Forums

Electrical Engineering Careers in USA

Started by dbell September 20, 2005
I got a publication from IEEE last week with an article about the US EE
job market. From peak EE unemployment of 6-7% a couple of years ago we
are back to approx 2% EE unemployment, about the same as in 2000-2001
before the job situation took a dive.  The article points out that
while that sounds like a good thing, the number of US EEs dropped from
440,000 in 2000-2001 to 340,000 in 1st quarter 2005, a drop of 100,000
EEs (and a large percentage drop). That drop is a combination of new
grads coming into the EE job market, EEs retiring, and EEs 'abandoning
their careers'. The article attributed most of the change to EEs
abandoning their careers.  The current trend is decreasing EE
unemployment with a decreasing number of EEs.

Some food for thought.

dbell wrote:
> I got a publication from IEEE last week with an article about the US EE > job market. From peak EE unemployment of 6-7% a couple of years ago we > are back to approx 2% EE unemployment, about the same as in 2000-2001 > before the job situation took a dive. The article points out that > while that sounds like a good thing, the number of US EEs dropped from > 440,000 in 2000-2001 to 340,000 in 1st quarter 2005, a drop of 100,000 > EEs (and a large percentage drop). That drop is a combination of new > grads coming into the EE job market, EEs retiring, and EEs 'abandoning > their careers'. The article attributed most of the change to EEs > abandoning their careers. The current trend is decreasing EE > unemployment with a decreasing number of EEs. > > Some food for thought. >
But just what is an EE? My father received his engineering degree from Cornell in 1926. His interest was in what we would call 'electronics'. He took the Mechanical Engineering route as it gave a broader education. Cornell EE's of that era would design power plants, power distribution systems, and AC/DC machines *STOP* I attempted { ;/ } a BSEE at Cornell in the early 60's. Graduates of that era would be well founded in semiconductor physics and quantum mechanics with a minor in microwaves. After dropping out, I got to *do* Electrical Engineering working for the Veterinary Physiology and Chemistry Departments. I later determined that if I wanted to prepare for a career in what I considered EE (read instrumentation), I should have enrolled in the Physics Dept. of the College of Arts and Sciences. I can think of many humorous experiences of my father and I in being assigned freshly minted EE's, he as an engineer and I as a senior tech. They uniformly had no concept of *application* of their theory knowledge base. [ To be fair, I once got a brand new CS grad. We were converting a database from one format to another. Grad came in one morning and "saw" that I had "completed" the conversion routine. Guess what, I hadn't tested it. Grad ran it against live data. There was a missing comma. Result was "educational" ;) ]
I guess it is whatever IEEE considers an EE. I am not really sure that
it matters exactly how you define an EE as long as you are consistent
in the definition.  IEEE seems to be a pretty reasonable organization.
The data presented is interesting.  I would think it would be of great
interest to someone considering an electrical engineering career in the
US.

dbell wrote:

> I guess it is whatever IEEE considers an EE. I am not really sure that > it matters exactly how you define an EE as long as you are consistent > in the definition. IEEE seems to be a pretty reasonable organization. > The data presented is interesting. I would think it would be of great > interest to someone considering an electrical engineering career in the > US. >
Don't get me started on IEEE ;) IRE should never have merged with whoever. By mid 60's IEEE wanted EE's to be research scientists *NOT ENGINEERS* ! BTW in early 70's I worked for VERY senior member of Boston chapter and was member of same congregation as one of their senior staff. I'm used to being in the minority ;)
I get the impression that both of you got your degrees in or around the
60s.  I received my  "EE" degree in 1995.  By that point, the "4 year"
EE degree was filled with so much english composition, speech writing,
etc that it took five an half years to complete with only about two and
a half years worth of actual engineering classes.  Obviously the
technology that was tought (then) is different than what was tought in
the 60's and 70s as we focused on what today would be considered small
scale integration and we spent a lot of time wiring up circuits
consisting of rows of 74LSxx chips.

