CR4® - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


Previous in Forum: Is This Another Industry Fad?   Next in Forum: BAE Systems is offering exciting Graduate Opportunities - Naval Architecture, UK
Close
Close
Close
75 comments
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haverhill, MA
Posts: 1003
Good Answers: 121

How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 3:11 PM

Perhaps many of you got into engineering via the traditional route, a engineering degree from a college or university and then on to a traditional career path in the business or academic world. Then there are others, like me, who got into engineering by the back door. In my case it was an academic background in mathematics and geology combined with a career in the tool and die trade. But that is a long story.

What is your story? Why did you choose this as a career.

__________________
The older I am, the better I used to be
Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20030
Good Answers: 753
#1

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 3:39 PM

When I went to college (1966-1971), I majored in math and wanted to teach at the high school or junior college level, leaving my summers free for backpacking and mountain climbing. By the time I graduated, what had been a teacher shortage began to turn into a surplus. The first job I found was in controlled atmosphere specialties for fruit warehouses. This brought me into contact with refrigeration, piping, and electrical controls--i.e., engineering in several disciplines.

Another career turn brought me into "deadliest catch" Alaskan king crab fishing, thence into ship engineering. Because of these opportunities, I have experience in pressure vessel design, process safety analysis, UL industrial control panel design, and refrigeration plant operation. Not a traditional path, but varied and rewarding.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haverhill, MA
Posts: 1003
Good Answers: 121
#2
In reply to #1

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 3:53 PM

Thanks, this is exactly the type of reply I was looking forward to reading.

__________________
The older I am, the better I used to be
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8399
Good Answers: 771
#3

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 4:29 PM

Well I was up on the roof of one building in town one day doing some work on a HVAC unit when I was walking back to get something out of my toolbox when suddenly fell through a soft spot on the roof landing right in a chair in front of a computer.

Some guy just happen to open the door a few seconds later looked at me surprised and then said, Hi! Sorry I recognize you. Are you new here?

I said yes. Very new. Just arrived in fact and I see there is a hole in my ceiling too!

He then said, Sorry. I'm new here too. In fact I guess I am probably your new manager so I will get that hole fixed for you right away.

Turns out it was an engineering firm I fell into and I been here ever since.

Thanks to that soft spot in the roof I tripled my pay, cut my workload by 95% and someone else even fixed the hole I made!

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haverhill, MA
Posts: 1003
Good Answers: 121
#4
In reply to #3

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 4:43 PM

And now you are out fracking holes in the ground

You are one of the members that I really wanted to hear from.

__________________
The older I am, the better I used to be
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haverhill, MA
Posts: 1003
Good Answers: 121
#5
In reply to #4

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 5:26 PM

I really enjoy your "you can kiss my ass" attitude. There have been a very few moments in my career when I could get away with it, but those moments were the high points of my life.

__________________
The older I am, the better I used to be
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8399
Good Answers: 771
#16
In reply to #5

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 7:09 AM

Yea I rub my boss the wrong way all the time.

He is very OCD and ,well, I'm obviously not.

As far as what drew me to engineering and going back to school a second time for EE was the years I worked in a few jobs where I usually ended up the liaison between the crew and the engineers we would occasionally hire.

Half the people I worked with that were engineers were the brilliant and interesting types of people I like to work around. The other half were the ones that pretty muched convinced me that if these pompous idiots could hold a job like that I certainly could!

As far as where I work I tend to do what I want and just let life take me where it wants me the most which at this point is working at a fraccing company rubbing our pompous idiots who designed/over engineered/over complicated while missing the obvious functionality of our equipment the wrong way!

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 40046
Good Answers: 1599
#6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 7:17 PM

Never got a degree, never used education to get a job. I used confidence and attitude.

I was lucky enough to be willing to do whatever what was asked of me and wound up in a "plastics" lab in 1973, in Arizona. We tested materials and developed new ones for satellite electronics. I learned about materials and specifications and military applications.

There weren't any engineers who knew what I knew, so I was one of the guys they came to to get things done. We also made some of the some of the very first collars they put on Polar Bears. And lots more.

Finally they gave me the title of "engineer" and I worked there for 23 years, finally running molding shops that made prototypes for the military.

I was involved with the NSA when they only spied on foreign governments. The stories I could tell! NSA guys are really weird!

Later, I found myself managing teams developing active noise and vibration solutions when Motorola (my old employer) brought a DSP chip to market that could process information fast enough to cancel vibrations at the source.

I've held titles of technician, engineer, engineering manager, production manager, mechanical engineering manager and director of engineering and manufacturing.

I never said "I can't do this". I've had fun.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1121
Good Answers: 11
#14
In reply to #6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 5:51 AM

Wow impressive, lyn, teach me sometime with the remote sensing collar. I got to put it to someone

__________________
" To infinity and beyond" - Buzz Lightyear
Register to Reply Score 1 for Off Topic
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1994
Good Answers: 25
#17
In reply to #6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 7:13 AM

This reminds me of my friend in college who left college in 2nd and could not complete degree. He also started a plastic molding shop and to-day he has many injection molding machines.His all workers are handicapped and they work with honesty full 8 hr shift. He mfrs. auto parts and also assembles them.Many auto mfrs. have given him preference as he doing social work by employing handicapped persons During my last visit to his factory I found all his workers loyal, hard working and respectful. If you wish to peep in his activity then web address is www.microsignproducts.com.Name of person is Mr.Mehta.

__________________
"Engineers should not look for jobs but should create jobs for others" by Dr.Radhakrishnan Ex President of India during my college graduation day
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Mossel Bay, SA
Posts: 780
Good Answers: 21
#33
In reply to #6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 5:24 AM

Well done !!

Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 3
#54
In reply to #6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 9:06 AM

Lynn,

My brother Marc was with the NSA (on loan to them from the Air Force) back in the 80's. He really loved the time he spent there...... started out as a decryption specialist and finished his time with them as a computer scientist..

And yeah - some of those folks are pretty strange - but Marc is just brilliant......

Rod

Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
#73
In reply to #6

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/11/2014 8:56 PM

Impressive. Hard work with intelligence and interest in involving the practice problems is essential than acquiring a degree for a job. I have four decades of experience as a mechanical engineer with a professional institute graduation. I have come across a lot of engineers who do not show interest in practical approach but seek an avenue to write a paper in journals for academic recognition.

Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#74
In reply to #73

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/12/2014 7:41 AM

When I was in college, there where basically (2) types of engineers, Theoretical and Practical.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 689
Good Answers: 20
#7

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 7:42 PM

I have always look at things in a different manner. Teachers in grade school thought I was off my rocker most times because of it. But, I always thought what if! what if I did this or that could we make it work better. This lead me into this field of engineering. Went back to school (college) got bored with that and was making more money then I would if I finished the degree.

