Soon to grad --- seeking advice

<p>Hey everyone, I am an electrical engineering student from Hawaii planning to graduate in fall of 2012. I have come across one of the biggest dilemma in life -- post graduation plan. </p>

<p>Little background on myself: I am more of a mediocre student, didn't take college too seriously during the first five semesters; hugged around the 3.0 GPA boarder, the 6th and 7th semester I've gotten a little better, with 3.7 and 3.8. Currently in my 8th semester, planning to delay graduation by 1 semester to pull my GPA up a bit more, and have time to prepare for the GRE in the case of pursuing a graduate degree. </p>

<p>I am not a fan of academia or researching/writing technical reports, so I don't think a PhD will be in my consideration. But it seems like the job market today will only pick the best of the best students to fulfill the positions in the companies. It appears to be pretty tough for an ordinary student like me, attending a no name University of Hawaii at Manoa with 3.3 cummulative GPA, to obtain an entry level job. </p>

<p>So my main question is, if you were in my shoes, would you consider attending a mainland university for a master's degree, try to build up a good GPA and network with the companies there (I bet there are far more companies on the mainland than what we have here in Hawaii), or complete the bachelors and go all out on finding a job, despite the quality of the job?</p>

<p>In the case of pursuing a master's degree, I've heard that having the same degree in graduate school as undergrad is pointless unless I am going to the research field, anyone have opinion on this? To be honest, the only interest I find in this major is the circuitry works; digital signal processing and communication is just not my thing... So if I were to attend grad school, what could I possibly major in, both within the EE field and outside the EE field.</p>

<p>On an extra note, I am a McNair student, so I do have a little bit more connection with graduate schools than employers.</p>

<p>Looking forward for your opinions, thank you!!</p>

<p>Well first of all, there is no reason you can't get an entry level EE job with your background. Just apply to positions all over, with a strong cover letter and a well-polished resume and I believe you'll do fine.</p>

<p>I guess if you utterly fail in finding employment, then you can consider a masters degree elsewhere. But I think you will be fine.</p>

<p>Concur. Do well these last two semsters and start looking. Use networking - friends, family, especially professors and your school's and department's alumni networks. Take advantage of any on-campus services available.</p>

<p>Many engineers earn graduate degrees after working for a few years. Some full-time graduate programs prefer candidates have some work experience and do not presume all candidates want to earn a PhD and conduct research. It is definitely typical in the evening/part-time programs (the route I took - but I had a good career going; I wanted the credentials and my industry's trends were demanding it anyway). I would not generalize regarding earning an MS EE vs. a different engineering discipline, management, or even MBA. Depends on your interests and (if you want employer to subsidize) their needs.</p>

<p>I've been trying my best to network around, and hopefully I hear something back. But as far as applying for positions all over, what website or search engine do you folks prefer? </p>

<p>It's just a bit of intimidating seeing how selective the employers are in college career fair</p>

<p>My son had good luck with craig's list in the area he wanted to find work.</p>

<p>I would look for a job and delay grad school. Most companies have some kind of educational reimbursement programs (although you may have to go to school part time while working). Could save you a ton of money and let you really figure out what you want for your professional career.</p>

<p>Graduate study in EE is usually funded (either by an employer, or by the school or outside source using TAship or RAship or fellowship), so it may not be that great an idea to pay full price for such. Obviously, given your interest, if you do graduate study, you would concentrate course work and research on that subarea of EE.</p>

<p>With UH being off the beaten track, you will have to be more aggressive at finding companies to apply to. You may want to try looking in places like [this[/url</a>] to find employers to apply to.</p>

<p>Some other schools' career surveys can help you find employers that their graduates have gone to work at.</p>

<p><a href="https://career.berkeley.edu/Major/EECS.stm%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://career.berkeley.edu/Major/EECS.stm](&lt;a href="http://www.careerinfonet.org/employerlocator/employerlocator.asp?nodeid=18%5Dthis%5B/url"&gt;http://www.careerinfonet.org/employerlocator/employerlocator.asp?nodeid=18)&lt;/a>
Virginia</a> Tech Post Graduation Report: Employers, job titles and locations of employed graduates
Graduate</a> Status Report - Career Services - Cal Poly
<a href="http://gecd.mit.edu/resources/data%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://gecd.mit.edu/resources/data&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I'd try my best to snag an intership since you're still a student. Have you applied around at solar energy companies? They're currently doing a booming business--doubling the power produced by solar in HI every year since 2009! HECO also hires summer interns. Try asking some of the profs you know well if they have any recommendations. Summer internships are a great way for you to try out the employer and have the employer try you out. Some of them offer jobs at the end of the internship or at least they can make a strong recommendation when you're applying for a full-time job.</p>

<p>The federal government did have some Hawaii EE openings in 2010--you can check if they have any now. Check out the student employment office to see if there are firms looking for EE students--part-time during the year or summer positions. The time to try to get a summer position is NOW. Since your grades aren't as high as you'd like, you'll have to work harder and be willing to cast a wider net about where you'd be willing to work. The upward trend in your grades is a good thing and should help.</p>

<p>Agree that there are employers (including the federal government) that do offer tuition reimbursement while you're working. That could be a huge savings. Another issue concerning going to grad school at this point is that you may end up overqualified and find it harder to find an entry-level position. I have heard of quite a few UH engineering students who have secured jobs--if any of your classmates have gotten jobs, ask them for suggestions. Good luck!</p>

<p>I think you are too hard on yourself, if it's an ABET school a 3.3 gpa is nothing to scuff at. People online (these boards in partiuclar) are a little crazy when they have expectations. If you didn't get a 3.9 at MIT you apparently are "unmarketable".</p>

<p>I would say if you don't like research consider a coursework on Master's. You won't get funding, but you will get more exposure in areas that you enjoy classes in. It's considered "terminal" so you won't be going on to get a PHD after, but it would help you in the job market.</p>

<p>I know other kids who have engineering degrees from UH, who HAVE landed jobs, so there are positions available IF you work at it instead of giving up at the outset. Interning at a place where you might want to work would be a good idea. I believe HECO has an internship program and have heard of some students working for the federal government over the summer as well. Talk to profs who like you and your work--they may have leads that can be helpful as well. It's a good reflection on them that they find GOOD folks to fill positions well.</p>

<p>I was a C+ math major as an undergrad and parlayed that into a 20+ year software engineering career. I even got a branch campus from the University of Wisconsin to admit me for their M.S. Engineering program (which I completed).</p>

<p>Your credentials (at least at undergrad) are way past mine so I would think that you will do fine.</p>