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Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking 401

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-a-piece-of-the-pie dept.
dcblogs writes "The number of electrical engineers in the workforce has declined over the last decade. It's not a steady decline, and it moves up and down, but the overall trend is not positive. In 2002 the U.S. had 385,000 employed electrical engineers; in 2004, post dot.com bubble, it was at 343,000. It reached 382,000 in 2006, but has not risen above 350,000 since then, according to U.S. Labor Data. In 2012, there were 335,000 electrical engineers in the workforce. Of the situation, one unemployed electrical engineer said: 'I am getting interviews but, they have numerous candidates to choose from. The employers are very fussy. They are really only interested in a perfect match to their needs. They don't want the cost to develop talent internally. They are even trying to combine positions to save money. I came across one employer trying to combine a mechanical and electrical engineer.'"
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Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking

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  • Quite so! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:11AM (#44259903)

    Employers don't want to develop talent in-house because that's expensive -- and will get more so as the employee becomes more attractive to the company's competitors. Employers also don't want to hire people to increase their talent pool; rather, they want to hire "super talent" in order to fire one or more lesser engineers.

    Those hundreds of positions you see advertised? They aren't a sign of growth, but of stagnation, and a nearly total absence of investment (even from the profits that a company is supposed to be making).

    • Re:Quite so! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:19AM (#44259937) Homepage

      Exactly. As an bachelors with honours engineering graduate I find it almost impossible to get work. Companies are not willing to train people in-house. I'd like to know how many engineering graduates have passed through university and are now doing a job they are qualified to do, looking at 15, 10, 5 years and present day.

      I can't get a job because I haven't got the experience. I can't get the experience because I can't get a job. Catch 22.

      • Re:Quite so! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jittles (1613415) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:09AM (#44260287)

        Exactly. As an bachelors with honours engineering graduate I find it almost impossible to get work. Companies are not willing to train people in-house. I'd like to know how many engineering graduates have passed through university and are now doing a job they are qualified to do, looking at 15, 10, 5 years and present day.

        I can't get a job because I haven't got the experience. I can't get the experience because I can't get a job. Catch 22.

        My experience from going around recruiting college graduate engineers, and interviewing tons of people, is that most places do not want to actually mentor them and help them get their PE's. I worked with a ton of EEs once (where ton ~= 30) and half of them did not have their PE (the younger half) and they were not being mentored such that they could get it.

        • by DrLang21 (900992)
          This is exactly what I am seeing. I worked with a senior level engineer who really needed someone to help with his work load, but he said he couldn't find anyone because he couldn't take the time to train a younger engineer. This logic will never cease to confound.
      • Re:Quite so! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:22AM (#44260409)

        I had an argu^Hdiscussion with someone just yesterday (at an interview) where he tried to convince me that his company 'invests' in its employees and trains them. I almost laughed in his face. this is a bay area company and I KNOW that they, as a general trend, have stopped investing in people and now only look for exact matches. he really believed his bullshit.

        I've been looking for work (taking contract jobs here and there as they are nearly the only ones you can find anymore; its 'great' to short change the employee and make him pay for national holidays and foot the bill for his own health insurance) and I have not seen a single instance where they would take you as a 'smart guy' and then give you the missing languages or frameworks that they want for the job. there just isn't the mentality for giving workers training anymore. thinking has shifted and not for the better, that's for sure!

        keep repeating this, people: "race to the bottom". learn that phrase. we are living it right now even if you don't realize it or see it yourself, directly. this is our new national motto.

        we are fucked. our children are in even worse state, once they graduate and try to find work. doesn't matter if you are old or young: if you are a US person with regular US bills and living expenses, you will be squeezed and forced to lower your living standard just to compete for a shit job that will be soul crushing, at best.

      • by ethanms (319039)

        I graduated in 2001, so I'm about 12 years out. My first job, which lasted 14 months, was a contractor for a semiconductor manufacturer. They eventually hired me full time (with a pay cut vs. the contracting pay).

        The odd part is that for the past 10 years I've been doing work that represented very basic EE activity. Now I'm starting to get into the heavier stuff and realizing that I've forgotten most of what I learned in school... it just represents familiar words and concepts, but the details are missin

      • I graduated with a BS in Computer Engineering with High Honors back in 2003. I found an EE job without much difficulty. In 2006, I quit Electrical Engineering and went to Software Engineering.