So after 45 years still at the what if's. Lot of fun for sure and would not change a thing.

For the sake of titles, Millwright, A&P mech, Electrical engineer, Mechanical engineer, Maintenance Foreman / superintend / do all.

Fixit

Register to Reply
Guru
Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Canada but south of 49
Posts: 742
Good Answers: 18
#57
In reply to #7

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 10:09 AM

Not only make things work better, but take a challange. When I search around for parts and the manufacturer says "you can't fix that it's not made to be repaired, just replace it", that gets one mind going. No better feeling of accomplishment that repairing the "unrepairable", or, modifying something to do, safely, what it wasn't designed to do.

__________________
Never stop learning
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Earth - I think.
Posts: 2033
Good Answers: 158
#8

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 9:36 PM

Grew up working on cars (I was so young I used to sit on the air cleaner and hand my dad tools), carpentry, and butilt "Olson Electronics" kits- tube tester... (dad was an EE). So when I took the exams to enter the Marine Corps, it was no surprise that I scored highest on mechanical aptitude, followed closely by electronics.

I was supposed to be trained on aviation radios, but the class before mine blew up all the radios; so they offered to put me and the second guy in the class into a computer controlled radar and tracking intercept school. That was the first, and last time I ever got trained on a piece of electronics before working on it for some time.

Not too long after getting out, I landed a job at a copper company in Arizona as an electronic R&D Engineer. The first day they shoved a partialy completed Heathkit robot (HERO) at me and said "put the rest of it together, and make it do something". That was probably the most rewarding work I have ever done.

Then came the engineering company. They offered me a 30% raise from the copper company, how do you refuse that? The 8 years I spent with that first engineering firm, was the most crammed learning and exhausting experience of my life. During pre-testing, we would work 16 hours/day for 12 days, have a 2 days back home, then turn around and do it again - for 6-9 months! When we got to startup/commissioning we got a break - they were only 12 hour days. Get a rep as being good in the field, and with the customer, and they will burn your candle from 6 different directions.

Since that time I have alternated between working for engineering, and being on the plant side of programming/process control.

Given my early interest, and my (still) raging curiosity, I can't imagine I could have ended up anywhere but where I am at in life. I would have gravitated towards this any which way I went in life.

__________________
TANSTAAFL (If you don't know what that means, Google it - yourself)
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1121
Good Answers: 11
#9

Re: How did you get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 10:43 PM

Probably I'm the youngest down here, with respect and high regards to the guys a little older than me, i'd like to apologize for the foolishness sometimes.

I was undecided on what to pursue in college back at 1997. I end up entering BS electrical engineering as decided and recommended by my older brother. I had a blurred vision on the future back then. I was into foolishness during those days, I went to join a band just to satisfy aggravating testosterone level and the egoistic mentality during the era, instead of learning the lessons in class, i prioritize the gig "rock and roll" style. Later on, i get hooked with a girl and irresponsibly got her pregnant. But, I did not run from it. It was then on that my grades were hanging on a thread, failed through several subjects and was kicked out in the Electrical Engineering department. It's those days that my future vision was cleared. There were only two things or destiny i thought of -I could be either driving a taxi or end up successful in engineering. Fortunately, with kind and patient support from my family and the new kid i have, I was straighten and bent solid. I ended up applying at the mechanical engineering department and was a success. I opened the eyes of interest and everything in front of me became easy.

I've been to an instrumentation and sales company, environmental consultancy, building construction, lift industry and now doing independent business and a part time instructor in engineering sharing all what is good to share for free (obliged to impart all the information and knowledge I have as a parent organism to the new generation, someday when I die, I wont be a failure and lived as efficient as I am)

If there are regrets i have, probably my credentials, in a world where all are paper chased. There's a less opportunity you have if your records was not good enough and people will not be inclined to believe who you are and what you have.

Engineering is easy, Politics is not.

__________________
" To infinity and beyond" - Buzz Lightyear
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Oman
Posts: 612
Good Answers: 14
#10

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/06/2014 11:33 PM

I am from a small village in down south of India. Those days if one is good in mathematics he /she is encouraged to choose engineering in our village. Besides nobody had formal educational qualification in my family. I am the first person who chose engineering in our family and went out from my village to city to study engineering course. (1977-1982).I have been practicing it since three decades. Thorough out my professional carrier I have been working in Government service (Both in India and Oman). Though I do not get much opportunities to apply my skills fully , which I was trained during my PhD at IIT,Delhi , I interact with academics regularly to reduce the gap between academics and industry.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: srilanka
Posts: 2728
Good Answers: 5
#11

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 12:11 AM

it depends upon the culture of a nation where one lives. in developed countries engineers play very important role in manufacture,research etc. But now Japan, Korea, China etc has jumped into that by producing cheap items. In developing countries engineering didn't play an important role until colonisation by europeans. Many select careers for pride(engineer,doctor,accountant,attorney,graduate etc)and earning capacity although skill levels are low. Entry qualification for different faculties of education plays another important role. Those who are good in scienceget into University and become graduate in language,religion,history,geography, economics etc and many find difficult to get jobs. As a result there are many unemployed graduates in India. Some apply for small jobs(clerk) which donot require adegree and fight for high salary thereafter. Govt should limit intake to each faculty every year. But it doesn't have control over private universities,colleges or professional institution who hold examination for part time students.

__________________
pnaban
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: No. VA, USA (No, it does NOT mean "won't go"!)
Posts: 1673
Good Answers: 72
#12

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 1:25 AM

Mentor in 5th grade was a Ham operator, got me started on basic electronics. It took, and I was designing and building my own (broadcast band, AM and FM) transmitters when I was in 7th grade. Took all the science, math, and hands-on electronics my High School offered, and finished it all a year earlier than scheduled. Graduated High School at 17, knocked around home and various (BORING!!!) odd jobs for two years, met my wife to be at 18, and joined the US Navy. Scored so high on the entrance exams (during Viet Nam, so I expected to go to the war) that I got offered either Nuke Power or Advanced Electronics Field ratings, my choice. I chose the AEF field, and became a crypto tech. Loved it, particularly because most of it was OJT, including telephones, HVAC, AC and DC power systems, Plumbing, Gas pipe fitting, and a host of other related skills.

Got out of the Navy and went to work for the CIA as a contractor in commo, installation, and field engineering. Moved to practical commo engineering for a company that used us to do everything from facilities to commo, power to access control, and PA to lightning control, with all of my work being in VERY classified spaces and for "The Acronyms" (CIA, DIA, NSA, NRO, etc.) because of my clearances, and as stated elsewhere, that I had no specialty, so never said "I can't do that".

