I am writing this largely in the 1st person in order to convey how I, myself, feel about the issue. It is my hope that there are potentially many others like me out there that may benefit from this discussion. (Popescu here: I am one of the many others and must confirm that it makes me happy when I open my laptop and start working on a project).
Why electronic engineering? In my thinking, power seems to be low-tech, dated technology – that is unless it is power electronics utilizing power semiconductors, switch mode regulators and the like. While power may interest some, I prefer not to be a run-of-the-mill electrician. I love both complexity and simplicity. I love amperes and nanoamperes. I love kilovolts and microvolts. I love milliohms and megohms. I love farads and picofarads. I love vacuum tubes and transistors. I love oscilloscopes and multimeters. I love analog and digital. In addition, I love math because the entire universe is mathematically interrelated.
Perhaps there are other engineers in your family and you wish to follow in their footsteps. Perhaps not – if so, you may be the first of a kind. This vocation brings prestige – and yes, I am puffed up! I do not see it, but others have told me so. LOL!
In the past, electronic engineers commanded well above average remuneration – especially if you get into the right slot.
Most of the world’s work is accomplished by those who do not like what they are doing. Break out of the mould and plan for an enjoyable vocation.
Your grade point average may help get you into the best engineering school, and perhaps assist in landing you your first job, but it is your creative ability that will keep you throughout your career. Note, however, that GPA cannot measure creativity, and I think that most employers know this. Those with the highest GPA’s are often wanting in social skills, problem solving skills and common sense. For this reason, do not fear that a mediocre GPA will limit your future – mine was mediocre.
Save as much as you can in advance – forgo that new car – live with mom and pop. Apply for grants. Accept money from your rich uncle. Borrow in moderation, but avoid unmanageable debt as it is a subtle killer and may end up ruining your life. I was able to avoid unmanageable debt, but it still required ten years to repay.
School is far easier when you are young and single. It is a strain on a marriage and very difficult when you have children to support – I know all this from experience. Also, relocation is far easier when single – go where the jobs are: regional technology centers, industrial areas etc.
Sure, studying is hard work, but the school environment includes a great social life. The friends you meet there will likely be friends for life…and you might just meet your mate there – I did!
Even with the global economy in the tank, existing engineers continue to retire and make room for newbies, new companies form, new technologies develop and economies shift regions. When job searching is tough, hope and pray for a break because most of us will need a break to get the first engineering job – it worked that way for me.
Regardless, do not give up easily. While prospects may be poor when entering school, things may be much better upon graduation.