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Old 08-07-2016, 01:53 PM   #1
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Default Electrician vs electrical engineer

This one il start a new thread on. I've been doing electric for about 10 years. I've had my downfalls , I'm 32 now and I was a stubborn one growing up, Had a bad attitude and really didn't grow as an electrician till I'd say the past 4 or 5 years where I've actually matured. I'm working for a temp agency right now making 21 a hour. I can read prints, bend pipe , wire up ac units, heaters, ect ect. Im not experienced in fire alarms , high voltage or machinery but i feel like I'm a solid good all around electrician besides that. I'm not so sure I can run a big job. I'm at the point where I'm not making more then 700 a week after taxes and it's hard to live that way. Would this experience I have help me become a more successful electrical engineer vs an engeenier that has never been in the field? It's either that or go for my licence but owning a business is not a 8 hour job. It's basically 24 hr job and a big head ache. I'm afraid to be the old man still working my but off . I don't have much of a start towards my retirement.
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Old 08-07-2016, 01:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sicilianiggy View Post
This one il start a new thread on. I've been doing electric for about 10 years. I've had my downfalls , I'm 32 now and I was a stubborn one growing up, Had a bad attitude and really didn't grow as an electrician till I'd say the past 4 or 5 years where I've actually matured. I'm working for a temp agency right now making 21 a hour. I can read prints, bend pipe , wire up ac units, heaters, ect ect. Im not experienced in fire alarms , high voltage or machinery but i feel like I'm a solid good all around electrician besides that. I'm not so sure I can run a big job. I'm at the point where I'm not making more then 700 a week after taxes and it's hard to live that way. Would this experience I have help me become a more successful electrical engineer vs an engeenier that has never been in the field? It's either that or go for my licence but owning a business is not a 8 hour job. It's basically 24 hr job and a big head ache. I'm afraid to be the old man still working my but off . I don't have much of a start towards my retirement.
Nothing you've done will help you become an electrical engineer.

You should be making way more than that in NYC, local 3 guys make like $55+/hour in the paycheck and almost $100 total per hour with benefits.

Non-union companies won't pay that much, but a good worker should be able to make more than $21/hr.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:19 PM   #3
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Go to college and become an EE.
You will make more money and you will get to go home at night and you will most likely not have to work any weekends.
You will stay clean and you will work in an office instead of a construction site.

Like hax said. Your experience is not going to help you get a degree. But once you get that degree, your experience will make you just that much better than your counterparts that have no idea about this trade.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sicilianiggy View Post
This one il start a new thread on. I've been doing electric for about 10 years. I've had my downfalls , I'm 32 now and I was a stubborn one growing up, Had a bad attitude and really didn't grow as an electrician till I'd say the past 4 or 5 years where I've actually matured. I'm working for a temp agency right now making 21 a hour. I can read prints, bend pipe , wire up ac units, heaters, ect ect. Im not experienced in fire alarms , high voltage or machinery but i feel like I'm a solid good all around electrician besides that. I'm not so sure I can run a big job. I'm at the point where I'm not making more then 700 a week after taxes and it's hard to live that way. Would this experience I have help me become a more successful electrical engineer vs an engeenier that has never been in the field? It's either that or go for my licence but owning a business is not a 8 hour job. It's basically 24 hr job and a big head ache. I'm afraid to be the old man still working my but off . I don't have much of a start towards my retirement.
In our trade, you can't really expect journeyman level pay unless you have 5 or more years of experience. Beyond that, it takes maybe another 5 to 7 years, depending on your exposure to various types of work, to Master our trade.
That's about the time you can get into running jobs bigger than a custom house or retail build out.
I didn't get into running jobs into the millions or 10s of millions until I had 20 years in the trade.
I can only speak from the union side I'm not 100% sure how the non-union side works.
My son works non Union, has about 5 or so solid years of experience and makes $20 per hour traveling and working 58 to 68 hours per week and per diem.

