Ed_Harris111
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Very undecided to pursue engineering. I would be looking at oxbridge, bristol etc and think i would be capable of the courses but worried about finding it interesting.

- Anyone studying engineering right now? How do you like the course? what are your favourite and least favourite bits?

- Anyone know what the pay is like say 5-10 years after graduation? is there chance people could be on 50k plus

- What jobs are engineers doing? everyone says 'there is so much opportunity for different jobs in engineering' but never gives any examples so could people maybe give some examples of what they have worked on.

thanks for reading!
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uberteknik
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Engineering as a course is one of the most challenging. In addition, be clear about the specialisation as engineering disciplines cover a huge range including civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic, computer, chemical, production, systems, marine, aerospace, hydraulic, robotic, nuclear, power.......the list is endless.

Your degree will be general with everyone reading the same core subjects in the first year with a start on your overall discipline. Second year consolidates and advances learning with more emphasis on your specialisation whilst the third year covers advanced topics and a major specialialistion project which you define and develop, finally you must submit a dissertation to a panel of examiners before your degree is awarded.

Maths and physics feature heavily and will veer heavily to applications rather than pure.

Interest comes from your desire to not only find out (much under your own initiative) how things work, but also, why they work at a physics modelling level, developing ideas and crossing over to a realised product based on the limitations of materials and the financial constraints of costs, meeting timescales, juggling resources, commercial and statutory law etc.

It's a vast subject.

When you convert to a job you need to decide which path to go down within your chosen industry. That is research, design, modelling, systems, integration, testing, production, project management, commercial, sales etc.

Engineering graduates with experience and demonstrable attainment in industry, are highly mobile, as a good engineer must understand all aspects of a products life-cycle in varying degrees of depth and so expected to have developed an almost unique skill set.

Beware though, to be a good engineer, you will need a passion for your subject as it ain't for the faint hearted.

If you are only interested in remuneration then you have failed to grasp the motivation needed to progress is not money, but a desire to make things better and striving for perfection either for corporate profit or to advance science etc. Financial compensation is directly related to your ability to perform converting ideas to world class products at the right price.

In a world class engineering company, if you perform, there is no reason you cannot achieve 50K+ (today's rates) as you are promoted through the engineering grades ten years after landing the job. Move into management or consulting and the sky is the limit.

At the age of 35 I earned 100K+ and that was in the late 1990's. But I had to change into the commercial sector as a project manager to get there.

NB it,'s your ability to consolidate skill sets into performance that will open up opportunities and bring the higher rewards. Engineering degrees are the start of a long journey.

Be warned though, the early years can be tedious with great attention to detail and painstaking diligence. You will need to show an aptitude from grasping the detail to seeing the big picture. As with everything in life, the higher you fly, the harder the competition becomes and only a few make it to the very top.
Last edited by uberteknik; 4 weeks ago
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LuigiMario
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I did engineering , (a month of electrical, two years of electronics & communications engineering, three months of mechanical, one month of digital testing, one month of satellite data communications, one month of circuit design, some time on electronic warfare, learned to shoot a nine-millimetre semi-automatic pistol quite accurately, overnight orienteering in strange pieces of the UK, months more programming/coding, two whole weeks of soldering and only soldering, six weeks of project design - virtually making a cardboard radio, and others that I've probably forgotten about*) it was a while ago (* just remembered metrology, applied physics, electron microscopy, semiconductor fabrication & analysis, lecturing, radar)

The key thing for me was that my course was closely associated with a major engineering company, all holidays were spent working - getting paid, and after three years I not only had my qualification - but I had spent sufficient time embedded in a company that I was fully prepared for absolutely any and all jobs. I'm still not completely sure why I was taught, encouraged to learn to shoot, but I have my suspicions!


So Engineering is V A S T , perhaps you have a hobby that fits into an area of engineering, trains, cars, radio ....?

