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Really that bad for engineers?

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  #241 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2011, 12:26 PM
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Don't waste your life away in engineering...
Look at those retrenched engineers in their 40s.... all end up driving taxi and you'll know why.. It doesn't pay at all...
The corporations that enslaved them sucked the life out of them by making them sweat long hours for a few pathetic dollars.. at the end of the day when there're spent... they all got flush down the toilet bowl... they'll then lure another batch of unknowing young chap into the same **** hole to repeat the cycle.. Dun be fooled by the advertisements they put on TV about what bullshit rewarding career!!! If it's really so good... then dun have to advertise all all right??!! Phui...
Honest assessment, straight to the point.

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  #242 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2011, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Don't waste your life away in engineering...
Look at those retrenched engineers in their 40s.... all end up driving taxi and you'll know why.. It doesn't pay at all...
The corporations that enslaved them sucked the life out of them by making them sweat long hours for a few pathetic dollars.. at the end of the day when there're spent... they all got flush down the toilet bowl... they'll then lure another batch of unknowing young chap into the same **** hole to repeat the cycle.. Dun be fooled by the advertisements they put on TV about what bullshit rewarding career!!! If it's really so good... then dun have to advertise all all right??!! Phui...
Fully agree to 100000%

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  #243 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2011, 08:41 PM
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Default engineering not necessarily a dead end

I have been a frustrated engineer so I am very familiar with the laments expressed here - it took no imagination to see where I was going to be if I stuck around for 10 years (earning $4k as a senior engineer) or 20 years (earning $7k as an engineering manager), so I ran off to join another industry.

But the question of what if has always intrigued me. What if I had stuck it out in engineering - could things have worked out? So I followed the careers of my peers at my ex company with some interest.

Well, a few years and a few companies down the road, am happy to report that both my ex colleagues are doing very well. Both in their early thirties and both started at about $2.5k, without exceptional results or scholarships, one is drawing about $10k and the other about $20k in base.

Lessons?
- pick a job that's easily transferable between industries (design or process engineering gets you stuck, but sales engineering or supply chain management roles are more mobile)
- avoid manufacturing plants (boss' kpi is cost control)
- overseas experience pays
- be open to job hopping every 2-3 years (loyalty does not pay)
- work for global and profitable outfits (ie Microsoft, instead of some semi conductor company which is struggling to break even)
- pick a role where communication or coordination skills are valued (ideally regional or global coordination) , so your job cannot easily be outsourced to a cheaper and potentially smarter Chinese or Indian engineer (also your salary is more likely to be benchmarked to global scale instead of local scale)

Good luck !

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  #244 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:04 PM
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Was a top student in school ... then studied engineering, joined a stat board.

Six years into the job, now earning slightly over 5k, bonus about 4 months per year. Not very bad, but very far from what it could have been. Still not enough for a car and second property. Don't feel good about having a kid with so little money.
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  #245 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:56 PM
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Earning about $100K per annum after six years as an "Engineer."
Started off as an Engineer and currently an Engineering Manager.

My experiences?
- Excel in your domain
- Learn management and communication skills
- Get recognized for your expertise's
- Know your worth

I've seen good, competent engineers whom have no interest in anything other than their technical area of work. However, the management usually don't see the good thing these engineers do and are usually overlooked.

The higher you go, the less engineering and the more business skills you'll need.
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  #246 (permalink)  
Old 09-08-2011, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Earning about $100K per annum after six years as an "Engineer."
Started off as an Engineer and currently an Engineering Manager.

My experiences?
- Excel in your domain
- Learn management and communication skills
- Get recognized for your expertise's
- Know your worth

I've seen good, competent engineers whom have no interest in anything other than their technical area of work. However, the management usually don't see the good thing these engineers do and are usually overlooked.

The higher you go, the less engineering and the more business skills you'll need.
A manager is NOT an engineer. The skillsets are completely different. Whatever it is, it seems that people at the top forget that they are supported by people at the bottom. Neglect them and sooner or later the company would be scraping the bottom of the barrel, left with no choice but to hire foreign "talents" or mediocre engineers.
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  #247 (permalink)  
Old 09-08-2011, 10:47 AM
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A manager is NOT an engineer. The skillsets are completely different. Whatever it is, it seems that people at the top forget that they are supported by people at the bottom. Neglect them and sooner or later the company would be scraping the bottom of the barrel, left with no choice but to hire foreign "talents" or mediocre engineers.
i think it is the company that always forget that managers shld come from people working up from the btm and not just parachute them from somewhere else, or get fresh biz grads that think they can handle operations and management just because they 'studied' that from books.

there shld be a clear distinction between technical lead and biz&operations. i dont believe some stupid biz grad knows how to manage a group of engineers and knows what they do.

btw biz and operations can only be learn when u start working. but u cant learn engineering on the job right. u need some very good fundamentals and foundations. engineering is a skilled profession. people always forget that and engineers get unappreciated.

but the day has come where the real talent no longer wants to stay in engineering, and leave it to china and india to churn out engineer as a low level subpar bangla type worker. we shall see then how tech companies can survive then.

