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Help for unemployed engineers

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dilbertclone
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
dilbertclone   5/20/2011 7:31:01 PM
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"Sixteen percent of our more than 800 respondents (as of Thursday) are jobless right now. That's seven points higher than the national rate." Or it could be that unemployed engineers skew these results because they have more time to read and respond on this site.

RAG13
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RAG13   8/7/2011 10:24:53 PM
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Have you been unemployed? It takes focus and a lot of time to survive when you are. The results are probably skewed the other way.

UnemployedPEMSMBA
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
UnemployedPEMSMBA   11/3/2011 3:32:35 PM
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I hope you are never unemployed. it is not fun.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Sheetal.Pandey   5/20/2011 7:38:23 PM
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That would be really interesting blog:-)

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   5/20/2011 9:37:17 PM
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If you are unemployed then use that as an opportunity to revamp your skills. Do some work on an open source project. Make sure you are up to date with modern methods, etc. These days all you need is a PC which you probably have. Taking positive steps is far more important than focusing on the down side.

UnemployedPEMSMBA
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UnemployedPEMSMBA   11/3/2011 3:33:42 PM
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Well I went back to school. Got an MBA in a year. Still no interviews and no offers. Employers are morons.

simonbuchwald
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simonbuchwald   5/20/2011 10:24:43 PM
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This disproportionate number of unemployed engineers seems to be an economic decision done by apathy. As far as I can tell engineering design in USA and most English speaking countries (the West) started a decline when economists and accountants decided that there was a comparative advantage in not doing engineering, but just by buying cheap chinese crap and leaving it to them. This has the knock on effect of contuniously depriving the west of foreign revenue income, profit from desigm and the loss of a design and invention based culture. Just look at the massive foreign debt of the USA to China. Wikipedia "The largest holders were the central banks of China ($1.1 trillion) and Japan ($885 billion).[29][30] The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 25% of the public debt in 2007[31] and 13% in 1988." Whether this is by trade or by public debt, it leaves little doubt. The west needs to embrace it's own capabilities, and to look after the long term needs of its own peoples or face ignominious falling standards. This needs to be done at the top levels of government, business and manufacturing as a culture. Only by a shift back to a focus of design and manufacture will the west be able to compete for jobs, assets and continued good standards of living. The loss of engineering jobs is a cultural political issue. Maybe the only way around it is for those engineers to take things in their own hands, get together and start their own companies, design and manufacture clever inventive things and get them into production, meanwhile supporting lobbyists to state thecase at government level and find ways of bringing design and manufacture, and hence revenue, profit and jobs back to the west. Surely its not all about cheap junk from China?

Viswanathan
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Viswanathan   5/21/2011 11:14:06 AM
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Come on, my friend. Don't blame the Chinese for flooding the market with the "Chinese crap". Also do not blame those corporations which took the jobs away from you to make quick bucks in China and the far east. Human psychology is such that if there is a cheaper stuff out there humans buy that to save a few pennies. Blame your legislators to have taken away the plain field from such cheap competitors. They keep pushing the retirement age higher and higher. The economy is down, gas prices are up and NO TAX REVENUE FOR GOVT TO SPEND. Give me employment. I don't mind paying taxes. Who will pay for such bold improvements such as space exploration, gene therapy, drug discovery, high technology. It is stupid to stop scientific progress and education

RAG13
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
RAG13   8/7/2011 10:33:41 PM
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You're right, it's not the Chinese it's stupid US leadership. Labor costs are only about 12% of the cost of US products. The rest is in energy and financial costs mostly. Then there is a VAT tax system that gives the Chinese a 30% advantage over US made products as well as the 40% subsidy of energy costs in China, and ta,ta!! Nationalized health care. Then there is the barrier to monetary exchange that they've constructed so that you have to have a way to convert currency that doesn't exist when you export to the US. But it's not just China, it's the same with every other country but the US. We've been tricked by "VOO DOO" economics and governance over the last 30 years but too many of you still buy in to that ideology to do anything about it.

