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Decisions as an engineering graduate...the trade off between passion and money? watch

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    Hello everyone, I'm posting this topic because I believe this is a debate that affects a lot of young engineers making key decisions at the moment, including myself.

    There's a diverse mix of engineering students university, everything from hating engineering and wanting to get out as fast as possible, to those who love it and stay on to pursue academia, but what if you are stuck in the middle? I guess it would seem obvious to assume the latter would be the majority, but I'm not quite sure that's the case.

    Personally I love the subject (I study Mechanical Engineering in the UK currently taking my masters), and I go through phases of enjoying different topics but at the end of the day I get a buzz from finding a solution and getting things to work how I intend them to. So when it comes to looking for graduate work, I find jobs aligned with my interests such as types of analysis, simulation software and design etc. to be yielding average salaries (around £27,000) but the general consensus of articles I find online is that this salary is unlikely to increase much over the course of your career. However does this mean if you were to stay in this entry level role specifically?

    For example go to google and type in 'Design Engineer Salary' and immediately you are confronted with a bold '£28,489 per year' from PayScale. Now as a graduate entering at around this salary I would hope over time this would increase a fair bit. As salary seems to be directly correlated with responsibility, does this mean that your only route for progressing is to step out of this technical role? Is it 'unwise' to be following this technical career path if you want to progress to >£50,000?

    I'm trying to stay realistic here in terms of balancing my passion for engineering and salary, the salary is important in terms of long term stability and family etc. yet so is the enjoyment of the job, so I'm really putting a lot of thought into this. As a lot of engineering students I have the urge to branch out into technical areas outside engineering but this is mostly influenced by the inviting prospect of high salaries and rapid progression (goodbye engineering?). Or is it worth pursuing a Chartered status with the expectation that this will open doors to higher salaries?


    If anyone has any thoughts on this please let me know, any advice for me and thousands of other students out there is most welcome.

    Thanks for reading this long post!
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    One thing worth considering is where you choose to settle. If you work in and around London, chances are that cost of living expenses will wipe out any gains in salary. However moving further north will yield more disposable income even if salaries are not as high.

    Personally I would aim for job satisfaction. I have had periods of my career that have been so horrendous it hurt to go into work. Even if I was being paid handsomely for that misery, it would not have made up for it. You will also find that after 10 or so years in an industry options in all sorts of bizarre directions start to open up. Some of them can be very lucrative.

    Good luck and stay happy!
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    (Original post by j55)
    Hello everyone, I'm posting this topic because I believe this is a debate that affects a lot of young engineers making key decisions at the moment, including myself.

    There's a diverse mix of engineering students university, everything from hating engineering and wanting to get out as fast as possible, to those who love it and stay on to pursue academia, but what if you are stuck in the middle? I guess it would seem obvious to assume the latter would be the majority, but I'm not quite sure that's the case.

    Personally I love the subject (I study Mechanical Engineering in the UK currently taking my masters), and I go through phases of enjoying different topics but at the end of the day I get a buzz from finding a solution and getting things to work how I intend them to. So when it comes to looking for graduate work, I find jobs aligned with my interests such as types of analysis, simulation software and design etc. to be yielding average salaries (around £27,000) but the general consensus of articles I find online is that this salary is unlikely to increase much over the course of your career. However does this mean if you were to stay in this entry level role specifically?

    For example go to google and type in 'Design Engineer Salary' and immediately you are confronted with a bold '£28,489 per year' from PayScale. Now as a graduate entering at around this salary I would hope over time this would increase a fair bit. As salary seems to be directly correlated with responsibility, does this mean that your only route for progressing is to step out of this technical role? Is it 'unwise' to be following this technical career path if you want to progress to >£50,000?

    I'm trying to stay realistic here in terms of balancing my passion for engineering and salary, the salary is important in terms of long term stability and family etc. yet so is the enjoyment of the job, so I'm really putting a lot of thought into this. As a lot of engineering students I have the urge to branch out into technical areas outside engineering but this is mostly influenced by the inviting prospect of high salaries and rapid progression (goodbye engineering?). Or is it worth pursuing a Chartered status with the expectation that this will open doors to higher salaries?


    If anyone has any thoughts on this please let me know, any advice for me and thousands of other students out there is most welcome.

    Thanks for reading this long post!
    If you remain as a technical engineer (i.e. design engineer etc) chances are your salary will not increase after a certain point regardless if you're chartered or not usually the 'ceiling' tends to be around the £70k-£80k mark (which is a shame but this is the reality).

    In engineering if you want to make money you have to go into management roles however it is often best to spend some years accumulating a broad technical experience which will make the transition into senior roles much more smooth, From there it's really up to you and your negotiating skills to take you even higher.
 
 
 
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