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Old 02-04-2008, 11:43 AM   #1
H-Dtech
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Default need help from the OT engineers

ok, so I know I've made a few of these threads recently, but I got laid off almost a week ago and I'm contemplating my next move. So what does a day in the life of an engineer consist off. so, what kind of engineering do you do, what does it involve, etc...

thanks for the help.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #2
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i'm a mech engineer, at a smaller company. I do design work, which basically means 3D modeling. I design our mechanism's and housings for our printers, tweak them around in 3D, possible mock up samples in house, or send them outside to get made up. Test fit them together, take rough measurments of performance and rigidity/flexing. Revise designs, discuss changes, send them out again etc.

For ME's, its a lot of CAD work and drawings for people lower on the experience ladder, smaller companies you get a broader exposure, larger companies you don't see much else beyond your role. I am lucky being on the smaller side and I get to deal with everything from roughing out concepts and describing whats possible to marketing, all the way to tooling and production dealing with chinese contract manufacturers.

I like it, but it can be slow at times, and the real creative parts happen very early on in projects.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:50 AM   #3
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I GIS'd engineer and got this... sorry its the best I can do.





without researching your life story.. I'll just ask what type of engineer are you?
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:53 AM   #4
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well right now, I'm not any kind of engineer. I'm thinking about going back to school, and getting a degree in engineering, so thats why I wanted to find out about the different kinds of engineering from people who actually do it.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:56 AM   #5
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well I'm gonna study some electrical. there are a few inventions I'd like to produce, I know I can do it ,and I do not trust anyone to do it for me, so I have to learn some basics so I can build the prototypes myself.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:58 AM   #6
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Q, you're a nutter but its funny as hell


something something nuns something something
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:00 PM   #7
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ahh.. so you were there...
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:02 PM   #8
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yea I have one of those million dollar ideas, but myself and friend of myne who is an electrical engineer couldn't figure out how to do it.
(not the reason i want to get into engineering)
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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IMHO engineers are far undervalued, underutilized, and underinspired (thats not a word I know) most of them are button pushers for companies like verizon or at&t. Now I could go off into a tangent about how thats some kind of conspiracy, because any monkey can push buttons, and they are just trying to hold the reigns on anything creative-- but I will not.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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I'm a EE and a switching power supply designer by background. I've been doing this since some of the guys on this board were 3. I currently work for a company that sells IC's that control power supplies. I'm the technical guy who can help an engineer to do anything from choosing an appropriate control chip to providing an existing design to delivering custom hardware specific to his application, all in support of getting our chips into the design. I work very, very independently and decide what and how I'm going to do what's needed.

My day consists of answering customer questions by email. Visiting customers to help with part selection, answer technical questions, collect info for a design that I'll later do for them. I also do searches of our existing designs so I don't have to re-invent the wheel and provide that design to customers. If nothing exists that's exactly right, I might take the one that's closest and modify it to fit the design exactly and make the hardware changes and test in my lab.

I'll also do system designs of the entire power system, which can be the biggest challenge, sometimes and the most rewarding when finished.

On occation, my ideas, or ideas of our team are new enough to get patents, so we document this and let our legal eagles do the work to patent stuff.

My work is a bit unique as it's not just hardware, it's analog hardware and I have to be able to talk with and present to other engineers, who will sometimes grill me on details. This does require some years doing this stuff. The design stuff that led me to this job was daily work of calculating, simulating a bit, and a lot of hardware lab work and tweeking and testing to get a working, production ready supply that our customer could use. Of course, par for the course was that as I was coming in the door with my finished product, the customer (internal....just other groups) would dramatically change their requirements, making the past 6 months of work a complete waste of time.

There's good money in my present field, good bonuses and lots of surprise money that drops out of the sky.

Go to the best engineering college you can possibly afford. There are a lot of them in the Northeast.

jack
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:21 PM   #11
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^^^
what are the best ones around. I'm only one state down from you, and would love to know what the industry considers the best schools around.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:22 PM   #12
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Iím an EE. My main function is to design and implement large scale digital integrated circuits (system on chip type stuff). Iím responsible for system design and a portion of the implementation. I can and sometimes do all the other stuff related to IC design also (synthesis, scan, JTAG, BIST Ö ECOs). Although I would rather not. Iíll write some Perl or C for a little testing here and there. I sometimes have to do system level board design. Fortunately I donít have to do the implementation for that crap anymore. Iíve been known to do a backplane now and then. There are days that I say ďwow you guys are paying me to do thisĒ. Then there are other days where Iím ďyou mother******* are not paying enough for this ****Ē. But most days donít suck and that pretty much fills my main requirement for a job.

