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Hello! I am a sophomore in high school currently gathering information on an electrical engineer. Is anyone willing to let me interview them?

These are the questions needed to be responded to:
Interviewee’s specific degree:
Interviewee’s place of employment:
Please describe your engineering field.
What is your current job title?
Please describe your particular job and duties.
What is your average work schedule?
Starting with high school, describe your educational background chronologically.
If you had it to do over, related to your career or education, would you do anything differently?
What advice would you give to me as someone interested in pursuing a career path similar to yours?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
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Subject: Career question for you

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6 answers


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Bryan’s Answer

Hi!
These are really good questions.
I work for IBM with their processor design group (systems/infrastructure)
My proper title is custom memory circuit designer (aka array designer) where I make the register files for the z processor. Takes I do include designing register files that the architects need to make the chip work best. This includes the number of read/write ports, entries, number of bits, special functionality, and other special request. I make the schematic and do the transistor layout (to an extent) for the register file. After schematic and layout, I will run the simulations to make sure what I made, makes timing and will actually work. I also write/synthesize any VHDL needed for added functionality.


For work it has its peaks and valleys that depends on the stage of work. Because I only work on one chip, during the back edges of the chip work, it can slow down a little. Alternatively, when it's busy, it's extremely busy. I generally work 7:30-4:30 but I have come in earlier and left later as needed to get things done by the deadline.

My high school was a smaller school so we didn't have a ton of engineering opportunities as some of the bigger school. We had project lead the way classes (engineering classes for high schoolers), of all these I enjoyed the digital logic the most. I went to college at Iowa State University for computer engineering. The thinking majoring in computer engineering was this was going to teach me how a processor works and how to make software interact with hardware the best. And to an extent, that's what I was taught. But at the higher level classes I noticed that Iowa State saw computer engineers more as software and/or networking side compared to the more hardware side I enjoyed. This wasn't a huge problem, I was able to take many computer architecture classes and with co-ops and the club I was involved with (Iowa State Solar Car), allowed me to dig deep with the hardware development and allowed me to make my own compute type board for the car. In 2020 I went on to get my masters in computer engineering at Iowa State. I specialized in Computer Architecture with my focus and masters thesis on hardware security. I graduated fall 2021 and started at IBM January 2022.

If I were to have a do over, I think I would still go to Iowa State, but I would've been an electrical engineering major. This would've allowed me to still learn about computer architecture, but less of the high level coding that I didn't enjoy as much.

My advice is that there's always something to learn. Either from your professors, peers, or on your own. The best engineers I've worked with are always looking for opportunities to learn. Don't limit yourself to what you're specializing in or one topic. Have a wide verity of knowledge.
For school, I always recommend new students to get involved in a club. It doesn't have to be an engineering club, just any club. This allows you a little mental break from school and will introduce you to new people. A large majority of my friends I made in my time with the solar car team.
At the end of the day, engineering is tough, but it's also extremely rewarding. So work hard, respect the people you work with, and you'll go far.
Best of luck with everything!
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ROBERT’s Answer

Greetings!

I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering, which I earned from San Jose State University, San Jose, California in 1982. Currently, I'm working at Envirotech Chemical Manufacturing as a Process Automation Engineer.

My primary duties include preparing the plant's control systems for production data collection and enhancing the process control software. Additionally, I manage facility improvements and train our staff on the safe use of our automated control systems. I typically work 40 hours a week, but due to my role, I occasionally need to work extra hours to handle emergencies or projects that require evening or weekend shifts.

During my high school years, I pursued the standard curriculum and supplemented it with advanced math and science classes whenever possible. I also studied German for four years. After graduating, I worked for an electrical contractor for 18 months, where I learned cost estimation, basic accounting, and construction project management.

Next, I spent three years at a community college, completing the necessary courses for an associate's degree and taking every college-level physics, chemistry, programming, and logic class available. I ensured that these credits would be transferable to California State College and University campuses. I then transferred to San Jose State and completed the courses required for my BSEE, with some additional classes like Organic Chemistry, pottery, and economics.

