Electronics career w/o EE degree

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by darenw5, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. darenw5

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    I'd like to land a well-paying electronics job, as an EE or any position involving R&D and electronics. While i have experience in electronics, including designing, prototyping, troubleshooting, varied tinkering and college level teaching, i never got an EE degree. Silly me, i went for physics, so far as grad school, and then went off to try software development. I never did enjoy SW work much, and after too many years of that would love to get my hands back onto scope probes and soldering irons. I can say i have proven experience, know-how and all, but no fancy piece of paper to point to. Looking for serious income, challenge, at the kind of place that does cutting edge stuff. Ideas, suggestions?

    (my keyboard went temporarily insane while i wrote this, forgive any weird typos)
     
  2. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    I have worked with non-degreed engineers, but they came up through the ranks, starting as techs and slowly taking on more responsibility as they gained experience. Most of the techs I worked with never were able to make that leap. Do you have any contacts in industry who might help? Do you believe in the power of prayer?:rolleyes:
     
  3. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007
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    If you went to grad school for physics you should have no difficulty
    getting a job doing electrical engineering work. I have worked with many
    people doing EE work with physics degrees.

    If you are not comfortable with circuits you should take a couple of
    circuit design classes or study on your own.

    (* jcl *)
     
  4. Ron H

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 14, 2005
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    Good point. I did have an engineer friend many years ago who had a BS in physics. He was self-trained in circuit design, primarily due to his interest in high power audio amps.
    I think my biggest concern for Daren is how to get his foot in the door.
     
  5. darenw5

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    Ron H: prayer yes, contacts no....

    Yes, it'll be a problem of getting the ol' leg terminator transported through a wall-hole flapper.

    I'm self-studied, was allowed extra class hours in high school in electronics (they said i taught the teacher more than the teacher did for me), did an electronics project for the Detroit Science Fair, designed a high-performance waveform generator for Indian U. (incl. a custom designed op amp with discrete semiconductors, 'cause no chip could do what i wanted), worked with EEs on projects where i was doing software (i wish i could have traded places with them) and so on...

    But also, i haven't had my hands on any real equipment the last few years, not "up" on current technologies such as FPGAs etc. I don't consider this a problem since i have a good foundation in electronics, and comprehend new technologies, instruments and systems readily. (It hasn't been so in the software world.)

    I can see i might have a hard time just slipping into some conventional engineering position with a standard job title and all, without a conventional papered career in EE, and so may be better off looking for entrepreneurs or finding a project where they need unconventional and technically creative types. Here, monster.com ceases to be useful.
     
  6. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007
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    Sometimes getting your foot in the door can be tough.

    1. Put together a good resume that is *succint*. Should be 1-2 pages maximum.
    Emphasize your physics skills since they are directly related to EE.

    2. Put together a *succinct* cover letter for each position you apply for.
    Two or three paragraphs. Do not do a generic cover letter.

    3. If you are asked to solve a circuit problem that you are unfamiliar with
    say you haven't beed exposed to that particular type of problem and
    proceed to explain the methodology you would use to find the solution.

    Always be polite and professional.

    (* jcl *)
     
  7. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    John Luciani has hit the nil on the head, I could offer you no advice better than what he has suggested.

    I suppose a lot depends on which part of EE you want to get into. With a physics degree, and a bit of experience, you will walk into most R&D jobs where they try and pick a particular type of person who would suit what is essentially job where you go on instinct and knowledge. When you get into the design side of things, that is where you may come up against obstacles where the employing organisation is looking for a very specific type of engineer with particular experience.

    On of my colleagues is from a physics (BSc and MSc) background and he works in R&D on aircraft undercarriage electronics (don't ask me what it entails), so it shows you that it can be done.

    Dave
     
  8. nanovate

    Distinguished Member

    May 7, 2007
    665
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    If you have done any electronics projects in the past it is always good to have pictures and documentation for them so that you can show prospective employers that you have actually worked on stuff.

    Larger companies are more likely to require formal degrees if you are coming in from the outside (if are already in then it can be a different story). Smaller companies are a little different -- I once met a process engineer who was a history major.
     
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