MHK_#1
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
MHK_#1   5/21/2011 4:56:30 AM
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I was the same unemployed, when this sicken economy from a full of lie was a nose-down diving to the concrete floor. Everyday, I told to myself and surrounding a bad word to express my anger. Moreover, a big-mud fights to get one slot of opening. Suffering from 5 months, I decide to take myself apart from it. I downloaded a free/demo software from Altera/xilinx to stay a current with a specific language set. I installed Linux in my PC to get better with perl, a shell script. I went (almost) every meeting, if it is free or low-cost. Eventually, I found one myself. None helps, but myself. My friends can only encourage it, as I know for sure that is what they could do for their best. I know now who is friend or foe, if I have to choose. Only way is, to all unemployed, DO use those free (or low cost one) stuffs as much as possible. They will be light, then.

garydpdx
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
garydpdx   5/21/2011 4:57:12 PM
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I would seriously advise experienced engineers to look at startups, at first offering pro bono consulting. Use Linked-In and network; someone may know somebody else and provide you an intro. And it's not only advising on technical matters. You may know more about the internals of your market than you realize, as well as the technical stuff. Even if you had stuck to the technical ladder, there may be startup executive opportunities that can arise from helping others as well as a technical spot. (And you're not competing with paid consultants; these startups couldn't afford the pay nor offer of equity to engage them, anyways.) If you're software-oriented, consider alternatives like Web 2.0 where you skills might transfer. Or other areas, like management consulting. I know people who are reluctant to apply for jobs advertised at startups because they "lack security". Um, never mind how swiftly Big Corp terminated you and tossed you out the door, 12 to 24 months ago, right? Startup jobs are no less stable than corporate ones, nowadays.

_hm
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
_hm   5/21/2011 5:40:38 PM
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The title Jobless Engineer Blog and Unemployed Engineers may not be proper word for this blog. Any expert engineer or Editor can be unemployed at differnt time of life. There are so many factors contributing to it. Today you may help and recruit many engineers, but tomorrow, you may be looking for work and ask for help from engineers whom you helped. Proper title may include words like Engineering Mentor and Mentee program for job exploration or something similar.

wilber_xbox
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
wilber_xbox   5/22/2011 3:07:01 AM
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Although it is clear that a lot of engineers are jobless but apparently it is not clear why? Until and unless you diagnose the problem, it will not be possible to solve it completely.

prabhakar_deosthali
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
prabhakar_deosthali   5/22/2011 8:45:15 AM
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I agree with Himanshu that the problem has to be solved from its root cause. There are so many jobless engineers not because they cannot network properly to find a suitable job, but the real problem is that there are less job opportunities. Since the hiring policies of any corporate are driven by how much money can be earned and not by how many engineers are jobless, we have to have somebody like government to start new big engineering projects . The other aspect of the problem is that engineers have to think of creating jobs for themselves and their peers and not be just posting their resumes on the job sites. The best type of help is help yourself.

antiquus
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
antiquus   5/24/2011 3:30:59 PM
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Didn't they teach you about perpetual motion machines when you were in school? When the government defines the jobs, and the jobs support the government, that is an endless loop. The reality includes inefficiencies and entropy. We already have a military-indsutrial complex that defines our economy -- its so big now that's its virtually invisible. So make up your mind, whether you want to help yourself, or get the government to help you.

Tunrayo
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Tunrayo   5/25/2011 2:32:57 PM
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The root source of the problem is the substantial amount of the US industrial capacity that was destroyed during the latest recession and the offshoring of jobs to fast-growing third world countries.

daleste
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
daleste   5/22/2011 7:33:01 PM
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I applaud this effort since I have been in this boat. As has been said, keep your network strong and your skills revelant.

