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Student Paper on Careers in Mechatronics, CS, EE — Parallax Forums

Student Paper on Careers in Mechatronics, CS, EE

TechSickoChevronTechSickoChevron Posts: 20
edited 2021-02-06 07:00 in General Discussion

Some of you who look through these forums may work at a Technology Company, i.e. Software, EE, or a technician. Please answer at least one if you are compelled to.

I'd like some of your advice and recommendations for landing a career job.
1) I will be graduating this year with an Associates in Mechatronics. Have some experience with EE, and software and machining. Do you or your company hire recent grads?

2) What kind of benefits does a career in CS, EE, and or Mechatronics have?

3) What should a potential employee be able to do day one, and what should they be able to do day 360?

4) Is the job more solo, self-directed, or a group effort?

5) How should I pick a company to apply to?

6) Does your company have a union?

7) Does your company train new workers?

Add anything else you think is important.

Comments

  • 1) yes of course new graduates are welcome. The enthusiasm and fresh take on things is more welcome than bored, grizzled veterans. (But this isn't something to bring up in the interview, please don't you'll be rejected). You just need to show your excitement for the new job and how you can apply what you studied and look like you have something resembling common-sense between those ears. You need to be respectful of others, and not just come in like a tornado would and destroy and uproot every procedure and methodology (there's myriad reasons on why things are done ”less efficiently” than you'd like).

    2) benefits are the usual boring stuff. Low percentage (4.5%) 401K match, life insurance (bah), medical/vision/dental that's paid about half&half. Two weeks paid vacation standard but good luck taking it (and don't you dare ask about having a specific week off in interviews if this is your first job you have no idea how much this pisses everyone off! Oh I have a vacation with my family this week and it's expensive to cancel, can I.... Rejected.)

    3) Day 1 I seat you at a computer and you can pleasantly answer welcome emails, read tutorials off the intranet site, and be friendly with the people you're either walked around to meet or who come to meet you. Please try to start remembering names.

    Day 2 I seat you at a code editor or drafting software to just sort of poke around and you'd better not be a deer in the headlights. If you know how to ask intelligent questions of others, take notes, follow other people's notes, not do the things you're explicitly told not to do, and find answers online you'll be fine.

    Day 360 is doing the job. We're not waiting that long, day 90~100 you either have a clue or you're gone.

    4) it's all that, although "group effort" means you'll get one smallish piece of a larger project that you'll work on mostly alone. But you have others as resources to ask questions or a project manager to ask for clarification.

    5) You can't be choosy, unless you can never see yourself in that position no matter how you bend your life around it. (Don't work on a cheese factory if you are allergic to cheese).

    6) hahaha. Union. Prepare for the highest beratement by anyone over 40 about how unions are communist socialist evil. Warning, don't even mention this word on the job site or talk about it again for a few decades.

    7) absolutely not in the sense you are used to. There are video training materials for like how to enter your time. No you really are sink or swim for a lot of things. The project itself is the documentation, past projects are the reference material. You're supposed to already know how to look into things and find solutions. If you don't have a tool (software or hardware) you need to ask for it; if you need formal training you need to state your case well and be prepared to wait a month to get it approved or rejected.

  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 3,324

    I came over to the states at age of 43. All my previous jobs and references where in Germany, so more or less useless, since American companies had a hard time to check them,

    What I did was to offer to voluntary work for 2 weeks so they could check the quality of my work without any expenses.

    In my experience the time of benefits is simply over. 50/50 on health insurance is the best you can hope for,

    I have to agree with most of what @whicker wrote, except he forgot the stupid 'meeting' rituals, one in the morning one mid day one in the evening, done by a lot of companies. For me as a mostly self employed person used to work uninterrupted for 10-16 hours a TORTURE.

    Be prepared for learning different coding standards at every job. Be prepared to do unpaid overtime. Like whicker said you may get 2 weeks paid vacation, but do not expect to be able to actually getting the time off.

    Be VERY polite, avoid any reference or humor about politics, gender, race and religions.

    And finally - this may sound very cynical - be prepared for executives/supervisors/project managers having NO CLUE what they are talking about.

