Degree qualified?

Author
Discussion

orangesrule

445 posts

92 months

Saturday 29th June
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pghstochaj said:
The issue is that without a degree in engineering, as a commissioning technician you might understand that changing x does y but you are unlikely, without further training, to understand why. In most cases that’s fine but in some cases it can be dangerous or commercially a bad idea. That’s why weight is put onto it. It’s ensuring a basic fundamental minimum understanding.

As a chemical engineer I understand what a chemical engineer is likely to know. As such, when in a design review process or HAZOP study or such like, I know whether they have the basic understanding sufficient to have an opinion on something.

That’s not to say that there aren’t people without degrees that would be or even are excellent engineers, it’s just it’s a lot more inconsistent and with the increase in numbers attending university earlier in life, more rare to find those people. 10 years ago managers on the civil engineering side would be “builders” and now they’re degree educated civil or structural engineers and it’s highly unlikely that will get anything but more normal.

The biggest problem is the abuse of the term engineer and the resulting confusion. I work on new build power stations and people are very clear as to whether they are an engineer in almost all situations as it matters. It’s interesting as in private life, people call themselves an engineer regardless. An operator can far better explain how changing x does y but it is usually an engineer (I.e with a degree and preferably chartered) that would be able to explain why and therefore apply science to it. If an operator tried to explain why, unless they were exceptional, their opinion wouldn’t count as they are very unlikely to have the fundamental building blocks to understand it.
I don't actually agree. A bit of paper doesn't make me an engineer, but 10 years experience of fitting, fixing and makeing stuff work does. If i dont know how something works i research until i do. The only thing my degree has taught me is that its bks imposed by people who have degrees who have set up this trend.

pghstochaj

154 posts

63 months

Sunday 30th June
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orangesrule said:
I don't actually agree. A bit of paper doesn't make me an engineer, but 10 years experience of fitting, fixing and makeing stuff work does. If i dont know how something works i research until i do. The only thing my degree has taught me is that its bks imposed by people who have degrees who have set up this trend.
What BEng have you done? If that’s all you have learnt then you might have missed the point.

It’s not the paper, it’s the subjects studied to get the paper.


Robertj21a

6,539 posts

49 months

Sunday 30th June
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As others have said, it really does depend on what you want to do.

On balance, I am not bothered whether or not people have a degree. Too many with degrees are sadly lacking in common sense, or genuine 'people skills' and yet they believe that they are gods gift to an employer. I'd usually prefer someone with good experience and an ability to work with others.

GT03ROB

7,773 posts

165 months

Monday 22nd July
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Bit late to the party, but another consideration in all this in global opportunities if important to you. My last 2 jobs I've had to have a degree or no work visa. No work visa...no job.

phumy

4,599 posts

181 months

Monday 22nd July
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I work in the power construction/commissioning industry in South East Asia, i have but just a modest HNC from 1989, however i also have 41 years solid experience from the bottom to the top of the ladder in that industry. With that experience i am classed as an "Expert" out here, that allows me to get the work permit and the visa.

GT03ROB

7,773 posts

165 months

Monday 22nd July
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phumy said:
I work in the power construction/commissioning industry in South East Asia, i have but just a modest HNC from 1989, however i also have 41 years solid experience from the bottom to the top of the ladder in that industry. With that experience i am classed as an "Expert" out here, that allows me to get the work permit and the visa.
Problem we have here is that they local powers that be give no credit for experience, no degree no visa. We have a lot of very experienced people in the construction & commissioning side without degrees. But they can't come here. Many (most?) construction guys like you with 40yrs experience don't have degrees.

phumy

4,599 posts

181 months

Monday 22nd July
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GT03ROB said:
Problem we have here is that they local powers that be give no credit for experience, no degree no visa. We have a lot of very experienced people in the construction & commissioning side without degrees. But they can't come here. Many (most?) construction guys like you with 40yrs experience don't have degrees.
Is that Middle East?

GT03ROB

7,773 posts

165 months

Monday 22nd July
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phumy said:
GT03ROB said:
Problem we have here is that they local powers that be give no credit for experience, no degree no visa. We have a lot of very experienced people in the construction & commissioning side without degrees. But they can't come here. Many (most?) construction guys like you with 40yrs experience don't have degrees.
Is that Middle East?
I've seen clients in the middle east (Kuwait) do it, but now I'm in the land of Borat.

phumy

4,599 posts

181 months

Monday 22nd July
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GT03ROB said:
phumy said:
GT03ROB said:
Problem we have here is that they local powers that be give no credit for experience, no degree no visa. We have a lot of very experienced people in the construction & commissioning side without degrees. But they can't come here. Many (most?) construction guys like you with 40yrs experience don't have degrees.
Is that Middle East?
I've seen clients in the middle east (Kuwait) do it, but now I'm in the land of Borat.
A `Stan....Whats it like?