Bibliognost
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Bibliognost   5/23/2011 12:55:05 PM
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Anyone who hasn't done a job search in the last 10 years has no idea how much the market has changed, what approaches do/don't work, and what to put in a resume. I spent 14 months as an overworked, underpaid temp or contract engineer during the recession of 2002-05 before finding my present position. I parlayed the experience into a 45-minute presentation that takes the unemployed engineer through 6 steps: - Self-assessment: Deciding what you want to do. - Create self-marketing plan: How to make yourself attractive to employers. - Job search: Finding openings. - Interviewing: How to make a good impression. - Negotiating an offer: Getting the most buck for your talents. - Maintaining your physical, emotional, and financial health during the process. It includes countless insights, acquired over many months in the school of hard knocks, that could have greatly shortened my search, had I known them at the beginning. I have presented it several times to area professional groups (around Dayton, OH), including the IEEE. I will offer it (for free) to any organized group that can arrange a room with a projector & screen and at least 10 interested engineers within 2½ hours of Dayton. According to the crude map I just drew, that circle includes Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, & Toledo, OH; Louisville & Lexington, KY; Indianapolis, IN; and Charleston, WV. And I will pay my own expenses. Contact me through this forum.

dtian
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dtian   5/23/2011 5:26:17 PM
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Bibliognost, Would you be interested in writing about your process for an international engineering magazine? We have an annual careers issue where you article might be a good fit. Please contact me at dtian@ece.cmu.edu. Thanks.

phoenixdave
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
phoenixdave   5/23/2011 6:34:03 PM
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Or perhaps the EETimes Editors may have some ideas for how you can contribute to THIS international engineering magazine??

Scope Guru
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Scope Guru   5/23/2011 9:54:00 PM
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Some engineers may be unemployed but they are not sitting still. Last week, Tektronix hosted the first of a series of hands-on free seminars for engineers working with embedded systems. This training gave engineers of all types, employed and unemployed, the opportunity to not only network with other engineers in their area but also receive training on the latest oscilloscope techniques. Both of these can contribute to an engineer landing a new position… But don’t just take it from me, check out a blog post written by Martin Rowe at UBM magazine T&M World (sister publication to EE Times) when he attended a seminar series last year – he notes the value of networking time and learning new skills to keep up to date -- http://bit.ly/j3evrm Randy White Technical Marketing Manager Tektronix

Bibliognost
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Bibliognost   5/23/2011 10:16:12 PM
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Yes, and one of my presentation tips is that Mentor Graphics offers free EDA training to qualified "displaced workers" on a space-available basis at one of their training centers. Last time I checked they had 4 such centers in CA, 2 in TX, and 1 each in AZ, CO, FL, IL, MA, MD, MI, MN, NC, OR, & WA. Corporate customers pay hundreds to thousands of dollars per seat for these 1-7 day classes: - http://www.mentor.com/training_and_services/training/dwp/ so they are a serious place to upgrade one's skills.

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   5/31/2011 10:18:46 PM
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Quite. A few years back I did a lot of the interviewing at the company I worked at. The primary attribute I would look for in a programmer was what we called the "Bushy tail factor": did the person have some extra flair and were they keen to learn. We once needed an embedded C developer who would need to write interrupt service routines and realtime code. The guy we hired had no C training - only Visual Basic and a business background. He did however have that determination to find out more and wrestle a problem to the ground. He worked out great. The guys we hated were the "plodders" those that just did the minimal to do their jobs and only had work related skills. In a competitive market it is not just important to get extra skills, but also show some flair. Courses like this from Mentor sound fantastic, but so are all the opportunities to prove yourself by participating in open source projects etc.

didymus7
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
didymus7   6/16/2011 11:19:21 AM
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Needless to say this is very, very unusual. I'm surprised that the guy you hired got past your HR department. However the one big problem with the 'bushy tail' factor is that you will get a person 'booked-up' on how to interview and nothing else. We've run into it here. Interviewing from the interviewer side is extremely difficult, you have to get past all the facade and to who the person really is.

UnemployedPEMSMBA
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
UnemployedPEMSMBA   11/3/2011 3:40:21 PM
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I agree. Most employers do not think outside of the box at the hour of hiring someone. They want the best fit for the requirements. I have two masters degrees, PE in two large states and practiced engineering in three different fields. I cannot get an interview because I do not have the "right" experience that they want. If the employers had some imagination they would say, geesh this guy has two master degrees, i know he could perform at a high level a learn as necessary. But oh no, the HR person thinks i am overqualified or without the experience for the position and i am not called for an interview. I do know what else to do. I network, send cover letters and resumes tailored for the positions. i apply for entry level positions, managerial positions, positions in other fields and nothing. This sucks!

