    Whether or not you get a phone screen is based entirely on your resume. If your documented qualifications don't seem like a match, they won't even waste time on a phone call. A fair number of the people I phone screened didn't make it to a plant interview.

    That's much different than when I was looking for my first job. I was in the Silicon Valley interviewing with a company that liked graduates from my school and placed about 100% that interviewed (without a phone screen). They even paid for my airfare. After I finished that interview, I stopped at HP to drop off my resume at the receptionist's desk. She told me to wait, made a call, and they interviewed me for the rest of the day. I was told by HP's recruiters that they had interviewed a lot of candidates and that it would probably be awhile before I heard back from them. I flew home the next day and they had already phoned and left an offer before I got home...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  7. blocco a spirale

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 18, 2008
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    A degree certainly goes a long way. I know some truly incompetent engineers but they have degrees and this provides opportunities and salaries for them that there really don't deserve.

    Without a degree, assembly work is no good to you but if you can find a company that designs and manufactures electronics (there are probably more than you think), apply for a job as a test engineer, prove you know what you're doing and keep a look out for vacancies further up the chain.

    Don't assume that everyone working in the industry is smarter than you because they very often aren't so if you have a good grounding in electronic/ electrical theory and are able to apply that and you want to improve your skills, you are employable whether or not you have a degree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  8. ninjaman

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2013
    306
    1
    hello,
    thanks for the responses. please could you outline what a test engineer would do. i have used an oscilloscope before, limited though. multimeters and function generators. what would be the best way to practice these things and what sort of things would you look for when testing. i guess the answer would be to test to a written specification. i have not done this before. is there something like this online? or could someone give me an idea. i would like to possible make a circuit and test it. i thought about this a few times though not to sure how to go about it.

    thanks

    simon
     
  9. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    For a start you could try making some stuff and selling it via the internet.You won't make much money but it should be enough for a side job, plus you will get something to put in your resume.
     
  10. blocco a spirale

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 18, 2008
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    Everything has to be tested and what that entails depends on what the company makes. Try and find a small volume producer of bespoke equipment or systems so that you have an opportunity to devise testing strategies and hardware. In my experience, most people who work in such environments have little technical knowledge or any desire to improve so by applying that bit of extra knowledge and intelligence it is entirely possible to become king of test in quite a short time. If you take a critical look at every task/ procedure/ document/ design and ask yourself "how can I improve this?" and never settle for "this is how we always do it" you will get on and people will notice. Oh, and learn from others; whenever you see someone bring an elegant solution to a tricky problem, try and figure out how they did it, often it's just a technique that anyone can learn to apply.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  11. tindel

    Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    While I appreciate @blocco a spirale 's sentiment, I disagree. The chances of you getting in the door as anything other than a assembler without a degree is slim to none. I've never seen it. My company is about 50 people - even my small company won't give you an 'engineering' title without a degree. End of story. If they would then our Eng. Tech would be an Engineer. The only engineers I've ever known that have not had a degree have had 40+ years of experience and were designing discrete circuits with vacuum tubes when they were in diapers.

    You might be able to get a test tech job with a 2 year degree. My experience is that that is as far as you'll go though. You have to show commitment to a task by graduating to move further up the chain.
     
    Brevor likes this.
  12. ninjaman

    Thread Starter Member

    May 18, 2013
    306
    1
    hello,

    the hnd is at the same level as a second year at uni. i would like a technicians job to start (would be preferable). i have yet to get the hnd, i hope to start it soon. there is a job available working on headsets. it requires hand soldering and testing. i hope to be able to get it. though i have to get past the agency first which i am not looking forward too.
     
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