electrical engineering career

Thread Starter

johnstang

Joined Feb 18, 2007
4
hello. i am 30 years old. i am thinking of changing my career and going back to school to study electrical engineering. i will take about 3 more years because i already have all the calc and physics. can anyone offer any opinions on whether i will get age discrimination by the time i graduate at 33 years old. would the best idea for me to probably gain a phd in electrical engineering and become a college professor? thanks
 

hgmjr

Joined Jan 28, 2005
9,029
It won't be easy but if you are passionate about electrical engineering, then I say go for it.

I'm sure you will be able to work your marketing skills into your new career and make that a selling point when you go out for an interview.

I know marketing will have provided you with people skills that can be used to advantage.

hgmjr
 

BeeBop

Joined Apr 25, 2006
17
It won't be easy
This really upsets me, as I'm in the same boat, only older than the OP.
The reason it upsets me so, is because it makes me think of how lacking in intellect we really are. Some of us benefit so much more than others, given the same experience, yet human resource departments all look for the 'myth' of 'x' many years experience, in a very narrow field. If a person has experience in another area, they should be more valuable, because of the unique combination. Yet human resource people seem so inept at evaluating, and can rely only on the signing off of 'some other authority.'

Self employed is always an alternative.
 

hgmjr

Joined Jan 28, 2005
9,029
My intent was not to upset anyone. I was referring specifically to the challenges of taking on a new career. I simply meant to emphasize that passion and dedication are powerful tools when focused on a goal such as pursuing a career change.

A person that examines their present career choice and makes a carefully thought out decision to take a new path is to be admired for their pluck.

I agree that many human resource departments have a tough time correlating experience in one career field with that of another. However there is bound to be a HR department that will take a chance on an individual with a good deal of real-life work experience under their belt.

hgmjr
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
hello. i am 30 years old. i am thinking of changing my career and going back to school to study electrical engineering. i will take about 3 more years because i already have all the calc and physics. can anyone offer any opinions on whether i will get age discrimination by the time i graduate at 33 years old. would the best idea for me to probably gain a phd in electrical engineering and become a college professor? thanks
If you are set on a career change then go for it. One point to make is that you really need to think about were you want to be in 10-15 years time. I know people who have successfully retrained to be engineers who are older than yourself. Ask yourself the question: do you want to work in industry, if so a PhD is not really a good route and will serve as little benefit long-term particularly given your age, or do you want an academic career, if so then a PhD is more likely a necessity.

Once you answer this fundamental question, then you are on the right track. It is just a case of where do you want to go with your career. Another point is be realistic - for example don't undertake a PhD if you are not able to apply yourself to the type of work required.

Dave
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,019
Follow your dreams man!
If you're one of the privileged few that can afford to study a career at that age then I say go for it!
And forget about discrimination, your age will give you an edge over the younger students, since you'll be more focused and organized.
But Dave is right, make sure you know what you want first before starting this adventure.

Good luck
 

BeeBop

Joined Apr 25, 2006
17
Sorry, hgmjr, I know
My intent was not to upset anyone.
I am just a tad bitter at my own choices, and at the 'back woods' way outfits in canada seem to hire people.

I think Dave and cmartinez gave hope filled feedback, and appreciate that.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
I think Dave and cmartinez gave hope filled feedback, and appreciate that.
I wouldn't feel down about it, at 30 years of age you still have typically 35 years of working life left - ok so maybe there is something to feel down about!

For those considering PhD's have you considered a vocational (i.e. work based) Doctorate? You may wish to look at what is available in along these lines in your conutry, we have such qualifications in the UK.

Dave
 

Thread Starter

johnstang

Joined Feb 18, 2007
4
I live in the UK right now, but I have been accepted at Texas A&M University at College Station. Apparently, its got a good Engineering program - but I don't think its as good as others, like UT Austin. I didnt apply there because I didnt think I would get in. I also got accepted at North Carolina State University. Which place do you think is better to go to?
 

RAH1379

Joined Dec 13, 2005
69
i would say work where you are now(meaning the work of learning not your present job) and dont worry about your age, learning should be a lifelong process, especially in electronics which change quickly.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
I live in the UK right now, but I have been accepted at Texas A&M University at College Station. Apparently, its got a good Engineering program - but I don't think its as good as others, like UT Austin. I didnt apply there because I didnt think I would get in. I also got accepted at North Carolina State University. Which place do you think is better to go to?
Can I ask, are you a British national? And do you intend plying your trade in the UK or the US?

Dave
 

Thread Starter

johnstang

Joined Feb 18, 2007
4
I am a British national, but my family (sister and mother) live in the USA. My sister is a US Citizen, my Mum recently moved there. So my future is in the USA/Canada.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
I am a British national, but my family (sister and mother) live in the USA. My sister is a US Citizen, my Mum recently moved there. So my future is in the USA/Canada.
Some food for thought: As a UK national, you will be eligible to study for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's Engineering Doctorate (EngD) qualification, which will allow you to gain your PhD research doctorate, along side working in a practical working environment for an engineering company. So you get the best of both world's, higher-level academic qualification and industry-based skills and experience. Check out the details at the EPSRC website.

I cannot comment specifically about US educational institutions.

Dave
 

chesart1

Joined Jan 23, 2006
269
I received my BSEE when I was thirty years old. At that time I had seven years experience working as a electronic technician and had no problem finding a job.
 

Dave

Joined Nov 17, 2003
6,970
I received my BSEE when I was thirty years old. At that time I had seven years experience working as a electronic technician and had no problem finding a job.
From my experience, I think you will find the 7 years experience would have had more of an impact on your ability to get a job than your BSEE. I have always said that the degree gets you the interview (it's a vetting procedure), in the interview they want to see work experience, intitiative, and someone they feel they can work with.

In my postgrad days, I recall seeing people with 1st class EE degrees and PhD in an accompanying field and struggled to get jobs, just because they had no practical work experience.

Dave
 

jupoco

Joined Dec 18, 2008
2
Pursue your dream
30 years are not too late, it is just a time we know ourselve and enlarge knowledge
you can still made another achievement in your forties
plan yourself and hope you succeed
 

bonkers

Joined Dec 11, 2008
14
Hey man, don't feel bad about your age, actually your young. I am in my 50's, man, and i wish i had taken the leap in my 30's. I don't work professionaly as an electrical engineer, I don't even do that kind of work, it is more of a hobby for me. But, I wish i had pursued it when I was 30 or 35. One thing i do know, and you might want to check on it, since you obviously have the math knowledge, you might check the local electrical union halls, operating engineers for electricians. They hire, and they have apprentiship programs in electrical work, linemen and things like that. You could start with them and they provide the training, and work in this field has a very high need for electricians, pay is very good, check it out, Do it Now! Don't wait to long. And Good Luck!
 
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