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Students Click Here

Borrow an Engineer
7

Borrow an Engineer

Borrow an Engineer

(OP)
Here's a new service to match engineering students with companies who need engineering work. You can hire an un-licensed engineering student much cheaper than a licensed one.


News Story

Borrow An Engineer

Any thoughts?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Sounds like mostly work that wouldn't require a PE anyways. There are tons of companies out there that already offer contract design work as well as websites where you can find individuals. The only difference I see is that you get the added benefit of the people you hire having no industry experience.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

"required to have a mechanical engineer create a 3D rendering of a mall kiosk proposal"

Ah, so they weren't actually looking for an engineer. My aunt, a commercial artist, used to do these sorts of things.

Sadly since a non .edu email account won't work there is no way we can see the thousands of lucrative, scoped, well thought out projects available.



Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I say we get some pickets walking the line in front of that outfit. Them kids are takin' our work.

Since I am more interested in forming instant opinions than reading, is that first, second or third world college students taking jobs from first, second or third world engineers?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

The obvious problem with this is the first time one of these guys gets sued it will be a mess. And given that you have a lot of inexperienced people doing work that they're getting paid very little for, the situation becoming ripe for lawsuits seems quite likely.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Awesome, more perpetuation that it's ok to think you can get people to work for you "for the experience" as the sole compensation.

As if there wasn't enough of that bulls&&t going around. "Oh, we'll give you credit and you'll get the notoriety of having worked on this project! That should be plenty of compensation!"

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I'm pretty sure they're getting paid as well, probably about the same pay as they would get as an intern.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Well, you've got entirely inexperienced students submitting proposals to bid the work. Surely they'll be able to calculate a bid that adequately compensates themselves for any time spent and contingencies, right? Especially with the implicit price pressure here, it's obvious people will be submitting projects to the site specifically because they don't want to hire a company to do the work at higher cost. I'd be curious to see some data in 6 months about how many projects are awarded to proposals other than the low bid.

It's inevitable that at least some students will significantly underbid the work. Leading to either JNieman's indentured labor or TME's lawsuits.

I don't see this ending well. Except for the founder, he got some nice press, probably helped in his MBA application, and he'll have a "cool" basis for his projects during the MBA program (instead of the endlessly rehashed case studies of Apple and Facebook).

I am curious how they'll enforce the hiring finder fee. I presume they'll have some sort of legal contract (bid out to a law student?), but especially with most companies requiring an application through their internal resume sorting service, I don't see that sticking.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I remember when a client of ours didn't want us doing the shop drawings for all the structural design, and they didn't want to use the company we suggested (also in the USA, as we were) They sub'd it to a company that claimed to be in Puerto Rico, from what I heard. The shop drawings came back all done in fractional inches but we received lots of 3/7" dimensions and the like. They were allegedly professionals. I would love to see what some Asian or European college student is going to do when they accept an Inch-based drafting project of some cheapskates 'widget'.

Edit-to-add

Forgive my negativity, I just don't see either party in this relationship coming out ahead. The cheapskate clients are going to get a crappy result that they didn't foresee. The students are going to get taken for a ride because they don't know what they are getting into. The few situations that come out completely successful will be parroted as the status quo by the website owners in their future "case study" examples and fool more and more students and prospective clients into this charade.

I've seen a lot of "I'll get a college kid to do it" projects in my time and they were always a crash-and-burn.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Another things to consider is when someone gets fined for practicing engineering or offering engineering services without a license. While the examples they gave weren't engineering or at least didn't require a license in my mind; I can totally see someone designing some mechanical or structural system which qualifies. I'd be the first person to complain if they stepped over that line.

Professional and Structural Engineer (ME, NH)
American Concrete Industries
www.americanconcrete.com

RE: Borrow an Engineer

It might wind up like those paid for by the word articles that you see with whole paragraphs repeated.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Just ran across this thread. All I gotta say is, if we are all going to work in the "gig" economy, like they tell us we are, we're gonna need stuff (services?) like B.A.E.

Regards,

Mike

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Borrow an engineer kind of sounds like whoever is picking you up is going to shit you out. I was once asked to draw up a dye and another important part in ANSYS for a very large electronics company. I literally took out a pencil, paper, and ruler and drew the dye up in 3D as best as I could. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Little did they know that I had almost no training in ANSYS. It took me a long time but the ANSYS drawing was nearly perfect.

Does it go without saying that company is mostly overseas­čśÄ.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Those are transactions between two willing parties who each bring their offerings to the table, and work for mutual benefit (without imposing anything on people who are unwilling to participate).

