S/O Job Alternatives for Engineers

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Posted 4/9/2014 by AprilH in NSBR Board
 

AprilH
PeaNut

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October 2001
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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:58:48 PM
Any engineers doing technical but not engineering work? I'm a civil/structural engineer, and I need to make a change.

I spent many years doing public works design (flood walls and gates, bridges, earthwork, drainage, etc.) I don't mind the basic design work, but I can't deal with the hassle of plan preparation any more. Almost a year ago, I switched jobs and now am doing offshore steel design. I do like this better as the projects are smaller and the plan preparation is on a much smaller scale (5-10 drawings rather than 75-100+). I actually sometimes enjoy the modeling and analysis process. But overall I'm just done and I want a bigger change.

But I do like the technical, logical parts of engineering. Is anyone working in a technical job where your engineering background is useful, but you're not doing design?



AprilH

Darcy_Collins
PeaFixture

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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:09:57 PM
My roommate from college is a civil engineer and does failure analysis and expert witness testimony.

Bootspalmer
PeaAddict

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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:11:31 PM
If you can't find a job, I wonder who can! I mean you are on par with doctors and lawyers (except your training is harder).

What about dam construction or expansion? I worked in that for a while. It was pretty interesting.

Rhondito
MississiPEA

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June 2002
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:27:22 PM
I don't know how this translates for the civil/structural side, but I work for a manufacturer's rep for commercial HVAC and heating equipment. Our mechanical engineers make well over $200-300K selling HVAC systems to mechanical contractors, and our work encompasses estimating, bidding, project management, etc.

Contractors of all types have to get their materials from someone...


Rhonda



lana
BucketHead

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January 2001
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:29:38 PM
I know an engineer who gave it up to teach

~SuburbanMom~
Wannabe FNPea!

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April 2003
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:30:22 PM
I was a civil engineer and I made a major career change into healthcare -- I love it! I focus on healthcare quality, healthcare IT, utilization trends, and a lot more.

eta: my brother also majored in civil engineering (though never practiced) -- he has always been in finance on wall street. (not that that really helps you...)

edited again... I was also thinking you could go into some sort of engineering or technical sales and make a killing.



busypea
boring + nerdy

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October 2002
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:34:42 PM
I have a civil engineer friend acquaintance who also does failure analysis and expert testimony. I always think his job sounds fascinating.

johnmac44
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:39:37 PM
My dad is a mechanical engineer who specializes in estimating. Conceptual estimating. Sadly they don't really teach this anymore but in his field they rely on it. So he's ready to retire and the company doesn't want to see him leave because of what he knows. They are negotiating with him to keep him there as long as they can part time just so he can train the new hires fresh out of college.

Maybe you could do what someone else suggested and teach what you know.



Bootspalmer
PeaAddict

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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:43:18 PM
I am not an engineer though. I did work with them and they made decent money but we subcontracted to lots of engineering firms.

I also worked in seismic mitigation. We had an civil engineer working with us there too.

CarolT
Slow Poke Pea

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June 1999
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Posted: 4/9/2014 10:11:17 PM
If you have any interest in teaching, I would recommend checking that out.

I'm a district support teacher for career and technical education STEM programs. Right now, I'm trying to help several schools find teachers for next year for middle and high school pre-engineering programs.


*********************




ramblin72
BucketHead

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Posted: 4/9/2014 10:28:39 PM

If you can't find a job, I wonder who can!

I don't think the OP said they can't find a job...just wanted a change

khazlett
BucketHead

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November 2005
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Posted: 4/9/2014 10:31:19 PM
My DH is an Electronics Engineer and is doing Tech writing for a military/aerospace company. Fits his EE major with an English minor.

I'm doing Program management for a technology company.

There are a lot of other jobs that Engineers are perfect for.

I would check Sales engineering, Program/Project Management, Engineering management, Business development, and Account management.

maryannscraps
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 4/10/2014 7:28:22 AM
I have a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering (basically applied mechanical engineering.) I do freelance technical writing projects and I work for a science textbook publisher. It fills my need to figure out how things work, and I love to write.

