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After some general advice, non retirement related.
Old 12-25-2007, 06:10 AM   #1
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After some general advice, non retirement related.

Could you wise people please answer my question.


I did a business ( economics degree ) did poorly. Now I am working in retail for the last two years and I don't like it. So I think I might do an engineering degree. I'm 24 now I'll be 28 when I a graduates and another 18k in debt. I currently earn about 17 dollars per hour.

What do you think ?

will I be able to get a job considering the circumstances. Would this move be suicide ?

I'm also Australian.
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:12 AM   #2
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I have no idea if my experience would have any applicability to your situation, but.......

I also majored in Economics. And, after about six years, went back to school part time evenings and got a technical degree. It worked out reasonably well as that combination was a good background for the career I eventually progressed to.
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
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I would suggest thinking of where you might want to apply that engineering degree and then speak with someone in the field who is successful in it. This would help in focusing you on what to study and if it is right for you. Most people are very willing to speak with young people about their careers.
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:18 AM   #4
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I am an engineer with a Masters degree in Process Engineering. It has been great fun. But I got out of the technical career after three years and went into sales and management.

I was offered a good job in retail upon graduation (warehouse manager) and took a pass but I often wondered whether I would have been better off financially taking that job.

What is your retail job? How are you using your education? Have you done any aptitude tests?
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:43 AM   #5
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I am in customer service. Unfortunately I aren't using my education in my work. I haven't done any official aptitude tests. I dabbled in Accounting but its really not for me at all.

I'd like to work on Infrastructure Engineering.

How should contact a succesful Civil engineer ?
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:02 AM   #6
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I am in customer service. Unfortunately I aren't using my education in my work. I haven't done any official aptitude tests. I dabbled in Accounting but its really not for me at all.

I'd like to work on Infrastructure Engineering.

How should contact a succesful Civil engineer ?
I don't know what it's like in Australia but in the US people that flunk out of engineering go into business school and start making top grades. Civil engineering is the lowest paying engineering branch (in the US). It's also considered one of the easier degrees but I couldn't have survived all of the structural classes (I'm a chemical engineer). Civil engineers that work for a city or county government spend a lot of time behind an asphalt spreader or so I've heard.

You probably have a version of Society of Professional Engineers in Australia. These are people that have PE registration or license in your country. You could go to one of their meetings or call their office and talk to one. In Texas they have "outreach" people you could talk to.

Only consider engineering if you are very good at math and science. If you aren't you won't last very long.

Good luck. Engineering is one profession that you can make a pretty good living even if you are mediocre.
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:54 PM   #7
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unless you are going to use a degree to work a specific job which requires a license, it doesn't matter all that much what degree you hold. otherwise liberal arts majors would be unemployable. maybe you can get a non-licensed job within the field you think you might enjoy and then go for a degree if you find you actually want to do a specific job there which requires further qualification. your employer might even pay for that classwork.

depending on your drive and intellect, you might not even need a degree to open any doors. just look at all the billionaire drop-outs. i've a friend who has enjoyed a very lucrative & satisfying career in electrical engineering yet never bothered with a degree. but he's a genius or near enough and applies himself diligently to his work.

before going after another degree, take an honest look at yourself and see if you didn't do well in economics because of a lack of aptitude, lack of interest or lack of application. if you just partied too much in school and haven't yet settled down, now might not be the best time to sink more money into that.
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:31 PM   #8
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Before you jump into doing a second degree have you considered examining why you did so poorly at your first? Why did you choose Economics and if you were doing so badly why did you not change mid-stream? Taking into account the amount you will pay in HECS you need to be sure that what you are doing is the right track for you.

I work for a firm of Civil Engineers and agree with other comments about Civil's being paid at the lower end of the scale for Engineers. Civil Engineers are the first group of people that I have encountered that would make a convention of Accountants seem exciting. Really who grows up thinking they can't wait until they can design how many car parking spaces they can fit onto a lot or better still worrying about the flow plan for a sewer design??

If you are serious about becoming a Civil why not take an office job work for a CE to get a feel for the whole process. I'm not sure where you are in Oz, but they always seem to be looking for people in the Cairns area, check it out on seek.com.au.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:20 AM   #9
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Before you jump into doing a second degree have you considered examining why you did so poorly at your first? Why did you choose Economics and if you were doing so badly why did you not change mid-stream? Taking into account the amount you will pay in HECS you need to be sure that what you are doing is the right track for you.

