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SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER
7

SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

(OP)
At 30 years of age I have finaly got bored of working on the shop floor in a sheet metal shop as a section supervior and wish to persue a career in design engineering of some description. I am about to finish a two year long course in CAD but despite the fact that I can now use design software well they didn't actually teach me how to design anything. I was wondering whether anyone could advise me on what would be the best route into a design role ie. should I take a course in mechcanical engineering before I start job hunting or should take a job as tea boy in a design department and work my up.

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

You're still young!!  If its engineering you want -- Grab it!  In the meantime, use your knowledge of shop practice/fabrication and your newly aquired skills with CAD and get a job in a Mech. outfit.  Pick one that not only appeals to you in work type but also the benefit of tuition assistance.

Good Luck

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

I agree, you don't need to have an engineering degree to be a great mechanical designer.  In essence, you perform pretty much similar function to an engineer, but do not have all the responsibility.  In other words, you design the part and the engineer checks to make sure it won't fail and kill somebody.  Most degreed engineers aspire to be good designers.  As one of those, my first impulse to is talk with a person that has been on the shop floor--getting much better knowledge of design for manufacturability.

A person with as much shop experience as you would make a great designer.  Let someone else do all the math while you take the beginning engineering courses to see if you really want to be an engineer.  Engineers may make more $$$$ than designers for the same work, but that depends on the industry and specific company.

  

--Scott Wertel
scottw@interfaceforce.com
www.interfaceforce.com

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

3
Dom,
  I hope I can give you a useful reply.  I work with, and help make hiring decisions for, both engineers and designers.  Our company's job description for a Designer states the following requirement -

   "Two year technical degree is desired.  High School diploma with broad, in-depth company related experience, minium 3-years.  Knowledge of math through trig, engineering drawings, principles of electronics, hydraulics, and manufacturing processes. Specialized tools and equipment including CADAM and/or PCAD.  Requires broad and in-depth, company related experience in drafting and layouts or related assignments to gain a knowledge of materials, finishes, standard catalog parts and hardware, drafting techniques, schematics and standards"

   Also, this is a requirement for an entry level Designer.  After a promotion or two the "two-year technical degree" becomes a requirement rather than a desire.  I would not be surprised if other companies used similar criteria.  The job description is much more detailed, but even from this portion you can see that "Designer" is much more than having a CAD training class under your belt.  With your short description I would guess that your current skills fit the role of Drafter better than Designer right now.
   Prior to the proliferation of College Degrees a very common career path was to start in the shop, become a Drafter, put in the years, get experience and then become a Designer and then add some higher education and become an Engineer.  You could pursue this path with the background you have now.  However, I think the bar has been raised considerably in the requirement of higher education in the last 20 years.
   My advice (take it or leave it) would be to keep up with your education.  Pursue a 2-year degree that could ultimately be applied to a 4-year Engineering Degree if that is where your goals lie.  In the meantime I can't see the harm in putting together a resume and shopping yourself around for a Drafting job.  You have a lot to offer beyond your CAD training that could make you a better drafter.  I would try to set some educational and career goals and when you go on interviews talk to your prospective employers about them.  Ask what they require to move from Drafting to Designing.  Ask what degrees they would like Designers to have.  Ask what is typical in the industry.  Showing a desire to continue your education is a definate plus when looking for a new hire.  Make sure if you take a job it's with a company that allows you room to grow and a career path.  If you choose carefully (and have a little luck) you might even latch on to someone that would help defer the cost of continuing your education.

   
I wish you the best of luck, you sound like someone that will succeed.

Bob Kerila

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

(OP)
Thanks for all the advice, I've started looking around for detail draughting employment and am just about to enrole on an HNC/HND in mechanical engineering as that appears to be what most companies look for here (England).So expect more questions soon!!!

thanks Dom

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

Dom, I hope you get to read this.
It's my belief that you already have the most important qualification required. That is a DESIRE to be an engineer. I have been in engineering for more than 25 yrs and some of the best (not all) engineers I've met have had few formal qualifications. They've all had a love of what they do and a sort of "childish" zest for new ideas and exploring the subject.
You've already worked in an engineering environment for some time, with responsibility for what you do. Employers value this quality. They also value flexibility in your approach to problems. Neither of which are easy to learn from books.
Truth is it's harder to get on a career path now without formal qualifications than it used to be.
Studying a HND needs lots of time and effort but it's the right thing to do.
Good luck

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

Dom,

I recommend that you should get as much info relating to design as possible.  The Integrated HND that I completed didn't really help me, what you need to do is to get a job as a part time draughtsman assuming that you're doing a HND and not a HNC and learn from practise as well as discussing  design ideas with chief design engineer and machine shop engineers.  Here's some recommended books etc.

1. Machinery's Handbook 25th or 26th Edition this book is excellent it has over 2500 pages and covers a vast range of engineering. From strength of mats.,mat properties to gears,bearings,tooling,fasteners,machining,heat treatment,tolerancing etc.

2. Machinery's Handbook Guide.
3. Design for manufacturability the best book i've ever bought. Covers virtually every type of manufacturing process, including feasible tolerances as well as improving machining design.

4. Fundamentals of Machine component design this book covers all aspects of design, from the basic principals to car component design.

5. Manufacturing process reference guide.

6. 11th ed. technical drawing this book is brilliant it covers almost everything with loads and loads of drawings and designs stating materials used heat treatment, tolerancing etc.

7. And finally you want to send of to the following web sites for their handbooks this one very good way of getting an enormous amount of info for free.

1. www.web2cad.com free CD with 35 million 2D/3D parts
2. www.ondrives.com
3. Davall gears don't know website.
4. www.rino.co.uk
5. www.hpc-gears.co.uk
6. Wixroyd standard machine parts.
7. Igus they sell all sorts of low maintenance plastic bearings plus energy chains.    

8. If you can, you want to get hold of a pack of RS components catalogues, because they have alot of useful stuff.


That's just a things to get you started.



Good Luck


Bryan

RE: SO I WANT BE A REAL ENGINEER

I agree with most of the above, except for the statements of taking someone from the shop floor, although in most cases this is great and a useful person is obtained. The problem comes with conceptual design. The only parts that get designed are the ones with that person’s current knowledge of manufacturing.
If the person is unwilling to think ”outside the box”, Current production capability drives the design.
Result- stagnation
Big money is in new concepts and processes, not the old ones

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