What can master degree bring to a Mechanical beginner?
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    Question What can master degree bring to a Mechanical beginner?

    I'm in NJ, a international student just got my graduate degree in Dec, and have been seeking for full-time job or intern in design & manufacturing related area for two weeks. I designed bevel-cylindrical gear reducer and have strong skill in 3-D CAD modeling, FEA, computer programming and optimization design, also knowledge of manufacturing process but without much experience. can these let me start my mechanical career?
    Could anyone give me some advice or information?

    Thanks,
    Liran


    This is a sample of gear reducer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OwiGGw9Ups

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    An advanced degree without experience may or may not give you an advantage over someone with a bachelor's degree without experience. A prospective employer wants to know what you can do for them. They want someone who can fill their needs at a reasonable price. This is where the advanced degree without experience may make you less attractive because it is assumed that you would want a higher salary to start.

    My advice to you is not to hold out too long for the higher paid jobs. If they are not forthcoming then I would seek an engineering job at a lower salary that could build my practical skills and experience. It is called resume building.

    2 weeks is not a lot of time for a recent graduate in today's job market.

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    International student, strong skill in 3-D CAD modeling, graduate degree in Dec..

    Learn to dot all the Is… like the simple rule of location. What you think of your self does not get the job.

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    Dear Scottl,

    Thank you so much for the advice. Exactly right, I need to get into work ASAP to build resume.
    I didn't consider that a boss would think I want high salary. I'm eager to gain much more hands-on experience, even with unpaid or underpaid intern. ;P

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    Based on my own experiences, you are not going to be of real benefit for several years, and that's with you poking your nose into every corner of the factory. School taught you the theory, but practical application vanished with Sputnik. Most likely, it will be a big company that will hire you. They are the ones that can afford the time and cost to teach you to be a real engineer. Its one thing to put numbers on a piece of paper; its another thing to do it intelligently from the standpoint of being able to manufacture the product.

    Tom

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    I have a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in mechanical engineering. The real world advantage of a degree is like a pedigree for a dog. Does it make a better dog? Not necessarily but it makes people pay more for them than a dog from the pound. Two of the most impressive guys I have worked for had highschool degrees only and I learned a lot from them. Still if I had to do my career over again I would do it the the same way. A masters in engineering is not a real big time commitment, often just over a year, and they will pay you while you do it. If you wait you will get busy with other things and in all probabability never go back. Another upside is it lets you study some stuff that interests you but were too busy to study while you were in the undergrad program. Everybody is out to make a quick buck when they get out of school. You probably don't have a lot of responsibility at this stage so why not get the masters and then go to work for some sharp guys and learn from them. When you get older that pedigree won't hurt you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Deal View Post
    When you get older that pedigree won't hurt you.
    Nor does it matter as much.

    Tom

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    I agree with Pete Deal, I am working as a self employed designer/engineer. The vast majority of my background is in maintenance, and I have taken the lessons learned from the things things I had to fix to achieve my current level,sort of like going to school for 30 years. Most larger companies want to see a degree,which tells them you have been exposed to the basics at a sufficient level. I have worked with engineers who were/are absolutely brilliant , these were mostly older guy's that had been around a while (GE Nuclear Power) and some that did well to tie their shoes correctly. Depends on the guy or gal , if you have a love for all things mechanical in the world (huge category) and an endless curiosity, you can excel to the limits of your imagination and capability. What makes the difference is you.
    Look for the job that will teach you the most while giving the most back in return for the lessons you learn from them. Do not be afraid to fail, and at the first opportunity you have go back and get the higher level degree, don't wait, or you will always be waiting for the domino's to fall in place. I did and it has taken me 30+ years to get where I wanted to be, and the journey continues. Realize also that the pedigree wont make you any smarter , but what you do with it will. It is a tool to help you answer questions of ever increasing diffculty. Use it well and wisely. As Mr TDegenhart said above ,the degree wont matter as much as you get older, but only because people will be looking at what you are doing,and that will be your best pedigree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Deal View Post
    When you get older that pedigree won't hurt you.
    I'd venture to say it matters way LESS as you get older.

    By then, you have a job history and a reputation amongst your peers that matters far more than the pedigree.

    You're not a unknown dog with papers, you are a dog who has competed in field trials.

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    The above posts are probably some of the best real advice you'll ever get....although those in academia will probably not agree.

    The only thing I would add...is that if you're wanting more education, focus on the business aspect...IOW, get closer to the money.