    Mike

  • Thank you whicker for your candid remarks and msrobots as well.
    Question 6 is kinda a mullagan and could be ignored. I was trying to cover the jobs which are mechanically related, where occasionally the technician has to repair a circuit board or CS/EE problem. A lot of IT/CS jobs are behind the desk. Many mechanical workers can sometimes be unionized.

    Sort of an Else statement where the job is a boolean union or Not union.

  • @whicker said:
    1) yes of course new graduates are welcome. The enthusiasm and fresh take on things is more welcome than bored, grizzled veterans. (But this isn't something to bring up in the interview, please don't you'll be rejected). You just need to show your excitement for the new job and how you can apply what you studied and look like you have something resembling common-sense between those ears. You need to be respectful of others, and not just come in like a tornado would and destroy and uproot every procedure and methodology (there's myriad reasons on why things are done ”less efficiently” than you'd like).

    2) benefits are the usual boring stuff. Low percentage (4.5%) 401K match, life insurance (bah), medical/vision/dental that's paid about half&half. Two weeks paid vacation standard but good luck taking it (and don't you dare ask about having a specific week off in interviews if this is your first job you have no idea how much this pisses everyone off! Oh I have a vacation with my family this week and it's expensive to cancel, can I.... Rejected.)

    3) Day 1 I seat you at a computer and you can pleasantly answer welcome emails, read tutorials off the intranet site, and be friendly with the people you're either walked around to meet or who come to meet you. Please try to start remembering names.

    Day 2 I seat you at a code editor or drafting software to just sort of poke around and you'd better not be a deer in the headlights. If you know how to ask intelligent questions of others, take notes, follow other people's notes, not do the things you're explicitly told not to do, and find answers online you'll be fine.

    Day 360 is doing the job. We're not waiting that long, day 90~100 you either have a clue or you're gone.

    4) it's all that, although "group effort" means you'll get one smallish piece of a larger project that you'll work on mostly alone. But you have others as resources to ask questions or a project manager to ask for clarification.

    5) You can't be choosy, unless you can never see yourself in that position no matter how you bend your life around it. (Don't work on a cheese factory if you are allergic to cheese).

    6) hahaha. Union. Prepare for the highest beratement by anyone over 40 about how unions are communist socialist evil. Warning, don't even mention this word on the job site or talk about it again for a few decades.

    7) absolutely not in the sense you are used to. There are video training materials for like how to enter your time. No you really are sink or swim for a lot of things. The project itself is the documentation, past projects are the reference material. You're supposed to already know how to look into things and find solutions. If you don't have a tool (software or hardware) you need to ask for it; if you need formal training you need to state your case well and be prepared to wait a month to get it approved or rejected.

    This is depressing state of affairs is it really this bad ***** I have one question **** WHY*****

  • sam_sam_samsam_sam_sam Posts: 2,239
    edited 2021-02-09 01:54

    @msrobots said:
    I came over to the states at age of 43. All my previous jobs and references where in Germany, so more or less useless, since American companies had a hard time to check them,

    What I did was to offer to voluntary work for 2 weeks so they could check the quality of my work without any expenses.

    In my experience the time of benefits is simply over. 50/50 on health insurance is the best you can hope for,

    I have to agree with most of what @whicker wrote, except he forgot the stupid 'meeting' rituals, one in the morning one mid day one in the evening, done by a lot of companies. For me as a mostly self employed person used to work uninterrupted for 10-16 hours a TORTURE.

    Be prepared for learning different coding standards at every job. Be prepared to do unpaid overtime. Like whicker said you may get 2 weeks paid vacation, but do not expect to be able to actually getting the time off.

    Be VERY polite, avoid any reference or humor about politics, gender, race and religions.

    And finally - this may sound very cynical - be prepared for executives/supervisors/project managers having NO CLUE what they are talking about.