Ultimately I retired from 41 years of service, to the US Government, as a Sailor, an engineering contractor, and finally as a Civil Servant. Along the way, I went from hardware tech, to installer, to installation engineer, to systems engineer, to UNIX programmer, and Unix Programmer Team Lead, to Software Test Engineer, with branches along the way into Lightning Control, HVAC system engineering, telephone system installation engineering, to authoring several installation plans for specific data and voice switch systems.

Several college courses along the way, mostly to satisfy MY curiosity about subjects I decided I could learn better in class the by myself.

Now, I'm retired. I teach a robotics class (developmental, since our current session is the start-up, and I'm putting the materials together as I go) with segments on basic electronics, soldering, programming for specific environments, and ultimately a 12 week condensation of the US Government's currently accepted process of designing and acquiring ACAT-1A systems. I also teach voters how to use our voting systems in my county, serve as the Chief Election Officer for my home polling place, and others as assigned, and perform whatever other duties the Electoral Board requires. I also tutor Science Fair competitors in the competition prep, and judge Science Fair competition at both the Regional and the State Levels in Virginia, USA.

Retirement is another job, but a LOT more fun!

__________________
It does not take quantum math to develop good toilets. On the other hand ...
Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2008
Location: CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.
Posts: 1796
Good Answers: 62
#13

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 4:21 AM

Dear Mr.grongogreg,

During my college studies entering in to MEDICAL COLLEGE and ENGINEERING COLLEGE was a prestigeous status in the Society. For 275 seats in Engineering College seats, during June 1960, about 11,000 candidates were appearing for entrance test/selection and I got in to the first 50, and I got the admission preference of my choice for the college, which has recently celebrated 125th Year.

I enjoyed the ENGINEERING SUBJECTS (Mechanical Branch and equally Electrical Engineering) and joined the Sugar Industry, and I enjoyed my Profession and continue to enjoy as I am working even to-day, as the Managing Director.

I feel, it is by CALCULATED ATTEMPT and a chance.

DHAYANANDHAN.S

Register to Reply Score 2 for Off Topic
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: srilanka
Posts: 2728
Good Answers: 5
#15

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 6:05 AM

in some countries entry to engineering education is based on grade obtained in theory papers(physics,chemistry,maths) but not on IQ. Some don't get entry as they are not good in chemistry.In developed nations do thry require chemistry for engineering studies. One professor said he was not selected for engineering because he didn,t get good grade in chemistry,so he went to UK and became a Professor in Civil engineering. Some don't get get selected(Institution of mechanical engineers,UK in 1960s) for mechanical engineering because they don't have good grade(more than 50%)in English language but for Institution of Electrical Engineers, UK it was not necessary,pass is enough. One said he didn't get good grade in english language in Grade 10 examination but he did his Ph.D. Why can't UN standardise requirements for engineering education (like agriculture,health,workmen safety etyc) in all its member states. What do you say about this type of third world countries compared to others,are they mad?.

__________________
pnaban
Register to Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Project Managers & Project Engineers - New Member

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas.Baytown
Posts: 697
Good Answers: 26
#52
In reply to #15

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 6:37 AM

but not on IQ
Its not what you have , its what you do with what you have.

__________________
If you want to know how well a broom works you do not ask the guy selling the broom or the guy who designed the broom, you ask the guy using the broom.
Register to Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stronger Than The Storm
Posts: 2367
Good Answers: 201
#59
In reply to #15

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 10:13 AM

A relatively high IQ does not make you a genius, neither does a relatively low one make you "dumb". In many instances I would rather be considered as having a low IQ. Then every one would be "surprised" that I could accomplish the task at hand. Having a high IQ and others knowing it leads to comparisons and you are always striving to reach the expectations. If you are always striving to be better and never reach the goal set by you or others you are constantly failing. This can very often lead to clinical depression because in your mind you are a failure.

Set everyone else's expectations aside and do what you want to do. Enjoy life! Do the things you like. Do engineering because it is fun or have fun doing engineering.

Any country that limits its citizens chances of success within engineering is missing the contributions they can make for their country. "Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog"!

Good Luck, Old Salt

__________________
Any day on the green side of the grass is a GREAT DAY!, --- me +++++++++. I believe creativity is an inherent part of everyone. --- Kermit T. Frog
Register to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Not a New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK. Going under cover.
Posts: 9576
Good Answers: 457
#61
In reply to #59

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 7:51 PM

The whole "IQ thing" is a load of crap anyway. Just look at any "IQ test" - WTF is it testing?

Results - achievements - things done to make life better for others and so on are generally unquantifiable, but are a lot more meaningful than any Imaginary Quotient.

__________________
"Love justice, you who rule the world" - Dante Alighieri
Register to Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stronger Than The Storm
Posts: 2367
Good Answers: 201
#63
In reply to #61

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 10:35 PM

IQ = Insecurity Quotient?

IQ = Imaginary Quotient?

IQ = Intelligence Quotient?

Everyone has an Intelligence Quotient. Very seldom does it accurately reflect what an individual's real useable intelligence is. Intelligence is leaving this world a little better than it was when you got here.

Good Luck, Old Salt

__________________
Any day on the green side of the grass is a GREAT DAY!, --- me +++++++++. I believe creativity is an inherent part of everyone. --- Kermit T. Frog
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tamworth, UK.
Posts: 1551
Good Answers: 36
#65
In reply to #63

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 8:41 AM

Perhaps 'common sense' is more important. Common sense is the application of intelligence - and that matters.

Maybe off topic here, but I had enormous trouble remembering formulas (still do). This obviously is a major problem for passing exams - implying low !Q.

Some classmates I knew had no trouble with facts and figures with academic questions, and passed exams with no problems, but were hopeless in the lab when it came to wiring/piping up components. Unfortunately there were no marks for craftsmanship.

They were sent to the escalator to better things whilst I was put in the treadmill to drive their escalator - a valuable experience later adapted to running my own company.

__________________
When arguing, remember mud-slinging = lost ground.
Register to Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stronger Than The Storm
Posts: 2367
Good Answers: 201
#67
In reply to #65

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 9:36 AM

Right about the Common Sense. I also add Situational Awareness to the list of preferred skills.

Ditto on the exams and passing grades. During my pursuit of a BS I had a very interesting discovery at the end. Everyone was required to take the Graduate Record Exams (GRE) used for admission to graduate school no matter whether you were going to grad school. It was a must to graduate!

Having had mediocre classroom grades I was shocked with what happened. Profs and Deans were questioning (interrogating) me about studying for them, copying from others (only 5 students per class room) and all sorts of things I felt were an insult to my honesty and intelligence. Soon found out why. I had the highest score of anyone who had taken the test for my major in the history of the school, including several who went on to phd's. Common sense and loving labs made the difference!

