Author Topic: Engineers here - What do YOU do?  (Read 9346 times)

SKL-HOU

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2016, 06:45:08 PM »
I'm a mechanical engineer (e.i.t) about a year and a half out of school. I work in O&G as a contractor who consults for small ownership groups, and more so lately, receivership's.

You've had a ton of good replies here. I'll add what I can. I've only worked for small companies in my (short) career. I think I might explode if I had to be forced into a large company (large being anywhere with an HR department or somewhere that might force me to dress a certain way). I do a bit of everything because we are such a small outfit. It has given me a ton of amazing experience in all aspects of oil and gas. Just in the last two weeks I've worked on a drilling floor, written a completion program, analyzed logs, and troubleshot an important gas well on plunger lift etc etc etc.

Best choice I made to influence my career was to volunteer as Mechanical Engineering Club President in my last year of University. It was easily 40+ hours a week of volunteering but it shaped the way I think and act in the workplace more so than anything I did in my schooling. I didn't do it for the resume boost**** but it was ultimately what got me my current position.

****If you do something like this for the purpose of looking good on a resume you will be miserable.

Good luck OP.

I work for a company that has offices all over the world with 90k employees. The department i am in in the location we are at is not at all what you described. I wouldn't be so closed minded if i were you. It really depends on the company/office/location. We don't have to dress a certain way. Small companies can have all kinds of rules too.

rawr237

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2016, 07:19:07 AM »
I have a B.S. in ME, 5 years out of school now. In school I was active in a Christian fellowship and the taekwondo team -- semi-leadership positions in both, and they were both on my resume. I pulled a lot of interview question responses from my experience with taekwondo.
I got my co-op through my school's job placement office, and got my full-time interview from my co-op. Senior year I had my job offer in the fall, which I'll admit meant I coasted the rest of the year pretty hard ;)

I'm currently a program management engineer for Megamegacorp in jet engine aviation (yes THAT one) . I did 2 co-ops with them, so it's the only engineering environment I know. I've been with the company for 5 years now, hired into their rotational program. It allowed me to try working in different areas of the company, and they paid for my Master's degree (also mechE) including one semester of full-time school with full-time pay.

Pros: Some job stability -- airlines are always looking for more efficiency to save a buck. There is no requirement to stay after program completion, so plenty of people leave after getting the free master's. The majority of the people I've worked with are amazing. Pay is not the best but small increases every year with bumps at job transfer and program graduation. Working for a huge company means that there is a variety of positions for engineers - I've worked in technical design roles, in a technical hands-on role (flight test woohoo!), and now project management. We do have engineers at corporate HQ, and there are management vs technical paths available. Travel-intensive positions available.

Cons: There has been one round of layoffs since I've started. I wouldn't describe our environment as cutthroat at all, but aviation is a very cyclical business (lagging behind the general economic cycles somewhat). Benefits are just ok. Overtime is also cyclical, but it is usually paid (straight time)...I've worked over 80 hours/week before but that isn't the norm. Working with the union. Bureaucracy.

We have oil & gas, energy, power & water divisions which I believe have similar rotational programs.

We recently moved to an 'unlimited paid vacation' system which is a pro or con depending on your manager. My current manager  doesn't care as long as we get the job done. So by the end of the year I'll have taken over my previously allocated 4 weeks.

My SO works for the same company, but his field of expertise/interest is specific enough that we rarely cross paths and will never be on the same team. He really enjoys his job (major aviation nerd). I'm not thrilled with my job but I'm grinding out a few more years before probably becoming a SAHM.

I would advise thinking about how much OT (paid or unpaid) you would be willing to work and what work environment sounds fulfilling to you (is it important for you to see physical results of your work? Do you enjoy running analyses? How much do you want to interact with people?). Once you start, you can always consider/network with other positions/areas of the company. Look into the possibility of doing cross-functional assignments to learn about different parts of the business and learn about what you like.

MasterStache

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2016, 08:29:52 AM »
To be honest if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't be an engineer. My passions lie elsewhere.
When you think about it, it's a wonder that anyone winds up in a job they're passionate about.  Kids are making decisions at 18 years old (in the form of their college major) that will have a major influence on the type of job they're able to get.  How many people really know what they want to do at that age?  Even if you thought you knew, you might turn out to be wrong.

True, although I didn't start college until I was 26. I spent 4 years screwing around and then 4 years in the military after I became tired and fell horribly in debt from all that screwing around. I don't think I truly found what I was passionate about until my 30s. Now I am just trying to get through my cubicle corporate years so I can pursue those passions and not have to worry about the money. What a sweat relief it will be.

mm1970

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2016, 09:49:39 AM »
To be honest if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't be an engineer. My passions lie elsewhere.
When you think about it, it's a wonder that anyone winds up in a job they're passionate about.  Kids are making decisions at 18 years old (in the form of their college major) that will have a major influence on the type of job they're able to get.  How many people really know what they want to do at that age?  Even if you thought you knew, you might turn out to be wrong.
Plus, things change.

