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Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 5:01 AM

As I was driving home Friday evening (from work), a thought came to me. How many people have a job that's what they went to college for?

Example: I have a BS/EE for my undergrad. The last time I worked in the electronics engineering field was back in 1992, some 24 1/2 years ago. I do have an MBA, so for my graduate degree, I do work in that field. I consider myself a business man, I own businesses, I have investments and I have financial plans for myself. I also do other things that don't coincide with my education, such as volunteer work, working on houses, sitting on boards and politics.

Since this is an engineers site, one could assume that the majority of people here are engineers (work as an engineer). I may be wrong making this assumption, but since many here have been in their field a long time, they are no longer doing the engineering work and are now in some sort of management position.

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#1

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 8:11 AM

I've mentioned it before, but here it is again. The Dean of Engineering at my college told us on our first day of school, in a general meeting of all incoming engineering students, that 75% of us would not have jobs in engineering, but the jobs we would land would be technical based and most would eventually be management positions.

No surprise here.

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#13
In reply to #1

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:40 AM

Thanks for the answer. Did your Dean also recommend going to grad school for an MBA? A good degree for someone in management to have

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#35
In reply to #13

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 1:47 PM

Been a while, but I think that may have been mentioned in his address to us. I ignored that part - I am not people oriented, and in fact was told to not be an engineer by the school's evaluation prior to enrollment. I do what I want and am glad I took the EE course. I've found engineering jobs where I was primary and few others involved.

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#46
In reply to #35

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:32 AM

You bring up a good point. I remember my high school counselor telling me to go into engineering or some sort of science major in college. I think it was because my SAT and ACT scores were pretty good in the science/math section and the English/liberal arts side was average.

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#2

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 9:07 AM

First technical trades degree, yes.

Second (and far more costly) engineering degree, crap no.

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#14
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:42 AM

Thanks for answering. Just to make sure I got what you wrote, your work is not in engineering, but more in a technical hands on job.

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#33
In reply to #14

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 11:50 AM

Hands on but with an actual brain that thinks about the what and why of my work.

(The typical nightmare employee type for low IQ managers).

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#44
In reply to #33

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:21 AM

Sounds like you'd make a great General Contractor. Common sense, planning and problem solving are the keys to doing a quality job. Here in So Cal, you'd be shocked if you saw what some of the GC's do! And you'd wonder how they got their license.

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#3

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 10:46 AM

For most, the answer is no. The first thing you learn out of college is you get paid for doing what your employer wants done.

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#15
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:44 AM

Thanks for answering. It's true that you get paid for what your employer wants done, but also since your employer is paying a premium to hire you as an engineer, wouldn't it be in his/her best interest to use you in that capacity?

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#4

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 11:13 AM

Barely. I segued from traditional librarianship to untraditional (e.g., developing a collection of computer-based resources) to taxonomy to, now, more management and writing/editing than information organization. I think the point is that if you start with a solid education and you're willing to keep evolving you could be quite surprised where you end up.

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#16
In reply to #4

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:47 AM

Thanks for answering. Your summary is spot on! When I finished college, I never imagined I'd be doing what I'm doing now.

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#5

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 11:20 AM

I regret to find out, that most of the snake oil I've seen below was just a drip off from the top.

Since then, I never wanted going up. Because, after all that one have been highly educated, he is no difference of being a fool.

"Most of the troubles in this world are actually caused by educated fools"-D.Prince

That, I totally agree.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 3:10 PM

The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise.

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 1:13 AM

If ignorance means being pure, honest and innocent, I would choose ignorance over expertise of any sorts which only compromise others and your conscience.

There shall be no rest for the wicked. Tell me if this is not true?

Jesus looks over the well being of His bride. Satan devours and kills his bride.

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#7

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 4:36 PM

Yes, both grad and undergrad EE. But I have made a conscious decision to keep it that way, and my sanity.

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#17
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:51 AM

Thanks for your answer. I'm going to conclude that when you were working on your grad and undergrad degrees, you wanted to be an EE. Did you intern over the summers with an engineering firm?