Reflecting on my journey, I sometimes wonder if I should have concentrated more on software/computers, given that's where my career has led me. However, I believe that understanding how to design electrical control systems is crucial for programming them correctly. My biggest regret is not taking full advantage of retirement investment opportunities like 401K and IRA plans from the start of my career, something I feel isn't emphasized enough in education.

My advice to you is this: FIRST - learn to write. The ability to communicate clearly in writing is paramount to an engineer. You must be able to clearly communicate for proposals, reports and sometimes just to keep your management or customers updated on what you are doing! SECOND - Electrical Engineering is an expansive field, too vast for one person to master entirely. So, find a niche that interests you, but also expose yourself to all aspects of the field. Be ready for a lifetime of learning because earning a degree is just the first step towards becoming an engineer.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, ROBERT! Jayce
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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Jayce,

Thanks for your great engineering-related questions!

In my most recent role, I was the Senior Manager for Advanced System Integration. I worked at a large Automotive/Defense Manufacturer for many years until I recently retired from the company. I am a mechanical engineer by training. I enjoyed many years as an engineer and then evolved my career to be an engineering leader. In my latest role, I lead the advanced team which included CAD designers, engineers (including electrical engineers) and build team technicians. Our team scope was future, advanced military and government vehicles and projects. I had many roles prior to this including thermal engineer, design/release engineer, vehicle systems engineer, system safety engineer, and a variety of engineering leader roles.

The workday did vary depending on the project, activity, and role, I typically worked 5 days a week, 8-10+ hours a day. When my children were younger, I worked “flex service” (part time - 3 days a week). This enabled the right work-life balance for me and my family.

Although my degree was in mechanical engineering, some of my positions were more of an electrical engineering role. For example, I worked as a System Safety Engineer where the focus was on the electronic controllers/systems meeting safety requirements.

I had a wonderful career and would not change a thing. I enjoyed being an engineer and an engineering leader.

Engineering is a very exciting field to go in. There is a vast landscape of roles and companies looking for engineers. In high school, a good foundation for engineering is math and science classes. Then, you would need to go to college for 4 years for a degree in engineering. You can take classes (mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc.) and identify the specialty area which you like – you don’t need to lock in your focus on day one.

I appreciate your interest in engineering and wish you the very best as you explore your future career!
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Richard’s Answer

Hi Jayce! Here's a guide to help you prepare for a successful interview as an aspiring electrical engineer. Your goal would be to provide detailed and compelling answers to the interview questions.

Even though this guide may have proposed answers that do not apply to you currently, it is my hope that they will provide you with the necessary ideas for how to proceed on this path and become a successful candidate who attracts the attention of a potential employer:

**1. Interviewee’s Specific Degree:**
- I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

**2. Interviewee’s Place of Employment:**
- At the moment, I'm a high school student, but I am actively exploring internship opportunities and part-time jobs in the field of electrical engineering.

**3. Describe Your Engineering Field:**
- Electrical engineering is a broad field that focuses on designing, developing, and maintaining electrical systems and components. It encompasses areas such as electronics, power systems, telecommunications, and control systems.

**4. Current Job Title:**
- I am currently a high school student and have not yet entered the workforce as an electrical engineer.

**5. Describe Your Particular Job and Duties:**
- While I don't have professional work experience yet, I am passionate about electrical engineering and have engaged in personal projects and coursework related to this field. For example, I've designed basic electronic circuits, built small robotics projects, and conducted research on renewable energy sources.

**6. Average Work Schedule:**
- As a high school student, my schedule is primarily focused on attending classes during the day. However, I dedicate significant time in the evenings and weekends to self-study, projects, and extracurricular activities related to electrical engineering.

**7. Educational Background Chronologically:**
- High School (Current): Taking math and science courses, participating in robotics clubs and STEM competitions, and actively seeking internships and extracurricular programs related to electrical engineering.
- Future: Plan to enroll in a reputable university with an accredited electrical engineering program to pursue a Bachelor's degree.

