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looking to go to school for electronics .. scared

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by anwaypasible, Jun 3, 2013.

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  1. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    doing electrical work is something i'm willing to do.
    but i'm afraid I won't see enough work to pay rent.

    I've looked for words of encouragement online, but all I found were summarizations of what electrical installers & repairers do.

    I wonder what type of work is available after graduating college.

    would I be scavenging to install a new electrical outlet, light, or fan month to month?
    would I be buying broken electronics to repair them & people don't want the item?
    could I be successful working from home without a public building?

    I feel like I've got all the negatives & none of the positives.
    I don't know what other types of work could be done.

    i'm willing to view electronics as each individual electron worms, following in from power input to output (if I don't get confused).

    my father is a mason, my grandfather framed houses.. I was onsite quite a few times to see the inner workings of the house frame, as well as the foundation.

    what I read online about the details of their work is here:
    Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, repair, or replace a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.

    I was hoping somebody could elaborate on what other choices (or details) are available other than waiting by the phone for new fixtures or outlets (because I am afraid there isn't enough money to pay rent waiting for those small jobs)

    I do believe in a month those jobs could fill up all my time, but what about a slump?
    if getting a job is being contracted, what do they get contracted for?
    I can't imagine a factory needs a new outlet or lightswitch.
    but they say there are businesses out there that need electrical maintenance and|or repair.
    I don't know how the telecommunications needs help, I figure they set those things up once and they are good to go for quite a long time.

    I can't imagine how electrical maintenance and|or repair helps the transportation industry.
    utilities sounds like working for the local government doing any electrical work they need.. and I wonder if there isn't more details for this category.
    i'm also quite clueless about the 'other industries' category.

    can somebody share some encouragement?
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    hi there
    welcome to the forums

    gosh, where to start !!
    have you actually started college ? what course(s) are you doing/plan to do ?
    firstly, if I was you I would be looking to work for some one after finishing college maybe even before
    You should be looking for an employer that you can be trained with on the job training and they will have their own ways of putting recruits through technical college courses etc so that you can get your trade certificates etc

    You dont really want to even consider doing your own thing till you have all the training and lots of experience behind you.
    Starting your own business would be something you can look at later on maybe after the 3-4 years of trade/professional training and another 5 or so years of on the job experience. That will also give you the chance to build up a good bank account .... something that is a must if you want to go out on your own at some stage.
    You will need that financial backup to buy service van ( vehicle), stock, test equip, etc etc $30,000 - 50,000 will disappear in the blink of an eye for all that stuff

    just a few thoughts for you to consider

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  3. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    these are the courses:

    I haven't started college yet, and I don't mind working for a company already started in the electrical business.
    but i'm afraid the local businesses are all small family owned with no positions available.

    however, looking at how many electrical contractors there are in the area.. the web results show more than 40 listings.

    i don't think finishing the college courses would be a waste of time, i don't want to be with knowledge i am unable to use.. forcing me to get a job somewhere else doing something else.

    i can't grasp how there are many contractors in the area, yet they all stay busy enough to pay their rent.
    it causes me to wonder, with new houses needing electrical work.. old houses needing repairs.. homeowners wanting something new or modifications.. what else is there?
  4. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    You sound like you just want a job in electronics or electrical work, and don't have a
    specific type of work in mind. If I were you, I'd decide what I WANT to do, and go after
    THAT specific field. Electrical contracting is different from electronics repair.
    davenn's right, you just don't start doing those types of work without experience and
    expect to get paid a good income right out of the starting gate.
    You can go to college and shoot for an EE (Electrical Engineering) 4-year degree, which
    will make higher paying jobs more available to you. If you did that, you could take
    apprentice-type jobs on the side to try to get some experience. I don't know anybody
    but apprentice-type work, that will hire you (at low pay), until you become skilled in a
    particular field.
    Sorry if this sounds depressing, but electronics/electrical work is a skill, a trade, and
    we're not worth anything in that capacity until we know something useful in it.
    So, decide if you want a college degree to be an electrical engineer, or if you want to
    be an apprentice for a union to become an electrician, or if you want to do bench or
    field work as an electronic technician. But don't expect to walk into any job like that
    until you know something of that particualr line of work.
  5. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    well i really like how a calibrated microphone can make a pair of speakers sound improved.
    i figure maybe there is a need to install some electrical outlets to plug in a rack of electronics.

    i believe there will be a time when digital correction can be worthwhile compared to building the room a specific shape to bring the audio system to beauty .. except maybe building a wall or two to enclose a space.

    i like the idea of houses with power when the rest of the grid is offline.
    i like the idea of instant & constant hot water (i also like the idea of colder than room temperature cold water).