i think nowadays only america,korea,japan and maybe some part of europe(sweden,germany) still churn out the best engineering talent. because these are the talents that will create new products, create new wealth in the economy because their engineering education and culture trained them well. if not how do u think that tech companies like apple and google still do so well despite the economic recession?
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  #248 (permalink)  
Old 09-08-2011, 10:52 AM
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Default Attitude adjustment needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
A manager is NOT an engineer. The skillsets are completely different. Whatever it is, it seems that people at the top forget that they are supported by people at the bottom. Neglect them and sooner or later the company would be scraping the bottom of the barrel, left with no choice but to hire foreign "talents" or mediocre engineers.
Bro, to be perfectly frank, there is no real downside to engineering firms in general neglecting the "people at the bottom", as you put it. That's precisely why engineering is such a poor paymaster in general, cos if you don't like it, you leave and they can find a new and potentially cheaper replacement for you.

Yes, there is some frictional cost as the new hire gets up to speed, but the impact to the business is really negligible.

Why?
1) Because most of the engineering roles in Singapore are those of a manufacturing variety ie process engineer (which is a glorified maintenance technician) or modification engineering (sometimes glamourously referred to as design engineering). There's really nothing proprietary about the knowledge, so nothing lost when you leave.

2) Overseas engineers are potentially better, definitely cheaper, and harder working. Engineers from China and India are extremely well grounded in fundamentals, and those that come to Singapore are incredibly driven.

3) Most engineering jobs skills are not transferrable, so they know its hard for you to get up and leave for a better paying job.

Hence, think an attitude adjustment is in order here. If you want to get paid well as an engineer, you really need to look outside of the box and not do stuff that everyone else is doing.

Thinking normal thoughts like "let the company neglect me at their peril" or "i work hard and the company will reward me" will, unfortunately, never get you there.
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  #249 (permalink)  
Old 09-08-2011, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
i think it is the company that always forget that managers shld come from people working up from the btm and not just parachute them from somewhere else, or get fresh biz grads that think they can handle operations and management just because they 'studied' that from books.

there shld be a clear distinction between technical lead and biz&operations. i dont believe some stupid biz grad knows how to manage a group of engineers and knows what they do.

btw biz and operations can only be learn when u start working. but u cant learn engineering on the job right. u need some very good fundamentals and foundations. engineering is a skilled profession. people always forget that and engineers get unappreciated.

but the day has come where the real talent no longer wants to stay in engineering, and leave it to china and india to churn out engineer as a low level subpar bangla type worker. we shall see then how tech companies can survive then.

i think nowadays only america,korea,japan and maybe some part of europe(sweden,germany) still churn out the best engineering talent. because these are the talents that will create new products, create new wealth in the economy because their engineering education and culture trained them well. if not how do u think that tech companies like apple and google still do so well despite the economic recession?
This is the flaw i see, many engineers who get promoted to management level are naturally very technically inclined at what they are doing. The problem is when you have a very technically capable manager yet when it come to management and motivating his charges, that is a very different thing.

The problem is that the very boss who promoted these engineers into management level do not train them up proper into effective leaders and when the people under you start leaving, the very foundation of your company will be at risk when you cant retain your best talents.
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  #250 (permalink)  
Old 10-08-2011, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Bro, to be perfectly frank, there is no real downside to engineering firms in general neglecting the "people at the bottom", as you put it. That's precisely why engineering is such a poor paymaster in general, cos if you don't like it, you leave and they can find a new and potentially cheaper replacement for you.

Yes, there is some frictional cost as the new hire gets up to speed, but the impact to the business is really negligible.

Why?
1) Because most of the engineering roles in Singapore are those of a manufacturing variety ie process engineer (which is a glorified maintenance technician) or modification engineering (sometimes glamourously referred to as design engineering). There's really nothing proprietary about the knowledge, so nothing lost when you leave.

2) Overseas engineers are potentially better, definitely cheaper, and harder working. Engineers from China and India are extremely well grounded in fundamentals, and those that come to Singapore are incredibly driven.

3) Most engineering jobs skills are not transferrable, so they know its hard for you to get up and leave for a better paying job.

Hence, think an attitude adjustment is in order here. If you want to get paid well as an engineer, you really need to look outside of the box and not do stuff that everyone else is doing.

Thinking normal thoughts like "let the company neglect me at their peril" or "i work hard and the company will reward me" will, unfortunately, never get you there.
"new and potentially cheaper replacement" - We are all sick of hearing this, but i have to say it: There's no free lunch in this world.

"Because most of the engineering roles in Singapore are those of a manufacturing variety" - Strangely they are paid more than engineers who does actual product design and development.

"Overseas engineers are potentially better." - 'Potentially' is the right word. I've seen more crappy than good ones. Their more suitable as scientists than engineers.

"Yes, there is some frictional cost as the new hire gets up to speed, but the impact to the business is really negligible." - Engineering knowledge comes with experience. It cannot be passed on easily. Many specializations take as long as 3-4 yrs to train a new hire up to speed. The boat would already be long gone by then.

"Most engineering jobs skills are not transferrable, so they know its hard for you to get up and leave for a better paying job." - Engineers are jumping all over and across industries despite their specializations.

All in all, sg is just not the place for hardcore engineers. Either rise to management or work like a dog with low pay.
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