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 Post subject: Future Career?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:20 pm
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Hi, I was hoping to get the input of a few forum members on a problem I have been debating on recently. I am getting to the point in my high school career where I need to decide where I want to go to college and what I want to get a degree in.

Before I begin I am:
1.Currently a Junior in High School
2.GPA > 4.0
3.Top 10% of class
4.Will have completed AP AB Calculus, Calc 2, and Calc 3, AP Physics, AP
Chem (hopefully), and AP psychology, and a few college programming
classes before graduation.

I am debating between careers in:
1.Computer & Electrical Engineering
2.Software Engineering
3.Mechanical Engineering

I have a long list of potential schools I am looking into applying for which
would ideally:
1. Accept AP credits
2. Offer a CO-OP program before graduation
3. Cost is also a bit of an issue but not to big of a deal

A few of the school I was considering are:
(I currently live in Lancaster PA (SE))
1. Penn State
2. Drexel
3. Carnegie Mellon
4. Lehigh
5. Lafaeyette
6. Illinois
7. Purdue
8. Texas
9. Texas A&M
10. Pittsburgh

I hope to find a career that is stable (not much outsourcing, so I would like to find a job in the government or a defense contractor) and well paying, location isnt really a priority.
I was hoping someone would be able to help me narrow down my options, thanks for the help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:25 am 
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8086

Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:22 pm
Posts: 4
Well it really depends on how much you want to make. I am a Defense Contractor working on the FCS program. I don't have a degree yet and I am making way more than I thought I would without one.

I joined the Army after graduating HS in 1997 and left the Army in 2005. I learned about line of sight radio operations while in the military; a skill I have not used since. I am doing network management / system administration now and my only qualification is a CCNA (which they paid for).

So if you're really interested in doing contracting all you REALLY need is to get your foot in the door. This is unlikely to happen right out of high school. The vast majority of contractors are prior service, which is how they got their foot in the door.

There are also a lot of non-prior military contractors, but they all have degrees. Of all the recent college grads I know that work where I do, hardly any of them are overly pleased with their income. So I guess it's a toss up.

TT

Software engineers make a pretty penny, regardless of where they work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 9:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:10 am
Posts: 1167
Location: Virginia
Machovian,

I earned my degree in Comp & Elec. Eng. from Univ of Fl many yrs ago and I used to be a recruiter for an engineering company.

Just about every accredited college accepts AP credits. However, most do place a limit on the # of credits they will transfer.

Of the 3 fields you are considering CE and SE are very similar depending on the college you attend. most CE curriculums offer electives in programming classes. Although my degree was in CE all I pretty much did after graduation was software eng.

I am only familiar with 3 of the schools: Penn State; Carnegie and Ill. (I’m assuming Urbana-Champagne right?)

However all the schools you listed are great schools.

If cost is not really an issue I would focus on the average undergrad class size, the ranking of the schools among recruiters, and the availability of co-ops.

I cannot emphasize enough of the importance of co-op experience. From ym experience as a recruiter and the general opinion of other recruiters; Co-Op experience is considered golden.
If I have an applicant with a 4.0 GPA and no experience and I have another applicant with a 3.0 GPA but he had a 2 semester co-op with Honeywell and a positive letter of recommendation from his co-op supervisor, 9/10 times Im going to hire the 2nd guy with the experience.
I am probably biased because my co-op experienced was the primary reason I had 8 job offers by the fall semester of my senior yr. Time and again recruiters told me that after speaking to my co-op supervisor, they scratched all other candidates.

To help narrow your selection down I would contact the Career Resource centers at each college and ask about their co-op programs available. Most colleges LOVE to brag about how many students they have in co-op programs.
Also another piece of data that is readily available is most engineering schools survey graduates on their job placement/salary. Ask for that data. If they claim they don’t have it, they are lying.

Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:04 am
Posts: 1026
You may want to check out Kettering University. I don't know how they rank, but they do have a good co-op program. They help you find a co-op and you go to school for 3 months, then work for 3 months, etc.

Most schools will have it set up so you can take basic engineering courses for your first couple of years while you decide what you want to major in.

With those grades and ap credit, I would look at MIT, CalTech, and some other schools along those lines.

Since you are looking for a job with the government/defense, I would consider ROTC. By going into the military, you'll be able to use your degree, and you won't have to worry about outsourcing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:10 am
Posts: 1167
Location: Virginia
Machovian,
I missed the part about the government job/defense contractor.

While I would never put down someone getting a job in either industry, you should be aware there is a bias towards those engineers in gov/defense contractor jobs.

The typical product cycle is measured in years in gov/defense vs months in private industry. Time to life on most products in pvt industry is around 18 months. Many of my peers have found that engineers coming from defense contract/gov jobs think in different time lines and do not have the same operating principals (which is this: Cost is ALWAYS the overriding factor, not feature). Some engineers make the adjustment, but alot do not. Hence the bias towards gov/defense engineers.

Just something you should be aware of.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:32 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 6
Location: Maryville, TN
With a 4.0 GPA, contact MIT as soon as you can. That's the top school in the nation for the three fields you have listed. If location isn't an issue, there are areas of the nation where Software Engineers can name their price.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:36 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:08 pm
Posts: 82
Well If your that danm smart the sky is the limt do all three lol :wink: JK


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