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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I am a 19-year old student of electrical engineering. After suffering through the pointless classes in my high school, I was excited to discover electrical engineering and thought I'd major in it.

However, I haven't liked it too much. They really like to teach the theory. I had to take even more humanities classes! There were also 7+ pointless intro classes. Some teachers like to put on the tests what they don't cover in class.

The few actual labs I've are cool, but you spend a lot of time doing calculations. Oh yeah, there are pre-labs, lab quizzes, lab reports, and even lab finals (all depending on the teacher)!

There are electronics-based clubs, but they're really intense and project based and when you're trying to get every point for your classes, you don't have too much time. I thought I would get an internship this summer, but they seemed to be really selective this year.

Basically, I'm wondering how should I get some technical, hands-on, not-so-theoretical experience. I live close to the university and the ECE dept has a shop so I'm applying to see if they need help but they might not need it. The same goes for a woodworker I know. I've signed up for a class on practical electricity at my community college, but I would rather get a job.

If I won't be able to work for the ECE shop or woodworker, what are some other ways I can get a job that can improve my technical skills (preferably electrical but anything is okay)? As bad as this sounds, I don't know all that much about this stuff since I live in a white-collar community. Preferably not monotonous, something where I will gain advanced skills.
 

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I got into the trade for similar reasons: I like seeing how the theory comes together in the real world.

That being said, I remember my first few years being very disappointing: The job of an apprentice involves very little electrical theory and a whole lot of manual labor.

If you're not afraid of hard work, and can stomach a whole lot of the mundane and monotonous in order to get to the sweet stuff, more power. Eventually, the trade can be very rewarding from a practical and theoretical perspective, but that often takes a lot of time.

So I would be cautious jumping into it simply because you believe it will provide a physical backing for your what you're learning in your EE courses; it probably won't.

-John
 

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I got into the trades right out of high school, then left because all the older guys told me I was crazy for not going to college. I went to college for a year, planning on majoring in electrical engineering. I quit going because I could not stay awake in class. If you find doing calculations boring and monotonous then you are probably headed in the wrong direction. An electrical engineer will be doing calculations all day long, for the rest of his career.

Personally, I came to the realization that I had no motivation to become an electrical engineer other than perhaps social status and money. Sure it would be cool, but I don't think I would enjoy it. My personality is better fit for the field and I am happier doing boring monotonous stuff out in the field rather than in a classroom. Every job is going to get old, but the good ones will open other doors and take you somewhere.

If you really want to become an engineer, the hands-on experience you need is something more like an internship for an engineering firm as opposed to working in the trades. Advanced skill comes with years and years of experience. You are at the bottom right now so unless you know someone who has a lot of pull, you are going to be doing something boring and monotonous where ever it is you work. This is what some people call "putting in your time".

its not always about where you are today, sometimes is about where you are headed.
 

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Get a job as a summer helper, if it is open shop, work during the school year.

I hired my daughters boy friend, he's a history major.
 

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Could you apply to large manufacturing corparations in your area for summer interships. Like petro/chemical/plastic plants. Get a chance to see how controls are set up/used ect. Or do want hands on installation experience? What are you looking for?
 
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