Welcome to a free market. If you don't like it and want to live in a society where that does not exist, you can move to any number of countries with a centrally planned economy. I'm sure you would love it there. They ban every sort of innovation immediately. If fire was discovered there, it would be illegal.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Panther,

You should visit the US. Did you know prostitution is illegal in this county, and even child labor? So much for the "free market". Which one of the centrally planned markets are you from?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Funny thing about the US (and many other countries) is that we have these quirky laws on the market protecting the public, such as requiring licensure of so called "Professional Engineers". What a scam, right? (sarcasm)

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Panther140: there's no such thing as a free market.

Governments have the right, and indeed the responsibility, to regulate and tax in the public interest.

In a totally free market, anyone who thought they were an engineer could design anything that customers would buy, for any fees. The insurance industry would be there to compensate the victims, assuming governments required people to carry insurance. If not, people would just die and others would go bankrupt and move on. Who would be there to protect innocent bystanders from being injured in the first place? Most societies long ago moved beyond merely offering people "blood money" for permanent injury- they want some reasonable assurance of injury protection in the first place.

If you concede licensure and regulation, i.e. codes and standards, engineering licenses etc., then all you're saying is that anyone is free to enter the workforce, apply for a license when required, and work for whatever money- or none- that they feel is fair compensation. Aside from minimum wage laws, we're pretty much already there.

The reality in a modern society is a little more complex. Right now we're beavering away at solving the perceived problems of the 1950s in the labour market. Whereas once it was a great achievement to just get a university degree- especially one in a regulated profession- now it's not at all rare. Educational attainment in Canada as an example is so high now that the bachelor's degree has taken the place of a high school education as a minimum required education for employment. We're cranking out so many engineers in Canada that only 30% of engineering graduates here work as engineers or engineering managers. When you consider that education here is still substantially publicly funded. With so many fresh grads unable to gain entry to their chosen profession, it's natural that many will reach around- for a while- for innovative ways to gain experience without requiring compensation for it. Does "free" represent fair value for the services rendered by these interns? In our view, the answer is definitely NO. We pay our interns, always have, and always will, because we find it unethical to de-value the services of our future generation. Our interns' pay is a fraction of an engineers' starting salary, which increases with experience, and that's fair value. And yes, we make money from their services- but even more important than that to us as a business, the pool of past co-op students is our natural recruitment channel. This greatly diminishes the importance of the (near useless) interview process, which is basically the equivalent to a phone call plus two dates and hour or two long prior to marriage- not a reliable strategy!

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I was thinking about that pesky Brooks Act. The federal government costs way too much, and we could cut back on costs by making architects and engineers compete solely on cost and price instead of requiring selection on professional qualifications. Just think of the dollars we could have saved, just on the Pentagon Renovation alone, if we rented college students for the design (actually, for Wedge 5, it pretty much looked like it). The reduction in major weapons systems costs would be fricking ginormous.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Independent contracting is not illegal in most cases. The government has no right or responsibility to tell me that I can't design a circuit for somebody that wants a circuit designed.

Are you guys under the impression that this will be used as a replacement for a PE? If so, I don't think we can discuss the actual implications of this mechanism any further. You are starting to sound like the cab driver's union that stopped a highway and threw burning tires at cars because the government in France allowed Uber to exist.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Quote (Panther140)

Independent contracting is not illegal in most cases. The government has no right or responsibility to tell me that I can't design a circuit for somebody that wants a circuit designed.

I think you need to clarify which government and what type of circuit, then, because that's absolutely false in many cases.

Quote (Panther140)


Are you guys under the impression that this will be used as a replacement for a PE?
I am not. Though the term "borrow an engineer" is advertising engineering services, imo, which I think the boards in the States of the USA will take umbrage with, if there are unlicensed members.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

you get what you pay for ...

if you have a simple job, that's well defined, then you can probably get it done on the cheap, since not much engineering is involved; and why not ... I think we all hate the mundane trivia that comes with the job.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

You get what you pay for if you are diligent. If you know of cases where the federal government is not competing professional architectural and engineering services solely on professional qualifications, and the federal government is not requiring PE stamp for the work, report it to the contracting officer so that they will know, and know others are aware, that they are violating public law.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

The problem with the BorrowanEngineer site is that all the engineers are students, so they have little to no experience and no experienced engineers providing oversight. This is something that is not abundantly clear when you first go to the website.

