For the most part I am happy where I am. I think though eventually I would like to go somewhere else just to see what else is out there. Nonetheless the company I would move to is one of the companies that I wanted to work for to begin with.
Happiness is a state of mind. If you want to be unhappy, you will be. There are too many sniveling, cry-babies out there who don't realize how good they have it, and yet they claim to be unhappy. I don't get it.
Well, there are professional skills and there are survival skills and they are not so strongly connected. They may not be able to tell IC chips from potato chips, but when it comes to intriguing, manipulating, pulling strings and so on they will run circles around you.
Now, you've made your choice, they made theirs. Not enough respect? Hm, bad choice then.
1. One where I could get back to designing new hardware/software instead of modifying huge existing code bases (more than 12000 klocs in an embedded system for example). I spend more time reverse engineering than designing.
2. Hard to say - things will be different for those just entering the field. Reading "Software Creativity" by Glass might be a good start.
That's interesting. MHO is that it's the Keynesians who do the damage. In the short term, subsidized R&D seems like a good idea, but when it's taken from successful businessmen -- and half of it is wasted -- it's a net loss.
(1)? are you happy
A: not really, it's a living.
(2)? ideal job
A: I like to do my job in a way that I can best help physicist to be to do their scientific 'experiments'/measurements and setup and maintain/service/build their measurement setups.
That is preferably technically, so one should be able to exercise the job at TOP level. That's what an engineer gets going, isn't it?
so to explain the answer 1:
Unfortunately one has to deal with all internal political decisions too, which will regularly sortof handicap/disable one.
That means that the best technical decision or advice you make, may not be accepted or worse: damage your career.
Overall: engineers are generally speaking grossly underrated.
As I was told over 30 years ago: Why should you do a 'difficult' (technical) study now to find out later that you should have done a FUN-study to be the engineers boss and get a triple salary?
Of course there is a solution for this in the book 'Hitchhikers guide to the universe':
Let them (non-engineers) colonize a planet and launch them first to do it.
Advice: Do the engineering study. DO it and widen your technical horizon as wide as possible. Do all the other things you like to do in your other life. Get the best at both.
1) What’s your ideal job?
Answer: My ideal job is one where I get to do all sorts of activities such as writing specs, performing calculations, making schedules, managing young engineers, and using new analysis software on a off and on basis. At my current job I have done most if not all of the above mentioned items, however, at times I have been cornered to doing just thing. For the most part I like my current job but I feel that most of the times I feel that I am not challenged enough to step out of my comfort zone.
2) And how would you advise the next generation of engineers to manage their careers?
Answer: Do all sorts of different things and take various classes. Become familiar with not just what you are interested in but also what else is out there. Always keep an open mind about what you are willing to do from a skill set stand point to get your step in to the doors of a company. Always try to do things that push your limits and push you beyond your comfort zone.
My last job WAS the ideal job, until it was ruined. I was the engineer supporting a research scientist developing a new product that would truly benefit most people, (at least, the ones who travel in cars). The job offered opportunities to use many of my skills, and the challenges with the product-in-process were quite stimulating. There were ways to be creative popping up almost every day. Then a new upper management person arrived, with an MBA and all sorts of marketing experience, and ruined the whole thing with a dramatic shift from championing creativity over to being fixated with neatness and conformity. The project was cancelled because the money needed to fund it had to be used for year-end bonuses for several very high level managers. Then, as we were all discarded, his final message to our whole division was that if they needed more engineers they "would just hire them", since all engineers were the same commodity. Most of the good engineers have left that division by now.