You can certainly enter it 'blind' as often, say at Oxford, the first year would be common to all strands of engineering - and you could naturally sense which direction you find most interesting and tailor the rest of your degree in that direction. It has quite a bit of applied maths, but we often joke that an engineer is just an estimator - trying to solve a project/system to a 95% confidence level. That usually is enough for the real-world, except perhaps some nuclear , chemical, biological systems - where rather more precision is needed.

I personally was paid OK, but tripled my salary overnight when I left the UK, I was paid in my second job as an engineer, one year after graduating, in very large bundles of cash, enough to fill a small briefcase , every month. And it was all legal and tax-free ( I kept the King's telephone working, wasn't beheaded, and brought the first television to an entire region of yemeni borderlands - I made the hospital blue-light radio system work, when upon delivery it didn't) . Four years after graduating I was being paid more conventionally - rather well paid, certainly >£50K , into my swiss bank account, whilst I helped make antimatter as my day job. I now do renewable energy, innovation & standards development, and I'm nominally paid more than Boris.- depending on exchange rates, but I might just do the job for free , 'cos I like it!

the typical "general engineering" company that I can point to is a "consulting engineer" - who entire countries or regions come to , to build islands, airports and renewable energy systems. They don't get that much publicity, and UK is reasonably terrible at paying staff well for these sort of projects, or completing the fourth runway, or a garden bridge or a hospital for children in Edinburgh or a plan to rationally do.....

so consider https://www.arup.com/ (I would've said current biggest & best in world, or is that Jacobs?)
https://www.jacobs.com/newsroom/news...-1-design-firm

or here's a 'random' page - which has a few more UK based names/projects that you can look-up yourself

https://100awards.newcivilengineer.com/winners-2017

Oh, and you might just need to learn mandarin as you are working, I picked up Arabic, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Russian in varying levels..
Last edited by LuigiMario; 4 weeks ago
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Ed_Harris111
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
I did engineering , (a month of electrical, two years of electronics & communications engineering, three months of mechanical, one month of digital testing, one month of satellite data communications, one month of circuit design, some time on electronic warfare, learned to shoot a nine-millimetre semi-automatic pistol quite accurately, overnight orienteering in strange pieces of the UK, months more programming/coding, two whole weeks of soldering and only soldering, six weeks of project design - virtually making a cardboard radio, and others that I've probably forgotten about*) it was a while ago (* just remembered metrology, applied physics, electron microscopy, semiconductor fabrication & analysis, lecturing, radar)

The key thing for me was that my course was closely associated with a major engineering company, all holidays were spent working - getting paid, and after three years I not only had my qualification - but I had spent sufficient time embedded in a company that I was fully prepared for absolutely any and all jobs. I'm still not completely sure why I was taught, encouraged to learn to shoot, but I have my suspicions!


So Engineering is V A S T , perhaps you have a hobby that fits into an area of engineering, trains, cars, radio ....?

You can certainly enter it 'blind' as often, say at Oxford, the first year would be common to all strands of engineering - and you could naturally sense which direction you find most interesting and tailor the rest of your degree in that direction. It has quite a bit of applied maths, but we often joke that an engineer is just an estimator - trying to solve a project/system to a 95% confidence level. That usually is enough for the real-world, except perhaps some nuclear , chemical, biological systems - where rather more precision is needed.

I personally was paid OK, but tripled my salary overnight when I left the UK, I was paid in my second job as an engineer, one year after graduating, in very large bundles of cash, enough to fill a small briefcase , every month. And it was all legal and tax-free ( I kept the King's telephone working, wasn't beheaded, and brought the first television to an entire region of yemeni borderlands - I made the hospital blue-light radio system work, when upon delivery it didn't) . Four years after graduating I was being paid more conventionally - rather well paid, certainly >£50K , into my swiss bank account, whilst I helped make antimatter as my day job. I now do renewable energy, innovation & standards development, and I'm nominally paid more than Boris.- depending on exchange rates, but I might just do the job for free , 'cos I like it!