SquamLake
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
SquamLake   5/23/2011 9:54:47 PM
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Engineering and for that matter the manufacturing jobs started to flee USA when the supply side economists took over the govt including Wall Street recommending moving from production to finance oriented economy, finacial instruments don't have overhead, low cost high profit margins, regulators to keep their hands off. Wal Mart urging businesses to move to China if they couldn't sell their products to Wal Mart due to high cost of manufacturing in US and add to it the outsourcing lobbies who encouraged businesses to relocate. So, the demand for high tech equipment grew overseas than here in US. Recession in 80's quickly got absorbed because we still made most products in US but this time around there is no end in sight and that's also because the Federal Reserve Bank in 2007 decided to kill the housing market because they feared inflation the most and kept jacking up the prime interest rate until they successfully killed the only made in USA housing industry and with that associated businesses who laid off many workers and a chain reaction throught the economy, unemployed workers couldn't pay mortgages, hit institutions like the Country Wide, banks, wall street. The govt is now giving away grants to companies for clean energy research who are spending some grants money on the research and development but plan to manufature those products in a foreign country. Software jobs to India and hardware manufacturing to China. To name a few, Wal Mart, Home Depot, Sears flip any product in any retail stores these days the products that used be made here in USA and employed lot of people are now made elsewhere. These companies as a result also bought lot of high tech equipment. What has to happen is public financing of elections for the two branches of the Federal Govt because they go to corporations for money to finance their campaigns and come to us for vote and unfortunately money talks louder. Globalization at our expense, we are the ones end up playing by the rule.

testtillitbreaks
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
testtillitbreaks   9/25/2011 5:22:37 PM
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SquamLake, you hit it right on target. Companies have been outsourcing for many many decades now. We've often wondered when enough is enough. We'll, we're feeling it now. The middle class is shrinking because their jobs went overseas. We, the citizens, allowed this to happened because we didn't think it will affect us and we like to see goods getting cheaper every year. Current politics, including Election debates and the media are avoiding this topic. This is a taboo topic for anyone because the solution is not quick, it's a long term solution. What can we do? Stop buying items you don't really need. Pay off your debts and stay debt free for the rest of your life. Lobby your politicians to place tariffs on incoming goods, just like the rest of the world does on US products being sold in their country. Americans are getting screwed from both sides. There are many things we as americans can do but the solutions will take 50 years to effect the results. US engineering jobs will slowly disappear just like the telephone switchboard operators of the past. If you're not convince, just follow the money trail. I work for a global company and interface with people from all the countries mentioned. I was even a part of sending the work off shore. Of those americans that are still working, a percentage of their work relates to sending the work off shore. Don't put the blame on people from the offshore countries. You're misguided if you do. They are being exploited by their employers. Unemployment is a harsh aspect of our capitalist society that is very hard to solve. Socialism, as in Europe, is not the solution either. Europe is also dealing with this because they took the same outsourcing road that the US did. Unfortunately, their system might collapse sooner than the US. Our system will not collapse but our standard of living will just revert back to the living standard of our grandparents. live modestly. live practical. live simple.

Robotics Developer
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Robotics Developer   5/24/2011 3:29:21 AM
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It is a sad but true fact that there are fewer jobs out there and for those with a lot of experience it may be even worse: you are older, you were higher paid, and you may have personal issues. I can say having been down-sized, laid-off a few times it was harder each time to find the next job. It took longer, was for less pay, and yes even sometimes was a GREAT new position! Keep working on new skills, try different things, and take advantage of free training. Engineers love to learn and we can be very resilient.

Brian Fuller2
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Brian Fuller2   5/26/2011 12:15:23 AM
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It looks like not many folks are taking us up on our blog offer, but these comments are fantastic... Having been, as Daleste and others have noted, in "that boat," my experience was 1. Stay current 2. Be flexible 3. No yourself (maybe you're not the personality for management or maybe you are the perfect personality for management; maybe you need to hone different skills, etc.). 4. Network. Network. Network. 5. Keep a positive attitude, as hard as it may be at times.

phoenixdave
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phoenixdave   5/27/2011 4:11:56 PM
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Related to the networking aspect, I would encourage any technical people who see networking as a "chore and unproductive time" to join the Linkedin network. It allows you to maintain and re-establish your long lost network, and makes maintaining your networking much easier.