For me, I'd rather work 25 or so hours per week and make $150 per hour so, I've got that going for me.

If you can handle the math, get a professional degree and go for it.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thank you guys for the help. I'm been thinking about it and I'm really torn between what to do. The thought of going back to school is a scary one for me . It's going to be worth it in the end. Thanks again
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:59 PM   #6
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Your self description sounds just like my youngest son I call capatosta!. You should be making more than that up there. As Hack said Local 3 is $100+ an hour for a journeyman. Forget the temp stuff and try and find a job for now with a larger company. Then try and get in the Union or into something like a college maintenance department. Then if you still feel like becoming an engineer the tuition maybe free. Engineering jobs are a 50/50 shot at good pay. The higher paying jobs are most often temporary. The lower paying jobs are more laborious. Check the jobs available on Monster or a similar place. I know many engineers that are working in other jobs due to poor hiring chances in their fields of study. There are plenty of good careers available in NYC. Having electrical knowledge is a huge plus in many of them. Property management and construction management are still viable city jobs that pay well. Check out college degrees online while you are still deciding on a career path.
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:17 PM   #7
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I think it's important to mention that getting a degree in EE is extremely hard, it's for book smart people who excel in math. It's a lot of work in addition to the fulltime job you need to pay your bills and tuition.

I'm just saying that you need to be fully committed to it before jumping in.

Personally, it's not something that I would want to do now. I know that I could do it if I had the ambition, but I don't know if that ambition would be there.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:23 PM   #8
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Going to echo the previous post. Less than a couple percent of the population
are smart enough to get the iron ring. Don't know how things work down their
but up here just getting in to a university engineering program is way out of
the reach of most students.
That said, if you can do it, you should.
Good Luck,
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:30 PM   #9
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Sounds like you're a good electrician. Why don't you try to market and capitalize on that instead?
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlugsAndLights View Post
Going to echo the previous post. Less than a couple percent of the population
are smart enough to get the iron ring. Don't know how things work down their
but up here just getting in to a university engineering program is way out of
the reach of most students.
That said, if you can do it, you should.
Good Luck,
P&L
Down here in my experience engineers are a dime a dozen. There are always plenty of jobs open and looking at the starting wages I'd rather work someplace with far less responsibility and get paid more at the same time.

The engineer friend that makes the best money works in the NYC sanitation department, he's some sort of dispatcher for garbage trucks. He gets beau coup overtime during snowstorms, get benefits, and loves his normal hours. He used to design telecom equipment til his company moved to mexico.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:30 AM   #11
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From a different thread and a guy that has two years into becoming an EE:

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Originally Posted by redden View Post
That's how it is, too. Any engineer fresh out of school is about to have his ass handed to him once he hits the field. That's honestly why I left. An ex's step dad works for Siemens as an EE and told me straight up, unless you have significant field experience a Bachelor's EE degree doesn't mean sh!t in getting a job. Sorry to give you the wrong impression though.
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
I think it's important to mention that getting a degree in EE is extremely hard, it's for book smart people who excel in math. It's a lot of work in addition to the fulltime job you need to pay your bills and tuition.

I'm just saying that you need to be fully committed to it before jumping in.

Personally, it's not something that I would want to do now. I know that I could do it if I had the ambition, but I don't know if that ambition would be there.
When I was working at the textile recycling plant, we had a young guy that tried to rebuild gear boxes in the shop.
He seemed to never get them fixed, but had an agreement with the company to get off at 11:00 am every day and whole days off to go to Clemson university for a EE. degree. He put in a few extra hours on weekends to make up for some of his absence.
He had a wife and a couple kids and was going to college full time.

It seemed like in no time at all, he had the degree and left the company within days of graduating.
They must not have made a legal agreement for him to stay on after obtaining the degree.

I ran into him a few years later. He was my contact at Mitsubishi electronics. He was doing great. And he somehow did this while at least working part of the time.
I will assume he is one of the very few that could accomplish this.

OH....They paid the tuition for him as well.
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