1.Whatís your ideal job?
My ideal job would be a chip (ASIC/FPGA) RTL designer that has an embedded processor. I enjoy working through the complete development cycle. This includes definition, architecture, design, synthesis, simulation, timing analysis, programming of the embedded processor, chip tape for ASIC or floorplanning for FPGA, bring-up, debug, verification and release to manufacturing for shipment to a customer.
2.And how would you advise the next generation of engineers to manage their careers?
First I would advise anyone entering college to definitely NOT study to become an Elecrical or Computer Engineer. These are dying engineering professions in the United States. Unless you want to move to India or China you won't find a job once you earn your degree. There are still employment possibilities in Software, but if you want to be an Engineer go into Bio-medical, Mecanical, Civil or another engineering field. Getting to the real question of managing your career the most important advice I can advise is to maintain balance between your professional and personal lives. Fight for this balance. Most employers consider there employees to be no more valuable than a piece of furniture. I sacrificed too much of my personal life for my prfession and I now very much regret it. You lose valuable experiences with your family and your employer doesn't appreciate any sacrifice you make for your job or the company.
1.That is what i am not able to decide.
2.Enginers need to focus onto their jobs sincerely and make it a success full onefor the organization they work. That can make them happy and also will get promotions
1A) Work in diverse technologies to solve eclectic problems (I enjoy solving problems for archaeologists, doctors, police, etc. using EE solutions)
1B) Work on PhD level problems (not routine boring stuff). I'd be lucky to get to spend 10% of my time doing PhD level work.
2)EE is only for people who have a passion for electronics and engineering. The future private-sector (non govt, non-contractor) market in the U.S. will not tolerate bad engineers nor be looking for 'warm bodies' as it did in previous years. Many EE's are currently washing out of the profession for this reason. Good EE's will remain highly employable.
1) I am working at my ideal job, designing, building, and operating instruments for space exploration, then analyzing the returned data.
2A) Don't specialize. Learn at least 2 different engineering disciplines with a generous dose of physics, and learn to write well. This will put you in a good position to join (or make your own) startup, where everyone has to wear multiple hats.
2B) Always apply for jobs that you are not sure you are qualified for.
The golden age of engineering is over. Engineers once were content to take home smaller saleries than other professionals because the work was interesting and you felt you were appreciated. Not any more. Engineers are expected to put in long hours and get no recognition for what they design. Reporters, writers, actors, and other artists get regognition for their work. With engineers, you can't even place your name on a paper you wrote any more! Often, your name is replaced by the company name or worse, by the VP of the department. There is even a move by some very large companies to remove the true inventors name from patents, although thankfully, the goverment is resisting this. Engineers have told me they don't care about recognition. What they fail to realize is that the people with the highest visibility also get the highest pay. Unless engineers get more visibility in the public eye, it's not going to be a good career choice for young professionals.
I think that engineers are very studied in their outlooks both job related and otherwise. Most of the time we can think of a dozen ways to make things better and this normally includes how things are done at work, at the store, at the restaurant, at the gas station, etc.. This can either lead to frustration or acceptance that things may never be "as they should". Oftentimes, the reality is that there are bigger issues that the working engineer is not aware of and may never know about. These higher level forces may be company politics, economics, direction, changing markets, and many other factors. Keep on trying to do what is best and right and try to understand if/when things don't go the way you think they should.
I agree with all you say -- especially the "learn to write" part. I R an Engineer who drifted into being a freelance writer. The writing has opened so many doors and taken me around the world, and now it allows me to have my own little (one man) company (www.CliveMaxfield.com)
"you won't find a job once you earn your degree." Someone a little bitter? As a 30-ish year old engineer I see plenty of stateside opportunities for recent graduates. Sounds to me like you're painting with an awfully broad brush here.
the ideal job for me where I could perform with freedom of mind and expression. I need to live my creativity and I want to express my tlents by my work. Unfortunately I am stumbling with a boss who keeps his subordinate as slaves
1). My ideal job is really what I'm doing now -- running my own company. This affords me the opportunity to be creative, use my art, and solve problems in a wide range of fields. There are subfields that I'd love to get into some day, Marine ROVs for instance. I've always been fascinated by them.
2). I would advise the next gen of engineers to first find a school that really suits their needs. We should all be turning a critical eye to the higher education system here in the USA. I feel that it is no longer working for the students, the entire reason it exists in the first place. I see a lot of negativity and bitterness in this thread, and I can only assume it is somehow related to a poor education experience. The other thing I would recommend is to build your network early, and build it big. This becomes your biggest asset when you're looking for jobs or trying to start a company.