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#34
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 1:09 PM

I liked electronics from my father's exposure. He did Heathkits at home and fun little projects. He was an industrial engineer designing pulp and paper mills primarily (but not exclusively) so he knew (knows!!) a lot about a lot of things like electrical power, control and instrumentation systems, boilers, material handling systems etc.

I started in high school part-time with a small company slicing and polishing small batch semiconductor wafers. That was dirty manufacturing, handling dangerous chemicals like cupric nitric, ammonium fluoride, nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, etc. As a small job plant, there was a lot of hands on work. Also worked one summer for an engineering firm installing Andover Controls building automation systems (HVAC mostly) back in the early eighties. That was mainly pulling wire in ceilings, crawl spaces, conduit, and some termination of the equipment in those bright orange boxes.

I always knew I liked electronics from an early age. Some minor exposure to HAM radio, age appropriate electronics kits and experimenter kits and so on.

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#45
In reply to #34

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:27 AM

Sounds like your dad is a smart guy. It seems like a lot of engineers back then had to know things in many fields.

I'm glad to hear that your dad was able to pass on the love for gaining knowledge and understanding to you. Having an interest in electronics at an early age is very cool!

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#8

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 6:03 PM

Yes definitely, but I cheated & didn't graduate until I was in my 50s.

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#18
In reply to #8

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:53 AM

Thank you for answering. I think it's awesome that you graduated later in life. I'm curious what was your motivating factor? And how did you keep focused with all the interruptions from "normal" day to day life?

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#23
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 4:07 AM

The motivation was my own sense of achievement, it was not necessary for my job. As for finding the time, it's a lot easier after the children have left home.

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#9

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 10:40 PM

Reading the posts, I may be in a minority..... Maybe because of my thoughts to stay a worker and avoid management (as mentioned before) and maybe because no one would think I could be a good manager!!! :-/

I graduated in 1979 with an associates degree in electronics. Quite by luck, a year later I got a job as a field service engineer with a company, manufacturing/servicing hospital laboratory equipment. Now 37 years later, I still work in the same field, my fifth company (this one the best ever, leader in the field) in the same line of lab equipment. I'd like to think it was tenacity that got me to this point. But, it could be a lot of other weird influences.

To add more fuel, my daughter graduated with a civil engineering degree, designing roads and bridges. Now she is a manager of Customer service in a casino..... They were good with a flexible schedule as a meager slot tech when she was going to school. Then they saw her potential and kept her. She tells me that if she can design a highway to get cars where they need to be. She can design pathways to get a casino Customer where they need to be!!

I can't argue..... (like it would do any good with a daughter ;-)

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#11
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 11:43 PM

Isn't your daughter's job to get the customer to where the casino needs them to be!

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#37
In reply to #11

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 9:05 PM

Yes, that's why she feels the civil engineering knowledge is helpful!!

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#19
In reply to #9

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 3:02 AM

Thanks for answering. My dad didn't want to be in management either, but I think his reasons were different from yours. I believe that he enjoyed his work (he was in QC, before QC was popular), but I think he felt that he couldn't do it well, because he didn't go to college. Here's the kicker; he had planned to go to college, but his dad died when he was young, so being the oldest male, he took over running the family business and being the man of the house. The ironic thing is that he was in essence a manager (of the business and house) at a very young age. Even without a formal college degree, I think he would've been an incredible manager.

I think it's great that your daughter decided to be a civil engineer. It tells me that she looks up to you and she wants to be like dad, in the science/problem solving field. A huge accomplishment - congratulations!

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#53
In reply to #9

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/07/2017 10:36 PM

OK - discussing life with my better half - I realize she is the same!

She was a student of medical technology _ hospital lab person who run analytical equipment (that I happen to repair - and we meet).......

And 35 years later, she now works as a lab consultant to make sure labs are working properly as the get inspected by state regulators.

We both have work in our same educated field AND we have been married for 35+ years - that really must make us an extreme minority!!!

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#54
In reply to #9

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/08/2017 10:30 AM

One more follow-up…..

My engineering daughter mentioned above is now studying business and seems to be doing QUITE well! Her team won the regional cup!