I work for a firm of Civil Engineers and agree with other comments about Civil's being paid at the lower end of the scale for Engineers. Civil Engineers are the first group of people that I have encountered that would make a convention of Accountants seem exciting. Really who grows up thinking they can't wait until they can design how many car parking spaces they can fit onto a lot or better still worrying about the flow plan for a sewer design??

If you are serious about becoming a Civil why not take an office job work for a CE to get a feel for the whole process. I'm not sure where you are in Oz, but they always seem to be looking for people in the Cairns area, check it out on seek.com.au.
I am in melbourne, what type of job should I be applying for ? should I mention that I want to become an engineer ?

I've applied for a 2 year TAFE course that gives 2 years credit on a bachelors degree it is very CAD intensive.

Can you give any advice for what I should do to try and get experience while studying. I can do TAFE at night so I'd like to be able to work during the day in a related job.

Also do you think 28 could be considered to old if I graduate at that age ?

'Before you jump into doing a second degree have you considered examining why you did so poorly at your first? Why did you choose Economics and if you were doing so badly why did you not change mid-stream?'

I am really going to think about that.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:49 AM   #10
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When I was in graduate school (engineering), I had a friend that had graduated with a French degree :confused: and decided that maybe something in engineering would pay the bills better. The route she took was to pursue a graduate degree in engineering instead of an undergrad degree. It took her 3 years instead of 2, and she had to pick up a number or prerequistes as you might have guessed. But she was a very intelligent gal, and pulled it off. She got a great job out of grad school with IBM and has probably retired by now.

The key to success in whatever you do IMHO is to work very hard at it, and do a very good job, school or work. You've started a pattern with your undergrad degree of "not doing very well" at it that might be a bad sign. If I were you, I'd sort that out first. Figure out why. Was it because you were lazy, or was it that you just couldn't do the work. If it's the lazy, find something to do that gets you out of bed early in the morning because you can't wait to get to it. If it's that you could not do the work in economics, then engineering will probably just be another disappointment for you. You don't have to have a degree to do well if you're good at it. Your young. Go out and do lots of things for a few years. Maybe you'll get lucky and find something that sets you on fire. Good luck.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:10 AM   #11
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Hey, economics can be a perfect prep for engineering-- memorizing large amounts of trivia, developing critical-thinking skills, and understanding the basics of finance.

What's with all the discouraging words about civil engineers? I know several in Hawaii pulling down six figures and rising through the exec ranks. Two of them are Navy Reservists. And I'm not looking for a job, but anyone wanting to design reliable & affordable sewer systems can find lifetime employment on these islands.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:26 AM   #12
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Civl engineers tend to wear hard hats. A virtual hard hat can help you in any career...
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:16 PM   #13
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What's with all the discouraging words about civil engineers? I know several in Hawaii pulling down six figures and rising through the exec ranks.
Agree. I think Intercst was a civil engineer. He describes it as a secure relatively high paying job that required only moderate time and work to prepare for.

There is a young civil engineer on this board from North Carolina who supports a wife and two kids and still saves a lot of money.

Another thing about civil engineering is that it is damn hard to outsource to India or China.

Plus, you are not stuck in some giant room with no windows for your entire working life. You get to go out and tell people driving trucks with tires taller than a bungalow what to do with their loads. Plus you work mainly around men, so there there shouldn’t be so many anti-sexual harassment seminars in your future.

All in all, sounds hard to beat.
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:15 PM   #14
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Also do you think 28 could be considered to old if I graduate at that age ?
No, not at all. I didn't get a B.S. degree until I was 46. Lots of people get them after that. Some never get it and do just fine.

Give any thought to government or military?

Suggested reading - What Color is Your Parachute? it's a book for people trying to decide what they want to do. I took a chapter from it and got my employer to create the job I wanted, a job that didn't exist before.

It's kind of neat to go into work thinking "Wow, I can't believe they're actually paying me to do this!"
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:19 PM   #15
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Another thing about civil engineering is that it is damn hard to outsource to India or China.

Plus you work mainly around men, so there there shouldn’t be so many anti-sexual harassment seminars in your future.

All in all, sounds hard to beat.
Hate to rain on your parade but it is possible to offshore CE work, I know my company does to the Philippines.

Even worse we do regularly have those anti-sexual harassment seminars as well.

Ausaus, maybe you need to examine whether you are academically inclined. I see too many people going onto University into Australia because it has become the "done" thing. Examine your strengths and play to those. Why don't you do some CAD training and get yourself a job as a CAD technician to see if that tickles your fancy. If all else fails go out and get a trade and make an absolute fortune.
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