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    The only Masters I ever worked with had way too much to do and did not get paid for all the overtime he put in

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    Quote Originally Posted by aysuio View Post
    ...just got my graduate degree in Dec...but without much experience. can these let me start my mechanical career?
    This may seem somewhat odd, but what you may want to do, is NOT advertise that you have a graduate degree. Try responding with just the basic undergrad degree, and get in someplace ground-level.

    Why? because presence of a grad degree at entry-level advertises to an employer that you're pointed towards a high-manpower-cost position. A company won't be as inclined to respond if they think a candidate is likely to short-term fast-track.

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    In the engineering field, often times a Graduate degree without experience will not get a job as fast as a Bachelor's degree with no experience.

    With no experience, you can't expect much better form a Grad degree holder versus a Bachelor's degree holder. The candidate with the Grad will surely have higher expectations from the employer than the Bachelor's candidate. Rightfully so. It is just harder to find someone that will accommodate that.

    The engineers I've worked with who had Masters/PhD were in two camps:
    1) They got their Masters/PhD after they had a lot of experience, some after already passing their PE Exam. They claim they got a lot out of their studies because they had experience to start with and could focus on the right things in their studies, and better tailor their education. I found them all to be excellent engineers as well.

    2) They got a Graduate degree right after their Bachelor's degree. They were very green even well into their 30s. They often got a slower start in their career.

    The drawback to getting your Masters after you have job experience is that you're often schooling and working side-by-side. This can be very easy with an encouraging workplace that accommodates your aspirations. This can be incredibly hard and often disastrous if your work schedule does not allow for sacrifices to your education. Families have been torn apart over this.

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    I'm a BS and MS in Mech. Eng, young kid (29). We hired a dozen or so engineers over a year at my last job (Fortune 500 company). Here is what I took from it, you'll have to forgive the length.

    1) Thesis or non-thesis? A good hands on thesis project can be spun as practical experience in an interview or on a resume, even if it isn't directly related. Non thesis....justifies a pay bump, but I wouldn't count it as much else unless you can wrap a good internship in there somewhere.

    2) You don't mention internships of any sort which is very concerning. Almost exclusively we hired people who had several simply because they were so much better out of the box. A couple internships and I can train someone to be really independent in 6-12 months. No internships you'd better plan a year or two. Your advisor or committee chair should be able to at least get you in front of a couple people for internships. If you haven't done any then consider your first job as your internship. Spend two years there soaking up everything you can and pouring in everything you've got. If at the end of two years you are still learning and advancing then stay. If not consider that your internship and move on. Note that I got my first internship by calling related companies and begging to work for free for the summer. Oddly this still took a couple tries. The second was paid, and was MUCH easier to get once I had the first one on my resume.

    3) International student. We had nothing against international students, the guy who replaced me when I left to move across the country was Chinese born. That said, accent and language barrier was a big deal. If my corn fed colleagues in Indiana couldn't understand you we weren't going to hire you. This was an issue far more than I expected when we started interviewing. Not sure where you sit on this, but it was a problem for some.
    Also, discrimination is a real thing. My wife is a 4th generation Caucasian from Michigan, I'm 3rd generation mostly white from Ohio, but a couple recruiters on the west coast told her they discounted her resume because they thought she was just another Chinese kid with no practical skills looking for a green card. All of this based on having last name (Chinese). If that was an issue for me I can see it being a much bigger issue for someone else. This last part is a non-issue once you get face to face with them.

    4) Having worked at a couple large automotive companies and a couple smaller design houses the breakdown in engineering looks like this:
    Quality engineers have a 4 year degree which may or may not be engineering related.
    Manufacturing engineers have a 4 year degree which is probably in engineering.
    Design engineers have a 4 year degree in engineering, and probably have a MS of some sort as well.

    Getting into design can be tricky, near impossible if you have no experience. Getting into manufacturing, then excelling and moving over to design (if this is what you want

    5) Claiming to be strong in FEA is a tricky thing depending on your audience. If the person on the other side of the table knows nothing of FEA a pretty picture will do. If they work in it daily then unless you have at least a year's worth of internships in FEA, a VERY solid capstone type project, or can give me a 30 minute explanation of exactly when I want a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, or 20 node brick then you should be careful making that claim. I've met several dozen people make that claim, and perhaps 4 that I think live up to it. I have half those things and don't consider myself to have strong FEA skills.

    6) Find a local recruiter who specializes in your field, or is at least remotely close. Ask to meet in their office for 30 minutes, or if that doesn't work take them to lunch (I plan an inexpensive place near their office and offer to pay, they often offer to pay their own anyways). Find a lunch spot that isn't too noisy to comfortably hold a conversation. Bring a resume. I've found most recruiters are more than willing to tell you what they think you are (or are not) qualified for. If they say you aren't qualified, ask them what you are lacking, or what you are qualified for. Mind you I have a job half the recruiters told me I was never going to get at my pay, but it will give you at idea as to why you might not be getting in the door.

