Electronic Engineering Careers in the West Midlands!

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by Johndon2000, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Hi all,

    I have a degree in Electronic Engineering and about 15 years experience working in Electronic Engineering (Repair/ Diagnostics in the West Midlands, England).

    I have always struggled looking for good career opportunities - not enough experience to get Design jobs so I have always settled for repair/ diagnostics.

    Where are you supposed to get the design experience?!

    And is Engineering (specifically the electronics industry) dying, as there seem to be less and less hardware jobs, more software jobs...

    Is a career change into software needed?!

    Any advice is much appreciated :)
  2. DickCappels


    Aug 21, 2008
    See if you can find an entry level engineering job at a company with more than one engineer, some of whom are seasoned in their field. In the capacity of something like Associate Engineer you can participate in product development, leaning the ropes and getting some design experience.

    Design your own "products". One of my bosses was interested in color TV and built a PAL encoder by hand. He didn't know a whole lot of of math or formal design procedures but he left England and started knocking on doors at TV equipment producers in California. His entheusiasm and ability were recognised and he was taken into the engineering department. Within a few years he was running the engineering department.

    If you want to get into design engineer, be a design engineer, even if you don't have a job.

    Continue your education both formally and informally. In my time managing a small group I hired some very sharp interns, but put my emphasis on engineers who could produce useful things. Learn how to design the kinds of things you personally enjoy designing.

    Never turn down a chance to review an opportunity. Job recruiters can be very helpful, but personal relationships can be very power ways into a company. I have worked for several electronics companies and I think of only two jobs for which a personal relationship was not instrumental in receiving the offer.
    Johndon2000 likes this.
  3. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Thanks for that, very useful. Yes I think you're right, I need to spend more of my spare time working on design projects etc. Thanks again :)
  4. ericgibbs

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 29, 2010
    hi John,
    What would be your definition of a 'Design Engineer' in the electronics industry.?

  5. Janis59


    Aug 21, 2017
    RE:""And is Engineering (specifically the electronics industry) dying, as there seem to be less and less hardware jobs, more software jobs...""

    Actually I feel it every day, YES. But it means that people capable to create the things with a hands instead of with pencil end, becomes more and more valuable.
    When I was a boy, somehow one my mum`s college`s husband made me gift the book about small circuits on vacuum gauges and used soldering hammer. Later he added a box with liter of reused resistors and capacitors. And hook was in the lip.
    Paralelly of all the school classes by every evening I was going to "soviet young technicians club" where we practically learned how things must be done. In the secondary school age some my works was shown at VDNH exhibition so I was granted the tickets to fly to Moscow at age 16, without of control of parents, oh my god, I had seen a Kremlin blood coloured walls, Lenins corpse with just hand sized small head, the grand CUM marketplace (nowadays such size stays in every bigger countryside village), where I bought an American cigarettes what smoked secretly let parents dont know (oh fool, but later I became a free from this sin). Ah, yes, all the summer vacation months I worked on conveyor of our radio-factory (RRR/VEF) so I knew well how it happens at mass production, and to have an own inspite small money let me feel `rich`.
    Thus when there was time to choose for higher education I had a hard dilemma - our technical university was ready to give or speciality for sea-ship electronics, or for aircraft electronics, or for power electronics, or cable and telephone engineering etc etc. And then I found a State University only technical speciality for radio-physicist. I would never choose it but the destiny sent me to school-pupil `scientific practice` there (one week long obligatory thing), so I understood that is what I need. After graduation I had a honour to work few years at one of the 80~ies strongest digital designers bureau thus I got familiar with Burr Brown and EDN magazine so when at last those rotten empire broken, my land was regaining freedom and independence and later got be EU memberstate, I was on the barricades applauding. But Moscow still is bloody red and sending a different messages like: we shall put the million fans on the boarder and shall blow toward Balticum our radioactive waste etc (this is not the joke but historically true fact that words, happily not a deeds).
    So, with a great regret I see that University had closed a radiophysicist speciality, technical University still demands to choose from very beginning do You want to study coloured telephone electronics or black-and-white telephone electronics, and only what is new it is Ventspils (small port town) University, what is offering the `industrial electronics` program. However I was been there multiple times, and had a shock, that they are learning in the way: take a HP box Nr 3284132874 then push into lamelles the boxes Nr 83764 and 04398 and now explain what You see. Do that is electronics at all?? But probably it may be nowadays industrial specfism, that they have no time to solder all from the components, they have no interest what is in it, let only all works well and has sealed certificate saying that `degree of mushroom grows over PCB in tropical obstacles are sure under 5%).
    How far I see the SE, FI, UK, DE, PL and many other lands where WAS a good electronicist schools, they had been gone completely or diminished quite much. So, degradation is persistent, however not all places in the same degree. But demand for specialists is still there, therefore You have meaning to learn-up for the sure.