        I'm very pleased. I earn more, enjoy it more, and I have no problems finding work. Last time I looked, I had 2 good offers in a little over a month.

  • Serious question, as I suspect there are quiet a few EE / CE folks here...

    If your background (or degree) is in computer architecture / computer engineering, are you a "double E"?

    Reason I ask: my degree is B.S.E.E., I'm an electrical engineer. In my studies, my concentration / specialization was "Computer Architecture" (one of a handful of specialties with our EE dept.) All EEs had to choose one specialization (signals & systems, power, etc.)

    But at many schools, there are standalone

    • by cide1 (126814)

      My BS is a BSCmpE, but my MS is an MSEE with specialization in Computer Engineering. I have often wondered "Am I a EE?". I don't feel like one....I write embedded software, but I participate in schematic reviews, and debug hardware problems.

    • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:32AM (#44259999)

      I have a BS in CompE. At my school depending on what optional courses you took you end up as the equivalent of either a EE minor and CS major or a CS minor and EE major. Since I went the first route, I've never considered myself an EE. Since my jobs, by choice, have all been in the CS realm I don't feel I have any knowledge in the EE realm anymore- I just have a deeper understanding of how hardware works and how to use it effectively than the average CS degree holder.

      I actually did want to go into processor design at one point, I liked designing digital circuits. Then my senior year I found out that all those things I had been told didn't matter in digital (capacitance, inductance) actually did when you were fast enough. That was enough to convince me to write software for a career.

      • What sort of EE courses did you not take because EE was your minor instead of your major? As an EE I'm curious.

        • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:14AM (#44260345)

          Its been over 10 years, but it looks like the course list of requirements hasn't changed much.

          I didn't take digital signal processing. I didn't take anything about power systems. I didn't take the advanced level courses of anything that had a I and a II. All of these were open to me as technical electives, but I chose not to take them.

          I did take analog signal processing. I did take physics of semiconductors (how transistors work on an atomic level, it was a required course to graduate). I did take a course on fields and waves. And I took a couple of courses on digital circuit design and processor design.

          From the CS course I missed the top level theory course on graphs that was required for a CS degree, but I took every other required course and more electives than most CS majors did. That was a personal choice though- I spent all of my electives in EE or CS.

          Looking at the requirements for their EE minor, I took all the classes required to get one, with a few extra. Of course they didn't allow CompEs to get a CS minor or an EE minor officially. I look to be 2 classes off of what was required to get an EE major, but wouldn't have had nearly enough EE electives. And I took far more CS stuff than the EEs (EEs were only required to take the intro to CS class, CompEs were required to take data structures, an entry level discrete math class (part of a series of 3 for CS students), and an assembly course). CS majors only needed to take 2 classes on hardware- a watered down version of digital logic gates and architecture, and a watered down version of assembly (the hard version was taught by the EE department and for some reason only counted towards their requirement if they were transfers).

          The big thing I didn't ever really understand in my EE coursework at the time is how to design an analog circuit to do something. That's partly my fault, partly lack of a high level follow on course, and partly my instructors fault- we never had a chance to design an analog circuit in our coursework, and they never really explained why we were doing what we did- it was just endless repetition of finding v and i at every point in a circuit using multiple methods.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:54AM (#44260145)

      Would a "computer engineer" be an electrical engineer?

      In my experience people (including me) don't distinguish between CE and EE, any more than they ever distinguished between electrical and electronic engineers. CE is a specialty in EE, but so are RF, antenna design, power systems, etc.

      • by PuckSR (1073464)

        In my experience, they do differentiate. An RF engineer might be able to figure out power systems relatively quickly. Sure, waveguide is not a cable, but their knowledge of how to calculate power just requires some quick adjustment of which formulas they are applying in which situations. Most power guys know some RF(because they have RF problems) and most RF guys know some power(they have to power their signal somehow).

        A Computer Engineer(CE) typically just knows chip design or similar. How do you apply

    • by some old guy (674482) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:01AM (#44260229)

      EE is such an incredibly broad field, you almost have to define yourself by the nature of the position you have/want.