I've had 4 or 5 people ask me recently what my "dream job is if money wasn't an object".  (They were asking groups of people.)

That's a tough one.  For one thing, money's not really an object right now.  I could quit.

For another, I don't know.  My job isn't fun anymore.  But my boss is nice and very flexible.  I am learning new things, which is good, but also stressful (it's a lot of new things).

My most favorite jobs in the past were very hands-on, or at least part hands-on.  Doing process development work in our fab.  Training new engineers and technicians.  Developing new products and procedures using new tools.  Running designed experiments and analyzing results.  For awhile I managed a group of six younger engineers, so I trained them, scheduled the development work, and our group kept the fab running 24/7 with equipment qualifications and tests, SPC, etc.

That job doesn't exist in my company anymore (we outsourced), and there aren't many positions in town like that anymore either.

So as time went on, the hands-on became management for me, and now just a different type of job.  Not everyone gets to keep doing the fun stuff.

Plus personal needs change too - I can't work 50 hours a week anymore.  It's hard to stay excited about a job that expects that.  Culture matters.

WranglerBowman

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #54 on: November 01, 2016, 11:14:43 AM »
I have an M.S. in Environmental Engineering, focus on water resources, and most of my friends from college were all engineering/physics (Graduated 2007, followed by tough economic years).  Internships and having real experience prior to graduating will generally put you ahead of the crowd, always think about staying ahead of the crowd and building a strong resume because you are more marketable (to survive the storms) and able to land the better jobs that come along, which also generally pay more with better benefits.  I work at a fortune 100 energy firm and the main reason I got my position is M.S. from a good school, loads of experience from many years of interning, as well as working at small firms where I was an integral part of projects doing a lot of different things.  Also got as many licenses and qualifications as I could.  Get involved in as much as you can more as a lifestyle than as a job.  In my opinion most engineers don't make enough and about half the engineers, my age, have moved away from engineering to other jobs due to better pay and less stress.  If I were fresh out of school again I would probably find a high paying job that requires you to live on site, e.g. oil rig, or something like that so you can bank as much money as possible as early as possible, then settle down from there.  The large municipalities and federal government positions are pretty solid jobs for a careers.  I think the hot fields over the next couple decades will be sustainability, energy, robotics/programming, and infrastructure rehab.

What sort of internships and licenses/certifications did you get? What would you recommend for water, air or general energy?

I worked as a Civil Engineer/Environmental Engineer at the same firm for 3 summers.  I started surveying for them as a summer job after high school and then got moved inside once they figured out what my major was in college.  For licenses you normally have to have experience but you can pick up certifications (Sediment and Erosion Control, Qualified Water Sampler, etc...) just by taking a class and passing a simple test.  Water, air, or general energy?  The certifications are normally pretty niche so I would gear it towards what you think you want to do right now and look for more specific certifications in that field.

Rhoon

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #55 on: November 01, 2016, 01:16:35 PM »
Computer Engineer --

My Advice: Go Electrical. If you like to code, you can still pick it up.

I went through banking -> Military -> Technical Sales.

Pros:
- High pay (easy to get to 6 figures in a short duration)
- Good Benefits
- Lots of free training/certification if the company is worth its salt

Cons:
- Lots of travel (2-3 weeks per month) ** this is a con when you have a family


If you like to travel and can speak effectively to key decision makers, it's definitely a field worth getting into. I would recommend getting a PMP as well.

Dezrah

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #56 on: November 01, 2016, 03:32:27 PM »
B.S.M.E. here.  Got my PE, but haven't actually stamped anything yet.  Lucked into curtain wall design.  Those skyscrapers that look like they're made of glass?  Those are aluminum frames holding up glass.  That's what I design.  (Note: I use the word "design" in the engineering sense, not in the aesthetics sense or inventor sense.)  It's a super-niche engineering subset that is somewhere between Civil/Structural/Mechanical/Construction Engineering.  The industry itself is about 2/3rds Civil, 1/3rd Mechanical Engineers.  Personally I love writing calculations and doing design work.  This was my first job, my third job (different company), and hopefully will be my last job for a long time.

I worked as a project engineer for a manufacturing company for a while and just didn't care for the work.  I like having numbers assure me whether something is or is not okay in a binary sense and I hated the slapdash approach of manufacturing.

Now that I'm a bit older, I can tell I would have probably been happier studying Civil Engineering from day one.  It may sound silly, but I suspect I stuck with Mechanical largely because that's where the "cool" engineers were.  The Civies were weird by comparison.