The ACG Cup is a case study competition designed to give students from leading MBA programs across the country real world experience and invaluable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. The competition is carried out through a series of intra-school and regional competitions, with regional winners awarded the prestigious ACG Cup title.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/25/2017 2:31 AM

That's awesome! Real life experience in an MBA program is huge. When I was in school for my MBA, they recommended that we have a full time job. The reason is that we could apply what we learned. I find that it was a great part of the program and there's nothing better to teach us than real life experiences.

Tell your daughter that we here think she's dynamite and that we wish her the very best. She's going to go far! And congratulation to you and your wife for raising such a wonderful daughter!

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#57
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/25/2017 8:34 AM

"When I was in school for my MBA, they recommended that we have a full time job."

A full-time job AND full-time classes? When did you have time to sleep, shower and do homework? Or was your employer in contact with the school, and weekly evaluations of your 'work ethic' considered your homework?

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#58
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/30/2017 2:55 AM

For most of us, a full time MBA program was one night class a week for four hours (two 2 1/2 hour classes per week if it was a 4 credit hour course). Each class lasted 10 weeks + 1 week for finals, then we had a two week break between semesters. 4 semesters per year for a total of 2 1/2 years of grad school classes + since I didn't have the pre-reqs, I had to take five undergrad business classes at the same time.

Homework didn't count toward the grade. It was 100% based on our presentations, papers, mid-terms and finals. We were treated like adults and if we didn't do the homework, our professor didn't care. Ditto for coming to class, but if we missed class due to work, they were very understanding and would spend time going over what we missed. Most textbooks were 400-500 pages and we didn't skip anything. Our professors never contacted our employers, though they knew that we worked and I think had a good idea what we did for a living. I think every classmate was a white collar worker or was an officer in the military. I think I was one of the younger ones (I started when I was 23). Most were in their 30's and there were are few around 60 or so.

You ask where did I find the time to live a normal life? I worked 40-50 hours a week + went on weekly business trips (local only), bought and maintained my house, owned and maintained a rental house, helped run and grow our business and kept my relationship going including helping to raise our daughter.

When we're put on the spot, I believe that most of us will find a way to accomplish things. When I look back at those 2 1/2 years, I'm still amazed that I did it. I tell myself that I don't think I could do it today, but in reality, if I had to, I bet I could.

The hardest thing about grad school wasn't the course material. There was a lot to learn, but it was not only interesting, but much of it applied to what I was doing at work or for my business. The reading took a lot of time. Research for my papers and presentations took a lot of time. Studying for mids and finals took a lot of time. Undergrad pre-reqs didn't take as much time, but there was a bit of reading, some homework and mids and finals. The semesters for undergrad were a little short at 14 weeks (3 hours - one day a week per class) + finals. It was pretty easy stuff, but still time consuming.

My BSEE was a lot harder (material) and a lot more demanding. Most of the time I took between 5-6 classes per semester (17-19 credit hours) and our semester was 16 weeks + finals. Two semesters per year + the summer off!

The biggest challenge was balancing everything and making sure that nothing fell apart. It's the same for what I do now; for my business, nothing is really that difficult, however getting everything done, making sure all parties are happy and making sure I make a fair profit (and getting my vendors to pay us) then balancing it with my home life, maintaining my house, paying the bills, planning my retirement, maintaining my properties, getting some exercise and keeping the family happy. Finding a way to do all of this and get some sleep - along with my 2-3 hour daily commute - that's the challenge!

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#10

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/06/2017 11:29 PM

A. I started working when I was 10 yrs old. Between 10 to 18, I tried over 200 different jobs.

B. I first filed a W2 when I was 12 yrs old.

C. I am not doing now what I went to school for then.

D. Now I get to combine everything that I have learned since I first started.

Life is short, do everything that you think you can and have as much fun as possible.

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#20
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 3:17 AM

Thanks for answering.

Man, I thought I had a strong work history! Prior to having a real job, I did a few things. When I was a little kid, I helped at my grandma's take out restaurant - I helped put together take out boxes (in the late 60's to around 71). When I lived in the suburbs, I shoveled driveways for money. Also a little lawnmowing and other summer tasks - I think it's kinda funny; I preferred shoveling driveways vs cutting grass. My first formal job (with a W2) was when I was 15 - Wendy's. I lied and told them I was 16. I enjoyed working there and many times I stayed late to help close (lots of clean up, but a nice reward at the end of the shift - the manager would buy us beer/liquor).