the typical "general engineering" company that I can point to is a "consulting engineer" - who entire countries or regions come to , to build islands, airports and renewable energy systems. They don't get that much publicity, and UK is reasonably terrible at paying staff well for these sort of projects, or completing the fourth runway, or a garden bridge or a hospital for children in Edinburgh or a plan to rationally do.....

so consider https://www.arup.com/ (I would've said current biggest & best in world, or is that Jacobs?)
https://www.jacobs.com/newsroom/news...-1-design-firm

or here's a 'random' page - which has a few more UK based names/projects that you can look-up yourself

https://100awards.newcivilengineer.com/winners-2017

Oh, and you might just need to learn mandarin as you are working, I picked up Arabic, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Russian in varying levels..
Hi,

sounds like an amazing career! If you dont mind me asking, where did you graduate from and in what year? What type of money are we talking in the briefcase and where was this haha? Could you give some more info on the types of things you have designed?

thanks for such a detailed answer!
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Ed_Harris111
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ah! just had a look at the websites and they have some info to loook through on projects - thanks
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Ed_Harris111
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(Original post by uberteknik)
Engineering as a course is one of the most challenging. In addition, be clear about the specialisation as engineering disciplines cover a huge range including civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic, computer, chemical, production, systems, marine, aerospace, hydraulic, robotic, nuclear, power.......the list is endless.

Your degree will be general with everyone reading the same core subjects in the first year with a start on your overall discipline. Second year consolidates and advances learning with more emphasis on your specialisation whilst the third year covers advanced topics and a major specialialistion project which you define and develop, finally you must submit a dissertation to a panel of examiners before your degree is awarded.

Maths and physics feature heavily and will veer heavily to applications rather than pure.

Interest comes from your desire to not only find out (much under your own initiative) how things work, but also, why they work at a physics modelling level, developing ideas and crossing over to a realised product based on the limitations of materials and the financial constraints of costs, meeting timescales, juggling resources, commercial and statutory law etc.

It's a vast subject.

When you convert to a job you need to decide which path to go down within your chosen industry. That is research, design, modelling, systems, integration, testing, production, project management, commercial, sales etc.

Engineering graduates with experience and demonstrable attainment in industry, are highly mobile, as a good engineer must understand all aspects of a products life-cycle in varying degrees of depth and so expected to have developed an almost unique skill set.

Beware though, to be a good engineer, you will need a passion for your subject as it ain't for the faint hearted.

If you are only interested in remuneration then you have failed to grasp the motivation needed to progress is not money, but a desire to make things better and striving for perfection either for corporate profit or to advance science etc. Financial compensation is directly related to your ability to perform converting ideas to world class products at the right price.

In a world class engineering company, if you perform, there is no reason you cannot achieve 50K+ (today's rates) as you are promoted through the engineering grades ten years after landing the job. Move into management or consulting and the sky is the limit.

At the age of 35 I earned 100K+ and that was in the late 1990's. But I had to change into the commercial sector as a project manager to get there.

NB it,'s your ability to consolidate skill sets into performance that will open up opportunities and bring the higher rewards. Engineering degrees are the start of a long journey.

Be warned though, the early years can be tedious with great attention to detail and painstaking diligence. You will need to show an aptitude from grasping the detail to seeing the big picture. As with everything in life, the higher you fly, the harder the competition becomes and only a few make it to the very top.
HI,

thanks for the reply! What type of work were you doing in the 90s and how many years experienced were you? What are some projects you have worked on/ things you have designed?
thanks for all the info it is really helpful
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LuigiMario
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(Original post by Ed_Harris111)
Hi,

sounds like an amazing career! If you dont mind me asking, where did you graduate from and in what year? What type of money are we talking in the briefcase and where was this haha? Could you give some more info on the types of things you have designed?

thanks for such a detailed answer!

OK, it wasn't really a planned career, it was just life that happened.

The 'drugs-money-briefcase' happened every month for several years, it was rather embarrassing as the company that I worked for paid for all flights, accommodation, food, transport (they gave me a 12 seater Toyota minibus), and paid for my full holiday for a whole month, once per year...

it would've been even better had I had a driving license, but you sort of get the hang of driving a minibus after a while, and I did pass my test a few years later when I got back to the UK.