    i see how new houses need electrical wiring.
    i don't mind already existing houses needing new lightswitch or electrical outlet upgrades or ceiling fans installed.

    i was able to somewhat decode a little bit of inside information when it was said 'But don't expect to walk into any job like that
    until you know something of that particualr line of work.'

    as if to say something about not putting some probes to a circuit trace without knowing something about that circuit trace first.

    i would enjoy seeing a solid home theater system in all sorts of places besides a room setup specifically for home theater.

    yet i wonder if i can keep my vehicle and put everything in the trunk and|or backseat.. or if i need a van to hold a ladder (because some ladders fold in half).
    i imagine i could always use a company van with stickers, or ride passenger.

    i think electrical contractors working with heating & air conditioner people are powerful for comfort & sensibility.. but sensibility extends to powering computers & monitoring systems.
    if any event happened that caused all of us to go underground, i would be willing to help make or maintain connections to keep systems functioning.

    all of the listed programs for the community college look less attractive than the electronics.
    when i was a kid i used to take apart broken toys and look at their circuit board, i always told myself one day i was going to build a robot.
    (i grew up to learn buiding a robot was already advanced enough to need a team of members & more money invested than what the robot could be deployed to do.. other than the small robots that run around on tank tracks, yet i really didn't have a solid grip on what type of robot i wanted to build.. as if only some mediocre goal)

    i'd like to be able to repair gear i install, giving people the option to repair instead of buy new.. maybe because of some favorite feature.
    modifications to bring the distortion up to date, to prevent the owner from needing to learn an entirely new menu of features & options.
    i would then also want to lower distortion on other pieces of hardware i bring back from the dead.. then sell them advertised at something beyond refurbished, with emphasis on the improvement.

    i still wonder what more is on the to-do list.


    don't they check voltage levels with a multimeter
    inject a signal with a signal generator
    check the signal & hunt for problems with an oscilloscope
    then use a distortion analyzer to improve the circuit?

    i wonder because i looked up some distortion analyzers and i seen they typically go down to the thousands of a percent.
    i worry because what if the circuit is already running at a distortion lower than the distortion analyzers i seen go down to the thousands of a percent.

    i don't know if i'd be looking for a herringbone design on an oscilloscope screen, because that much isn't advertised or promoted much.. and i know looking at a broken shape isn't going to do any bit of good without knowing what the functioning shape should look like.

    **edit again**

    there isn't any contracting association to bring jobs?
    maybe a list of manufacturers that get hardware in need of repair shipped to their house, or simply referred to the electronics repairer because they are listed as registered & near the same area .. and then maybe on a list of quite a few different manufacturers?
    or what about an association that does warranty repair work?

    i assume the sophisticated oscilloscope shapes come from the proprietary boards, and those boards must be shipped from the manufacturer to be replaced when they can't be repaired on the bench.
    would i still need an engineering degree to be of any help despite those pre-built proprietary boards?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  6. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Sounds to me like you should get into an electrical engineering program. (School)
    Get part-time work somewhere around the school doing the hands-on work to learn
    the discipline. Don't stay at one business, unless you find something you like.
    An electrician helper, a radio/tv repair shop apprentice, a circuit board builder, maybe
    test and measurement repair apprentice for the school's electronics lab, a computer installer for a local business, car radio installation place, home electronics delivery and
    set-up for a dept store, the possibilities are endless, and you learn a little bit of everything
    along the way.
    If you're expecting to get a good paying job in electronics with no experience, you're SOL.
    If you work at it, you'll do good financially later.
  7. JMW


    Jan 30, 2012
    There are no guarantees in anything you choose. You have mentioned two fields electric and electronic. Both will have growth far into the future. Remember last winter? Two Carnival Cruise ships are going to need a couple of good electrical types for a period of time. Hospitals are a growth industry. Medical electrical/electronics are fields unto themselves. As for transmitter towers, install and forget???ever hear of lightning, does wonders for even the best of installations.That being said. As you have yet to develop a clear course, I would not enter a 4 yr college. 2 Yr community college yes and go from there. Do your utmost to avoid loans, they will bury you.
    Military is a good alternative. They need techs. You will probably have to sign for 6 yrs to get a school, but if you work diligently, you can end up with both experience and a 4 yr degree, and no debt.
  8. brevor


    Apr 9, 2013
    I assume from the location of the school you plan to attend you live in Illinois. You should have no problem finding work if you are good at your job. Im from Chicago and I currently work in Portage Indiana. Im doing industrial maintainence (electrical/electronic), We are always looking for people with good electrical skills. The electronic is not really necessary but some is helpful.
  9. GreenGiant