For the IC design itís mostly sitting around discussing system wide problems and solutions. This stuff isnít DSP so itís not really all that complicated. But since itís the entire system on a chip the stuff is just big. The design decision part is fun stuff. This part of the job just requires that you have a little experience and good knowledge of the system. The implementation portion of the design work is fun stuff also. Provide that youíre senior enough to make all of your own implementation decisions. I love coming up with solutions to difficult problems that are clean and compact. Otherwise people just tell you what kind of stuff you have to grind out. This part is block diagrams, coding in Verilog and what would seem like years of simulation (and sometimes actually is). We do prototype in FPGAs. Thereís system level work up front for those boards, synthesis for the FPGAs and lab work for verification. The synthesis can be a cruise or it can be painful work. But if the design implementation is clean up front that can go pretty fast. The lab work can be good stuff also. It can also be torturous. If you did good work up front then itís usually a cruise.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:36 PM   #13
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from my experience and from people i know with an engineering degree(ce, ee, cs, math) they typically would work for a defense contracting company. many positions they can work. i used to work as a software engineer writing simulation programs, but just recently i transferred to safety systems engineering.

typical day as a systems engineer is spent gathering information, wording polite emails, analyzing specifications and designs. work throughout the year goes in curves. some weeks i would be busy as heck, other weeks are slow as hell! job security has been great (7 yrs and counting with no mentions of layoffs as of yet), benefits great, job satisfaction, like everything in life, also goes in waves.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:42 PM   #14
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yeah, go get a degree, but make sure you do an internship (no pay if you have to) somewhere that you REALLY like the work and could see yourself working someday.

There's no better experience, and very few companies will turn you down if they can see you're interested, and willing to work for free a few hours a week.

Coming out of school with a degree and without experience is not a good idea.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:54 PM   #15
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MSCS here.
I went Software Engineer -> Systems Engineer -> Project Lead

Software Engineering = Design, Code, Unit Test.
Systems Engineering = Writing Hardware and Software Requirements, HW/SW and SW/SW Integration, Requirements-Based Testing.
Project Lead = Project planning, schedules, budgets, statusing, customer interface
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post
I'm a EE and a switching power supply designer by background. I've been doing this since some of the guys on this board were 3. I currently work for a company that sells IC's that control power supplies. I'm the technical guy who can help an engineer to do anything from choosing an appropriate control chip to providing an existing design to delivering custom hardware specific to his application, all in support of getting our chips into the design. I work very, very independently and decide what and how I'm going to do what's needed.

My day consists of answering customer questions by email. Visiting customers to help with part selection, answer technical questions, collect info for a design that I'll later do for them. I also do searches of our existing designs so I don't have to re-invent the wheel and provide that design to customers. If nothing exists that's exactly right, I might take the one that's closest and modify it to fit the design exactly and make the hardware changes and test in my lab.


Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:03 PM   #17
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I am a field engineer my degree is in Industrial Engineering, i make power plants for a living its fun and pays great. Only down side is power plants are built in the middle of nowhere
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:05 PM   #18
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Mech engineer/project manager. My day consists of:

design work
testing
prototyping
some production floor work
little bit of NASIOC time
working with suppliers to get parts made
BOM work
meetings

It has good times, boring times, easy times, and some hard times. The main thing is, engineering is not something you go into to get rich. It pays decently, but not Dr. Salaries. Also, if you're shaky in science/technical/math fields you're setting yourself up for a career of frustration. Engineering came rather easily to me, so I can make quick work of some projects. Some others dont get things as easily and get frustrated over small things that, IMO, shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:25 PM   #19
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Design Draftsman.

I'm an almost-grad (1 class away) from graduating as a B.S. Mechanical Engineering.

My day consists of a bit of web browsing for fun and research, working with CAD programs and acting as an underling for the rest of the engineers. Every now and then, I get a small project. Hopefully in a couple of months i can make the shift from hourly to salary. I guess in my field(design), just like anything else in life, communication is key in succeeding. the second most important thing being plain old common sense and ethics.

The salary in the design/manufacturing field isn't too glamourous. But, the work here is a lot more laid back than our engineering bretheren in the refiinery and energy industries who probably make 1.5 times as much from stressful work.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:37 PM   #20
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I am an ECE but work in system QA/system engineering.

I mostly test pre-release hardware and software, communicate with developers(both hardware and software), design tests to run. Working for a big server manufacturer is nice, people are chill, the pay is ok, can't complain.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:37 PM   #21
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thanks guys, this is helping alot.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:42 PM   #22
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Just read Dilbert, you'll find out everything you ever needed to know about this soul-sucking profession.
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Old 02-04-2008, 02:10 PM   #23
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I'm an EE and primarily design LED lights, drivers and battery back up systems, but will take on anything I'm comfortable with. I design schematics and layout the PCB's in CAD and build/test prototypes. Rinse and repeat until the product does what I or the customer wants it to do. I also do contract design, engineering and manufacturing. If theres time, I also do some technical recruiting.
Typically a customer comes to me with a napkin idea and I take it from a sketch through to a completed product ready for mass marketing. This includes completely designing or modifying a circuit in schematic capture software, simulating the circuit in software if need be, designing the PCB in CAD, programming the micro processors, buying the components, building and testing prototypes. I have the capacity to build about 1000 PCB's a month in house, so I get to program the pick and place machine, the heat profiles for the reflow oven etc etc. As I'm the only one here, I get to do it all and love it.

Unfortunately, I'm always on the edge of having to take a job to supplement income. If I could grab one or two more long term decent volume contracts - this thing would take off like a rocket.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:07 PM   #24
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you do know that Engineering is one of the hardest majors in college?

i'm a Junior in ME now, so far i've done an internship for a steel mill, and most of my duties consisted of drawing in AutoCAD, i also took and analyzed readings from flow meters. Basically, in most engineering jobs, your days will always be different.

P.S 99% of Engineering internships are paid.
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:40 PM   #25
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Not only are engineering internships paid, but they are paid pretty well. Most ME interns make roughly $15-20+/hr during their time.
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