    Mike

    ***** WHY*******

    I have one question for you is it this bed in Germany as it here in American as pointed out earlier

  • sam_sam_samsam_sam_sam Posts: 2,239
    edited 2021-02-09 01:51

    I have one comment I thought that Facilities Maintenance Technician field was some what bad to get into but nothing like what I have just read

    Does anyone know why this culture is so bad like this I am having a hard understanding why this is and why this is allowed to go on

  • @sam_sam_sam said:
    I have one comment I thought that Facilities Maintenance Technician field was some what bad to get into but nothing like what I have just read

    Does anyone know why this culture is so bad like this I am having a hard understanding why this is and why this is allowed to go on

    Hi Sam, sorry this post is not specific enough, of a questionnaire to represent the Facilities Maintenance Technician field. My post was more general than one specific job title, including CS/EE jobs which are more engineering or behind a desk job. Although my experience/training is more applicable to a technician I don't see why my skills couldn't
    go into EE/CS applications.

  • @sam_sam_sam LOL not to be confused with Janitorial work! Um, I was thinking like a technician at a factory or something.

  • sam_sam_samsam_sam_sam Posts: 2,239
    edited 2021-02-09 12:56

    You have missed the purpose of my question but this is okay for give for asking the question

    “ not to be confused with Janitorial work! “—> this is not the case

    “Um, I was thinking like a technician at a factory or something” —> it was more on the line of this

    The question was this

    “ Does anyone know why this culture is so bad like this I am having a hard understanding why this is and why this is allowed to go on”

    ——>

  • msrobotsmsrobots Posts: 3,324

    Why?

    Shareholder value and company greed, mostly.

    A lot of Programming jobs got outsourced to India, production outsourced to China and for the remaining work you have more people to choose from. Therefore no need to offer benefits you will still find someone.

    And yes, it is the same in Germany.

    On the other hand there are companies not focused on maximizing profit and providing a nice environment to work in. It is just not easy to find them. So my tip for the OP would be to look for companies or fields of interest first, not for salary or benefits.

    In my not so humble opinion it is more important to find a job he would be happy to do, work is a lot more easy if one feels passion for the overall goal. If it is a burden to go to your workplace, you have the wrong job.

    Mike

  • sam_sam_samsam_sam_sam Posts: 2,239
    edited 2021-02-10 00:35

    @msrobots said:
    Why?

    >

    In my not so humble opinion it is more important to find a job he would be happy to do, work is a lot more easy if one feels passion for the overall goal. If it is a burden to go to your workplace, you have the wrong job.

    Mike

    Thank you for your reply and with this statement that you made above I would agree with you

    Thank you for your explanation about why this culture is practically due to it might not be the hole story

  • It appears there is a startling similarity between the modern practice of law and engineering. :(

  • MicksterMickster Posts: 1,830

    @TechSickoChevron said:
    Some of you who look through these forums may work at a Technology Company, i.e. Software, EE, or a technician. Please answer at least one if you are compelled to.

    I'd like some of your advice and recommendations for landing a career job.
    1) I will be graduating this year with an Associates in Mechatronics. Have some experience with EE, and software and machining. Do you or your company hire recent grads?

    2) What kind of benefits does a career in CS, EE, and or Mechatronics have?

    3) What should a potential employee be able to do day one, and what should they be able to do day 360?

    4) Is the job more solo, self-directed, or a group effort?

    5) How should I pick a company to apply to?

    6) Does your company have a union?

    7) Does your company train new workers?

    Add anything else you think is important.

    Ask not what the company can do for you...

    I owned a sizeable corporation in Michigan and have interviewed/hired hundreds, over the years.

    Based on what I just read, I suspect that I'd probably give you less than 5 minutes.