    Feb 9, 2012
    I am from the east coast (Massachusetts) and I have found that my particular area of study (electronics engineering, down to component level troubleshooting and design) is in pretty high demand, last winter I was applying places as my employer at the time was going through bankruptcy. I have since found a job at a different company and still to this day get calls about both temporary and permanent positions all over the place. (Most recently from a company in Florida for a temp position, so that was right out, but still, calling someone in MA for a job in FL?? fairly promising.)
  10. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    Apr 8, 2011
    JMW talks good sense, especially about loans.
    You could do an electrical trade, and get an electronics hobby going on the side with supplementary night school. In becoming a competent electrician you'll find yourself in high demand, and extending your fault-finding skills into electronics might put you where you want to go with no debt.
  11. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    well i thought giving up on school & working for some company|business|corporation i don't know or support, all while pushing all my thoughts.. ideas.. desires.. aside, was a guarantee to get rent paid.

    i thought about joining the military, to get a sense of loneliness to go away.. but i'm sensitive and i fear they would break me.
    i also don't have any place for all my stuff if i should leave, and i don't have any place to stay if i should return for a short while.

    i enjoy nurturing, not getting yelled at and|or neglected.


    i still think being able to repair some electronics would give me something to do, as far as hobbying .. tinkering .. and overall something else to do besides going to work and coming home to the entertainment industry.

    i would find it majorly cute to see a 100 watt x2 amplifier that sounds three or four times better than what it did new out of the box.
    something more unique & independant compared to the large number of people in a pool participating at roughly the same upper limit.
    as if headed towards vehicle sound competitions as a hobby that could bring in something to do and some extra money.. it is a thought.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  12. Lord_grezington


    May 3, 2013
    When I was little I made loads of woodworking stuff, boxcars and tree houses mainly. however when I got to 11 or 12 my dad bought me wood working lathe. I started making baseball bats, tables and coasters and sold them in flee markets by the time I was around 13. This is how I made all my money growing up as a teenager. My dad was an electrician who used to give me car batteries, buzzers, motors and little light bulbs to play with, I even made a little motorised car by the time I was 14, this was however just a stop/go basic method. I moved to the UK (originally from south Africa) I focused on design technology, maths and physics as these were the subjects i excelled at.
    I eventually applied to uni going for a mechanical engineering degree, which was around 50% electronics and 50% mechanical to start with. I hated the electronics, I found no point in it and only did what was needed to get through exams. (programming was the worst as this was on the Friday afternoon when it was pub time and the last thin i wanted was bloody c programming).
    But, I got a job after graduating in different types of motors and got the opportunity to see the different developments on new products within different industries. My interest changed substantial between mechanical systems to electronics as this is what most projects (in the 21st century) are moving towards. Things that used to be mechanical are now electronic and most mechanical products are becoming more sophisticated which requires more electronic input.

    The world is changing, electronics, programming (all the things I hated at uni) are now becoming the new world. As "good" electronic engineers are becoming few an far between most companies are looking towards design houses. these are plentiful around the UK (cant rely comment on the rest of the world). But good electronic engineers who can understand different communication protocols and power electronics are going to be the future in most industries and at the moment employers are finding it really difficult to find the right graduates who have the knowledge and experience in these industries .

    There are very few industries that you can look into which at some point along the line does not require electronics to bring it into the "NEW WORLD".

    Electronics, Mechatronics and programing is the way the future is going to be, the world will come to a standstill without us, the possibilities are endless and the best thing of all, is the more you know there is so much more you need to learn as it moves so fast that no one can keep up, you never stop learning which means you never get bored!!!
  13. Mini


    Jun 8, 2013
    Don't aim for success if you want it, just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.
    Do one thing at a time, and do it well.
  14. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    this sounds like the reason why i haven't heard something more from the 'to-do' list.
    it doesn't make sense that 40 businesses working in electric installation would ever form if the knew good & well they would be fighting with eachother to get a job more than making money to pay rent.

    and the weirdest part is, none of them claim to do repairs.. because i would of used one from the few tiimes i've looked one up.

    i think if they contracted within a 30 mile radius, it would still prove difficult for 40 contractors to get their rent paid.

    that doesn't make me want to repair and|or modify/improve electronics any less, however.
  15. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

    Oct 15, 2011
    Have you considered something like PC repair - that mostly deals with whole modules and you dont need to learn about all the tiny bits (well not much anyway). Its a fickle business though - if theres enough demand you can make a living but busininess can dry up and disappear pretty quickly.
  16. NuLED


    Jan 7, 2012
    This is just my personal opinion, but electrical/electronics work is just like computers and even medicine. It's very broad. You need to pick an area you want to be focused on, unless you want to do the general contractor work for homes, etc. which I don't know anything about.

