Download PDF What Every Engineer Should Know About Career Management

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Or maybe you have several years under your belt and feel like you are doing the same things over and over again. Regardless of your current status, embracing your career management can be frustrating. How do you know where to start? Often there is no clear career path to follow. You may be in a situation where you feel like you are being used by your organization because they show no interest in your career progression.

CRC Press Online - Series: What Every Engineer Should Know

Or, you may feel you have made progress, but still feel somewhat stagnant and frustrated. These feelings can often lead to what is seen as the only possible next step, to go elsewhere. Lack of career management can also have serious business consequences. The perception of no room for career growth can result in increased turnover. The lack of inadequate bench strength to fill new open positions could impede business growth.

The cost of recruiting new employees as a result of unwanted turnover is an unnecessary expense. And not leveraging talent for optimal business results is a waste of human capital. Career development is no longer always about climbing the corporate ladder. The chip design process was fun in retrospect, but it was very stressful when I was in the middle of it. There was a lot of pressure to finish fast in every step. However, we had to be thorough too.

Leaving a bug in a chip can cost the company millions of dollars. Every company needs to get the product to the market ASAP because any delay means a loss of profit and market share. Engineering is a stressful career.

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The management will always pressure you to do more. Constant stress and a sedentary lifestyle in front of the monitor will lead to chronic health issues. My physical and mental health was deteriorating rapidly by the end of my engineering career. If you work late, the company usually provides dinner and snacks, so it was very convenient for a single guy. When a product is nearing the deadline, then the managers will pressure for more output. If you refuse to work late, then you can be sure it will show up in your next annual review. This kind of time commitment is a better fit for young engineers.

However, anyone can be replaced. You are just a cog in the machine.

There are thousands of young engineers graduating every year. They are younger, smarter, cheaper, and probably better looking than you. Life will go on as usual even if the most crucial engineer leaves the project. The unemployment rate is so low. It never does. In a few years, there will be a glut of engineers looking for work and engineers will be replaceable again.

As you become more senior, the company will expect you to take on more leadership roles. One career path is to become a manager. Going into management basically means retiring from your engineering career. The other path is to become a senior engineer. Companies want more from their senior engineers. You need to have lots of meeting and hash things out. I invested a lot of time and effort into my engineering career. I spent 5 years in college to get my BS and MS in electrical engineering.

Choosing and managing an engineering career: 7 things to know

After college, I joined Intel and started as a junior design engineer. I worked hard and got several promotions early on in my career. Eventually, I made a little over six figures per year. I also became an expert in my niche. It felt good to be the go-to guy. I invested 21 years to get where I was. Retiring from engineering threw all that out the window.


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I think the sunk cost fallacy prevents a lot of people from retiring early. They spent so much time and energy to get where they are in their career.

However, I really disliked my job by the end. I was stressed out and hated going to work. If I stayed, life would be miserable for me and everyone around me.

Career Development - What It Takes To Be a Race Engineer

The sunk cost is gone so we need to make the best of what we got today. Engineering was a lot of fun for me when I was young. It only got worse about 10 years in. The other good part is that engineers get paid pretty well. I started saving with my first paycheck and I was able to retire after 16 years.

Why Get into Project Management?

If you save and follows the 8 essential things to do to retire early , then it should be possible for you too. Engineering is a great career if you save and invest consistently. This is especially true if you like doing technical work. I knew some older engineers that continued to do technical stuff. They inevitably fell behind their younger colleagues and were the first to get laid off. This is why every engineer should plan for early retirement. An engineering career probably will last just years before you need to transition into something else.

You need more options, so save up and shoot for financial independence. So yes, I would recommend engineering for my son if he is good with math and science. He needs to plan for early retirement if he goes into engineering. You have to be adaptable and never hesitate to move on when the time comes. I log in almost every day to check on my investment accounts and cash flow. Starting a blog changed my life. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. I retired at 52 as chemical engineer at the oil refinery. The pay was great, but job was extremely stressful.

10 Skills to Transition from Engineering to Project Management

The company supplements health care insurance until Medicare. Easiest math problem I ever had in life — I was out of there! I did myself and the company a big favor. I just want to go on cheap hiking vacations the rest of my life and start getting high again here in Illinois on January 1 after abstaining for over 20 years due to random drug testing bullshit. I might as well enjoy heaven for the last third of my life after working and saving like a slave the first two thirds of it.

The company supplements health care insurance until Medicare?