I think those early jobs taught me that it's okay to work hard and to try my best as often as I can.

I like how you brought up that you now get to combine everything you've learned. It shows me that you care about doing a good job. I think it's awesome!

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#30
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 10:05 AM

There was a time, where you could look in the sunday newspaper classifieds and see at least 15 full pages of help wanted advertisements.

I was tall and older looking for my age. I could go into a business district, walk into the first place, get a job, work there a week or two, then go down the street, get another job, quit the first one on Friday and start the next one on the following Monday.

I went to school during the day and worked during the afternoon. Employer's knew this, sometimes I figured I could do the job, sometimes I had to schmooze my way in.

I think the boss figured if I had the bollicks to apply, they might as well give me a chance.

You'd be surprised how much you could learn just being the cleanup boy or shop helper.

I learned early on that although a company has technicians, Engineers, salesmen and secretaries, the janitor is the eyes and ears of the organization.

Between 11-13, I helped my brother's deliver ( by bicycle) the Orange County Register. We had 7 routes, we delivered over 2000 newspapers on Sunday.

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#42
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:11 AM

Aaaahhhh! Newspaper routes! What ever happened to kids delivering newspapers in the morning? That was a great job and taught kids that being responsible for delivering newspapers was an important thing. The good old day!

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#50
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 8:29 AM

Not only delivering (mine were all out before 7:00 AM), but money handling as well. The weekly collecting and remitting. All good life lessons.

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#52
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/17/2017 5:31 AM

Yes, handling money! I forgot about that part of the job. Excellent lessons.

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#25
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 4:28 AM

Or as we Land-Rover fans, when we're not keeping our mechanical skills active, say "One Life - Live It!"

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#28
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 6:45 AM

Mechanical skills active with a Land Rover? I heard it's a 24/7 job!

Different from Alfa owners. They aren't on the job 24/7, but every time they take their car for a drive, they're a nervous wreck!

Lancia Beta drivers - well, they don't have to worry, because their cars rusted out before they got to the point of being unreliable (typically after the first birthday).

We have our own "fun" cars here in the US:

1. Chevy Cavalier - for a while this site was full of "my Cavalier doesn't run" posts.

2. Anything made by the Chrysler Corp after 1973. Chrysler K Cars (Aries/Reliant), St Regis, Diplomat, Omni/Horizon, Dynasty (Die Nasty), Aspen, Mirada, Cordoba (with it's rich Corinthian Leather), Volare, Sundance/Shadow, Intrepid/Concorde/LHS/300M, Neon, PT Cruiser, Sebring/Stratus, Lancer, Acclaim, Spirit, Breeze, 600, Monaco

3. Chevy Vega with it's wonderful aluminum block engine and rusty body.

4. Ford Pinto - need I say more?

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#21

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 3:26 AM

I stand corrected. Based on the responses, most people here do not work as an engineer. One even said that the Dean of their Engineering School told the incoming class that most would wind up not having a career in engineering.

I recall hearing something similar when I was in my undergrad. I also remember hearing that the perfect trifecta is a BS in engineering with an MBA and a Law Degree. At one time I considered getting a Law Degree, but I will admit that I don't get along with lawyers too well.

Here's one more observation. In the following fairly specialized fields, most of the graduates remain in that field. The fields I'm thinking of are: medicine, law, accounting, finance, marketing (advertising), science (most get PhD's), teaching and IT. So why do we engineers choose to go to different fields of work?

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#22
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 4:00 AM

One reason for this is that engineering is a versatile quantitative discipline with application to all sorts of human activity.

My major was in math--pure math at that--with the hope of teaching at the advanced high school or junior college level, in order to keep summers free for hiking and mountain climbing. It didn't work out that way, but I have enjoyed the variety of engineering areas I have encountered.

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#24
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 4:10 AM

That's true, an education in engineering gives you a basis for many jobs.

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#26
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 4:59 AM

Did you go back to school for an engineering degree or did you use your math skills and "learn" the job?

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#36
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 2:33 PM

Except for drafting, which was in high school, I learned the rest on the job.