    However, I will say that there are some "growth areas" which are quite hot and getting hotter every year. There is no guarantee, but chances are you could find interesting work along these lines (even as a sales person, if not a technical person; technical sales is an important area. The sales person must understand the technology to be able to talk to the customer).

    The two that I see are:

    Solar power, and all kinds of alternative power systems.

    good luck!
  17. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    i'm coming from a point of view as an owner of a calibrated microphone.
    i've been to some forums and they talk about doing audiophile modifications for improvements.

    when there is somebody there to do an improvement, there is also the opportunity to repair (what brought me to wanting electronics in my life again.. because i had it in my mind a little bit when i was a child)

    i don't mind going into somebody's home to install new wiring or a new electrical outlet or a new switch or a new ceiling fan.
    but i dont want it to be my main focus.. and i really dont care if it is, but i dont believe there is enough work to make money that pays my bills (aside from 'living comfortably')

    because of that.. i put heavy emphasis on what the options are after graduating, but i didnt get a list of options from here.
    i read a little bit about what the work detail might be, and i thought it was helpful.. but i also felt like it might of sold short the 'line installers' or possibly working with telecommunications companys.

    there isn't a single business that i aim to work for.. and i feel like i've seen 40 electrical contractors in the area.. but i havent seen any other possible job opportunities (regardless of whether they are currently hiring or not)

    i am asking if my life is going to be rocky & unstable the next 40 or 50 years because i'm working for one contractor after another as they go out of business because there isnt enough demand.

    i have no idea about electricians that stay with one company, or if they are simply on call for more than one company.

    the local college claimed to teach this:

    there's 10 occupation possibilites at the bottom
    (i didnt come across it until last night)

    i know it might be needed to work as an electrical contractor.. but really?
    is the very first job always the one that goes into people's homes to do electrical work they dont know how to do?
    is there anything else in the area, i dont know.

    i'm looking to better myself with the information taught onto me by the local college.
    but i don't want the improvement to end there.. i want to use the information to make money.. i want to devote my time to working with electronics.
    but i also want to devote my time to working with audio.

    as unorganized as i feel.. i do think it holds rather strong for me to say i want to work with electronics and audio.
    there's already a shop here in the area that sells electronics, they are the type of shop that is different than the regular brick & mortar stores (but if you walk in there, it looks basically the same as a brick & mortar store)

    i don't know how i could run a store because it narrows down the possibilities.

    maybe i could build demo speakers from whatever is readily available.. then work as a consultant to getting those people the high quality care that comes from 'do it yourself'

    i mean.. what if i could adjust a speaker box size jst enough to help the phase output from the speaker match & blend with the phase in the room?
    then when it is all a snug fit before the equalizer.. then i step in with the equalizer to narrow the focus on quality a second time.

    back to being laid off by a contracting company.. i dont want to live loosely without a guarantee that my monthly bills will get paid.

    i don't want to be stuck working some job that has absolutely nothing to do with my college degree.. then forced to face the fact that all i i can repair on a broken amplifier is some fried transistors (because i could replace transistors today before college).

    i don't want to feel at a loss as if i've been ripped off
    i want gains beyond neutrality.. because if i am away from neutrality, then i am away from the negative that is being poor and living scared.

    a system of measure is what i call it.
  18. anwaypasible


    Jun 3, 2013
    i grew up in an arcade room during the 1980's and 1990's

    there were electronics there.. and they fixed 'em there too.
    but that isnt what he did most of the day.
    for most of the day he was working the bowling alley part.

    i really have no idea what his whole list of things to do was.
    i know he had to keep the pin machines working
    had to keep the ball return working
    had to run the cleaner down the lanes
    had to fix coin mechanisms
    had to fix ticket mechanisms
    then down to the repair of the boards or power supplies or video monitors (for the arcade or the bowling alley)

    i cant imagine there are many needs for a person to do those multi-tasking jobs.
    there are two hospitals in the area.. about a dozen small apartment buildings.. four big apartment buildings.

    i cant get my head around the fact that an arcade room has many electronics and there still wasnt enough failure rate to provide work... now there are (i'm guessing) less electronics and somehow i'm supposed to think there is job insurance?
    i know electronics are everywhere.. but i feel like there is one per person, and that turns to become 'everybody'

    i feel homeless after graduation and i know i need a survey of the area to get a sense of any opportunity.
    but i thought i could at least get a preview of what to look for in the area.

    i think i'll take the course and learn something to satisfy some hunger in my personality.. because if i ever get to go where i want to go with audio i know it should be useful.
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