    Union:
    I served my Apprenticeship (UK) as an industrial electrician, building machine control panels and as soon as I had graduated, I was offered a job with a 60% increase in pay and so I was there in a flash.
    Started on a Monday morning, doing what the other electricians were (supposed to be) doing...building control panels. The work was a joke, a chimp could've done it. It was hard to make progress because everyone was horsing around or wanting to chat about nothing. Lunch time came around and I followed "the lads" to the pub across the road and when we heard the back-to-work buzzer, that meant "OK, one last pint".
    Then we'd run into the fish and chip shop, grab whatever and then go and sit on our workbenches to eat.
    Nobody cared.
    I finished my first panel on Tuesday afternoon and was promptly pulled up by the shop steward who was pi$$ed because the job was supposed to last me until Friday..WTF.
    That was a very long week, having to tolerate these lazy morons.
    Friday came around and the shop steward approached me again to ask if I wanted to work over the weekend. It was time-and-half on Saturday and double-time on Sunday. I said sure but what's the job. He told me to "do some more" to the panel that had been finished for the second time!!!!
    I came in over the weekend and it was nothing but guys sitting around reading tabloids.
    This wasn't for me....screw the money, I was just starting out and I wanted to learn and grow.
    I took a huge pay cut to take a job with a small company who were just starting out, making CNC machinery. I couldn't get enough of this stuff. Although I was hourly, I'd still be there after punching out because this place was like a play ground for me.
    This is dragging on but at age 24, they sent me to the US, where I was responsible for sales/service..my own boss. A few years later, I (illegally) started my own business in Michigan.
    I had already decided that I would only employ those who wanted to grow and had fire in their belly. My best two software engineers came from Westinghouse, not a CS degree between them BUT they weren't shy about tearing a hydraulic pump apart or welding a bracket on the side of a machine. They didn't take "classes" for anything, they just figured it out. My kinda guys :smile:

    I advise that you take a job where you can develop and become indispensable and in demand...treat your early years as if someone is paying you to learn.
    Become multi-skilled and not by signing up for bull$hit classes...it's never been easier.

    This is all assuming that you want something more than sleep/work/eat rinse & repeat :lol:

  • sam_sam_samsam_sam_sam Posts: 2,239
    edited 2021-02-10 21:59

    @TechSickoChevron said:

    I was just starting out and I wanted to learn and grow.
    I took a huge pay cut to take a job with a small company who were just starting out, making CNC machinery. I couldn't get enough of this stuff. Although I was hourly, I'd still be there after punching out because this place was like a play ground for me.
    This is dragging on but at age 24, they sent me to the US, where I was responsible for sales/service..my own boss. A few years later, I (illegally) started my own business in Michigan.
    I had already decided that I would only employ those who wanted to grow and had fire in their belly. My best two software engineers came from Westinghouse, not a CS degree between them BUT they weren't shy about tearing a hydraulic pump apart or welding a bracket on the side of a machine. They didn't take "classes" for anything, they just figured it out. My kinda guys :smile:

    I advise that you take a job where you can develop and become indispensable and in demand...treat your early years as if someone is paying you to learn.
    Become multi-skilled and not by signing up for bull$hit classes...it's never been easier.

    This is all assuming that you want something more than sleep/work/eat rinse & repeat :lol:

    This is what it should be and I appalled you for you though was right and taking action

    And if you really want to learn something you do what it takes to accomplish what you set out to do and what you want to learn

  • MicksterMickster Posts: 1,830

    @sam_sam_sam

    Thanks but don't get me started on the encounters with the union at General Motors....beyond ridiculous "we need this line up and running like yesterday....hey what're you doing with that wrench...you ain't allowed to use it....I'll call a millwright"

    3 hours later.... :lol:

  • @Mickster Thanks, Mickster for your input. This was very useful. I guess your experience with unions was bad in the US. In the UK are they similar? What I tend to hear in interviews is that a company would mention we're union or we are not union. So it's an unnecessary question to ask tbh.

  • MicksterMickster Posts: 1,830

    I am currently back in the UK and finding things a bit strange...but great for me 😎

    I don't come across unions at all anymore and I don't see a reason for them....it's all freaking holidays here (or at least it seems like it) and free "health care".

    Three of my bigger clients...I actually have their factory keys because they are 4/4.5 days/week only and that doesn't work for me. It cracks me up when I get the panic phone call about a dead machine holding up production. I offer to be on their doorstep, early Saturday morning and I get "umm, weeell, Monday will be fine" 😂🤣

    US is still the land of opportunity, IMO. Americans have the "can-do" and "let's just do it" mentality that is lacking in the UK.

    But the union thing...why? If you are any good at what you do, you are a valuable asset and you can call the shots.
    If you just want to get through life, doing as little as possible for the highest wage and not have to worry about being fired for turning up, hungover every day then a union job is the way to go.

