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Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

(OP)
I graduated in May and have yet to be able to land a job. In my free time I've studied up some on how to use AutoCAD Electrical 2015, but the only videos I could find were "how" to do different things, not any real-world projects or anything. I've also read "Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings" by Grondzik. It was the closest thing I could find to an MEP book and somewhat helpful, but geared more towards architects than engineers.

So, for someone looking to get on with an MEP consulting firm or do any work in power distribution, what should I do to make myself more attractive to employers (besides losing a few pounds). Are there any MEP or power books that you would recommend? Not so much for general learning (I have plenty of those), but something that I could read that would help me be able to step into a job and do something. Any certifications that I should go for (I'm an EIT)? Thanks.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

Graduated with what kind of diploma / certification / degree?

How far from your chosen field of study are you willing to deviate to land a job?

CR

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." [Proverbs 27:17, NIV]

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

(OP)
Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. I'm only EIT certified right now.

I enjoy what I studied, so I would only deviate from EE if it meant making a good bit more money than sticking with the power/electronics stuff.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

If you want to work as an EE for an MEP firm, become familiar with the NEC for designing services, feeders, and branch circuits for lighting, receptacles, and motors. Also, learn about lighting design/illumination and life safety and emergency electrical systems design. Also, become familiar with energy-efficiency codes as they apply to electrical system design.

xnuke
"Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.
Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

See, THRILLHO? More information = better answers!

CR

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." [Proverbs 27:17, NIV]

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

THRILLHO,
Do you have any electrical work experience? I started as an electrician, at the age of 16 in the summers and I put myself through college as electrician. In fact I made more money as an union journeymen electrician, than a EE for about 3 years in 1960's.
What about a maintenance engineer at a local industrial plant, or electrical construction engineer at a near by heavy construction site.
As stated before buy the NEC 2014 and study it from cover to cover. I suggest getting the NEC 2014 Handbook IMHO instead of code book (some people do not like the handbook) from NFPA.
Hope this will help and good luck--keep in touch.
Dave

Just a thought, try some big engineering/construction companies like Bechtel, Fluor Corp., ect

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

How many resumes did you send while in school? Did the school not have assistance in helping you in contacting employers? Have you had an engineer review your resume? I'm assuming since you have your EIT, you are in the USA.

As far as working for an MEP consulting firm straight out of college...well, I highly recommend looking for work outside MEP as well. Don't limit yourself to MEP work. You may have book smarts, but I've run into too many consulting engineers that have had no field experience and no idea how to design something useful to the end user.

Other industries to look are:
Refinery/Chemical plants (I thought I was limited to electric companies out of school, but I started at a major refinery as a EE in power systems...best experience one could have in maintenance)
Food industry
Life Sciences/Pharm
Jacobs/Bechtel/Fluor...so many engineering firms like melspuds suggested.

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

(OP)

Quote (xnuke)

NEC for designing services, feeders, and branch circuits for lighting, receptacles, and motors.

Thanks. From that recommendation I stumbled onto this site:
http://www.electrical-knowhow.com/2011/01/ee-1-beg...

and it appears loaded with exactly what I was looking for: real world applications of what I learned in school. Any other similar sources would be greatly appreciated.

Quote:

lighting design/illumination and life safety and emergency electrical systems design.

Yeah, the book I mentioned in the OP had a pretty good overview of all of that.

Quote (melspuds)

As stated before buy the NEC 2014 and study it from cover to cover. I suggest getting the NEC 2014 Handbook IMHO instead of code book (some people do not like the handbook) from NFPA.

I keep reading jobs wanting "familiarity" with NEC, but that feels kind of vague. It's a massive book. Would a read through by someone with an adequate but not great memory be OK? Should I memorize some sections?

Quote (controlnovice)

As far as working for an MEP consulting firm straight out of college...well, I highly recommend looking for work outside MEP as well. Don't limit yourself to MEP work.

