Carl_S, You may be very few lucky one working in a "right" company. I graduated with a MSEE at one of top five US universities. I experience exactly what Annonymous said. Working in a big company is worst since you will only focus on only small area. I will definitely not recommend EE for anyone. I put so much effort at school and I don't even get what I deserve, not talk about any extra. If one is smart to get an EE degree, he/she should consider other careers which have much better future in US.
I don't know what to say to Mr. Anonymous. I also enjoy tinkering with electronics, and I have a job where I do that a lot of the time. I have job security by offering rare, valuable skills to my employers, which is the only job security anybody has. I don't even know anybody whose job was outsourced. I have seen a few engineers get laid off over the years, but they were all lame. I would recommend this career to anybody, but I would warn them that it is challenging, and they may not have what it takes.
I feel that the engineering profession can be rewarding and I would still recommend it to students going into colleges. I might first suggest engineering to those that are driven in that direction. But certainly it is a respectable career for those that are uncertain of their path. I might think about comparing an engineering career to any other profession. At least in the engineering field, the goal is to get to a point where something can be created. And those efforts are still being rewarded although clearly not as much these days.
I don't think I can agree that there are not enough people going into the engineering profession. Compared to the last 5 years I haven't seen any significant demand. I actually saw the opposite, of engineers moving into other fields. But that wasn't bad for the rest of us. It just leaves less people to divide the dwindling supply of jobs.
Regardless, an engineering degree opens the doors to many non-engineering jobs one would not be able to get. And for those people that are driven to excel in these fields, there still seems to be opportunities. Even today I get calls from head hunters, see job postings, and hear of companies in my field that are hiring.
Unfortunately I have to agree. I am fortunate that in addition to being a good engineer, I am also blessed with the ability to communicate effectively and enjoyment of promoting technology, hence my career path extended into sales and marketing and resultant financial rewards.
I love engineering, I love developing products, but that is so much different from being an engineer in a corporate environment. So little of my time was spent on design tasks and that problem only got worse as companies downsized and engineers were expected to not only be engineers, but administrators, secretaries, etc. It is a terrible waste of brain power.
The sad reality is like it or not, engineering is somewhat commoditized. Yes brilliant engineers can come up with brilliant implementations, but the reality is good ideas can often succeed on less than perfect engineering. Even worse, especially in the U.S. and many other countries, senior management has not only devalued engineering, but also devalued true product marketing and devalued how value those functions working in conjunction can be.... GM, Chrysler, Ford.... heard of them?
Perhaps once engineering enrollment has declined sufficiently to the point where companies have to fight to get engineers to develop products, then engineering salaries will go up. It is simple supply and demand. No point lamenting or complaining... it is what it is.
One advantage of outsourcing engineering is that companies will find themselves devoid of the technical marketing capabilities required to define market leading products that have long term vision.... if they are around long enough.