      I'm a rather old basic power guy by education, but I grew up with industrial automation and digitalization as it happened, and stay current on technology.

      Thing is, I've been doing essentially the same thing for 35 years, and been classified as an Electrical Engineer, Controls Engineer, Automation Specialist, and Systems Integrator. Same work, different labels.

      Don't worry about the label when what you're after is the goodies in the package.

      • Agreed. If the paycheck clears it's a good job. In my current job my official position is MTS (member of the technical staff - old term borrowed from Bell Labs) which means it covers anything that requires the use of a slide rule.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:21AM (#44259949)

    More proof there is a STEM shortage! Uh, shortage of demand that is. Of course academia and the cheap labor lobby will spin this as a supply shortage, insist on more money and students to keep EE departments open, and even more importantly insist on more H-1B's.

    I am an EE, and like every other EE I know, I advise my children to stay the hell out of engineering.

    • by kruach aum (1934852) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:43AM (#44260061)
      Work prospects are equally dire in the humanities. Better advise your children to not go to college at all and become skilled craftspeople instead.
      • I certainly wouldn't discourage that. I also think skilled trades deserve respect (one grandfather was a cabinet maker and the other a tool and die maker). I should note though that in college the humanities aren't the only alternative to engineering.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Work prospects are equally dire in the humanities. Better advise your children to not go to college at all and become skilled craftspeople instead.

        That's good advice. Student loans are a huge anchor around your neck for a lot of years. You're taking a BIG gamble that the gains from that degree will quickly offset the cost of that debt, plus interest payments, plus the 4 years you spent not earning any income. And what's more, most IT job descriptions I've seen that ask for a degree OR equivalent work exp

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      I am an EE, and like every other EE I know, I advise my children to stay the hell out of engineering.

      Out of curiosity, what is it that you are advising your children to get into? Automotive repair? Software non-engineering? Acting? Not trolling, genuinely curious. I wouldn't hesitate to encourage my kids to get into any aspect of engineering, but would obviously steer them toward the higher demand fields. Engineering as a whole isn't dead, is it?

      • I'm not advising them to get into any specific field. It's more a matter of discouraging them from entering any field that's probably a dead end. Other than that I think they should make their own choice. Frankly the oldest starts HS next year, so there's still a few years to make a choice.

      • physical things that can't be done remotely. could include plumber, carpenter, construction. trades-man stuff.

        does not pay the same grade as software or hardware BUT work that you can GET and get paid for is worth more than the high paid job you CANNOT get.

        the US is racing to the bottom and sacrificing the middle class. a higher education is almost a waste of time, now; it may be nearly impossible to find a job for 'educated people'.

        thanks high tech companies and congress. you made deals to kill the mid

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      Actually, samzenpus spun it as a supply shortage, too. The headline is backward. If the number of EEs in the workforce is shrinking while unemployment in the field is 6.5% (as TFA said), it's the labor *market* (demand) that is in decline, not the labor pool (supply).

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I am an EE, and like every other EE I know, I advise my children to stay the hell out of engineering.

      Why? There's a lot of EE positions that are paying extremely well because there's no one tulfill the positions. Think fresh grads with near 6-digit salaries being hired at the ceremony type stuff.

      EE is a HUGE field. If you narrowly consider EE to be software, then yeah, maybe you have a point. But there's a TON more stuff to EE. And a lot of it can't be outsourced, either.

      Want such a field? Go into Power Eng

  • Why Wouldn't It Be? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lee Riemenschneider (2859815) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:23AM (#44259961)
    In the '90s, EEs at the company I worked for were being "reskilled" to do software development. The positions they occupied weren't being refilled (at least, not in the USA). There has been no surge in demand and a high unemployment rate, so why would students choose to pursue it as a degree?
    • Or why are universities not revalidating courses that are more software over EE.