GT03ROB

7,773 posts

165 months

Monday 22nd July
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phumy said:
A `Stan....Whats it like?
Flat.... bloody cold in winter..... bloody hot in the summer ....always windy …. get eaten by mosquitos as a walk to the office.... people are friendly .... beer is cheap & cold!

echazfraz

391 posts

91 months

Tuesday 23rd July
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orangesrule said:
SVS said:
The shame is that most university degrees don’t cover some of the most important skills required for many jobs, such as teamwork or communication skills.

These are skills most people need throughout their career. Whereas technical knowledge can go out of date as technology changes over time.
Totally agree, the company i work for has totally lost the plot employing too many grads and not enough apprentices. Just because someone has a degree doesn't mean they have understanding of the job in hand or are a good manager. It really is rather frustrating! This also has had the affect of stalling progression for others, as grads are plonked into middle management.
Somewhat disagree with both - show me a vocational degree that's not Pure Mathematics or the like that doesn't have team projects and / or presentations, etc. to teach, and give experience of, these situations for when they're used in real-life scenarios post-degree.

To become a chartered mechanical engineer (with the IMechE in the UK at least) you have to meet competences designed around teamworking and communication too - you literally can't become a professional engineer without showing that you have these skills.

Orangesrule - forgive me but I think that I read that you don't have a degree, so how do you know that most university courses don't teach important skills like those that you mentioned?

SVS - I do agree that job understanding and ability are important and that it could be said that there has been a shift away from good apprentices towards poor grads in some engineering circle - in my last role I got rid of the latter and promoted the former.

If you're being looked over for promotion into middle management in favour of a grad, it may not be the grad's fault...

ericmcn

1,498 posts

41 months

Tuesday 23rd July
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echazfraz said:
Somewhat disagree with both - show me a vocational degree that's not Pure Mathematics or the like that doesn't have team projects and / or presentations, etc. to teach, and give experience of, these situations for when they're used in real-life scenarios post-degree.

To become a chartered mechanical engineer (with the IMechE in the UK at least) you have to meet competences designed around teamworking and communication too - you literally can't become a professional engineer without showing that you have these skills.

Orangesrule - forgive me but I think that I read that you don't have a degree, so how do you know that most university courses don't teach important skills like those that you mentioned?

SVS - I do agree that job understanding and ability are important and that it could be said that there has been a shift away from good apprentices towards poor grads in some engineering circle - in my last role I got rid of the latter and promoted the former.

If you're being looked over for promotion into middle management in favour of a grad, it may not be the grad's fault...
Electronic Engineering is the same, I have a Masters and several years industry experience, you cannot sit back you need to continually push yourself and learn. If you stop getting motivated you will fall back as the industry is continuallly evolving.

You cannot get CEng level unless you have a solid understanding of the priniples of EE and relevant industry experience - they want to see people who are achieving and making a difference.

My opinion is that the curent crop of grads are terrible compared to yesteryear- now grads want answers on google or someone else to do their homework. my current manager is a classic old school pen and paper EE who is up to speed with all the latest trends and software also. Its very hard to get this type of person now, ask anyone in the field.

echazfraz

391 posts

91 months

Wednesday 24th July
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ericmcn said:
Electronic Engineering is the same, I have a Masters and several years industry experience, you cannot sit back you need to continually push yourself and learn. If you stop getting motivated you will fall back as the industry is continuallly evolving.

You cannot get CEng level unless you have a solid understanding of the priniples of EE and relevant industry experience - they want to see people who are achieving and making a difference.

My opinion is that the curent crop of grads are terrible compared to yesteryear- now grads want answers on google or someone else to do their homework. my current manager is a classic old school pen and paper EE who is up to speed with all the latest trends and software also. Its very hard to get this type of person now, ask anyone in the field.
Where I've seen in poor grads is an inability to interpret and apply information from a range of sources, yes due to lack of knowledge of first principles etc., but mainly due to a lack of critical thinking and drive to learn for themselves.

Being able to take information found and aggregate, interpret, dismiss, apply in context, etc. is key, in my view, for new grads and they will only be able to do this with a firm grounding in the basics and experience.

I also completely agree that "computer says..." cannot become the be all and end all of graduate thinking.

But - things move on. And searching the internet is a very valid mechanism to provide context, second opinions, experiences, etc. for those trying to solve problems as long as they can apply the information correctly.

Anecdote of Limited Relevance time:

I interviewed on a panel recently for an electrical engineer and our head engineer in that area absolutely grilled one guy, much more than the others, asking him to explain his rationale for almost every answer on his technical viva that he prepared. I genuinely thought that I was going to have to step in and help the poor sod out.

After the interrogation I suggested to the panel that clearly none of the candidates were suitable because some were poor across the board and this guy in question seemed ok to me, but couldn't have been, as my colleague picked him up on everything.

To my surprise my colleague said that actually the candidate to whom he gave a hard time was excellent and exactly what we were looking for!