Back to the cash, so it was all basically surplus - it was in Saudi Arabian Riyals - and the thing that we had to do was convert it into a reliable currency, as soon as possible. This involved me driving into Riyadh, abandoning my minibus somewhere near the bank, and a really nice gentle process of currency conversion started, first with a few cups of sweet tea with the bank directors - in their full Bedouin dish-dash robes, my bundles of money progressed around the room and an hour later various people signed and then gave me a Nat West Bank cheque in GBP Sterling.

One had to forgo the instant desire to post the cheque back to the UK, as in those days, the Saudi post office - if they felt 'stressed' with a lot of mail, simply burned it, for greater efficiencies. The very large group of expats simply found out who was 'going-home' on their month holiday next, and this guy took all the cheques with him and posted them from a sensible country. Seemed to work, and Yes, I bought Italian alfa-romeo sports cars, for cash, when I got back to EU, and a house & stuff - so the pay was rather nice. Maybe you still get that sort of deal, but Saudi is a bit too stressful nowadays, I'd look elsewhere in the Gulf, or get ready to rebuild North Korea into a modern state - once that is settled.

KSA was beautiful, mysterious, and rather ancient society, great people too. The actual work was challenging, dangerous and fulfilling. I had to repair things that were unrepairable, with no spare parts, nor had diagrams - an American consultant super company left the Kingdom in a huff, and taken everything with them. That was just the day job, but I also had a perpetual tool-kit and plane ticket ready as I had to zoom around the middle-east mending things that became critically important.

My favourite work was driving illegally across the border into Yemen (up stream-beds as there were no roads), that Asir region of KSA was busy growing drugs 'khat', (tastes a lot like lawn mowings, and has a similar effect to chewing a lawn for several hours) I worked on a project to try and persuade the local , heavily beweaponed drug lords to start growing coffee instead of mild sedatives (this was very close to the town of Mocha - where the world's best coffee grew in ancient times)

I graduated from Mid-Essex technical college, which was at the time labelled Chelmer Institute of Higher Education, but became shortly afterwards an offshoot of The University of Essex. I did a 3-4 year full technical apprenticeship & Higher National Certificate (= to year two at some unis) and I supplemented this with much personal reading, every copy of the digital magazine Byte for example, and I then started an OU Science degree (not fully finished yet, so I'm officially still studying) life-long learning is a key point.

I fairly recently designed a decent supercomputer (seriously) for XXXXXX, supporting anti-crime activities in XXXXX. And a few projects, improving multi-national security, that I can and must write less about. I published a few papers on tracking people-smugglers, producing radioactive isotopes using innovative cyclotron irradiations, a survey of Machu-Picchu's geographic stability for UNESCO - using synthetic aperture radar, avalanche detection systems in conjunction with the Swiss Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung, and I helped to establish where on a BMW to put the very first Shark's Fin antenna. I worked in the 1984 Physics Nobel prize winning team for a time, tho' I joined them in '85, so missed out on a lot of champers.

Today's task is to finish the six-kilowatt LED full spectrum solar simulator, once I've programmed the Arduino, and it is raining today in the Alps - but still a nice eighteen degrees Celsius, we had snow last week above 2000 metres which was a surprise.

This doesn't necessarily change where you want to go, or what you want to do! - but I have noticed that if you study something that you enjoy, you can leverage your enthusiasm to get to interesting places - the "best" subject to study at uni, remains, and is simply "accounting" - as hardly anyone does it, and you are guaranteed an above average salary, with probably a bit less fun than a sort of extreme engineering might bring you. In my year testing the stability of Peru's most attractive tourist centre, for example, I only managed to sleep 14 nights in the Inca citadel itself, working with the Peruvian antiquities authorities, driving around with the locals in a beat-up truck back, negotiating with the alcalde of Aguas Calientes, Machupicchu Pueblo, just where I could place my radar illuminators for a year. Maybe I should've done accounting instead?
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