**8. Would You Do Anything Differently?**
- If I had the opportunity to start my education and career journey over, I would:
- Begin exploring electrical engineering concepts and projects earlier in high school.
- Seek out more internships, co-op programs, and mentorships to gain practical experience.
- Take advantage of networking opportunities and connect with professionals in the field to learn from their experiences.

**9. Advice for Aspiring Electrical Engineers:**
- Focus on a strong foundation in mathematics and science subjects.
- Pursue extracurricular activities, internships, and projects to gain hands-on experience and build your portfolio.
- Stay updated on industry trends and emerging technologies.
- Seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced professionals.
- Be adaptable and open to learning throughout your career.

The key to a successful interview is demonstrating a strong passion for electrical engineering, a commitment to learning and growth, and a clear understanding of your educational and career path. Highlight your proactive approach to gaining experience even as a high school student, and your enthusiasm for the field will shine through.
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Alexia’s Answer

Hi Jayce! I am excited to see that you are excited in electrical engineering. I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University, and now use many of the skills that I learned as an engineer in my current role as a consultant at IBM.

See my answers to your questions below:

What is your current job title?
Partner, Customer Transformation, IBM

Please describe your particular job and duties.
I work as a consultant for IBM. This is different than what I studied tactically throughout my Electrical Engineering degree, however I use all of those skills on a daily basis with the clients that I serve. Some of the skills that I use include: Problem Solving, Analytical Thinking, Inquisitive Mindset, and Connecting with people.

What is your average work schedule?
I typically work Monday-Friday. As a consultant, I travel to see clients which means that my schedule can vary from time to time.

Starting with high school, describe your educational background chronologically.
Clemson University (B.S. Electrical Engineering)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Masters in Business Administration)

If you had it to do over, related to your career or education, would you do anything differently?
Even though I am considered a "career-switcher", I am very thankful for my path. Each step along the way, allowed me to gain a new skill that allows me to be productive in mu current role as a consultant. My path has also given me options, based on what I have learned as an engineer and with my degree at business I have a lot of different career options in the event I choose to change career paths again.

What advice would you give to me as someone interested in pursuing a career path similar to yours? My best piece of advice is to be open! There are so many options that you can explore in electrical engineering. Be open, learn what you like about engineering, learn what you don't like about engineering, and feel free to explore!
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Steve’s Answer

Hello Jayce!

I appreciate your curiosity about Electrical Engineering. Remember, no matter what career path you choose, I'm rooting for your success!

If you need an interview, I'm more than happy to arrange one, but let's kick off with addressing some of the specific queries you've brought up.

When it comes to my educational journey, it's been a blend of formal education and self-driven exploration of technical areas that spark my interest. This approach has not only expanded my knowledge but also honed my skills, making me a valuable, effective, and productive professional in any role I undertake. Here's a snapshot of my educational milestones:

> I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science with a minor in Computer Science from the City University of New York.
> I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
> I hold a certification as a Cisco Certified Network Professional.
> I completed a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Finance from PACE University.
> I successfully passed the Chartered Financial Analyst examinations levels 1, 2, and 3.

Presently, I'm a senior network engineer at Verizon Communications. My role involves working with a team of engineers to design and expand the FiOS network in Manhattan, NY. I contribute strategically to our monthly and yearly plans, provide technical guidance, and support the team as our designs move from the drawing board to the field. This role requires a comprehensive understanding of voice, video, and data communications across copper, fiber, and wireless, as well as proficiency in our design systems. I work 40 hours a week, splitting my time between the office and remote work.

Reflecting on my pre-college years, I recall being unsure about my major or career path. I only knew that I was drawn to the technical field. But, I was open to exploring and discovering a career that would be rewarding and engaging. My advice to you is to trust your instincts, be open to exploration, and be prepared to put in the hard work. College studies demand focus and time. Also, never underestimate the importance of social skills - be a team player at school and at work. Healthy competition is good, but always remember to be professional, courteous, and kind. Just like in sports, play hard, play fair, and always respect your opponents.

Best of luck!
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