    • by hrvatska (790627)
      Many times people don't have any idea how employable a degree is until they graduate with it. Right now you hear a lot about getting a STEM degree as being a good thing to do without any differentiation between how employable the different STEM degrees are. There are various official measurements of employment and unemployment, but they're general in nature. It would be really useful for people considering going to school for various majors if the government would collect and publish data on how people who
    • by AuMatar (183847)

      And it makes sense- a lot of electronics these days is plugging together parts off the shelf with well known standardized technologies. It takes a lot fewer people to do this. Compare this to the 70s, 80s, and prior where CPUs were not king and you still did a lot of proprietary design work. Heck, FPGAs alone probably knock out a big need for EE work- the software there will more or less design the hardware for you, and it needs a programmer to write the inputs not an EE (although an EE who can program

    • High unemployment? What part of the country? Folks have to be willing to go where the jobs are. I moved to the DC area after grad school and don't know a single unemployed, moderately-qualified EE. Despite all the sequester madness we're still seeing older employees leave faster than we can replace them.

      • Despite all the sequester madness we're still seeing older employees leave faster than we can replace them.

        The nice thing about the DC area is that it's pork heaven. That's why it never saw the same sort unemployment as the rest of the country (and hence perhaps why so many in government were oblivious to it).

  • . . . . I'm a security geek. I see more and more gigs that want you to be a Win + Linux Admin, Cisco guru, Security Guru on several different firewalls and IDS/IPS systems, run the Helpdesk (which turns out to BE the Helpdesk), have multiple certs including PMP, and have 10+ years experience,. . . and do it all for not much over entry-level wages. . .
  • say.. so they were looking for a robot designer?

    just saying, combining jobs is sometimes useful. otherwise to make a pocketwatch you'll need an ee, a materials engineer, an usability engineer, an ergonomics specialist, mechanical engineer, a sw architecht, a software programmer, a database engineer(the gizmo holds some data), a mathematician....

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      combining jobs is sometimes useful. otherwise to make a pocketwatch you'll need an ee, a materials engineer, an usability engineer, an ergonomics specialist, mechanical engineer, a sw architecht, a software programmer, a database engineer(the gizmo holds some data), a mathematician....

      Well, no. To make a pocketwatch all you need to do is to copy an old pocketwatch whose design is in the public domain.

      In order to make a fancy new electronic device that replaces a pocketwatch, you'll need all of those people. And rightly so.

  • This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:43AM (#44260065)

    The employers are very fussy. They are really only interested in a perfect match to their needs. They don't want the cost to develop talent internally. They are even trying to combine positions to save money. I came across one employer trying to combine a mechanical and electrical engineer.

    Read between the lines: "We can replace all of them with immigrants, but only if we can prove there's nobody who can fill the position. I know! Let's draft the requirements so they're impossible to fill, then hire the same person we would have anyway at half the price because we had to 'settle'. Brilliant!"

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:57AM (#44260167) Journal

      In reality management follows this reasoning:

      Management: We have more work then we can handle, training is boring so we need to hire someone who is a good match for what we need, some experience with tool chain we use.

      Reality: They can't find anyone.

      Management: We have far more work then we can handle, there is no room for training so we need to hire someone who is a very good match for what we need, 2 year experience with the exact tool chain we use down to version number.

      Reality: They can't find anyone.

      Management: We are drowning in work, we never heard of the word training, the recruitment costs are sky high so we will be offering peanuts for wages and we need someone who is an exact clone of an employee who escaped years ago.

      Reality: They can't find anyone.

      Management: We outsource/hire immigrants and blame the total collapse of our business on the local work ethic.

      Management: We deserve a bonus!

      CEO: Me too!

      Board of directors: Agreed, if you agree to raise our compensation.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:44AM (#44260071)

    The H1B war has succeeded and much champagne will be spilled. STEM majors are giving up as the field simply isn't worth going into in this country. Meanwhile I hear that McJobs are hiring and if you work really hard for a long time you might move from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week where you get really, really bad benefits!

    I worked at a University for a few years and I saw bright US students routinely drop out of STEM and choose other fields because of outsourcing. Meanwhile the bright international students happily came over, took our STEM classes and are heading back to create the next great thing. We've engineered a future without ourselves, our founding fathers would be ashamed.

    • We've engineered a future without ourselves, our founding fathers would be ashamed.

      Our founding fathers wouldn't know what electrical engineering is. Educating people as engineers wasn't a thing that was done in 1790.

  • by DinZy (513280) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:45AM (#44260081)

    "I came across one employer trying to combine a mechanical and electrical engineer" This employer is looking for an experimental physicist and does not know it.