Good Luck, Old Salt

__________________
Any day on the green side of the grass is a GREAT DAY!, --- me +++++++++. I believe creativity is an inherent part of everyone. --- Kermit T. Frog
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tamworth, UK.
Posts: 1551
Good Answers: 36
#71
In reply to #67

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 12:39 PM

Does your meaning of Situational Awareness relate to my treadmill analogy and becoming aware that it was the future to expect unless I did something about it.

Working to earn enough money was the driving force - to feed and cloth a wife and two children, and a mortgage. Career planning took second place - where persistence with with schooling added to life's problems.

Higher education in technical subjects was hard to come by in evening classes. And if you could get courses the homework was hard because on a building site there were mentors amongst the tradesmen during the day.

Technical colleges stopped evening courses in favour of block release and day-release for students sponsored by big engineering companies, but for an electrician, block release was out of the question, and you lost a days pay (if the firm allowed time off - which they didn't like doing) - and if they did - the loss of pay made it impossible to live on.

The only college offering evening classes at the time was 15 miles away and I could not afford the petrol four nights a week - and the extra travelling time reduced the few hours of occasional overtime - so less pay again.

That effectively put a stop to my career studies and I had to make do with an HNC with endorsements - which was not good enough for CEng entry to chartered institutions. Dreams crushed. Not to worry though. I settled for IEng instead.

Not that it mattered as it happened. My prime aim at school was too learn engineering for the knowledge to apply to my work - which I did - not as a means to pass exams.

Nowadays numerous courses are available. But having retired, I have no inclination to 'learn' anything. If I want to know something it is a click away on CR4 - thanks everyone.

I don't want to sound arrogant, but if my company needs this knowledge then we will employ someone coming up today's escalator.

Full circle then

__________________
When arguing, remember mud-slinging = lost ground.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Madison, WI.
Posts: 1050
Good Answers: 46
#69
In reply to #65

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 10:22 AM

The "Peter Principle" in action, similar to academia.

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, get promoted.

I will never be in the running for an upper echelon engineering position.

1. do not have the degrees, certificates, etc.

2. I'm to busy working to kiss that much......

you know!

__________________
Knowing is the end result of learning, not believing.
Register to Reply
Anonymous Poster #1
#18

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 7:34 AM

All I did was comment here and voila...I'm into engineering!

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20030
Good Answers: 753
#20
In reply to #18

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 8:30 AM

And in the 90th percentile, too!

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Anonymous Poster #2
#24
In reply to #20

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 11:07 AM

Like the young Einstien, who seem to be frustrated and non-performing on his college years and would even sell insurance for survival. Yet,suddenly interest lit his brain to fission.

Who knows what tomorrow would bring.

Register to Reply Score 1 for Off Topic
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Not a New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK. Going under cover.
Posts: 9576
Good Answers: 457
#19

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 8:28 AM

Drifted through school, found physics enjoyable and mostly common sense, so drifted into and through a physics degree. Spent more time in the pub than studying. Got a six-week post in a hospital medical physics dept., and 4 weeks with a precision engineering/electronics company during the vac before final year.

Fancied the medical physics, but didn't get a good enough degree (it had suddenly become very popular), but the engineering company offered me a place.

Went into electronics and software, making stuff for medical and scientific applications (mostly nuclear field). Self-taught machine code, assembler & C. Programmed the control and image reconstruction software for an isotope emission tomographic scanner, then installed and commissioned scanners in Germany, Switzerland and Japan.

That company went bust, but others rose from the ashes. Eventually I went self-employed (18 years ago), and now I mostly supply control systems for kit produced by a precision engineering outfit which is a descendant of my original employer. Still one or two of the people there that I started with 40-odd years ago.

__________________
"Love justice, you who rule the world" - Dante Alighieri
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 40046
Good Answers: 1599
#22
In reply to #19

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 9:14 AM

And, as I see on FB, you haven't lost your taste for a good pint now and then.

Register to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Not a New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK. Going under cover.
Posts: 9576
Good Answers: 457
#23
In reply to #22

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 10:50 AM

True - beer has been my life-long friend and companion.

__________________
"Love justice, you who rule the world" - Dante Alighieri
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 40046
Good Answers: 1599
#28
In reply to #23

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 3:13 PM

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Ben Franklin.

Either that, or he just has a sense of humor.

Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Not a New Member Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK. Going under cover.
Posts: 9576
Good Answers: 457
#29
In reply to #28

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 6:24 PM

"or he just has a sense of humour" - Ben, or god?

I'll stand by ale (as long as I can ). I believe in Ben (there's evidence), but maybe not all of his beliefs.

__________________
"Love justice, you who rule the world" - Dante Alighieri
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1121
Good Answers: 11
#53
In reply to #29

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 8:48 AM

Yes, John I found the proof of evolution --It's quantum entanglement..

__________________
" To infinity and beyond" - Buzz Lightyear
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 7)
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Edinburgh, Bonnie Scotland
Posts: 1178
Good Answers: 12
#21

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 8:35 AM

I took the long way round: after sitting Engineering Drawing exam a year early, I worked in stores and driving trucks for years. Ended up at Uni a year ahead of my eldest, more give the (5)kids a target than for myself. Enjoyed it immensely.

Went on to fly & maintain ROVs for a few years. Now in HVACS R&D.

Variety is the spice of life!

__________________
Madness is all in the mind
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tamworth, UK.
Posts: 1551
Good Answers: 36
#25

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 11:45 AM

Necessity to earn a living.

Learn as much engineering as you can. Invent a product, become self-employed, make it and sell it - using your own money.

Forget career prospects, promotion, status, holidays, bonuses, overtime pay, short hours and early retirement.

Make it work; but remember, it's a lonely world; there is no one to share the profits with.

Don't let that put you off though. You get used to it.

__________________
When arguing, remember mud-slinging = lost ground.
Register to Reply
Guru
New Zealand - Member - Kiwi Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 8491
Good Answers: 350
#26

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 1:58 PM

Apparently I was always going to be one, fate if you will (well that or a pilot).

The earliest sign my parents could recall was getting a phone call from Kindergarten from a distraught teacher after she caught me disassembling the telephone with a screwdriver. After that, converting a room at home into an electronics lab, then college electronics course, practical electronics work experience, university, more practical electronics and laboratory work experience, then a full-time job in the Engineering field.

__________________
jack of all trades
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 871
Good Answers: 23
#27

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 3:05 PM

My dad (retired Navy Chief) introduced me to electronics.

The USN taught me electronics.

Civil Service and G.I. Bill allowed me to go back to college and earn my degree.

Defense industry gave me a 31 year career in electronics engineering.