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#47
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:36 AM

That's pretty impressive! I remember being told that I had to have a rock solid understanding of math (calculus) or some of the engineering concepts wouldn't make sense. Whoever told me that knew what they were talking about!

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#40
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:06 AM

Did you get a MS or BS in engineering?

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#51
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 9:45 AM

No, just in math; engineering was mostly on-the-job.

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#27

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 5:58 AM

I went to undergrad for Chemical Engineering just before the bottom dropped out of oil and pharmaceuticals in the early 90's. So I went to grad school for a master's degree in Civil Engineering, Water Resources. I began working for my graduate school professor while still in school doing hydraulic modeling and now 20+ years later I am still doing it. I have successfully stayed away from managing people and budgets for the most part and focus almost exclusively on technical issues.

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#41
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:08 AM

Thanks for sharing your career with us. I'm glad to hear that you're still doing engineering work!

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#29

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 8:52 AM

I started out in my educational field - Agricultural for a short line manufacturer - which then led to the railway industry designing and building track maintenance equipment - then into structural steel first as a plant engineer and then into QA, sales and project management - and finally automotive - the last move as I am an owner.

However, each of the jobs led directly to the next because of the work I had done for previous companies. There was always something that interconnected all the industries.

Even though I am no longer in my "field", what I learned most at university was to think for myself and figure things out - those are things that apply to any position, especially a technical one.

As for engineering work, I still do some but not as much as my earlier years.

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#31

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 10:18 AM

Not having an engineering degree, I worked in engineering. Learned both AutoCAD and SolidWorks through on the job training, reviewed the work of other engineers and made them correct incomplete drawings. I obtained my degree in Project Management, worked Quality Control, Safety Coordinator and processes all project material usage. Now I'm purchasing agent for all our outsourced machining and fabrication needs. So in some regards my degree does cover each one of those but never to the effect of being Project Manager. I never did get a return on my investment for this degree.

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#32
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/07/2017 10:34 AM

I worked on a drawing board for years then did a course in AutoSketch which was the very light version of AutoCAD. I changed jobs on the strength of being able to use CAD. On my 1st day, I borrowed their copy of AutoCAD (version 10 I think, it was on 5" floppy disc). I installed that at home & crammed like mad for a couple of days. After a few months in the job I was being referred to as the CAD expert.

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#43
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:18 AM

Thank you for answering.

I worked for the DoD in the late 80's - early 90's and the "hot" button was quality control. Deming and SPC (Statistical Process Control) was big back then and I remember taking classes in the field. Six Sigma, Isikawa Diagrams (Fishbone) and Pareto Charts! Those were the days!

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#38

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/08/2017 1:50 PM

I once met a supervisory or managing structural engineer who had his engineering career interrupted by the need to transfer over to running his family's business, which was not an engineering business.

All college education is, essentially, an experience in project management, in that any student has to project-manage a path to achieve graduation, no matter what the final major is.

So, qualitatively, he was challenged to apply his engineering education and work experience into becoming successful at his family business. So, essentially he was doing a kind of (project management) engineering while taking over his family business, even though there was no actual engineering being done from that time on.

So, in your mind, was he doing any form of business-project-management-engineering, and to what extent?

To the extent that you think he was doing engineering is the extent to which he was (still) doing engineering...

In short, it depends on how you define ''doing engineering''...

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#48
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:46 AM

My definition of engineering is the classical electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, nuclear, biological, etc. All science based engineering.

I see project management as using business skills. The project requires assets like: manpower, tools, materials, energy (utilities, etc). Time management, planning, contingency planning, logistics, testing, re-testing, timelines, coordination, etc, these are things that the project manager is responsible for.

Here's another way to look at it. I see engineers as people who either solve problems or design things. Project managers use the engineers to complete the project.

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#39

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/14/2017 12:16 AM

Yes, but because I got the degree after I've been already in the field for a whil.

I started coding and made my first PCB at 10, and sold my first software at 15.

I went to college not to learn engineering, but to get the piece of paper...

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#49
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Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

03/15/2017 4:49 AM

Thanks for answering.

Do you feel that learning engineering in college helped you do your job better?

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#56

Re: Does Your Job Coincide With Your Degree?

04/25/2017 2:34 AM

The best programmer I ever met was trained as a neurosurgeon.

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