How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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I have a serious question; How to start a career in electronic
hardware design ?

A few facts about me;
  
I'm 40
I started learning electronics at the age of 10.
I have experience and knack for troubleshooting (technical
electronics).
3 years ago got a BS in Computer Systems Engineering, which is, in
short, a computer science - flavored electrical engineering program.

I've worked at a few jobs in the 3 years since I graduated, but find
it so difficult to secure any position involving 'serious' engineering
(actually employing advanced devices and principles ), that I've
essentially given up that I will ever work in embedded hardware
development unless I flip burgers until I can afford to buy
development tools and do it on my own,  because clearly no company
hires anyone without 5-8 years of ''experience''.  I'm sure I would
fit well in any role employing any mix of analog design / digital
design / computer interface / computer programming, but there are no
companies willing to hire someone without xx years of experience.

So how the heck does a 'smarter' person with the technical knack ever
get a career started when no one will hire someone who hasn't already
logged years at another company ?

I've 240 earned college credits, in technical electronics (AS), and
engineering (BS) .. and a general sense of futility that I'll ever get
a shot at the things I think I'll be best at, engineering, hardware
design.

How the heck does ANYONE get started in this field ??  

With $ 30,000 in student loans that I can't touch, and no means of
getting even to the dentist, I'd like to have a shot at my career..
and no shot can be had since no one hires 'newbies' ( remember,
electronics since age 12).

I give up, literally, I'm leaving metro Boston in two weeks (because I
can't afford to live here, and what's the point - no company
recognizes talent or knack, just 'experience' .. it bears repeating;
How the heck does ANYONE get started in this field ??

I look forward to your response and appreciate it.

regards-
moi

Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??
Try military contractors like; Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing.
Civilian SW/HW engineering jobs tend to have a narrow criteria.
30-35 age, several years specific experience. :-)

Military contractors tend to keep their people till they die,
so you have old farts that would not see you as
damaged goods at 40 /w fresh degree.

Of course, you have to be somewhat of a sociopath
since you will be building bombs/missiles for Rummy's ambitions.


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Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??
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There's nothing sociopathic about designing weapon systems to kill the
enemy.  The only sociopaths are the hippy tree huggers like you who would
rather 'talk it out' while the bad guys plan to kill the good guys.



Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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That should be sociopath or idiot.
Either way you could happily work for Rummy guilt free and oblivious.






Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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It has always thought those who object to working on 'defense' projects to
be rather naive.  A little thought will reveal there are a vast range of
jobs which may have the same effect although in not such a graphic manner.

Would they  refuse to work fora process control company that might one day
supply a system to a tobacco company.  Would they not work on farm
machinery on the basis that the company makes a sprayer that farmers might
use it to spray carcinogenic insecticides?  What about the large number of
people killed in auto accidents?  can't work for a catering machinery
company because they might be used to make burgers.

The bottom line is that almost any job you do can have a potentialy harmful
effect.  To be truly ethical severely limits job opportunities.


Ian


Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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would
harmful

That's a pretty meaningless argument - you are taking things to absurd
extremes.  To be "truly ethical" in that sense limits everything entirely -
there is absolutely nothing that you can do that you can be sure cannot have
a harmful effect.  It is perfectly reasonable to avoid doing things that you
know *will* have a harmful effect, and to distance yourself where possible.
It is sociopathic to build a machine designed for producing cigarettes - it
is not sociopathic to build a packing machine that someone might one day
sell to a cigarette company.




Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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My point exactly.

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So you agree there are other industries other than defense that should be
avoided.  The why does noone mention them?

Ian


Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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the
of
entirely
cannot
someone

It's simply a matter of there being so many more jobs for embedded systems
engineers in the defence industry than in the tobacco industry, or any other
morally questionable industy.



Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??
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Ahem. The industry itself is not morally questionable.

Quick quiz: Categorize all of the following projects as either (A)
Morally indefensible, (B) Morally sound, or (C) Depends on end-user's
intentions.

* Geiger counter
* Seismograph
* Retina scanner
* Execution machine a la Leuchter
* Motion-tracking camera
* AA shell radar proximity fuze
* Airplane navigation system
* PLB
* Atmospheric toxin scanner
* ATC software
* Ultrasound scanner
* Encrypted videophone
* GPS receiver with map display
* Automotive ECM
* Hydraulically powered fluffy cuddly lovable snuggly animal squisher

All of them are, or could be, contracts for the defense industry,
except perhaps the last.

There is no such thing as an intrinsically evil project or industry.
There is also no societal gain in you refusing to work on some project
you've arbitrarily deemed to be "evil", unless you also had a way to
guarantee that nobody else would work on it either. Since that's not
going to happen, the societally best thing to do is to work on
whatever is required of you, then make sure that the people in charge
of deploying that item don't use it inappropriately.

That means you need to keep yourself informed of the intentions of
leadership candidates, vote appropriately, and do your best to
convince others to vote similarly.

Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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systems
other

Sounds a lot like the projects I have laying around, half completed, on my
bench.

(Except perhaps the last.)


(Right.... I wish.)

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I read this thread differently. Here is somebody with *many* years of
experience and a degree, looking for an entry level job, and guess what --
he can't find anything. I see excuse after excuse. To top things off, he's
grouped together his most promising opportunities under the umbrella of evil
and refuses to work in that area.

I know that the job market is tough, and I feel for the people who are
having difficulty staying afloat. But the fact is that before somebody gets
a job, they have to want a job in the first place.

Mike



Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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evil

The original poster has not participated in this discussion of morals.
Excuse after excuse? You obviously haven't been out looking lately.
Personal bankruptcy and foreclosures are at an all time high because
of the current very harsh downturn. A person who sends out a
hundred resumes and can't get an  interview is the norm.

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gets

With the engineering unemployment rate hitting 20% in major cities,
I think a large portion of these would still not take a
defense job that was directly related in creating WMD
becuase of the current administration deceptions and lies to start war.








Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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It doesn't matter whether there is one job per thousand people, or a
thousand jobs per person. The number one factor in an individuals success is
their desire to succeed. Did I peg the OP? Maybe, maybe not. -- Mike



Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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is

Ironic you attempt to pick an absurd figure to prove a point
but sadly you are right on the money. In NY the tech
jobs are receiving 1,000 resumes per job.




Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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success

Ody,

That doesn't mean that there is only one job for every 1,000 people, or that
all of those 1,000 resumes come from people who are out of work. (Not to
minimize the impact of your statistic.)

I think the point I made is self evident. Success comes from within, it is
not thrust upon you by the job market. Do you agree?

Mike







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Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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that

As an employee, success comes externally from company job openings.
If no company is hiring does that mean you a failure if you can't get a job?
I know multiple talented engineers that have failed to get a job for 10
months to date.
It is cruel and niave to blame the unemployed engineer for lack of
employment right now.

"Success comes from within" would apply more to one
starting a business totally relying on ones self.

Outsourcing of IT and engineering jobs to India will absorb 10% of US jobs
by 2004.
That figure is expected to swell to 40% in next few years.

Even if the economy rebounds to pre-Bush levels, the engineering market
will still be flooded with unemployed IT/engineering workers. The only
"sucess from within" for these folks will be to abandon their chosen
occupation and
take up some form of work that can't be exported ... like selling hotdogs.









Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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But desire to succeed is not enough, and probably not the most
important factor to success.  The real world does intrude, industries
do vanish, economies do dry up, and definitions of success do vary.
A well paying job doing something you don't like is not considered
success by many people.

--
Darin Johnson
    "Particle Man, Particle Man, doing the things a particle can"

Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??




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is

I've always made an effort to not be egocentric. Maybe its a defense
mechanism because the preponderance of people with whom I speak, on Usenet
or in 3D, see the world in a different way. Yet I find it especially
perplexing that you and a few others see things differently. It seems to me
that we are (almost) arguing destiny vs. free will.

For me to think that apparently highly intelligent individuals such as
yourself do not consider themselves in control of their life and their
destiny just blows me away!

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In the past few thousand years, mankind has gone from hunter/gatherer,
through an agrarian culture, to trading, the use of currency, the industrial
revolution, world wars, the space age. I imagine that what we are going
through now is the same sort of thing. (My opinion: the "space age" and the
"information age" are one in the same.)

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Ahhhh... the definition of success. That is where it all begins! I know a
number of people who have wonderful families, nice cars and jobs that suck.
It all depends on what your goals are, where you set your priorities, and
most importantly......  the desire to succeed.

That's how I see it, anyway. However, we do have two competing theories. How
do you think Occam would slice the cake?

Mike



Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??
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   It's one of those Great Truths that Niels Bohr used to
talk about.  A Great Truth is a proposition whose converse
is also a Great Truth.

People are all the same.
People are all different.

You are in control of your life.
You are not in control of your life.

Etc.

        Regards.        mel.

Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??

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Well, opportunity has to knock before you can answer the door.
The strong desire to get a particular job does not necessarily give
you an edge over the other people that want that same job.  It does
give you the motivation to apply for the job though, or to get the
training necessary for it.  But if your heart's strongest desire is to
write the software that controls the space shuttle, chances are you
won't succeed at it.

My big gripe though is with attitudes that lack of success is a result
of personal failings.

Someone can be in control of his life, but not in control of all the
countless people that can affect that life.  Being flexible towards
the randomness and being able to change goals will help more than
relying on force of will to change reality.

--
Darin Johnson
    "Particle Man, Particle Man, doing the things a particle can"

Re: How do I build a career in engineering (hardware design) ??
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You can make a jug of lemonade in your kitchen and wait for someone to
knock, or you can set up a lemonade stand in your front garden. Which
one is more likely to attract customers?

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