I can see this being useful for a Sole-Proprietorship needing a one-off item. Or perhaps someone looking to get on Shark-Tank or All-American Makers looking for investment money and needing a prototype or mock-up. But then this appears to be the site's target audience.

I also think the name of the site/company is deceptive and does not properly reflect their 'contractors'. On several occasions their literature mentions apps and websites; I'm sorry if you write software for an app or website you are not an engineer in my book, you are a "developer."

Do I see this having a major impact on the engineering community? No.
If a company is going to be mass producing a product, they are going to need a full time engineer with experience; something BorrowanEngineer does not provide.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I can't wait for the first liability lawsuit out of this.

Lawyer: "So you're saying that for engineering expertise for this product, this product that spontaneously exploded and gave my client third degree burns on 15% of her body, you purposely began your product engineering with an unqualified student you found on the internet?"

Owner: "uhhh....it was cheap?"

Lawyer: "Well, I'll let you keep the pen you use to sign everything you own away to me and my client. Quite the bargain!"

RE: Borrow an Engineer

You NEVER get what you pay for, or the person selling it to you won't be in business long because they're not generating a profit. You always get, and should expect to get, somewhat less than what you paid for!

Engineers should not offer their services for free to for-profit enterprises, whether they're offering those services for free as a student in a free internship or as substantial uncompensated overtime. Engineering services are of value, and offering them for free to those who would profit from their use, de-values those services. Compensation can vary in nature and quantity, but when it's ZERO, we're all in trouble. At least these "borrow an engineer" kids are attempting to obtain some compensation for their work- and you can't fault them for being creative in the way they're going about it.

I feel the greatest sympathy for the LARGE FRACTION of engineering grads who currently cannot get a foot in the door in their chosen profession. I'd fix that problem if I could- by reducing the number of engineering grads entering the labour market to more closely match the labour market demand for their services. Given that we subsidize tuition substantially here in Canada, that is the most sensible course of action for our society as a whole- cranking out three times as many engineers as the labour market could possibly use is an idiotic strategy. But I won't collude in making their situation worse for my own profit by accepting their services for free, whether formally as interns or informally through a cut-rate "borrow an engineer" gig economy service model. That stand of valuing the services of other engineers is consistent with the professional engineering code of ethics I affirmed when I accepted my license.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

I do not think that I have read a single problem definition in this thread that is unique to the concept brought about by "Borrow an Engineer".

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Borrow an Engineer

If you are worried that this will lead companies to produce a lesser product, then bring a better product to the market. If you are worried about it decreasing your market value, do something that an undergrad student can't. If you think this will lead to people doing work that they're unqualified for, vote somebody in to make a law that prevents unqualified people from doing important work. I suggest you make it require a license to do legally. Call it a "Professional Engineering" license. That will prevent the rugrats from building a leaning skyscraper in your neighborhood.

Are you guys unionized or something? GEEZE!! If they produce results for somebody and do not negatively affect anybody against their will while doing it, then just kick back and focus on doing something productive.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Borrow an Engineer

... I'll get my aim ready. Steady and true to the highest bidder.. machinegun

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Hold on... Stalin has bigger guns ... let me upgrade cannon

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Jokes aside, I strongly oppose anything that 'degrades' the engineering profession.
I'm not sure how this falls on the scale.
Right now, those interested in real engineering would never consider such a notion but who knows in the future.
I strongly encourage a price min.

... in some industries there is a bit of a risk to letting the minions do work for nothing... in others not.. be careful very careful what you wish for..

RE: Borrow an Engineer

A worldwide price minimum, right? Or are you under the impression that our trade policy lends itself well to keeping your job here, and not shipping it to the place where your products are actually made?

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Panther,

I value my services and can, and have, competed successfully, on several continents. I can surmise why some people prefer lowest common denominator. Good luck with your regulated market for spawning.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Selling services by the hour makes you a commodity. We're all interchangeable widgets, right? Perfectly equivalent?

I get paid for my engineering by selling solutions rather than man-hours. It earns me a good living, thanks. Our company competes internationally and wins business from all over the world- including China and India. Selling solutions rather than hours allows my company to pay my interns a fair wage, too.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

maybe they should rename themselves "borrow a pretendngineer"

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Borrow an Engineer

The site closed down today. I don't know the reason.

RE: Borrow an Engineer

Closed, seven months to the day.....

How many screwed-up jobs did it take to close shop?

Good riddance.

Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community..

To the Toolmaker, your nice little cartoon drawing of your glass looks cool, but your solid model sucks. Do you want me to fix it, or are you going to take all week to get it back to me so I can get some work done?

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