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Career Advice and Guidance

Career Advice and Guidance

Career Advice and Guidance

Hello engineers, I need some advice, I am at a crossroads within my career. This is maybe be a long post to better explain my situation accurately. I value everyone's words, especially from engineers who have been doing this for a long time and I thank you for taking the time to read and provide your input.

I am a mechatronics engineer and I feel stuck/confused in my career and goals and not sure how to proceed. Currently, I am a field service engineer in a support role for a European based company that makes machines for the wood and metal industries. I've been in this role for 2.5 years. I am 39 y.o.(10+ years prior military service afterwards held a technician job a few years while studying) and this company is my first full-time engineering job since I graduated. The office I work at is a small satellite office with 5 engineers including a GM and a Tech Srv Mgr. who works remote. I have low supervision and I pretty much manage myself (office time, productivity, and job-related taskings). When work is slow, and I am not in the field, I have no taskings, no nothing. When I am in the field, I primarily do electrical installations, some mechanical installation assistance, and provide local support for control engineers (in Europe) who remote into the system to make program changes. Also, I may perform system program downloads and make small program modifications when needed or when I request to do them. I feel more like a technician/helper than an actual engineer.

I really enjoy engineering and my desire is to go further into it, whether it is electrical or mechanical design/development or controls and automation, seeing as how the later is basis of my degree. The problem lies within getting the necessary experience and exposure. As of now, most of the knowledge base is at the main office located in Europe. And speaking with experienced engineers is proving to be challenging, seeing as how the time and language differences between us, as well as the lack of sharing information and training. However, with my granted freedom and availability, I recently decided to study for the electrical and computer FE and eventually obtain my PE. But as I stated before, getting the experience and exposure to obtain my PE I see could be difficult to do so with my current employment.

So the obvious answer would be for me to find better employment that aligns with my goals and ambitions. Correct! However, another part of my puzzle is, with that added freedom and availability, I also have a side business where I provide IT/security camera installations and network administration support for residential and small business clients. I would really like to venture into industrial too, if possible.

My ultimate desire and goal is my conundrum. I would like to combine both entitles together, my engineering and my business. For what I seen now, all my engineering experiences in have been in manufacturing environments. And that most electrical/control engineering is either done by the manufacturer of the machines or the facilities has their own local controls/automation engineers. Where can third-party fit is that even such a thing? Are there other sectors that utilizes electrical/controls engineering? And I am too old to be doing such a change or pursue this possible endeavor?

RE: Career Advice and Guidance

Presumably you are located in US as you mention FE/PE, correct?
Does your field really need a PE license? do people stamp plans/drawings for your products?
Its not too late for this type of change (fyi, I left a big aerospace company to go do consulting at age 40)
Think about what your current clients need? is there a niche there for you as a consultant/designer/systems integrator?

RE: Career Advice and Guidance

To succeed , you need to focus 100% .
How you are going to succeed if 50% of your effort is PE and the rest is CCTV business ?

Logic is , if you do not have a backup plan , the only plan is to succeed in what you do.

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