    On another note, I see the same thing in the semiconductor industry for process and integration roles. Everyone wants a perfect match, when the real perfect match is someone that can learn quickly because things are going to change a lot on as quick as a 2 year time scale. I had a recruiter call about an internal position I applied for and he was trying to ask how many years I have in some exact skill when, at the end of the day, that stat is not nearly as important as being able to learn. It makes it even more frustrating when the req is at the level of a new PhD grad and I already have 4.5 years industry experience.

    • by Xest (935314)

      No, they're looking for an electromechanical engineer. In fact, that's the exact definition of what they're looking for.

      Physicists focus on the experimental, engineers focus on producing a product.

  • Bad pay. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nbritton (823086)

    The pay isn't on parity with the level of schooling required, you would be better off becoming a doctor or even just a joe blow IT guy or something else. Unless you're putting all the patents in your name, It doesn't pay to be an engineer. Do it only if you enjoy it.

  • I have been having a hard time deciding between these 2 disciplines lately. Being fond of math, physics and computers I'm really sure I want to do computer science with pure math but ECE seems to be tempting. Now this topic makes me believe that ECE is not really the way to go after all. So what do you guys think about the future of Computer Science (assuming I want to go to a top 10 grad school) and then move on to the job market. Is it better to double major in Cs and Pure math, applied math or physics?
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:57AM (#44260173) Journal
    It is possible there are odd pockets of relatively higher unemployment among the electrical engineers in USA. But over all, engineering candidates in general and electrical engineers in USA have very good job prospects.

    In the recent years the productivity of electrical engineering tools have gone up several fold due to the ubiquitous cheap multi core workstations. The companies buying ECAD tools have demanded, and got, better use of these multi-core machines from the vendors of the ECAD tools. It has become cheap enough and easy enough to do electrical engineering simulations of hundreds or even thousands of variations of a basic design to refine it. Companies like Ansys have taken serving the high performance computing market as a priority. They are dishing out products that allow a single engineering work station to launch and analyze hundreds of simulations. This high productivity coincided with global economic downturn due to the financial systemic collapse of 2008, followed by tsunami in Japan, floods in Taiwan, economic turmoil in Europe and large scale civil uprisings in the middle east. So there are more electrical engineers than jobs in some parts of the field and some parts of the country. But this situation is temporary and the electrical engineers are going to see very good pay rise and job opportunities soon.

    • this situation is temporary and the electrical engineers are going to see very good pay rise and job opportunities soon

      Are you an academician by chance? Because you talk like one when they're trying to find more suckers (err, students). Prosperity is just around the corner!

      Did you look at the numbers in the article? Between 2002 and 2013 EE jobs dropped from 385k to 292k. That's a 24% decline! Plus the BLS expects EE jobs to grow at only half the rate of jobs overall. Not a bright future.

  • H1Bs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:23AM (#44260423)

    The entire H1B program is bullshit.

    There is supply in the US. Companies prefer cheap imported labor - young, family-less, unlikely to complain labor instead of more expensive domestic labor.

    "In 2010, there were nearly half a million workers on H1B visas in the United States, 18 percent higher than in 2001."
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/are-americans-losing-high-skilled-jobs-to-foreigners/ [go.com]

    Shitcan the H1B program and not only will the engineers we already have be able to find work but we'll have more engineers in the future to fill the need that will exist.

    Assuming engineering work isn't all outsourced overseas, of course.

  • This is a pretty common thing. They aren't always looking for someone who is both, but someone who understands both.
    There are a lot of EEs who can't figure out how a combustion engine even functions. There are a lot of MEs who can't understand basic circuit theory.
    Considering how many times we use dynamos(generators) and electric motors, a complete lack of knowledge of one field or the other is a disaster.

    This wasn't an odd requirement. I know several EEs who are self-taught MEs. Typically they are grea

  • by Theovon (109752) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:53AM (#44260735)

    I see very large numbers of smart and highly motivated students coming through my classes, both domestic and international. There is no shortage of students getting degrees in STEM fields. I believe the complaints stem from employers who don't want to pay a premium for better skilled engineers. There are in fact far more STEM job applicants than there are jobs. Graduates have to apply to hundreds of positions, and employers have to sift through thousands of resumes. Applications are so numerous, in fact, that HR departments are reduced to superficial checklists of buzzwords to efficiently sift through all the options. Employers want cheap laborors who nevertheless do a good job, while students who want to get paid appropriately to their skill level are getting Masters and Doctoral degrees in the hopes of being more "qualified." (In fact, they're often culled first for being OVER qualified and therefore too expensive.)

