Change Careers?

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Hello,

I'm 36 years old, and I have 3+ years embedded software engineering
experience. I have both a BSEE and a MSEE.  Currently, I'm out of job
and I've been looking for a software engineer or embedded software
engineer position for the last 6 months.

I've decided to move out of the state of Washington, but I'm having a
problem trying to decide where to move to other than India or China.
To tell the truth, I am willing to move to India or China, but I'm not
exactly sure if they'll give me something similar to a H1B visa.;)
Also, I'm willing to accept a low salary, but it has to be enough to
cover basic necessities (cheap apartment, basic food, basic
transportation, and medical insurance).

Right now Texas is big on my list since the cost of living is lower
there, but I'm not sure if it will be easy to find a job there.  The
next place on my list is California, but it looks like the living
expenses are very high.  Does anyone have first-hand knowledge about
the job situation in California or Texas?  What about other states?

I'm even looking into the possibility of changing careers.  Is there
any other field that is closely related to embedded software
engineering which is a hot field that would not require another 4 year
degree?  Actually, I don't mind going back for another masters degree,
but I not exactly sure if it will help me get a job in the future.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,
Jim

Re: Change Careers?
Other places you might try job seeking would be Oregon and Arizona. I seem to
remember that Intel does R&D for network processors up in Oregon and I think
Microchip Technology is based in Arizona. If you have good experience with
hardware, you could possibly be an applications engineer for a company that
makes microcontrollers.

A lot of the embedded job here in Silicon Valley seem to want networking
knowledge (TCP/IP, Routing protocols, 802,11, SAN).


Re: Change Careers?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

How hard have you looked ?  I find it hard to believe you can't find a job
with your education and experience if you're willing to move.  Have you
looked at defense contractors ?  I just looked at the Raytheon corporate web
site and searched for software AND engineer for all domestic locations and
got 463 jobs listed.  Granted some of those are likely duplicates and many
won't fit you, but still ..... 463 jobs listed.

Why change careers ?  What could be more interesting than embedded software
engineering ?  Don't be a putz and chase the wind looking at the 'hot
field', leverage your skills.



Re: Change Careers?
It is pretty tough out there right now,

  I've been out of work for over a year now, have over a thousand resume's
delivered and still not getting any decent bites.  The so called job sites
have thousands of job listings it seems, but it is 100 copies of the same
job from 50 different head hunters, very few postings that are from the
company in question.  I was a test coordinator, system admin, software
developer and part time embedded engineer.  However, I don't speak SAN
or Telecom, so that leaves out 90% of the postings.  If you have an
inside on where to look that doesn't want 20 years experience for a 2
month contract then I'm all ears!  Really!

DLC

: How hard have you looked ?  I find it hard to believe you can't find a job
: with your education and experience if you're willing to move.  Have you
: looked at defense contractors ?  I just looked at the Raytheon corporate web
: site and searched for software AND engineer for all domestic locations and
: got 463 jobs listed.  Granted some of those are likely duplicates and many
: won't fit you, but still ..... 463 jobs listed.

: Why change careers ?  What could be more interesting than embedded software
: engineering ?  Don't be a putz and chase the wind looking at the 'hot
: field', leverage your skills.



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* Dennis Clark         snipped-for-privacy@frii.com                www.techtoystoday.com   *
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Re: Change Careers?


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Jim,

One thing you can do is to defer picking another state to move to, if that
is what you must do, and apply for out of state positions.

I suggest you post a copy of your resume online and ask for some feedback
from this group. I bet that this group would also be a great place to get
feedback from in regards to interviews. And it wouldn't hurt for you to
learn a bit about marketing. Getting a job doesn't always have as much to do
with being qualified as we would like to think.

Good Luck,

Mike Turco



Re: Change Careers?

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do

In the past it has never taken me more than 4 months to find an embedded
job,
until Bush got elected. Was laid off in april of 2000 and have yet
to find another full time permanent embedded job. What work I've managed
to get in last two+ years is part time contract work.
Moved to two states in search of work and looking to go a third soon.
Its easy to shell out advise if you've sit this "soft spot" out employed.

If you got an embedded job KEEP IT !





Re: Change Careers?
The other thing (if you don't want to move) is to look at what the companies
around want in software engineers and learn those skills however you can. If
that means taking a class, do it. Companies (at least the HR types) will be
more impressed with some certificate you can wave around than if you learn
stuff by yourself.

The past several jobs I've had have mostly been based on older systems. The
part-time contract job I've had the longest is for a Z80 system using Forth.
:-)  I went to one company where I was told I'd be working on a
state-of-the-art 32-bit RISC. When I got there, that project was on hold and I
got a horrible 68HC11 project. I didn't even get to mess with the HC11
peripherals as I was told not to touch those (I was porting middleware to
someone else's HC11 system). I'm playing catch-up now learning C++, networking,
MFC, COM, whatever it seems companies want - embedded or pure software.

