Can you become a professional electronic engineer without a degree

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Onestone
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#21
Report 17 years ago
#21
Yes yes and yes. There were no electronic or computer specific degrees in 1969 when I went to uni, I
actually started at med school and dropped out through boredom. Electronics had been a hobby for
several years, and I wanted to do it as a job. The best I could find was a few weeks out of a
physics degree. My answer was the Army (in the UK) At that time the REME School of Electronic
Engineering was probably the very best in Europe, and one of the best in the world, training
military electronics specialists from the UK and all parts of the world. You get paid reasonably
well. promotions were fast as they were trade related. The higher qualifications were accepted as
degree equivalents by most companies. In fact Military trained electronics people were preferred
over civilian trained for most of the period into the mid eighties. I left in '78 and went straight
into a job in mainframe computers, repairing, installing, programming, and to a lesser extent
designing. My next job was full time design and programming. In 'the mid 80's I applied to the IEEE,
my employers provided samples of my work, and the IEEE accepted my membership, as had the ACM and
BCS. I imagine this would be a MUCH harder prospect now, but not beyond the realms of possibility.
In my case I used my time in the Army well, using their resources to study way beyond the skills the
army needed from me. Equally it was a great grounding for any engineer. They somehow always seemed
to contrive it that you never worked on a system you'd been trained on, so it was a constant
learning experience. Also the strange military mentality says that if a radar is mounted on a tank,
and you are the radar engineer you must also know how to maintain the tank systems. I once spent 8
weeks in Canada on a live fire excercise without a single radar breakdown, but I did change 2 SPG
engines, 4 APC engines and 4 tank engines (packs), as well as numerous soft skin vehicle fixes, all
under live fire conditions.

This was good grounding. When I left the army nothing I encountered on a civilian work site
could faze me.

The Technical Manager wrote:

[q1]> An A level student I was talking to recently wants to become a professional electronic engineer[/q1]
[q1]> but doesn't want to go to university to study for a degree in electronic engineering. The main[/q1]
[q1]> reason for this is financial as university students in the UK now have to pay tuition fees. The[/q1]
[q1]> student is currently studying maths, physics and electronics to A level and doesn't know where to[/q1]
[q1]> proceed from that point onwards. He definitely wants a career in electronics research and[/q1]
[q1]> development and not one as a technician, factory worker or in IT.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> From what I have seen it seems as if you can get an electronics job without a degree but they tend[/q1]
[q1]> to be things like assembly, test, installation or repair work. All the design, research and[/q1]
[q1]> development jobs I have seen advertised require a BEng degree minimum to get into them. Is there a[/q1]
[q1]> back door route into becoming a professional electronics engineer without a degree such as company[/q1]
[q1]> training, some apprenticeship system or a work experience and company financed education route ?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Also is it possible to become a member of the IEE without a BEng or taking their very[/q1]
[q1]> difficult exam ?[/q1]
0
The Technical M
Badges:
#22
Report 17 years ago
#22
onestone wrote:

[q1]> Yes yes and yes. There were no electronic or computer specific degrees in 1969 when I went to uni,[/q1]

Electrical engineering degrees were commonplace back then but few included electronic in
their title.

[q1]> I actually started at med school and dropped out through boredom. Electronics had been a hobby for[/q1]
[q1]> several years, and I wanted to do it as a job. The best I could find was a few weeks out of a[/q1]
[q1]> physics degree. My answer was the Army (in the UK) At that time the REME School of Electronic[/q1]
[q1]> Engineering was probably the very best in Europe, and one of the best in the world, training[/q1]
[q1]> military electronics specialists from the UK and all parts of the world. You get paid reasonably[/q1]
[q1]> well. promotions were fast as they were trade related. The higher qualifications were accepted as[/q1]
[q1]> degree equivalents by most companies. In fact Military trained electronics people were preferred[/q1]
[q1]> over civilian trained for most of the period into the mid eighties.[/q1]

Why was that ?

[q1]> I left in '78 and went straight into a job in mainframe computers, repairing, installing,[/q1]
[q1]> programming, and to a lesser extent designing. My next job was full time design and programming.[/q1]
[q1]> In 'the mid 80's I applied to the IEEE, my employers provided samples of my work, and the IEEE[/q1]
[q1]> accepted my membership, as had the ACM and BCS. I imagine this would be a MUCH harder prospect[/q1]
[q1]> now, but not beyond the realms of possibility.[/q1]

It would be harder and one that joins the military at 18 probably can't get membership of the IEEE
until they are at least 30.

[q1]> In my case I used my time in the Army well, using their resources to study way beyond the skills[/q1]
[q1]> the army needed from me. Equally it was a great grounding for any engineer. They somehow always[/q1]
[q1]> seemed to contrive it that you never worked on a system you'd been trained on, so it was a[/q1]
[q1]> constant learning experience. Also the strange military mentality says that if a radar is mounted[/q1]
[q1]> on a tank, and you are the radar engineer you must also know how to maintain the tank systems. I[/q1]
[q1]> once spent 8 weeks in Canada on a live fire excercise without a single radar breakdown, but I did[/q1]
[q1]> change 2 SPG engines, 4 APC engines and 4 tank engines (packs), as well as numerous soft skin[/q1]
[q1]> vehicle fixes, all under live fire conditions.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> This was good grounding. When I left the army nothing I encountered on a civilian work site could[/q1]
[q1]> faze me.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The Technical Manager wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > An A level student I was talking to recently wants to become a professional electronic engineer[/q2]
[q2]> > but doesn't want to go to university to study for a degree in electronic engineering. The main[/q2]
[q2]> > reason for this is financial as university students in the UK now have to pay tuition fees. The[/q2]
[q2]> > student is currently studying maths, physics and electronics to A level and doesn't know where[/q2]
[q2]> > to proceed from that point onwards. He definitely wants a career in electronics research and[/q2]
[q2]> > development and not one as a technician, factory worker or in IT.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > From what I have seen it seems as if you can get an electronics job without a degree but they[/q2]
[q2]> > tend to be things like assembly, test, installation or repair work. All the design, research and[/q2]
[q2]> > development jobs I have seen advertised require a BEng degree minimum to get into them. Is there[/q2]
[q2]> > a back door route into becoming a professional electronics engineer without a degree such as[/q2]
[q2]> > company training, some apprenticeship system or a work experience and company financed education[/q2]
[q2]> > route ?[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Also is it possible to become a member of the IEE without a BEng or taking their very difficult[/q2]
[q2]> > exam ?[/q2]
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