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What does an entry-level engineering job look like?

Could you specify if you had previous experience, i.e. an internship, co-op, part-time job, before graduating? #engineering #job

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Felipe’s Answer

Hi Augusta

When I did my internship of Systems Engineering, I did it in a bank, I was at the beginning in charge of creating user accounts for a Microsoft network, I had to create thousands until I thought that I didn´t want that for the whole internship (6 months), so I decided to start learning about administering windows servers, and my manager at that moment allowed me to start performing some administrative tasks such as synchronise servers, install new servers, deploy backup scripts, etc. I realise that those tasks were more the ones liked to do as a professional, but then as I was more interacting with people and trying to get involved in all IT projects to learn, I started to work with the security and networking team, and learnt a lot of things and I started to like information security (that indeed is my current job), so what I wanted to tell you is that you can start as an entry-level engineer doing what the company needs at that moment, but if you are curious and like to learn and self-study, you can shift at that moment or later for a different path as an engineer, is up to you, if you like something learn about that and demonstrate that you know and that you are willing to help and collaborate and you will see the results, this has worked for me in my whole career for more than 18 years since my first IT related job before got under-graduated.


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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Augusta I. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

An entry-level engineering job can come in many forms as has been indicated by other answers provided. In my case, I was able to land two very different entry-level engineering jobs over two separate summers during the time I was in college, studying for my systems engineering degree. My first entry-level engineering job was with a company called Lockheed Martin. At that time, the work I was tasked with consisted of reviewing documents....lots and lots of documents(:))...related to the building of the C130J. Today, this plane is used to provide transportation for personnel and goods to places far and wide. The documents I had to review had some technical aspects to them, which I used to help me understand the make up of this plane. My second entry-level engineering job was for an IT based company (that sadly no longer exists). In that role, I my job had a lot to do with data entry of invoices...lots and lots of invoices (:)). But I also got a chance to sit in on IT meetings and talk with staff that had much more significant roles than I did in the company. And one of the best parts of both of my entry-level jobs...I got a paycheck! You will learn that there is a difference between being a volunteer intern and landing a summer job. My experience has shown me that a job=a paycheck...:) For each of the summer jobs, the job only lasted two months BUT getting a regular paycheck and being introduced to the possibilities of a technical and/or design field that spanned both corporate and government entities really opened my eyes to possibilities...and the vastness of opportunities in the systems engineering space.

Since graduating, my career in engineering has changed from my first after-college job to the job I have today. My first job after graduation was as a network engineer. The job I have today is lots of data and data analytics. Throughout all of that time, I have always considered myself to be a formally trained Systems Engineer. Just another point on the reality that engineering can and does take on many forms.

I do hope this information is helpful to you. Best of luck!

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Ken’s Answer

It varies wildly but generally speaking most entry level jobs have little, if any, serious design work. Not many people will be designing the next airliner, CPU, satellite, engine, etc. Most entry level jobs (but not all) are substantially less glamorous. From what I've seen, common jobs are maintenance and sales for many different engineering disciplines.

Maintenance is generally in an industrial setting of some sort, such as a steel mill or paper mill. You will ensure that stuff does not break and when it does you will get a team of high school dropouts that resent your existence to fix it. There might be some office work from time to time but you can expect to get your hands a bit dirty in these type of jobs.

Sales means you will travel all over the place talking to clients about various products your company has and maybe trying work with them to get the solution that is right for that company. You can usually expect A LOT of travel, and this is not a vacation - you won't be doing much sight seeing.

Other engineers may work on an assembly line, but usually not putting things together. You make sure that whatever is being produced is produced correctly and on-time. You might try to optimize a process to make it cheaper and/or faster. This is a pretty broad field and you might work with semiconductors in a clean room or with bar soap and laundry detergent.

There are some engineers who get office jobs and do little engineering work. You will play around on a computer most of the day, maybe make some phone calls, and do a random assortment of other office tasks. You will probably find such a job to be easy, but boring.

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