He got some of the answers wrong, or didn't give the answers that were expected anyway, but my colleague was very impressed with his thought process and how he rationalised everything that he said, said he'd learn the answers in the job because he could show that he'd be able to think in the right way.

The point of this is that here's a grad who understandably was overreaching in his knowledge but clearly knew how to think, how to apply the basics, and will go on to do well because of this.

He starts at the end of the month and we can't wait!




Countdown

23,990 posts

140 months

Wednesday 24th July
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ericmcn said:
My opinion is that the curent crop of grads are terrible compared to yesteryear- .
My twopenceworth - the competition for decent grads is increasing. The old saying “pay peanuts, get monkeys” is apt. And it’s not just salary - grads want a better work/life balance.

feef

4,432 posts

127 months

Wednesday 24th July
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I'm another in IT without a degree. I'm a MySQL/MariaDB specialist but have been doing it for 15 years or so now (with a bit of Oracle, DB2, SQL Server and Postgres thrown in for good measure).

I dropped out of uni (Mech Eng degree course) to become a web developer, and from there became a DBA.

My lack of degree hasn't hindered me, but my skills seem to always have been in demand.

I'm also aware that, 20 years ago when I started out, there weren't as many degrees or qualifications that focussed on the web technology sphere and the traditional Comp Sci stuff wasn't tailored to the lighter weight application programming that I was doing.

So it is possible... but suspect a degree may be a tad more desirable when starting out now.

burritoNinja

594 posts

44 months

Thursday 25th July
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I have a computer science degree and multiple certifications from CISCO to Microsoft software developer C#/.NET certified. Currently doing my Oracle Java certs. At software developer interviews, currently which I’m going through several, they have never touched on my degree and have only been interested in my skills, experience and portfolio. Make of that what you will.

GT03ROB

7,773 posts

165 months

Friday 26th July
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Countdown said:
And it’s not just salary - grads want a better work/life balance
Bloody snowflakes...

Nerdherder

1,206 posts

41 months

Friday 26th July
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No, competence and experience easily trump degrees when you are on the tech side of IT.
I've managed to get myself up to director/lower board levels on the product.strategy side of software/hardware/services companies.
Tip 1: Don't bother climbing the ladder, look out for good teams combined with good pay.
Tip 2: Pick projects/New products to work on that genuinely interest from technical (or other pov) and help to build your competencies/tech skill/
Tip 3: I you are a not that bothered with working on multiple things in a short(er) period of time and real experienced expert in a tech field and already have a handful of potential jobs, go solo at a good rate. Watch the money and assignments flow in. There are two futures for this by the way (next to klanding yourself back into a job). A; You keep freelancing. B: You evolve a company around yourself usually hiring more guys around you to grab more opportunities you see, stepping back a bit yourself managing customer relationships and the guys and/or evolving work you've already done into product (the latter is where it gets really interesting imho).

silent ninja

642 posts

44 months

Friday 26th July
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I love the "yesteryear" bks on this thread. You were no smarter than today's grads. In fact, today's grads have the advantage of technology. Just like the calculator meant there was little value in learning arithmetic up to you 99 times table, today's employee has access to millions of hours of information. His/her job is now to free up that wasted time, and focus energies on insights, deep learning and pushing boundaries.

Every generation likes to repeat the "in my day..." speech. Get your blinkers off.

You aren't doing well because you worked harder either. You're doing well because you've had more handed on a plate, and lots of opportunities. Rich bankers claim their talent and sheer hard work made them rich. If they're so talented, why not move to Africa and be an investment banker? No? The infrastructure and institutions don't exist. It's the same tune baby boomers and the like repeat - as though they worked harder in their youth. Utter bks.

The baby boomers and anyone born in the 60's and 70's have had a major leg up. Free education, skilled jobs with progression, plentiful housing. The new generation don't, they're fighting for these opportunities and there just aren't enough. They have recessions, austerity as their leg up.

Please get with reality. You won a lottery. It wasn't your talent. You don't worker harder than everybody else. You're no smarter than everyone else.

Edited by silent ninja on Friday 26th July 23:02

272BHP

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

180 months

Saturday 27th July
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silent ninja said:
The baby boomers and anyone born in the 60's and 70's have had a major leg up. Free education, skilled jobs with progression, plentiful housing. The new generation don't, they're fighting for these opportunities and there just aren't enough. They have recessions, austerity as their leg up.

Please get with reality. You won a lottery. It wasn't your talent. You don't worker harder than everybody else. You're no smarter than everyone else.

Edited by silent ninja on Friday 26th July 23:02
Nah, I am not having that. Look at the unemployment levels in the 70s/and 80s. The despair in some places was palpable, you don't get that kind of general feeling these days and I travel a fair bit.

Free education? only the privileged few went to university in them days, no-one I knew went to university, none of my siblings, no-one in my street and no-one in my class at school.