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Electronics Career Advice

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by max_torch, Dec 8, 2014.

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  1. max_torch

    max_torch

    101
    1
    Feb 9, 2014
    I really really need advice because I don't know exactly how to reach my goals in the field of electronics.

    Let my start by explaining my background. I live in and was raised in the Philippines and I'm 24 currently. Starting from 4 years old I was already playing computer games like sesame street, jumpstart, sim city, amazon trail, age of empires on our desktop PC which was on a Windows 3.1 OS, but at that time a lot of the games were in DOS so I also got exposed to and learned how to move around in DOS. That was my first major exposure to computers, software and electronics I would say. After that I never really got much deeper exposure to electronics until highschool (Don Bosco Technical Institute, in case you were wondering) where there was a curriculum that other schools didn't have: in the last two years of school we could choose either a mechanical, electronics, or computer elective. I chose the computer elective and I was introduced first to visual BASIC object-oriented programming then we progressed to interfacing via parallel port still using visual BASIC and then we progressed to PIC microcontroller programming using PICBASIC and finally to I/O expansion using shift register (CD4094 i think). At the same time we were learning AutoCAD in 2D and 3D(basic), as well as designing and simulating circuits using SPICE and PCB design software. The sad thing was that during that time of 15-16 years of age I did not yet know how valuable those skills and knowledge would be in that field so I did not take enough notes, I lost the notes that I had as well. The only things that I have relearned are a few basics on how to program a PIC using assembly language, AutoCAD 2d and 3d, and PCB design and simulating circuits. The rest of that I have yet to relearn. After highschool at 17 years of age I went to college(Don Bosco Technical College) and I chose Electronics and Communications Engineering as my course. The college I went to was very far, you have to take a plane to get to it from my house so I stayed in a building where I rented a room that I shared with 5 other guys and only went home on breaks. Alas, I did not understand the kind of focus that was required to survive in my course and it was my first time to be on my own completely, so I got an incomplete in one subject, failure in another, got depressed and out of impulse I just called my mom and called it quits and came home during my second year. I just stayed home and bummed for about four months. Then I said that perhaps Electronics Engineering is too hard so maybe a technician course would be just alright for me so I enrolled in a state university(Technological University of the Philippines) 10 mins away from my house and I got accepted into their 3 year electronics technician course and I had heard that some of their graduates study an additional 2 years in other universities in order to acquire a full degree in Electronics Engineering so if ever I changed my mind about engineering then the option was still on the table. So while waiting a few months for the school year to start in June I hit hard on my math especially basic arithmetic and algebra and that led me to successfully get accepted into the number one section for technicians and I was a different kind of student compared to before, not a top student but someone close to top but without getting any honors(because to get honors, you need to have high grades in every single subject from the start, even unrelated subjects like history, etc) and that status of being close to top bore fruit when I finally finished my 3 years as I was one of the few accepted to undergo a job placement in Malaysia because the criteria was based on a ranking system where all our grades from the start to the end was taken into account to decide who would go. So I went to Malaysia and worked for a company that shall not be named near the capital. It was a labor-intensive, non-stop noise environment 12 hrs a day 6 days a week job in an electrolytic capacitor manufacturing plant on a one year contract and for the first 4 months my job was to check and replace sensors on the winding machine and for the next 6 months it was to inspect, clean, and maintain, and to some extent repair the air blowing and dust sucking tubes and motors on that same machine. Only then did I realize that being a technician cannot cut it, this is nothing like I imagined for myself and it doesn't even have much or anything to do with what my intellect is capable of so I did not renew my contract after one year of enduring that job. It is sad because that kind of job is already the ultimate goal for majority of my countrymen because it is already a high paying job for us only because of the currency exchange rate, and most of my countrymen like me acknowledge that the job sucks but stick with it because of circumstance. Also there was another Filipino in that company who was an engineering graduate, but still was only a technician working also on some low level job like me, it seems that an engineering degree earned in my country is not recognized that well in Malaysia. Currently I have now been studying in another university(University of St. La Salle) which is 25 mins away from my house for a year and a half with and I have about a year and a half to two years left to go before I can start preparing for the engineering board exam and hopefully by 26 or 27 I will have my Electronics engineering License.

    There are many dilemmas that I face. For the field of electronics technology I feel like there is little creative spark in terms of innovation and design in my country, and many obstacles.

    1.) The Electronics Engineering Board Exam has a cut off rate of somewhere around 30% which means on top of actually passing the exam, it doesn't matter how good you are in general, only how good you are relative to other test takers. Although you can try another attempt at the exam in 6 months time if you fail. So no matter if I am smart, if 30% other people were smarter than me I don't get the license.

    2.) A lot of engineers here seem to just become plant managers or test engineers of products, or focus on development of components and sensors rather than actual devices, applications, since most of the electronics industry here is just an offshore components manufacturing for foreign companies. The other side of the industry is the telecommunications industry which has to do more with Business Process Outsourcing and there is little hope for good telecommunications being developed in my country because of corruption (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_National_Broadband_Network_controversy) and lack of finances so I don't want to get involved in telecoms in my country.
    The thing is I want to design circuits that use components, not make components for circuit designers! But how do I escape the system here?! If I go abroad to escape there is another problem:

    3.) How would my education and qualifications match up internationally? Kids in Japan have been making robots since they were 8 years old, all I was doing was watch TV. It seems like any license or degree earned in my country is not held in high regard so do I have to get international licenses, and what kind of international licenses would I need to get? How do I prove myself in the field?

    It all boils down to the fact that I want to be a real engineer that designs things. After I graduate I feel like I will have to get my own education because the education here does not seem satisfactory as it is too broad and there is no specialization and not enough creative spark, only mechanical following instruction and procedure.

    So if you have any advice for me on how to achieve my goals please tell me. I'm reaching out to you.
    Disclaimer: This is all my own opinion, so if you don't agree with my view you may disagree calmly but don't go nuts over it.
     
  2. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

    3,734
    478
    Jan 15, 2010
    You'll need some kind of degree recognized by whoever would consider hiring you, or nobody will talk to you about a job there.
    Try to talk to somebody at a company you would want to work for, and ask them what you need to do to get hired there (what schooling).
    It's just the way it is nowadays. You may have to work whatever job you can get while going to school.
    If you talk to somebody who hires people to do what you want to do, try to get a job as a tech with that company while going to school, telling them you're shooting for
    the job they need as an engineer, that you want to do. There's my 2 cents worth.
    It'll help a lot if you know which company you would want to work for, and sell yourself to them as committed to their success.
    Nobody is going to give you anything. You're going to have to decide what you want to do, and apply yourself to that goal.
    Good luck, and stay away from the TV, or you're not going anywhere.
     
    max_torch likes this.
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