  • @TechSickoChevron said:
    Some of you who look through these forums may work at a Technology Company, i.e. Software, EE, or a technician. Please answer at least one if you are compelled to.

    I'd like some of your advice and recommendations for landing a career job.
    1) I will be graduating this year with an Associates in Mechatronics. Have some experience with EE, and software and machining. Do you or your company hire recent grads?

    2) What kind of benefits does a career in CS, EE, and or Mechatronics have?

    3) What should a potential employee be able to do day one, and what should they be able to do day 360?

    4) Is the job more solo, self-directed, or a group effort?

    5) How should I pick a company to apply to?

    6) Does your company have a union?

    7) Does your company train new workers?

    Add anything else you think is important.

    Here's my 10cents (2, but inflation ya know)
    1. National hospital chain. Hire new grads? Some do, some don't. Helps if you had interned with them. And been in a biomed program such as Texas community college (Waco may be a big one for this) or Biomed engineering at DeVry. Training dollars are usually very tight if they exist at all and health care facilities prefer to have someone that can produce from day one. Otherwise, you are better trying to get into an OEM as a field service engineer. Mechatronics would be an excellent entry point into X-ray systems such as rooms, Card/Angio labs and CT. CT voltages from 1.8V to 140kV, speeds from 2s/revolution to less than 0.25s/revolution.

    1. Same as any other. Compenstaion, growth and advancement varies depending on company and state of business health. Personal, depends on your goals. If you are like Mickster, you will be the limitation to your growth and learning. If you are like the clowns on his first job site, you will be the limitation to your growth and learning. As to the degree, it's a tool certificate. Yeah, you have a basic level of knowledge, but that's about it. Question becomes how well you can understand the source of the problems to be able to solve them. Your degree is a mostly empty tool kit at the starting point. Question is how willing and able are you to continue filling it with additional knowledge and experiences both great, small and utter failures (read somewhere that you can learn as much from a failure as a success, just a fail is not as much fun)

    2. Know what the company does (before you even interview) and what you can offer them short and long term. Eyes and ears open, mouth shut (mostly), but be sure to appear willing to help if asked but not pushy or know it all. Soak up any and all knowledge you can as you will never know when it will help you or set you apart. As stated earlier, if you don't have a clue in 90 days bubye.. You should know and be meeting expectations while you are in that position. How well you do this is what evaluations, more responsibility and promotions are based on.

    3. Asked and answered above.

    4. Research what they do. Does it fit what you would like to be associated with (goals, jobs, ethics, etc.) If you have not done this minor bit of research, don't bother to apply. You will not be able to sell yourself to them as a solution when you have no idea as to what you can solve for them.

    5. Don't even go there, you will find out soon enough if they are a union shop, and you will be quickly and unceremoniously escorted out of the building should you ask and they are not.

    6. Training is a given. Just depends on the definition of training. OEMs like Philips, Siemens and GE all require the field force to be trained on the systems they maintain. Usually there are requirements that you are willing to travel a percentage of the year either for formal hands on training at the factory schools or to assist other service areas as needed. (Sometimes they may offer to "relocate" you when a less desirable area needs a body and your area is to high in the head count. Guess it beats being just laid off). Other jobs figure they know what you need and will either have a more senior person bring you up to speed or point you to a stack of docs and say there's everything you need to learn to figure out this assignment. AKA OJT. As I said, training is a given. You can't produce if you don't know what to do. How you learn this may be more up to you than you realize now.

    Now the fun one, anything else?