Brian Fuller2
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Brian Fuller2   6/2/2011 9:31:27 PM
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Super advice, Dave!

Bibliognost
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Bibliognost   5/26/2011 12:51:23 PM
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Brian Fuller2, Maybe you're looking at this all wrong. Maybe there's just an acute shortage of unemployed engineers!

Test_engineer
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Test_engineer   5/27/2011 3:37:31 PM
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There was a story in Canada's 'Globe and Mail'newspaper this week about a shortage of engineers in this country. The president of a major engineering recruiting agency in Western Canada said that Canadian employers are only interested in candidates with more than 5 years experience. They, the employers, can't afford the time or expense to hire people who don't have the necessary work experience. I was told the same story by a recruiter at Manpower Professional in Ottawa about 12 years ago. At that time, I only had about 2 years experience, but, thankfully, I got the job because Manpower couldn't find anybody who could program in a LabWindows/CVI environment. I learned a lesson from this episode and it's this: KEEP YOUR SKILLS UP-TO-DATE. If you have one or two niche skills and good references, age will have nothing to do with you finding a job.

daleste
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
daleste   5/28/2011 2:44:43 AM
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Good comments TFC-SD. Eventually, things will turn back to employees having the leverage. Until then, we are stuck with the companies in charge. Hopefully they won't f it up too much.

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   5/31/2011 1:09:24 AM
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Quite a few do graduate with some experience. If you are a CS student then considering getting involved in an open source project while you study and during vacations. Being able to demonstrate your abilities in the real world shows at least some experience and puts you ahead of the guys who just partied their way through college.

Brian Fuller2
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Brian Fuller2   6/2/2011 5:54:03 PM
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Rich, that may be why we haven't had many takers. It's a damned if you, damned if you don't position, perhaps...

cliffnotes
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cliffnotes   6/3/2011 4:09:24 AM
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Our company, Analog Rails, was created and is owned by unemployed engineers and programmers in the Phoenix region. We were not helped by the government nor loans. I believe companies started this way was more popular in the 1960's than today. Maybe people were more entrepreneurial back then. Most of the people at our company have been either new graduates, or engineers in their 50's. This seems to make sense based on what I am reading in this blog...anyway, our company is an example of engineers taking charge. It can be done, and we are an example of it...but it ain't for namby pamby's.

UnemployedPEMSMBA
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
UnemployedPEMSMBA   11/3/2011 3:43:31 PM
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I am starting my own consulting firm. After being two years unemployed, enough is enough.

KTest
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
KTest   6/3/2011 3:45:44 PM
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TFC-SD, you are dead on! Virtually all advertised positions today are niches. This is why we see the long "...and...and...and..." skills requirements in job postings. Engineers meeting such stringent requirements are not just commodities. They are highly focused, and rare, specialists. So, I think what we really have is a shortage of EXCEPTIONAL engineers.

David.Bley
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
David.Bley   6/11/2011 2:27:20 PM
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Engineering obsolescense is not a new issue and neither is engineering unemployment. Many years ago, most engineers planned to move out of engineering work and into management or sales or some other department. The few that stayed in engineering were extraordinarly skilled. Today the problem is much more severe. HR departments are unlikely to consider you unless your experience is an exact match. Technology is changing extremely rapidly and unless you are very lucky, the technology that you select to learn will probably be obsolete by the time you become proficient at it. Engineering is very expensive from a corporate point of view and it is difficult to make a direct link between engineering effort and profit. A perfect place to add to the bottom line. Even if engineering remains domestic there is a $ bias toward hiring younger engineers. Engineers are a lot like professional athletes. Their career is limited by age. Unfortunately, they don't get paid like athletes. The main issue, as I see it, is are engineers an asset or a liability?