__________________
...and the Devil said: "...yes, but it's a DRY heat..!"
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: srilanka
Posts: 2728
Good Answers: 5
#30

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 9:58 PM

Respectable jobs in our country are engineering,medicine,law,lecturer,teacher etc. Due to good salary and being good in maths and physics I chose engineering but once went to work encountered problems due to improper education without adequate practical training.

__________________
pnaban
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: srilanka
Posts: 2728
Good Answers: 5
#34
In reply to #30

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 6:17 AM

Followed a course titled "Diploma in electrical and mechanical engineering",went to work and followed 2 more years of part time courses to sit for examinations conducted by Institution of electrical engineers,UK. But to sit for Institution of mechanical engineers,UK as they asked for high grade in english language I didn't sit exam was easy to pass through..

__________________
pnaban
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tamworth, UK.
Posts: 1551
Good Answers: 36
#36
In reply to #34

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 9:21 AM

Good for you.

I found it very hard work to learn. It took me 15 years of part time and evening classes to reach HNC standard circa 1965. This was not good enough for Chartered Engineer (CE) of IEE, and worse, my subsequent mechanical engineering experience did not count because experience had to be 'electrical'.

Conversely, whereas my mechanical experience counted towards CE of IMechE, my electrical academic training did not.

All this has changed now. Engineers with mixed discipline are in big demand. All education and experience is counted. Appropriate social work and voluntary community work also counts. It all builds character of good engineers.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology recognises this and provides an Incorporated class for the likes of me.

Even so, although 'what you know' might get you a better paid job, it is 'what you do' that keeps it.

__________________
When arguing, remember mud-slinging = lost ground.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 592
Good Answers: 24
#31

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/07/2014 10:52 PM

Started out in science, and had to make instruments for my Ph.D., but eventually abandoned the Ph.D. and went in for designing instruments for others. Then got into computers, software, and education, each more fun than the the previous one. Having to talk to experts in lots of different fields got me a much broader education in science and engineering than I would have had if I had stuck to my original field, though not as deep.

Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 458
Good Answers: 6
#32

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 12:29 AM

These stories remind me of the guy who went to school and became an electronics technician. He got a job on the railroad. He worked his way up to engineer.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tamworth, UK.
Posts: 1551
Good Answers: 36
#35

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 8:20 AM

Thanks for giving me an 'Off Topic' rating. Whoever that was!!

Perhaps I should have opened my post by saying "Do what I did"

__________________
When arguing, remember mud-slinging = lost ground.
Register to Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stronger Than The Storm
Posts: 2367
Good Answers: 201
#37

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 9:26 AM

Like many others in engineering, my career was dictated by the need to feed, etc. a growing family, recessions and a general relocation of manufacturing facilities to other parts of our country and off-shore.

Started school out with a major of Chemistry. Hated the class room work but loved the labs. Changed to Chem. Eng. and got a degree in it. Had numerous job offers, took one and enjoyed it. If I had graduated one year later I couldn't have found a job because of a big recession. Spent several years there and next employer wanted a 2nd engineering education. They paid for it 100% and paid me for the classroom time. Got another degree and went up the corporate ladder. Always I was the "go to guy" to get things going, fixed or to save the bosses a$$. Several responsibility changes, promotions and a couple of employer changes later I was VP Eng and EH&S. Each time I was between jobs because I didn't want to relocate or I told them to "take this job and stuff it" I always found temp jobs doing millwright, piping, electrical, welding and other journeyman jobs along with EH&S consulting.and training. During the career and times of high stress and my own likings I always turned to these "recreations" to relieve stress and keep sanity.

3/4 way through "engineering and management" career I got so fed up with plants closing, relocating, cut backs and all sorts of crap reasons I said screw them. I completely gave up the management career and started my own company with good people doing what I had done between career jobs and loved it. You don't have to stay in engineering to do what you think you like best.

Good Luck, Old Salt

__________________
Any day on the green side of the grass is a GREAT DAY!, --- me +++++++++. I believe creativity is an inherent part of everyone. --- Kermit T. Frog
Register to Reply
Guru
Safety - Hazmat - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stronger Than The Storm
Posts: 2367
Good Answers: 201
#41
In reply to #37

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 1:12 PM

As with many others, my father was a huge influence on me and influenced my choice to enter the Chemical Engineering segment of industry. He knew the basics and a lot more in many areas of expertise including electrical, machine shop, chemistry, wood working, plumbing and several others. His most prominent area was as an EE. He graduated from MIT magna cum laude and his expertise was special application antennas and avionics and airborne counter measures. (no, all this did not pass on to the next generation). His brother had the same high intelligence.

I started out at 12 delivering news papers because of his influence. Worked part-time in HS and also sports. When I was trying to decide what to pursue I knew I wanted to be an engineer and I first thought of EE. A wise cousin took me aside and gave me some wise information. If your father is "high" and a "wiz" in his area don't follow him into it. People will always compare you to him and if you are not better you will be wasting your time comparing yourselves to each other. This would be most prominent in others making the comparisons.

Boy was she correct! Throughout my younger years my mother used to say things like: your father is so smart, you have to work harder; why don't you get the grades he did; you have to work harder if you want to be like your father; you aren't dumb why don't you do as good in your grades; why didn't you apply to MIT and a lot of other crap.

Saw the cousin again and she asked if there were comparisons. She told me to be myself, get my grades, do what I enjoy, and most of all this will eventually make me a mental wreck with depression if I was always striving to do something impossible for me.

May he rest in peace. He taught me many things and I taught him some also. Best of all he taught me to sail. We built our own 20' wooden sailboat that I still sail to far places. He worked for the same company for 41 years. I'm happier I didn't.

I'm sure many of you have had the same experience, not a good thing.

Good Luck, Old Salt

__________________
Any day on the green side of the grass is a GREAT DAY!, --- me +++++++++. I believe creativity is an inherent part of everyone. --- Kermit T. Frog
Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member Technical Fields - Architecture - New Member Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 2141
Good Answers: 69
#38

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 10:41 AM

Well as I've said elsewhere, my dad was a big influence on getting drawn into engineering. As a child I was always taking things apart and "improving" them.

In Jr and Sr High School I was into mechanical drawing, machine shop, wood shop, electric shop, Amateur Radio club etc.

College was directed at being an "Industrial Arts" Teacher. Quit after 1 year as the family could not afford it...2 older sisters were already in college so it was just too much and I could go to work and make some money. Started as an inspector of electrical and mechanical parts for Seaburg Organ company. Dad worked there as the foreman in the machine shop...so I got to inspect his work on punch dies etc. While there I started taking engineering courses at the University of NH.

Moved on to temporary work in a foundry that did ductile iron parts...diirty, ugly place!

