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What can someone with an engineering degree do?

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 22nd, 2017 7:16 pm
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 6, 2007
5326 posts
1126 upvotes

What can someone with an engineering degree do?

*inb4 you're a lazy slacker and you deserved this

I've posted in this section before and things haven't gotten any better so I'm looking for some advice from people who may have decided to follow a different career path.

My engineering timeline is as follows:

June 2008: graduated from Ryerson with Mechanical Engineering degree, specializing in manufacturing
July 2008 to October 2009: worked at local Staples (couldn't find an engineering job)
October 2009: hired by small HVAC consulting firm (had no interest or training in HVAC but was only engineering job)

During my time at this firm (as some of you may have already read in previous threads I've posted)
- poor training
- only given mundane tenant fit-up projects
- worked under two P. Engs who both gave me poor reviews during P. Eng. application process
- PEO requested ERC interview: failed terribly
- sought psychologist for mental help

January 2016 to present: hired by an HVAC supplier

- training is better
- boss overworks me and puts the majority of projects on me
- due to being overworked, I can't concentrate on details and end up making mistakes
- endless cycle of 1) overworked, 2) mistakes occur, 3) boss says I need to take my time 4) boss complains I don't finish things fast enough 5) boss spreads work out to rest of department but guilt trips me about it 6) workload eventually gets completely 7) repeat from 1)

My career goal was to do something automotive or manufacturing engineering related but at this point, after being stuck in HVAC for over 7 years, that ship has sailed. I'm sick and tired of HVAC and want out.

What type of non-engineering careers are available to those with an engineering degree? My first job gave me no raises the whole time I was there. This job is currently paying $58K pre tax. I'm beginning to hate going into work as I don't know what type of trouble I'm going to be in. I'm constantly feeling unhappy and need a new career path outside of engineering altogether.
25 replies
Jr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
178 posts
57 upvotes
DT Calgary
Apply to as many jobs as you can. Your only other bet is to meet someone who can get your foot in the door somewhere else. Please, do not go for more schooling.
Sr. Member
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Nov 19, 2014
710 posts
195 upvotes
Programming.
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Jr. Member
Sep 11, 2014
142 posts
15 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
FreshCo wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 11:44 am
Apply to as many jobs as you can. Your only other bet is to meet someone who can get your foot in the door somewhere else. Please, do not go for more schooling.
Going to disagree with this. Try doing a college program with co-op experience.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Sep 6, 2007
5326 posts
1126 upvotes
I use to attend job fairs hosted by OSPE and financial companies like KPMG and CIBC use to show up. Anyone ever venture down that avenue?
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2013
698 posts
272 upvotes
North York
BluePhirePB wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 3:40 pm
I use to attend job fairs hosted by OSPE and financial companies like KPMG and CIBC use to show up. Anyone ever venture down that avenue?
What kind of skills can you offer to them working there if they are in fact interested in you?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 26, 2003
26505 posts
1592 upvotes
Winnipeg
your experience is typical in ontario, seems that's how everyone operates over there, i doubt it will improve anywhere else unless you leave ontario. I didn't knew about it before but once I found out I left immediately.
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Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2015
828 posts
228 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
divx wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 6:50 pm
your experience is typical in ontario, seems that's how everyone operates over there, i doubt it will improve anywhere else unless you leave ontario. I didn't knew about it before but once I found out I left immediately.
I wouldn't say typcial.... My friends who went to school with me all graduated from engineering are working in engineering jobs...A lot are in consulting with firms like exp/wsp/schueffers,tmig etc , few are in industry with companies like husky, others are at big3 telcos, and a handful in civil with companies like aecon or govt

I don't know of any engineer friends who had to leave to find work..They get offers to go elsewhere but like it here and stay

So many jobs for engineers in Ontario ...But most don't know where to look since they don't know to look for companies in industry and only know to apply to consulting companies who hire top tier talent only ...And after 5-8 yrs move on to principal at other place

Except me...I went to Alberta for a couple years at ConocoPhillips before I managed to get out of that hellhole of a province and worked around the world on secondment until I returned to Ontario now in land development
Jr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
178 posts
57 upvotes
DT Calgary
Doubleshot wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 7:19 pm
I wouldn't say typcial.... My friends who went to school with me all graduated from engineering are working in engineering jobs...A lot are in consulting with firms like exp/wsp/schueffers,tmig etc , few are in industry with companies like husky, others are at big3 telcos, and a handful in civil with companies like aecon or govt

I don't know of any engineer friends who had to leave to find work..They get offers to go elsewhere but like it here and stay