    So, what companies are doing is a spin game. They report to federal funding agencies that there's a shortage, when in fact what they want is to increase the probability of identifying more skilled applicants that they can dupe into taking lower paying jobs. The end result is that there are too many people getting STEM degrees (when they would be better off doing other things), not enough job openings, and rising unemployment. We need plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, and they can earn a good living, but nobody seems to care about them.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:53AM (#44260739)

    I'm an electrical engineer and manager of the same. It has been obvious to me for years what is going on.

    When you offshore your manufacturing, you soon find that you need engineers on site to support production. They become the experts, while your need for American engineers decreases. That building expertise leads to the opening of offshore design centers and eventually new companies spring up that become your competitors and they employ no Americans at all.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:50AM (#44261893) Journal

    BSEE here, never engineered a circuit professionally in my entire life. I probably never will.

    As others have noted, we often become developers. That was my path, between long phases of un or under-employment. On the one hand, I lacked knowledge of some algorithms that CS majors might have had. On the other, I think I may have been more attuned to low-level issues. There were some CS courses in our curriculum. Most of my programming was taken up "on the side" though. Strangely, my parents said that I'd have to attend a local community college if I wanted to major in CS. They were usually not heavy-handed about things like that. It was an unusual exception most likely brought about by the story that the son of a friend graduated and made $50k/yr right away (1980s, consider inflation). Later when I asked about this they said, "you could have switched majors". I'm not sure if I could have done that without them finding out. I always figured EE wouldn't hurt me. When I graduated, there were a lot of very traditional companies interviewing us--companies that might have mentored EEs; but it became obvious at the time that I wouldn't fit the mold.

    LOL, yeah. I'm going to work for the power company??? At an aerospace plant??? Not happening. The strangest interview was with a tobacco company. Apparently they had a fairly sophisticated system for blending tobacco and making cigarettes. Very sophisticated electro-mechanical automation, probably computer controlled. I came away thinking "I drive myself crazy the past 4 years to come up with a slightly more efficient way of poisoning people". I think they wanted the guy with the master's degree anyway. It was a small group interview actually. There were 3 of us in one room hearing the guy talk about these "hoppers" full of tobacco, and how good the benefits would be if we were hired. Funny the things your remember.

  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:50AM (#44261895)

    Seriously, I am a EE of 15 years and I have given that advice to several shocked STEM wannabe's finishing up high school. It runs so counter to all the cheer leading they get.

    The only way to make it is to get specialized in an already niche field. You then become a technical nomad, trekking across the country (or globe) from one dying or mismanaged company to the next for a few more years. The work is damn hard, the pay only OK, and your co-workers are an interesting story (sausage fest, lots of imports with language issues, almost all lacking a full deck of social skills). Expect that other than your basics, that your knowledge's value will have a half life of about 5 years, meaning you have to constantly build up new skills, often without your present company's support. If you thrive on hard technical challenges you can find your reward there, but that is about it.

    Yeah, go into business or accounting or some such.

  • by genericmk (2767843) on Friday July 12, 2013 @12:11PM (#44262089)
    I graduated in the recession of 2002. I struggled finding that first job. As mentioned above, absolute catch 22. Very few want to hire a recent graduate, everyone wants an EE with 2-4 years of experience. I got my lucky break and started with a decent salary; nothing mind blowing, but decent. It's now 11 years later, I carry a Senior EE title and make a little more than double my initial pay and am pretty topped out salary wise as far as I can see. Management is unfortunately the only way up. I've worked at large companies who simply do not even consider hiring an EE (or software developer for that matter) over 50. We were building a team for a new product within an organization and weren't able to consider older candidates. 50 is the end of the rope for anyone with a tech title and without management anything. Jobs can probably be found but pay is not going to be high. I'm forcing myself to highlight my management experience (be it project, personnel, etc.) as I look for my next position as this is the best way I see to stay relevant and continue the career progressing upward. Good luck to all EEs out there!

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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