I usually write the more complicated manuals for projects where the design engineers just don't have the time/skills to write. There's a definite need for writers who can figure out how a system works without a lot of input.

rosiekat
AncestralPea

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July 2005
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Posted: 4/10/2014 8:36:30 AM
Depending on where you live, there may be city or state jobs available where you're reviewing the work of other engineers. They'll submit plans for sites, roadways, etc. and you review them for compliance with engineering standards and codes.


Jen


schooby
StuckOnPeas

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January 2004
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Posted: 4/10/2014 11:51:28 AM

I actually sometimes enjoy the modeling and analysis process.


Geospatial information systems. As a user or, if you have experience programming, as a systems analyst. Last time I checked, consultants made $150-$250/hr, and that was 8 years ago.

Check with your energy provider (gas and electric). They probably use ESRI or Smallworld.

MochiMochi
PeaAddict

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Posted: 4/10/2014 11:58:05 AM
I'll second technical writing. My dad is a BSEE who worked the last 20 years of his career as a writer. His field was aerospace and aeronautics; he wrote the manuals for various planes/bombers/UAVs. There was a little drafting involved, but mostly the diagrams came from the design engineers, and he put it all together into the manuals.

There's a fair amount of desktop pubs to be learned to do it, but there is more need for people with this skill than there are people who can do it.

I also wonder if you could take your expertise and move into a troubleshooting type position instead of design. Consulting based or something like that?

utmr
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 4/10/2014 11:59:41 AM
What about cost control? It's always good to have someone who can. "Speak engineer".

leftturnonly
Will trade mosquitoes for cookies.

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Posted: 4/10/2014 12:04:51 PM
How do you break into the manual writing? Where do you start?





If PC is the way to get to Heaven, I'm going straight to Hell.



scrapulous
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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December 2003
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Posted: 4/11/2014 1:16:20 AM
I would also like to know how to get started writing manuals.


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maryannscraps
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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March 2003
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Loc: massachusetts

Posted: 4/11/2014 6:26:43 AM

How do you break into the manual writing? Where do you start?
The Society for Technical Communicators (used to be the Society for Technical Writers) is an excellent resource. You might want to take a course in technical writing -- just to familiarize yourself with the types of software and standards that are used in the field.

The technical writing side of my work tends to be with very small start up companies. I've occasionally used contract firms to find jobs, but at this point in my career it's mostly word of mouth. I totally fell into the career -- but if you like to write and have the technical background, there's definitely a need.

Any complex technical project or product is going to need to either 1) document the product for the customer's use, or 2) meet government or certification standards in their documentation.

leftturnonly
Will trade mosquitoes for cookies.

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Posted: 4/11/2014 9:47:02 AM
Thanks for the info.





If PC is the way to get to Heaven, I'm going straight to Hell.



pudgy_groundhog
Chubby old groundhog

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October 2003
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Posted: 4/11/2014 10:05:43 AM
What about a job at a university helping researchers patent or license their technology or find partnerships with industry?

Interesting thread. I might need it with all the layoffs and uncertainty happening at my company!



Lucki
Anthropeaology Pea

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Posted: 4/11/2014 10:13:05 AM
I work at a pipeline company with the supply chain group doing supplier pre-qualifications. We have several engineers on our team who help assess the technical capabilities of our suppliers to ensure that they are able to supply safe and high quality materials and services.

We're working with different suppliers everyday so it's always a new challenge!


Dawn




Darcy_Collins
PeaFixture

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Posted: 4/11/2014 10:58:04 AM

What about a job at a university helping researchers patent or license their technology or find partnerships with industry?


You actually don't have to work at a university. An acquaintance does part time consulting as a patent researcher. Looks for prior art etc. I think she actually works with the patent attorneys (no idea who pays the bill, but that's where the referrals come from at least). I thought it was a great idea for a flexible, part time job for those with a science/engineering background.
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