So many jobs for engineers in Ontario ...But most don't know where to look since they don't know to look for companies in industry and only know to apply to consulting companies who hire top tier talent only ...And after 5-8 yrs move on to principal at other place

Except me...I went to Alberta for a couple years at ConocoPhillips before I managed to get out of that hellhole of a province and worked around the world on secondment until I returned to Ontario now in land development
What school and what discipline?
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2015
828 posts
228 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
FreshCo wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 8:29 pm
What school and what discipline?
I went to UT...Mineral engineering...My friends were mostly in civil and mechanical and computer with most of them at UT, a couple went to UW...The comp engineering friends all ended up with the big telcos along with the stats and math major friends too
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
1985 posts
230 upvotes
Doubleshot wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 7:19 pm

I don't know of any engineer friends who had to leave to find work..They get offers to go elsewhere but like it here and stay
Have you read the PEO report on how many engineering graduates actually find engineering jobs? There are huge amounts of ontario engineering graduates who not only go to other provinces to find jobs, there are also another large group who don't and never find a decent starting job to launch their career.

You're pretty lucky if everyone you know found work, and even luckier if everyone found work in ontario, but statistically I'd say that's pretty rare.
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Aug 18, 2005
16732 posts
1726 upvotes
GTA West
BluePhirePB wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 10:17 am
What type of non-engineering careers are available to those with an engineering degree? My first job gave me no raises the whole time I was there. This job is currently paying $58K pre tax. I'm beginning to hate going into work as I don't know what type of trouble I'm going to be in. I'm constantly feeling unhappy and need a new career path outside of engineering altogether.
Maybe you should try to get into commission-based technical sales.
Unlike very specialized professions like optometry, dentistry, etc, engineering is a very 'wide' generalized base and it allows you to branch off into numerous other areas.
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Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2015
828 posts
228 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
spiralspirit wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 11:52 pm
Have you read the PEO report on how many engineering graduates actually find engineering jobs? There are huge amounts of ontario engineering graduates who not only go to other provinces to find jobs, there are also another large group who don't and never find a decent starting job to launch their career.

You're pretty lucky if everyone you know found work, and even luckier if everyone found work in ontario, but statistically I'd say that's pretty rare.
Like any field...Theres good and bad candidates... good workers/candidates won't have issues...

Engineers and their grads are not all the same. We pump out a lot of garbage from our schools too in every field including engineering and it's so easy to get in especially at many universities since they just want your tuition.

I think majority of schools with engineering programs are pumping out unemployable grads and of course there will be many who don't find jobs in the field...I find engineering to be very school dependent in that the hiring managers will have preference for a few select schools and jettison the rest which adds to the problem
Member
Dec 25, 2010
239 posts
21 upvotes
Toronto
OP, I'm in the industry too and I understand your frustration and anxiety all too well.

My suggestion would be to start focusing on the energy side of HVAC/mechanical and look at government jobs or even consulting jobs in that vein. I find the analytical work to be more consistent and has less landmines than the design side. The mentoring in the energy side seems better to me as well.

Another suggestion would be to try to get into a project coordinator role. It relies more on the soft skills associated with managing people, scheduling, and building consensus.

You might not be able to find either one of those roles in a sales company, but hopefully it gives you some hope and direction moving forward.
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
1985 posts
230 upvotes
Doubleshot wrote:
Apr 17th, 2017 12:35 am
Like any field...Theres good and bad candidates... good workers/candidates won't have issues...
I disagree. Fewer good opportunities means many students won't get the ability to jump start their careers. I don't think every graduate from engineering should necessarily have an engineering job, but there are plenty of decent workers who just can't find a starting job and give up and get into something else.
Engineers and their grads are not all the same. We pump out a lot of garbage from our schools too in every field including engineering and it's so easy to get in especially at many universities since they just want your tuition.
As an employed EIT, you aren't telling me anything new, but nonetheless there is a serious engineering jobs crisis for new/young engineers both in Ontario and Alberta (due to the current slump).
I think majority of schools with engineering programs are pumping out unemployable grads and of course there will be many who don't find jobs in the field...I find engineering to be very school dependent in that the hiring managers will have preference for a few select schools and jettison the rest which adds to the problem
Engineering is an accredited degree - if there are schools graduating people who aren't employable, that's on Engineers Canada/CEAB (who accredits programs) to intervene.

The fact is that if you can find your first job from a shitty school, and you're a decent worker and not an idiot, you can find a second job, and a third job, and fourth job, etc. After job 1 your school doesn't really matter more than your work history and personality. But what does matter is the available jobs - you need job 1 to open opportunities. When job 1 doesn't exist, or 900 people are competing for it because there's no work, that's the premature end of that person's career before it begins - him and 899 others.

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