Went to work for a defense contractor as a "machine operator" on a Numerical Control milling machine. Got interested in the "control" portion as it was "programmed" using paper tape and was all done my hand calculations. Boss taught me how to program it, and I ended up doing most of the programming and setup work for 3 NC machines. Found an ad on a match book for a "computer programming school". Said what the heck and signed up. Switched to night shift at work so I could go to school days. Learned all I could about programming an IBM 1401 and the various peripherals.

Discovered that the large corporation I worked for, had a lot of computers and programming going on so I interviewed for a position as an intern programmer. They bent the rules to get me in there as I was making more as an NC machine operator than they paid "Jr. Programmers". I stayed with that company for 9 years, and while I was there took more engineering courses at the University. I learned many languages including assembly, and worked on many different "main frames", as well as special purpose computers. Today those special computers would be called ASICs. Oh yeah, got married while employed there...had 3 kids by the time I left.

Eventually moved on from there to a company that made "Electronic News Rooms". They were replacing the old lino-type machines with computerized equipment. Learned more things there and continued to take more courses in engineering. While I was there I also started teaching a course at a local Community College. I taught 2 semesters of a course call "Programming for Technicians". I had an old PDP-8i with 4k of memory, and an ASR-33 TTY...with paper tape reader and paper tape punch...you can teach an awful lot about computers with just a little gear!

The guy that got me the teaching position had moved on to another company called Digital Equipment Corporation, and they were hiring! So he hired me at nearly twice the salary I was making at the "new room" company!

I worked my way from "programmer" to become a Jr exec and Sr Program manager before retirement from DEC/CPQ/HP.

I continued to take courses to gain knowledge all trough out my career, including courses in Psychology. I never did gain a degree but had most of the requirements for engineering completed. At various times I had PHDs working for me so not having a degree never slowed me down much!

Now I raise dogs!

__________________
Tom - "Hoping my ship will come in before the dock rots!"
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#39

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 11:01 AM

I worked on a dairy farm until I was 25. And this is what started it. We had a fairly well equiped shop did most of our repairs and modifying on equipment.

When my older brother came back to the farm, My dad mentioned if I wanted to see what the world is like now's you chance. You can always return. I gave myself 10 years

And that was over 30 years ago. Even though, for the first 25 years after leaving, I spent my vacations helping on the farm at the busy times of the year. Loved the outdoors and physical hands on labor/work.

When I had left at 25, I went to a tech college, and frankly, I loved it. Was rather hard to pin down a engineering major, focused on Mechanical full time, but also took extra classes and applied it to industrial electronics I always wanted to get into programming robotics. Where I took classes up to this day.

About 5 years out of college, an opening turned up at a shipyard for a CNC programmer. I loved every minute of it and couldn't get enough of it.

Through out my career I had various fields of employment of which was based on challenges....

For the most part, the reason for this, I developed a rule, and that was I will try my best to avoid me saying "I should have ....."

And so far, I was pretty good at it.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Lost Wages Nevada
Posts: 1515
Good Answers: 51
#40

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 12:19 PM

I've said before that I'm not an Engineer, however, I encounter engineers and engineering challenges every day.

This is what started my interest in machines:

  • At 9 years old, I was in the garage with my father and I asked what the particular machines were that were on the work benches. They were a small metal lathe, a bench top drill press and many other tools , jigs, and mechanisms from the 50's. My father said they did not run so I asked if I could "fix" them. He said YES, have fun. I tore down and completely rebuilt the lathe and drill press in a weekend. They still operate today.
  • At 11 years old, I borrowed my fathers lawn mower (with his permission) and started a lawn maintenance company. OK, I mowed lawns. (I also had to maintain the mower to my dad's liking too)This was just part of my work ethic. I saw a way to make money to take to the pinball machine that was in our local supermarket. Spectors Supermarket in Burbank.
  • At 13 I had a paper route and also took on extra paper routes for other kids that would go on vacation so I had 3 routes at one time. That sucked!! I wish I had been better at dealing with the money from the paper route. It seemed that I was pulling money out of my pocket to deliver papers. it just turns out that my siblings were raiding the money box where I kept my receipts.
  • At 15 I worked at Industry Saw Blades in Burbank and apprenticed under their tool maker and I learned how to manufacture custom carbide tipped shaper cutters.
  • At 16 I was in High School and working at a molding shop where they molded rubber parts for many different industries. I swept up metal chips for a few weeks and then was put in as an apprentice under the Lead Mold Maker where I took over the machine shop at 18 when the Mold Maker retired.
  • After that, my life is a blur.
  • CNC programmer / machinist for molds
  • General Building Contractor
  • Special mechanical effects for the film industry (Movies, music videos, commercials) Do you remember the Duracell "rubber" people?
  • Laborer for a City Municipality
  • Electrical and mechanical technician for a gypsum converting facility
  • Operations and Maintenance technician
  • Grade 2 Wastewater Operator
  • Electrical and mechanical technician for a paper converting facility.
  • CNC programmer / Machinist for furniture
  • and currently - Maintenance Supervisor for a large steel fabrication company

I didn't write this out to be a braggart, this is just my path to where I am today.Actually, I had forgotten how many jobs I've held. I guess I get bored when the challenge goes away and then my interest follows.Oh well thanks for the memories!!

__________________
Though it does seem he frequently has a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman and a roll of duct tape with him.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Mossel Bay, SA
Posts: 780
Good Answers: 21
#66
In reply to #40

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 9:31 AM

After that, my life is a blur.

Yes, it goes like that, especially when you are young and enjoying yourself.

Register to Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Project Managers & Project Engineers - New Member

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas.Baytown
Posts: 697
Good Answers: 26
#42

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 1:43 PM

Pre-med then pre law then I decided I really did not like people but liked machines.

__________________
If you want to know how well a broom works you do not ask the guy selling the broom or the guy who designed the broom, you ask the guy using the broom.
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Lost Wages Nevada
Posts: 1515
Good Answers: 51
#43

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 1:57 PM

After reading through many of the postings, I see a common thread in a lot of them. We, who have lived this long and are about 50 - 60 years young seem to have talents in many different trades / occupations and several site their parent as an influence in their decision. My father was a tough SOB (I call him a recovering Marine) and I have the scars to prove it (both mental and physical). I guess that's the way my dad was raised so discipline was swift and severe. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my father and some of the knocks I took were well deserved (Sorry for screwing up Dad). That was another motivating aspect in my life also, He would tell me "You can't do that" in reference to a difficult project so I would set out to prove him wrong especially since he was my supervisor at the first machine shop. I have mentioned in the past to him that letting me tear apart the lathe and anything else I wanted to see "how it worked" and if I could fix it influenced my life more than anything else and that I truly appreciated it.

Was I a good student?

Sometimes!

