Getting Into The Engineer / Technician Field

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ajm113, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. ajm113

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    This question has been kinda bothering me lately since I'm going to my community college to get my electronics technology degree hopefully next year and then maybe get my engineering too after. (Just need to take a bunch of math classes)

    I live in a apartment, going to school 9AM to 12PM (Mon-Fri). I work grave yard as a security guard, and my girlfriend is expecting.

    I was wondering. What are some ways I can build my resume? Have any of you been in my same position? Wanting a internship, but ether cant find it, or if you do it's no pay and demands hours that conflicts with your schedule? I've meet some people who wanted me to design some custom electronics for them and offered to pay me. I don't know how dependable that sorta job is on a resume. (Maybe if I wrote documents of my projects and made it a portfolio?)

    I would honestly, would love to just quit my job for something that worked around my school schedule, pays the bills, and is up my alley. Somethings I want to go for repairing arcade machines, QC for an engineering company or electronics company, work for public transit system, electronics manufacturing supervisor. But again it's difficult to find apprentice even for something remotely close to that without a degree and experience...

    What would you guys recommend?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  2. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    It's hard, but you're going to have to get over that. Employers don't care about your schedule, and expect you to care about their's. It may require substantial sacrifice in the short run to put yourself in a better position in the long run.

    Doing custom projects could actually lead to an interesting business, but if your long run goal is to work for a company, in my opinion it will be hard to leverage your freelance work. Documentation and photos - and references from happy customers - may help but this type of work doesn't show how well you work on teams, show up every day, and other things that companies look for.
  3. nigelwright7557

    Distinguished Member

    May 10, 2008
    I just took anything that came along in electronics.
    Once I was in I worked hard to move from a test engineer up to design engineer.
  4. ajm113

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    I was considering going into a apprentice program as a electrician for a company. Because then I'm guaranteed a better paying job, something to put on my resume for any electrical field, because I'm dealing with high voltage electronics. And then I could apply to work for my local power company if I wanted after a year of work.

    The only worst case is working construction. I've heard some horror stories. 0.o
  5. ajm113

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    How did you become a tester? Expand that a little more?
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    It would get my attention when reading the resume, and if you have a nice picture to bring to the interview even better.

    Repairing arcade machines may just be board swapping, boring and of no interest to me (and I'm an engineering manager).

    QC is for wonks, you just see if the thing you have matches the print. No future.

    Public transit may have a good union contract and be your nut for life and retirement. My dad worked for a railroad (electrical power division) and it worked out great for us.

    You're not gonna land a supervisor job without any manufacturing experience.

    My place makes military stuff. When it hits test and has a problem it gets troubleshot to the component and fixed. Test also needs test fixtures, and the exceptional techs get stolen by engineering, and then some keep moving up.

    (Do any large companies still pay for employees who go back for more schooling?)
  7. ajm113

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    Thanks for clearing those few up. :) i know as is really going into transportation. Light rail, trains, etc. I may go around digging up more info on that.

    I was thinking to just get my butt as an electrician. After a year I could work with a lot of companies. Obviously no engineering, but then I'll have time to freelance too and still have something else to put on the resume.

    I think it's kinda rare with today's system. But I think it would mostly apply in the technician field. Unless the company you work for decided to work with fuel or another type of energy.
  8. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    My community college has night classes, afternoon classes, online classes, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 week summer classes, you name it. If you want to take a class, you can find a way to take it. From my limited experience with this one community college, I would say that if your class schedule is what's holding you back, that's not a very good excuse. Sounds to me like you've been on that cake schedule too long and got soft. Before you rebut, remember that clause "From my limited experience with this one community college" - yours may be different, I don't know.

    I think the electrician route is not a bad idea. My brother in law got on with a huge ekectrical contractor and they pay for his school. He's going to get a 4 year degree on the house. Only catch is, he works 12 hrs/day, drives 1.5hrs each way to work, and goes to school (night school) 8hrs/semester. He makes good money but only because of the overtime. His pay isn't that great, considering he's green and they pay for his school. He probably makes 50 or 60 k gross, including o/t. Would probably be half that without the overtime.
  9. ajm113

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    Well I feel like If I got more electronics tech under my belt time and effort for the degree would be worth it. Because I can't balance two jobs and school at the same time if the internship offere little to no pay. I simply can't risk it.

    50 to 60k a year? That sounds pretty good to me. Lol
  10. ramancini8

    Active Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    I started as a tech repairing equipment that failed final test. Then I worked my way up to test engineer. I quit work after I saved enough for full time school, and went to school fulltime until I obtained a BSEE, and all was easy from there on.
    Things won't be so easy for you because the bulk of electronic manufacturing has gone overseas, and that was where the starting jobs were. It is a long hard road to a BSEE, and no guarantees after that. It was a lot easier to get started in electronics back in the 1960s.