I haven't. I've applied to a lot of different positions, but when no one is responding, I figured I'd just start reading up on the areas that I'm most interested in. My goal is to be a PE in 4 years. My understanding is that, as an EIT, I have to work closely with a PE during that time in order to get a license. That's why I'm reluctant to go after an electrician or technician type of job. I'm turning 33 soon, which I know isn't terribly old, but I really don't want to push that PE license back a year or two.

Thanks.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

If money is a concern I believe older editions of the NEC are avaialble for free on the web. That will familiarize you with the basics; you'll have to read the applicable sections of 2014 when you are on the job.

Yes, there are many sections to the NEC. Once you get into Section 8 of your link above the pertinent sections of the NEC to look at should start to pop out at you (if not you might want to reconsider this career path). You can probably skip the 500s on explosive environments for a while!

Z

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

I don't know your location in the USA, but I bet you that Bechtel has jobs within 250 miles of you. They design, built anything, anywhere. The old saying is "if you want something built and have the money, Bechtel will built it". A few years ago Bechtel had most likely built 75% of all Power Plants in North America. I worked for them 3 times, once as a construction engineer for nine months, Second time was as a startup engineer (commissioning) for nine months and was transferred to to the best job as the job site superintendent for 30 months for a major steel rolling mill revamp. Then the steel mill hired me as an electrical engineer. Got my PE and became chief engineer until the mill shut down in 1982. Was hired by another mill for 31 years and now retired.
Now about the NEC, it is considered the bible for any electrical engineers and electricians in USA and many other countries. I suggest reading and understanding chapter 4 includes swgr, motors, HVAC, generators, transformers, ect. Also go heavy on Art 250 (grounding), Art 240 (overcurrent protection), Art 220 (circuit calculations), and most of chapter 3 (wiring methods).
Good luck,
Dave

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

You don't need to read the NEC front to back. You do need to know where things are located in it though, just get familiarized with it. The NEC handbook is much more useful than the NEC itself. As previously suggested, find an a copy 3-6 years old to get it cheap. The article numbers don't change much from year to year (every 3 years really), so you will know where to look when the time comes.

You also said you were 33. How does this come across in your resume/cover letter? Some employers will question that. Will a 33 yr old ask for more money than a 23 yr old with the same degree? What experience do you bring to the table that they can't?

______________________________________________________________________________
This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

RE: Need advice on how to make myself a "more valuable" employee.

I would recommend going to some local IEEE meetings and meet with some of the guys there. They could give you some tips on who is hiring.

Also if you want to learn the National Electrical Code- attend meetings that the Building Department Electrical Inspectors go too. They enforce the code on a daily basis so they know it better than most people. Electrical Inspectors, Building department, plan checkers, Electrical contractors, staff Electrical and engineering company owners attend these meetings. It's call the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI)-check it out on line. They also have excellent classes on the code. They to can give you some tips on who is hiring and firing. I found that the NEC was very confusing and cryptic to understand until I hooked up with these people. I found that they generally have a clear understanding of the code.

It's nice to know AutoCAD but as an engineer you will not need it. I did a lot of my own cad work when I own my business but I was not allowed use it when I worked as a staff engineer. Most companies have a cad pool to do that kind of work. But you need to know what the basic drawing structure and presentation of electrical drawings-so you will mark up these cad drawings. Learn to use SKM, ETAP,or EDSA Power Systems Analysis Tools instead. You can learn them by watching YouTube videos on line until you can get your hands on one of these programs

I closed my engineering business ten years ago and I just retired doing temp consultant engineering work in March of this year. I love electrical engineering but I just can't handle the stress anymore. It's time for young blood like yourself to take over.

Don't get discouraged- once you get into engineering and have your PE there will be nothing stopping you. After you have done your staff engineering for a few years try your hand at your own business using your PE- other wise the PE is just another credential in your resume or just something to hang on the wall.

Good luck

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