When I was interested in the subject and it challenged me, I was like a pit bull and would sink my teeth into that subject and ACE it like the 3.5 years of Machine Technology class in High School. Our Machine Shop class was actually built and funded by Lockheed and its machinist training dept. It had EVERYTHING you could ever want and more!!! The teacher, Paul Seymour was a huge influence on me also. I was so far ahead of the other students that I finished the semester class and homework in the first month of the class. Mr. Seymour saw this and made me his assistant so I could teach the other students that were struggling or needed a quick tip. When I asked him for more advanced teaching he replied that he didn't have any other advanced projects that were available however, I should continue reading through any machinist books I could find and dream up a project myself. To this day I still heed his advice. If you're unsure or just plain don't know?? Research it!! Read!! Ask someone that may be more experienced!! I was fortunate enough to grow up in ?Burbank, 2 city blocks from Lockheed where they made P-38 Canopies and there was a wealth of machinists that were willing to help me out!

This is the lathe I rebuilt at 9 years old.

__________________
Though it does seem he frequently has a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman and a roll of duct tape with him.
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#44
In reply to #43

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 2:18 PM

I think everyone has quite a bit in common as to how.

When I was 14, With a loan from my dad, I bought an old Leblond lathe, 18" Swing, 108" bed. which a local farm implement shop was selling. With this, I made quite a few shafting around the farm as well as rebuilding parts for a local construction company's stone crusher. As well as some pretty interesting hobby's myself.

Learned plenty from that, my biggest lesson, tooling can be the most expense you have than the machine itself. So learn to use it correctly.

Unfortunately I didn't have a milling machine for putting in key ways so at 16 I had signed up for night classes (Machine Shop Practices) at the local technical college. (10) three hour classes for $9.75. I tried to take it every chance it was available. It was available (4) times a year, but sometimes they could not get enough people to register for it.

I do not recall when I registered if I told the truth about my age or not. But I believe the administrator realize my interest was sincere and I could handle myself in the shop. Plus, my classmates were all retired working on their own hobby's.

I think the most common is the support I receive from my dad, which fortunately even as a teenager, I had appreciated and realized it. And more so now, more then ever.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Lost Wages Nevada
Posts: 1515
Good Answers: 51
#45
In reply to #44

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 3:10 PM

Thank youPhoenix911
When I was 14, With a loan from my dad, I bought an old Leblond lathe, 18" Swing, 108" bed.
I wish I was able to have done that. I didn't purchase my own 13" lathe until I was about 45, however I always had access to several machine shops to do projects until I moved to Nevada. No friends with a machine shop here.
I enjoy hearing stories like that!
One thing I have been tossing around for a hobby / business idea is when I'm able to replace the machinery I lost in the divorce is a machinist training class in my home shop?
I've enjoyed teaching in the past, at least with students that want to learn.

__________________
Though it does seem he frequently has a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman and a roll of duct tape with him.
Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#46
In reply to #45

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 3:23 PM

I'm glad gringogreg started this thread. its interesting to read how people (with the lack of a better word) 'fell' into engineering.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Canada but south of 49
Posts: 742
Good Answers: 18
#47

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 4:15 PM

Lot's of interesting stories, all interesting.

My parents were big on higher education(even though or probably because they did not have it) and made all the necessary sacrifices to ensure that all the kids at least had a chance to get one.

I was always "mechanically inclined" (following in my father's footsteps as a master mechanic) having done my first complete tear down and reassembly of an engine when I was 7, but mine really started out by attending an "engineering" show put on by students at University(for those who can remember "Spectrum 67" or other years, you now know where I got my degree). My eldest brother was one of the exhibitors. After spending several hours looking at all the exhibits, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer of some type. That was reinforced as both my other elder brothers also entered and completed engineering and what they did really peaked my interest with all there stories-academic and other.

It was a tough choice as to what discipline though, so I ended up taking the most generalized available - good choice on my part, as it put me where I am today-owning a business- where I get to use a quite an array of engineering disciplines along with all the other areas required when you own a business.

Each successive position led to the next. Started out in farm equipment, that led to railway roadbed maintenance equipment, which led to structural steel and finally into the automotive field.

__________________
Never stop learning
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Madison, WI.
Posts: 1050
Good Answers: 46
#48

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 5:25 PM

How did I?. Hmmm

Someone stuck that title onto the end of my name plate on the door. Did I choose this job? I think more to the point this job chose me. My undergrads are all soft science. Psychology, Sociology, Human Services, and my Masters is in Theology. (that's a whole different story) I was asked to interview by the parent of a client I had worked with several years earlier.

Prior to joining this world I practiced my trade as a therapist and case manager, program manager.etc. I guess you could say that I engineered peoples lives.

That I am titled as a mechanical reliability engineer is a puzzlement. Outside of a very few things that require I have a better understanding of engineering than I do, I spend most of my time evaluating data and crunching numbers in order to determine when something needs servicing or would it be better, cheaper, more compliant, to contract that particular piece of equipment to an outside vendor for service and documentation, I get to decide if and when something needs replacing and finding its replacement or if something we are thinking on purchasing will be a good fit with our existing systems. Which I am really very comfortable with. Last week I was a bit busy though. One of those "new items" arrived.

So, how did I get here? Quite by accident I fear.

__________________
Knowing is the end result of learning, not believing.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 40046
Good Answers: 1599
#49
In reply to #48

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 5:43 PM

I'd be willing to pay for a few therapy sessions for kramarat and Phoenix911, if you're interested.

Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#51
In reply to #49

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 6:14 PM

Give it a rest lyn.

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Madison, WI.
Posts: 1050
Good Answers: 46
#68
In reply to #51

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 10:17 AM

Oh, come on now, I'll give you a sliding fee scale.

and,

I won't even ask you about your childhood or your feeling towards your mother.

__________________
Knowing is the end result of learning, not believing.
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 19110
Good Answers: 339
#70
In reply to #68

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 10:24 AM

Ah a fellow Wisconsinite. I'll cut you some slack..... if though you're from Madistan, WI

__________________
phoenix911
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancleave, Ms about 30 miles inland from Biloxi and the coast
Posts: 3082
Good Answers: 103
#50

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/08/2014 6:02 PM

My first job was as a draftsman for an engineering firm that did design for the U.S. Navy. I was a natural. Shipbuilding has been in my blood ever since. Now at 80, I'm retired and working in my shop. I build large scale model trains and am working on a CNC machine. I have always been mechanically and electronically inclined. My son has followed pretty closely in my footsteps and now his son is also tending toward the same direction.

__________________
Mr.Ron from South Ms.
Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 3
#55

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 9:32 AM

I came into this via the construction trade.....

My father was a home builder when I was young and he did everything except the concrete, drywall and painting.... so we grew up working for him when we weren't in school. He shut the business down when I was 13 - but it was something I loved.