Good luck to all trying to find a way to pay the rent and put food on the
table.



Re: Change Careers?

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Suggest you move to a country where the economy isn't in a tailspin. There
are many more options than India & China.

Re: Change Careers?
You're not serious about moving to China or India right?  Average yearly
salary for white collar workers (engineers included) in China is less than
$10K.  I'm working at the moment as an engineer here in San Antonio, and
although its not as glamorous as Silicon Valley, the cost of living is
way,way less than California.  There is a demand for engineers here, its
just that the HR managers for various companies don't advertise locally too
much because there is a paucity of available candidates.

Your qualifications sound good, I think that you could find a position in
the state of Texas in whatever city that you look in.  Don't chase after
another degree, or the latest Microsoft certification, you'll just be
diluting you efforts and wasting time, money, and energy.  One thing that
engineers are not trained in is the science of negotiation, and I firmly
believe that finding a satisfying position requires negotiation skills.
Lawyers, medical professionals, used car salespeople, they all get training
in the negotiation arts and sciences, but we engineers seem to disregard
negotiation as a way to get the things that we want.  Most engineers assume
that they'll be awarded a job simply on the strengths of their resumes, but
this is rarely the case.

I recommend checking out the book "Start with NO", by Jim Camp from your
local library.  It describes decision-based negotiation and how we can never
control the outcome of any negotiation, interview, or meeting.  We can only
control ourselves.

You've got the qualificiations, now you need the negotiation skills. Sorry
if this isn't specific enough, but most engineers approach the entire job
search process in a very inefficient manner and this tends to sabotage their
efforts.


Quoted text here. Click to load it



Re: Change Careers?
Fine and good, but if managers don't advertise, where do you find them?  
I already know that it isn't what you know, it's who you know, but all
the people that I know are out of work right now, not too good there.
I'm having a hard time even finding the companies, let alone the managers
inside them that are hiring!  I've never had this much trouble finding a
job before, but my contacts have all dried up and the head hunters are
about as useful as a lead balloon, about as thick too.  So where are
these hiring managers?  Your words sound good, and I'm pretty darn good
at the negotiating table, but not if I can't get a foot in the door!

DLC

: You're not serious about moving to China or India right?  Average yearly
: salary for white collar workers (engineers included) in China is less than
: $10K.  I'm working at the moment as an engineer here in San Antonio, and
: although its not as glamorous as Silicon Valley, the cost of living is
: way,way less than California.  There is a demand for engineers here, its
: just that the HR managers for various companies don't advertise locally too
: much because there is a paucity of available candidates.

: Your qualifications sound good, I think that you could find a position in
: the state of Texas in whatever city that you look in.  Don't chase after
: another degree, or the latest Microsoft certification, you'll just be
: diluting you efforts and wasting time, money, and energy.  One thing that
: engineers are not trained in is the science of negotiation, and I firmly
: believe that finding a satisfying position requires negotiation skills.
: Lawyers, medical professionals, used car salespeople, they all get training
: in the negotiation arts and sciences, but we engineers seem to disregard
: negotiation as a way to get the things that we want.  Most engineers assume
: that they'll be awarded a job simply on the strengths of their resumes, but
: this is rarely the case.

: I recommend checking out the book "Start with NO", by Jim Camp from your
: local library.  It describes decision-based negotiation and how we can never
: control the outcome of any negotiation, interview, or meeting.  We can only
: control ourselves.

: You've got the qualificiations, now you need the negotiation skills. Sorry
: if this isn't specific enough, but most engineers approach the entire job
: search process in a very inefficient manner and this tends to sabotage their
: efforts.


:> Hello,
:>
:> I'm 36 years old, and I have 3+ years embedded software engineering
:> experience. I have both a BSEE and a MSEE.  Currently, I'm out of job
:> and I've been looking for a software engineer or embedded software
:> engineer position for the last 6 months.
:>
:> I've decided to move out of the state of Washington, but I'm having a
:> problem trying to decide where to move to other than India or China.
:> To tell the truth, I am willing to move to India or China, but I'm not
:> exactly sure if they'll give me something similar to a H1B visa.;)
:> Also, I'm willing to accept a low salary, but it has to be enough to
:> cover basic necessities (cheap apartment, basic food, basic
:> transportation, and medical insurance).
:>
:> Right now Texas is big on my list since the cost of living is lower
:> there, but I'm not sure if it will be easy to find a job there.  The
:> next place on my list is California, but it looks like the living
:> expenses are very high.  Does anyone have first-hand knowledge about
:> the job situation in California or Texas?  What about other states?
:>
:> I'm even looking into the possibility of changing careers.  Is there
:> any other field that is closely related to embedded software
:> engineering which is a hot field that would not require another 4 year
:> degree?  Actually, I don't mind going back for another masters degree,
:> but I not exactly sure if it will help me get a job in the future.
:>
:> Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
:>
:> Thank You,
:> Jim



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============================================================================
* Dennis Clark         snipped-for-privacy@frii.com                www.techtoystoday.com   *
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Re: Change Careers?
Okay,

    You want specifics, here is what I would do:

        If you want a satisfying job, you'll first need to network with
people working at companies.  How do you do this if you aren't currently
employed?  The way that I've done it before is to join various technical
users groups and meet the people that attend them.  For example, here in SA
we have a Linux Users Group, a Cisco Users Group, ...  The meetings cost
nothing and are usually held in public locations like community colleges.
Of course these people don't attend the meetings with a stack of job
applications to hand out to you, but I think that you can see the
opportunities that these sort of gatherings can offer you.  These are the
locations that you can learn about unadvertised job openings and also learn
the point of contact to follow up on them.