    7) Most of the places that hired me sat on my resume for 2 months, then suddenly wanted me to start the day after they called me.

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    Guys, thank you so much!

    I read your posts one by one. All of the suggestions are valuable, and thanks for encouraging a young engineer (I'm 27 now, compared with 3 years ago, not young any more, HA)

    I was away for a long time, already forgot the password. I just request a new one, for some reason the forum failed to send me the reset password. I need to get a new account.

    It is already three years after my post asking for help. I was truly encouraged by you guys. Now I'm a product engineer (2 years) working with processing pressure vessel with control system in a manufacturer (100 folks, not a big one). I'm kind of stepping out of beginner range.

    I just want to share some of my experience with who may be interested in, like me before (fresh graduate, no internship, willing to grow)

    During 2015, I was a volunteer, participated in some design work, but not related to engineering. During that time, I got certificates:
    1. CSWP (Easy one, I would encourage you to get it when you are in college)
    2. GD&T Professional Certs. (A little bit tough. I studied myself for 2 months and went through a lot of study cases online. Finally I passed)

    In early 2016, I joined the current company as a draft, but learned quickly (not real quick, 3 months) on the hand calculation of heat transfer and mechanical calculation, by asking engineers, by reading the fancy articles in the library. After that, i only used 3 days totally understanding the computing software. What does that mean? That means young engineers shall try to understanding basic physic principles rather than rushing understanding the black box software.

    After that, i was quickly assigned the title as an engineer and participated in a lot of projects.

    Hope this will help.

    Good luck everyone, thanks for all your help again!

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    A PE was mentioned above. It's probably easier to get that when everything is still fresh in your mind. Depending on what you want to do, it may get you higher pay or make you more desirable. Like the higher degree, you can disclose it or not.

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    More important than just learning software is to know and understand the assumptions and conditions upon which it is based. Just grabbing an equation out of a handbook can get one into more shit than a sewer engineer.

    Tom

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    I will say as a BSME, I stayed away from the PE because of the liability.

    Your motivations in life will steer you in the correct field of engineering. There are many opportunities so don't be discouraged if the first few jobs are not what you expected, wanted, or thought would turn out.

    The best piece of advise: continue learning and developing skills on your own time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aysuio View Post
    I'm in NJ, a international student just got my graduate degree in Dec, and have been seeking for full-time job or intern in design & manufacturing related area for two weeks. I designed bevel-cylindrical gear reducer and have strong skill in 3-D CAD modeling, FEA, computer programming and optimization design, also knowledge of manufacturing process but without much experience. . . .
    Seems to me your qualifications may already be about 20 or 30 years out of date? What gear reducers needed to be designed in NJ, might already have been designed. 3D Cad modeling and FEA were an unexpected bonus in a new employee two or three decades ago. Now, they're about as much a distinction as "can type fast and even take dictation" was to a secretary in 1970.

    My point is that the industry you choose may be more important to your future than, say, getting a master's degree in FEA of gear trains or whatever. The US probably already has most of the engineers it's going to hire to design gearboxes, traditional automotive gear trains, to model or simply analyze someone else's designs, etc.

    That you're here and have completed an engineering degree -- and actually like programming and optimization -- suggest you're bright. That's a plus -- you might be a quick study.

    That you're an international student with a good but incomplete mastery of written English is probably a minus for many engineering firms -- but possibly a big plus for a firm with overseas clients or operations that could use dual-language proficiency. What is your native language -- and what company might benefit from your having it?

    As just a rough guess of a direction you might head -- agricultural machinery still needs good mechanisms designers. I'd consider finding an international firm, in some still growing and relevant industry (ag and construction machinery, medical devices, process equipment, robotics, autonomous vehicles and aircraft, etc.) and look for a challenging job. Your background and skills should be good enough to get you a job designing something like agricultural or construction equipment implements -- and there's a reasonable future for that industry as well as global needs that might leverage your native language?

    NJ (if you're set on staying near) has a large number of pharmaceutical industries -- and new drugs require a surprisingly large amount of automation from gene sequencers to process equipment for making the stuff.

    Once you've found a thriving industry to get a start in -- you might choose a firm that will keep you on as you later decide what sort of Master's degree might help you advance in one of the growth industries of the future.

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    Guys read the dates- OP came back to update his situation after 3 years. He seems to be doing great (and it's cool when someone buckles up a thread like this).


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