I Have spent time talking to a number of other EEs that graduated
around the same time, from different schools, and I am finding that
there is a common theme regarding what get got out of the schooling.
Besides a basic foundation in math, which in my opinion was still
insufficient, and basic circuit theory the only REAL thing that
engineering shool taught us was how to learn and absorb new information
and then apply it - quickly.

dbell wrote:
> I got a publication from IEEE last week with an article about the US EE > job market. From peak EE unemployment of 6-7% a couple of years ago we > are back to approx 2% EE unemployment, about the same as in 2000-2001 > before the job situation took a dive. The article points out that > while that sounds like a good thing, the number of US EEs dropped from > 440,000 in 2000-2001 to 340,000 in 1st quarter 2005, a drop of 100,000 > EEs (and a large percentage drop). That drop is a combination of new > grads coming into the EE job market, EEs retiring, and EEs 'abandoning > their careers'. The article attributed most of the change to EEs > abandoning their careers. The current trend is decreasing EE > unemployment with a decreasing number of EEs. > > Some food for thought. >
I think its more like their careers abandoned them.
You are probably right. I think most of them can be found off shore.

Stan Pawlukiewicz wrote:
> dbell wrote: > > I got a publication from IEEE last week with an article about the US EE > > job market. From peak EE unemployment of 6-7% a couple of years ago we > > are back to approx 2% EE unemployment, about the same as in 2000-2001 > > before the job situation took a dive. The article points out that > > while that sounds like a good thing, the number of US EEs dropped from > > 440,000 in 2000-2001 to 340,000 in 1st quarter 2005, a drop of 100,000 > > EEs (and a large percentage drop). That drop is a combination of new > > grads coming into the EE job market, EEs retiring, and EEs 'abandoning > > their careers'. The article attributed most of the change to EEs > > abandoning their careers. The current trend is decreasing EE > > unemployment with a decreasing number of EEs. > > > > Some food for thought. > > > > I think its more like their careers abandoned them.
1982 MSEE(in Signal Processing).

Relevance?

Noway2 wrote:

> I get the impression that both of you got your degrees in or around the > 60s. I received my "EE" degree in 1995. By that point, the "4 year" > EE degree was filled with so much english composition, speech writing, > etc that it took five an half years to complete with only about two and > a half years worth of actual engineering classes. Obviously the > technology that was tought (then) is different than what was tought in > the 60's and 70s as we focused on what today would be considered small > scale integration and we spent a lot of time wiring up circuits > consisting of rows of 74LSxx chips. > > I Have spent time talking to a number of other EEs that graduated > around the same time, from different schools, and I am finding that > there is a common theme regarding what get got out of the schooling. > Besides a basic foundation in math, which in my opinion was still > insufficient, and basic circuit theory the only REAL thing that > engineering shool taught us was how to learn and absorb new information > and then apply it - quickly. >
The basics and the ability to quickly learn stuff and apply it are what's going to carry your career forward. The english comp stuff is because when you get to the point of being a technical lead you have to spend a lot of your time communicating, orally and in writing. You need to write documents that your team members can follow, you need to write power-point presentations that your higher-ups can follow (and will be impressed by) and you need to write piles of emails to clarify what you've done. I'm not sure if the composition is the right way to do it, but somebody's trying. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com
dbell wrote:
> You are probably right. I think most of them can be found off shore.
The numbers probably count H-1B visa holders as part of the US workforce.
> > Stan Pawlukiewicz wrote: > >>dbell wrote: >> >>>I got a publication from IEEE last week with an article about the US EE >>>job market. From peak EE unemployment of 6-7% a couple of years ago we >>>are back to approx 2% EE unemployment, about the same as in 2000-2001 >>>before the job situation took a dive. The article points out that >>>while that sounds like a good thing, the number of US EEs dropped from >>>440,000 in 2000-2001 to 340,000 in 1st quarter 2005, a drop of 100,000 >>>EEs (and a large percentage drop). That drop is a combination of new >>>grads coming into the EE job market, EEs retiring, and EEs 'abandoning >>>their careers'. The article attributed most of the change to EEs >>>abandoning their careers. The current trend is decreasing EE >>>unemployment with a decreasing number of EEs. >>> >>>Some food for thought. >>> >> >>I think its more like their careers abandoned them. > >