    P.S. I may curse the russia and russian tricks, but I am thankful to those enslaverers that the Russian language is between those 7 languages I speak along with my native, thus the grand school of Russian circuitry is well opened for me, and I know well their component system, thus I am able to free combine between `free West` components and their `bloody`, what sometimes give a rather unexpected new possibilities, especially if there is talk about repair works. It is rather uncommon capability, but I am living on the borderland.
    Do You remeber that epizode from movie where Bruce Willis drilled a hole in asteroid to blow it before planet Earth had suffered and those permanently drunk russian pilot clapped the computer by full hand. Bruce sentence - oh my God, what You are doing. Pilot answers: No need for shiver - Russian electronics, American electronics, anyway all it is produced at China, so I know what I do.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Johndon2000 and JoeJester like this.
  6. Lyonspride


    Jan 6, 2014
    I'm in Worcestershire/West-mids.

    The answer is far too complex to put into words, I work in electronic repairs now, previously as a manufacturing engineer.
    Employers want graduates because they're cheap and don't answer back. They want experienced engineers on short term contracts to mentor said graduates (as I found out the hard way).
    Experienced engineers don't take any nonsense, if we see something that's not right, we say it's not right and this can upset your typical media studies graduate management, who throw all their toys out of the pram if anyone disagrees with them. We're also not going to work for peanuts.

    I don't know what happens when your experienced and have a degree, i'm guessing it's even harder, with plenty of roles out there, but being unable to work for £18'000 a year.
    You've got a lot of competition from those people who went to uni for the party life and the gap yah backpacking, cheated their way through an engineering degree and are now out there competing for jobs that really should be going to dedicated and talented people.

    Right now i'm working in repairs, a job that demands hands on experience, the company I work for has tried inexperienced graduates and they've tried de-skilling the work by using help sheets and fault finding guides, but they've reluctantly come to the conclusion that only experience can give them what they need.

    On the design side, if i'd found the opportunity 20 years ago, I could have gone into it, but now the knowledge gained on my HNC is quite out of date (PIC was barely a thing back then) and I haven't been in a position to top it up. The irony is 20 years ago you couldn't get those roles without years of experience, but now they don't want experience as it costs too much.

    Last year I applied for a role designing and prototyping aerospace test rigs, something i've actually already done, but I was told the company wanted a recent graduate.
    They'd rather cheap, than someone with experience in what would be an extremely rare field.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017 at 4:00 AM
    Johndon2000 likes this.
  7. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Yes thanks for that... I totally agree, all the jobs I see out there are either for graduates on £20k or short term contracts.

    Of the 3 companies I have worked for over the last 10+ years (all large multinationals) - one closed down and went to America, the other 2 were taken over by American companies with the inevitable site closures/ job losses... they all went towards getting rid of the higher earners and bringing in contractors/ temps on less money.

    Just seems like a fruitless task staying in the industry if all the companies are going the same way (takeovers, job losses, site closures etc)...
  8. Johndon2000

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    An Electronic Design Engineer... i.e. FPGA/ASIC or PCB design?
  9. ericgibbs

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 29, 2010
    hi John,
    This is why I asked the question, the term Design Engineer covers a wide range of jobs.
    I see that you have been working on repair/diagnostics for a number of years, I would have thought the next logical step for you would be get into test gear design work.
    You could work as a free lance or self employed test gear design/build engineer.

    With design engineering work, most companies are limited to the number of 'new' products they can bring to the market place each year, so the demand for a full time engineering design department is an expensive overhead.
    It is more cost effective for most companies to put the work out to local contractors.

    I am speaking from experience, I have held a number of top level jobs in engineering as well as running my own company for many years.