I ended up in the carpentry trade and began studying structural engineering to better understand how/why everything worked from that perspective.

I worked days and studied at home in the evenings.

As I worked my way through the industry I began running projects of a larger nature - which exposed me to more challenges - so I expanded the studies to include more of the engineering disciplines.

But still on my own, in the evening after work.

When everything was said and done (well not quite done - I still study a lot to try to stay on top of new technology) I made out fairly well.

I've been a guest speaker for AISC at one of their national conventions (on the use of staggered truss systems for high rise buildings), have headed up design teams for some fairly large projects, and now spend most of my time designing recording studios/sound stages and AV spaces around the world, although I also do a fair amount of consulting with various design and contracting firms when they have need of my services.

I don't know that I would have gained anything more than I have in life had I gone the path of typical higher education......

Rod

Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: No. VA, USA (No, it does NOT mean "won't go"!)
Posts: 1673
Good Answers: 72
#56

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 9:49 AM

Reading so many of your stories (this is, after all the 56th entry) I find a common thread. But first, I wish I hadn't chimed in with my story. Yours are all so much more interesting.

That said, the common thread I see is one of insatiable curiousity, fueled in many cases by need to do more with less. But none of us ever said, "I can't, I don't know/can't learn how", or "that's not what I do!". We all seem to be the kind of people who don't slow down for "I never did that before" and instead jump right over that hurdle into "Where is is, and what do I need to do to get it done, and why in the world are you still standing in my way?"

I suspect that a lot of us (well, a lot of you who are older than I, as opposed to just OLD) are still alert, sometimes pithy in response (Lyn, are you still here?) and have a great deal to offer because we never let our brains stagnate. You give me, at 60 years old, and recently retired, a great target to keep chasing, and shooting for.

Productivity and the ability to give away what you've gained, to help others gain it, definitely don't stop just cause we age!

Whee Haww! I've got lots left to live for!

__________________
It does not take quantum math to develop good toilets. On the other hand ...
Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 3
#58
In reply to #56

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 10:13 AM

Micah,

I found your story to be pretty fascinating.....

Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: No. VA, USA (No, it does NOT mean "won't go"!)
Posts: 1673
Good Answers: 72
#64
In reply to #58

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/10/2014 1:51 AM

Rod:

Thanks. It IS my story.

And I'm sticking to it.

I just find a lot of others much more fascinating, and better told, I think.

__________________
It does not take quantum math to develop good toilets. On the other hand ...
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1994
Good Answers: 25
#60

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 12:54 PM

My parents were teachers in school also freedom fighters. We are three brothers and our parents wanted us to be engineers and go to U.S. My younger brother went to U.S, on string budget, after doing civil engineering. My elder brother also went to U.S after completing mechanical engineering. I decided to remain in India to take care of my parents. I completed my mechanical engineering and worked for engineering company mfg. cranes & Hoists. Retired from same firm after 35 years from same company. I am now enjoying my retired life since 15 years. That is my story.

__________________
"Engineers should not look for jobs but should create jobs for others" by Dr.Radhakrishnan Ex President of India during my college graduation day
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 458
Good Answers: 6
#62

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/09/2014 8:54 PM

As a teenager I started building a model railroad. This made use of my studies in art and electronics. Then as a young adult I became involved in Community Development and bought and sold real estate. Now I'm involved with bicycling, their use and design and I'm still involved in neighborhoods and infrastructure.

Register to Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Project Managers & Project Engineers - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 631
Good Answers: 33
#72

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/11/2014 7:47 AM

I think I got into Engineering because I am lazy. And I enjoy having some leisure time after work and on weekends.

I turned 18 yrs. old in boot camp for the USMC, got to live in Japan for a year, TAD to Korea, Philippines, Okinawa. MOS was 6077 and picked up a crane operator certification along the way.

Got out and went to work for a contractor at a cement plant, long hours, hard work, dangerous. During shut downs I would work for two companies there. 8 hrs on day shift, go to the contractor next door and work 8 hrs on afternoon shift. 8 hrs on Saturday gave 88 hr weeks with only 8 hrs overtime.

Wanted to make more money with less time so I went on the road doing Mill Wright work, Construction, Demolition work in Industrial Plants.

Missed my family so came back to town and took a job in a Fab shop and the same week enrolled in community college in Pre-Engineering curriculum. I had to take about two years of Math to catch up to high school seniors just graduating. I once left a Political Science Exam because my wife was in labor with our fourth child.

So for five years I went to school during the day and worked afternoons at the shop with overtime most of the time I would leave before 7 am for school and get home at 1 am after work.

During the summer when school was out I would drill water wells during the day with a cable tool rig, welding all my own steel pipe and never had a weld break then go back to the shop for the afternoon shift.

Then finally moved my family several hundred miles to a University town and finished my BSME from an ABET accredited college then took and passed the FE.

That was 14 years ago, now I work about 8 hours a day and go home in the afternoons and relax and stay home on weekends.

I like what I do and I am fortunate that I can build and weld and fix all the things I design and send to the shop floor.

My work is very exciting usually building prototypes that become product lines and the designs are based on market demand and need. So once we finish a product it takes off pretty good.

I have the study materials to take the PE, I have the rest of the requirements met I just have to take that hard test and now it has been a while since school and my knowledge has tunnelized more or less into what I do on a daily basis so it may be harder now, I just need to commit to studying again...but then again I did say I was lazy and that is probably why I became a Mechanical Engineer... I love it.

__________________
Hey Isaac, catch! ...oops, that's gonna leave a mark...
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1121
Good Answers: 11
#75

Re: How Did You Get into Engineering?

12/13/2014 9:51 AM

In brief summary, it all ends up with how much you convert intelligence to tangible figures.

If have failed to do so, pass it to others so that the world might get the use out of it. (teach, partake and share ideas to the point of ones beneficial learning, not dependence)

Cheers!!!

__________________
" To infinity and beyond" - Buzz Lightyear
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 75 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

70AARCuda (1); Anonymous Poster (2); Brahma dam (1); Canary (1); Charlie Greenwood (2); dhayanandhan (1); fixitorelse (1); GM1964 (1); gringogreg (3); Hilton (2); horace40 (5); jack of all trades (1); JohnDG (4); Kevin LaPaire (2); Kilowatt0 (1); lyn (4); Massey (1); micahd02 (3); mrswamy (1); Noudge79 (4); old salt (5); Original_Macgyver (3); phoenix911 (6); pnaban (4); rashavarek (3); Rod Gervais (3); ronseto (1); suresh sharma (2); tcmtech (2); texasron (2); Tom_Consulting (1); Tornado (2)

Previous in Forum: Is This Another Industry Fad?   Next in Forum: BAE Systems is offering exciting Graduate Opportunities - Naval Architecture, UK

Advertisement