StudentEngineer

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #57 on: November 02, 2016, 09:11:50 AM »
I have a B.S. in ME, 5 years out of school now. In school I was active in a Christian fellowship and the taekwondo team -- semi-leadership positions in both, and they were both on my resume. I pulled a lot of interview question responses from my experience with taekwondo.
I got my co-op through my school's job placement office, and got my full-time interview from my co-op. Senior year I had my job offer in the fall, which I'll admit meant I coasted the rest of the year pretty hard ;)

I'm currently a program management engineer for Megamegacorp in jet engine aviation (yes THAT one) . I did 2 co-ops with them, so it's the only engineering environment I know. I've been with the company for 5 years now, hired into their rotational program. It allowed me to try working in different areas of the company, and they paid for my Master's degree (also mechE) including one semester of full-time school with full-time pay.

Pros: Some job stability -- airlines are always looking for more efficiency to save a buck. There is no requirement to stay after program completion, so plenty of people leave after getting the free master's. The majority of the people I've worked with are amazing. Pay is not the best but small increases every year with bumps at job transfer and program graduation. Working for a huge company means that there is a variety of positions for engineers - I've worked in technical design roles, in a technical hands-on role (flight test woohoo!), and now project management. We do have engineers at corporate HQ, and there are management vs technical paths available. Travel-intensive positions available.

Cons: There has been one round of layoffs since I've started. I wouldn't describe our environment as cutthroat at all, but aviation is a very cyclical business (lagging behind the general economic cycles somewhat). Benefits are just ok. Overtime is also cyclical, but it is usually paid (straight time)...I've worked over 80 hours/week before but that isn't the norm. Working with the union. Bureaucracy.

We have oil & gas, energy, power & water divisions which I believe have similar rotational programs.

We recently moved to an 'unlimited paid vacation' system which is a pro or con depending on your manager. My current manager  doesn't care as long as we get the job done. So by the end of the year I'll have taken over my previously allocated 4 weeks.

My SO works for the same company, but his field of expertise/interest is specific enough that we rarely cross paths and will never be on the same team. He really enjoys his job (major aviation nerd). I'm not thrilled with my job but I'm grinding out a few more years before probably becoming a SAHM.

I would advise thinking about how much OT (paid or unpaid) you would be willing to work and what work environment sounds fulfilling to you (is it important for you to see physical results of your work? Do you enjoy running analyses? How much do you want to interact with people?). Once you start, you can always consider/network with other positions/areas of the company. Look into the possibility of doing cross-functional assignments to learn about different parts of the business and learn about what you like.

Thats a great point about really thinking of how future work aligns with my interests.  Right now I'd be happy to work long hours (preferably paid, or a higher base salary).  Seeing results, while not necessary, would be nice.  Ideally I'd like to work in a smaller group setting, more focused on specific things; however, I could see myself transitioning into a position overseeing multiple groups.  But I am not a fan of office management per se, so I would prioritize field management, with some hands-on work included.

I love the idea of the rotational programs to get a sense of other positions within a field.

B.S.M.E. here.  Got my PE, but haven't actually stamped anything yet.  Lucked into curtain wall design.  Those skyscrapers that look like they're made of glass?  Those are aluminum frames holding up glass.  That's what I design.  (Note: I use the word "design" in the engineering sense, not in the aesthetics sense or inventor sense.)  It's a super-niche engineering subset that is somewhere between Civil/Structural/Mechanical/Construction Engineering.  The industry itself is about 2/3rds Civil, 1/3rd Mechanical Engineers.  Personally I love writing calculations and doing design work.  This was my first job, my third job (different company), and hopefully will be my last job for a long time.

I worked as a project engineer for a manufacturing company for a while and just didn't care for the work.  I like having numbers assure me whether something is or is not okay in a binary sense and I hated the slapdash approach of manufacturing.

Now that I'm a bit older, I can tell I would have probably been happier studying Civil Engineering from day one.  It may sound silly, but I suspect I stuck with Mechanical largely because that's where the "cool" engineers were.  The Civies were weird by comparison.

Thats a pretty neat line of work you're in.  I'm also leaning away from manufacturing, from what I've heard its more repetitive and tedious ( + desk bound ).   Civil engineering is another field that piques my interest.

Thanks for your comments!

adwasy

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Re: Engineers here - What do YOU do?
« Reply #58 on: November 02, 2016, 01:10:38 PM »

I work for a company that has offices all over the world with 90k employees. The department i am in in the location we are at is not at all what you described. I wouldn't be so closed minded if i were you. It really depends on the company/office/location. We don't have to dress a certain way. Small companies can have all kinds of rules too.


Fair enough. I suppose I am speaking from what I have experienced compared to what my friends working at larger firms have. I`d hold no bias against a company for being large if had the work culture I like.