       Of course there will be a certain percentage of deadwood at these
meetings, but you never know where opportunity lies without trying.

    Yes, I know that the head hunters are pretty much useless, as are the
online job databases.  I also know that its difficult to "network" but if I
can do it, anybody can.

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============================================================================



Re: Change Careers?

  Thanks - that was staring me in the face and I didn't see it.  I currently
get Nuts N Volts and Circuit Cellar.  What other embedded rags are there
that I can subscribe to to get meeting locations and times?  Trade shows
and such would be useful networking and experience locations as well, but
I just don't know where to get the startup information.

  Your help is appreciated greatly.  I need to build a completely new
network, my old one is over 10 years old and also out of work, and things
have changed quite a bit in that time.

DLC

: Okay,
:    You want specifics, here is what I would do:
:        If you want a satisfying job, you'll first need to network with
: people working at companies.  How do you do this if you aren't currently
: employed?  The way that I've done it before is to join various technical
: users groups and meet the people that attend them.  For example, here in SA
: we have a Linux Users Group, a Cisco Users Group, ...  The meetings cost
: nothing and are usually held in public locations like community colleges.
: Of course these people don't attend the meetings with a stack of job
: applications to hand out to you, but I think that you can see the
: opportunities that these sort of gatherings can offer you.  These are the
: locations that you can learn about unadvertised job openings and also learn
: the point of contact to follow up on them.

:       Of course there will be a certain percentage of deadwood at these
: meetings, but you never know where opportunity lies without trying.

:    Yes, I know that the head hunters are pretty much useless, as are the
: online job databases.  I also know that its difficult to "network" but if I
: can do it, anybody can.

:> Fine and good, but if managers don't advertise, where do you find them?
:> I already know that it isn't what you know, it's who you know, but all
:> the people that I know are out of work right now, not too good there.
:> I'm having a hard time even finding the companies, let alone the managers
:> inside them that are hiring!  I've never had this much trouble finding a
:> job before, but my contacts have all dried up and the head hunters are
:> about as useful as a lead balloon, about as thick too.  So where are
:> these hiring managers?  Your words sound good, and I'm pretty darn good
:> at the negotiating table, but not if I can't get a foot in the door!
:>
:> DLC
:>
:>>
: ============================================================================



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* Dennis Clark         snipped-for-privacy@frii.com                www.techtoystoday.com   *
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Re: Change Careers?
Dennis Clark ( snipped-for-privacy@io.frii.com) says...
Quoted text here. Click to load it
well, but
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Have you looked at embedded.com?  You can certainly hit the show floor
of the Embedded Systems Conference for little or no cost.  It is (or
was) the biggest gathering of embedded software folks in the USA.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

It might be worth taking a look at the IEEE.  I find that it skews
heavily toward academia and defense contractors, at least in the
Philadelphia area.  However, they do offer outstanding networking
opportunities and technical information, among other benefits.

You might want to browse through the list of local chapters.  Many of
them have online newsletters announcing get-togethers, tours of
prominent local employers, etc.:
http://www.ieee.org/organizations/rab/sec_chap/reg_pags.html

Good luck in your search.

-- Scott


Re: Change Careers?
Thanks Scott, I'll try your tips.

regards,
DLC

: Dennis Clark ( snipped-for-privacy@io.frii.com) says...
:> Trade shows and such would be useful networking and experience locations as
well, but

:> I just don't know where to get the startup information.

: Have you looked at embedded.com?  You can certainly hit the show floor
: of the Embedded Systems Conference for little or no cost.  It is (or
: was) the biggest gathering of embedded software folks in the USA.

:> I need to build a completely new network...

: It might be worth taking a look at the IEEE.  I find that it skews
: heavily toward academia and defense contractors, at least in the
: Philadelphia area.  However, they do offer outstanding networking
: opportunities and technical information, among other benefits.

: You might want to browse through the list of local chapters.  Many of
: them have online newsletters announcing get-togethers, tours of
: prominent local employers, etc.:
: http://www.ieee.org/organizations/rab/sec_chap/reg_pags.html

: Good luck in your search.

: -- Scott


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* Dennis Clark         snipped-for-privacy@frii.com                www.techtoystoday.com   *
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