seaEE
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
seaEE   6/18/2011 6:00:12 AM
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Make sure your resume gets posted on several job boards. I found that while there can be overlap on boards such as Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed, and Simplyhired will always show a few jobs that are unique to their particular boards. Having your resume on Linkedin can be valuable too. If you are submitting your resume to a company, it may not hurt to read over their job description and use some of the terminology they are using to describe your own skills in your resume--speaking the same language helps. I could be wrong on this, but I think if your resume has been on a particular board for a long time, like several months, it may not hurt to edit it as I think the act of editing may bump it towards the top of the fresh pile. Keep the faith! I'm doing some contracting work after some time of unemployment. I did get several contacts from out of state which I didn't pursue. These contacts were generally from recruiters or companies who had seen my resume on one of the various job boards. I also got a contact from a company who had seen my resume on Linkedin.

TFCSD
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
TFCSD   8/9/2011 9:58:13 PM
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The unemployment numbers are not going to tell you very much for the reasons you mentioned. Look instead at the time off between jobs, longer hours, less equipment, lower wages, and loss of benefits to detect if things are really getting worse. I looked at engineering ads in the 50’s, 60's, and 70's and they usually were a simple sentence "Engineer wanted at XYZ, good work environment and benefits. Please come for an interview". In the 80's it started to switch to “[fill blank with several words] Engineer. Qualification required; And, and, and, and and infinitum. PO Box 101, no calls or visits, trespassers will be shot”. Something tells me there was a “tiny supply shift” that happened sometime in this time frame (1983 recession and 1986 was a peak year for CS degrees) and from what employers are looking for in a candidate today, it is not going to get any shorter.

ibrowej
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
ibrowej   10/10/2011 7:20:00 AM
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Unfortunately, I don't see the prospects improving anytime in the near future. All we can do now is brush up on our networking skills and resume submissions. The Relationship Capital Co is giving away free job search training at: www.RelationshipCapital.Co/JobNetworkingPrimer

br.engineering
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
br.engineering   3/2/2012 5:55:26 PM
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Need 70 registered voters in CA to run against Senator Boxer. Will not win but I can drive home the H!B visa. Last I looked the number of Engineering jobs created is equal to the number of H1b visa issued each year. The industry is saying that is not enough. Issue: 1. Eliminate H1bs 2. Close borders, speak English, tax illegals at hiring tax rate for past services used, and naturalize all including existing H1b's. 3. Make social engineering dirty tricks illegal which prey on startups and individuals in at least Los Angeles. 4. Southern CA 51st state 5. Fire/outsource all government employee which are responsible for keeping CA if not the country in the recession. I have a lot of friend just disapppearing. 6. National health insurance but not the Obama type (private corps). Companies are for making money not being your mommy. 7. Open all government building at night to the homeless. 8. All prisoner work in the forests on fireroads, trails, and roads. The old chain gangs. 9. Move DC to Los Angeles with all government business telecommuted 10. Move UN to Jerusalem per the 1948 Israel/Palestine/UN controlled Jerusalem state creation vote. 11. World Oil pipeline with the Russia/Alaska oil pipeline/bridge from funds saved outsourcing government employees and their pensions. 12. Bring down the space-station being retrofitted with lasers to neutralize world defenses that is why the defense jobs and most engineering went to India and the EU. Basically replace this US/UN government that has wasted the US/world economy with now threatens the lives of some Americans based on color/politics/religion.

br.engineering
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
br.engineering   3/2/2012 6:02:38 PM
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Nationalize Google for their H1b visas and controlling the CA prop 8 election.

br.engineering
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br.engineering   3/2/2012 6:05:59 PM
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The 70 registered voters are for nomination paper for a write-in candidate. Notice I did not ask for money and I am a true engineer because of my grammar. br_political@yahoo.com

Don57
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re: Help for unemployed engineers
Don57   2/20/2013 5:56:34 PM
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Unregulated Capitalism is in it's doom loop. There will be another. How is it that Places like Switzerland, Australia and Norway do better ? Over here the top 1% call all the shots for themselves. For solutions look at what other countries do. Better regulation and social programs. Corporate profits are UP UP UP but the distribution is more unequal. It's simple.

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