    Remember the part about being your own limitation? You will not realize for many years at times the consequence of a single decision on your future. The majority of the opportunities I have had in my career are mostly due to a particular choice. Do I go to the brig or go to instructor school? I had just crossed over from electrician to data systems in the US Navy, due for shore duty, but there were only two choices at the time. Either go and be a guard at one of the Norfolk area brigs or go to instructor school and then take a three year assignment as an instructor. No desire to ever set foot in a brig, so to instructor school I went. Almost 4 years doing that. Got out and head hunter wanted me to "meet" a client from New Jersey. Seems that they could not keep/find instructors willing to stay in New Jersey. (And yes about everything north of NJ Turnpike exit 8 looks like the opening scenes of the Sopranos though Tony's home looked more like Short Hills). They got an instructor, and I got to learn medical imaging service. So there went another 10 years instructing field engineers in medical imaging systems. Including a few courses conducted in Germany (fun). Left training for telecom in 1999, and we all know how that followed .com into the toilet.... 2003 back to medical as an in-house field service for imaging systems. That last job, enabled by the decision to train years before got my family through the telecom / dot com bust, the 2008 meltdown and COVID.

    This part also fits with #3. Don't waste your time with something that you don't enjoy doing. you won't learn much more than how much you hate that job. Within reason, don't worry about the pay and benefits. Being able to do something you like to do, can get very good at it because you want to should drive you to be the best you can possibly be at whatever that is. The pay and Benjamins will follow if your expertise is on in demand.

    @Mickster, about unions, I royally pi$$ed of one union during a course. Had a few extra goodies I had come up with and because of time limitations, offered the info to any who wanted to stay after hours and get the goodies. One northeastern union had a fecal-hemorhage. Needless to say that was a one time offer.

  • GenetixGenetix Posts: 1,500

    TechSickoChevron,

    It all depends on the company that you work for and the industry that you work in.

    I have an Associate and though it's required for many positions, I'd be better if I had my Bachelor's.

    Unfortunately there is a big catch-22 when it comes to experience.
    If you have experience it's easier to get another position but getting that first experience isn't easier.
    You are better off starting at a smaller company where you will have more opportunity to learn.

    As for the place I work, I am just a temp and you should see all the empty cubicles and offices.
    Most people work from home but you can't do physical testing virtually.
    A lot of people have either left the company or been forced out and this was after the CEO declared that there wouldn't be layoffs due to Covid.

    You can either be like some people and just do a job for the money, or if you are fortunate like some of us get paid to do work that you love.

    Argh! Editor should NOT freeze or lag!

  • MicksterMickster Posts: 1,830

    @Genetix said:
    TechSickoChevron,

    It all depends on the company that you work for and the industry that you work in.

    I have an Associate and though it's required for many positions, I'd be better if I had my Bachelor's.

    Unfortunately there is a big catch-22 when it comes to experience.
    If you have experience it's easier to get another position but getting that first experience isn't easier.
    You are better off starting at a smaller company where you will have more opportunity to learn.

    As for the place I work, I am just a temp and you should see all the empty cubicles and offices.
    Most people work from home but you can't do physical testing virtually.
    A lot of people have either left the company or been forced out and this was after the CEO declared that there wouldn't be layoffs due to Covid.

    You can either be like some people and just do a job for the money, or if you are fortunate like some of us get paid to do work that you love.

    Argh! Editor should NOT freeze or lag!

    :+1:

    Wait, is this freezing a known issue? I thought it was my phone. I have been using a separate text editor and just cut/pasting.
    It's weird because if it happens to me here, it starts happening on other forums until I reboot.

  • Frank Freeman
    Thank you for the insight about this even in this profession

    The issue of getting experience in any trade or profession to me is a very big problem
    Because in reality if you can find not find a company that is willing to take a chance with you it is very difficult to get started

    The question is WHY is it this way

    Well first it might be that company’s in general want to make a profit and figure that they do not want to spend the money for this employee to learn what is needed to make them a valuable employee to the employer

    And if this company a publicly traded company then you have the stock holder to worry about so are back to what I said above

    But you are very right about the fact that job seeker do not know a lot of time what a company is about what they do what kind of employee they want and so on

    What I would like to know is what this going to be like for the next generation that is coming up and how will they be able to deal with issue and what is our educational system in this country going to do about this issue as well

    But to me ( personally ) I hope that people who are interested in a trade or a profession have different mentality of how they look at education and how to gain experience in any field and employer get a different mentality on there responsibly to the process as well

    It not just one select party or parties to fix this issue it will take everyone to correct how it is to get in any field for job seekers and employers and there companies

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