Important Choices and Decisions upon Graduation
For the majority of engineering school graduates, one of the important decisions to be made is, “Which job opportunity shall I take?” Consider some of the alternatives:
Should it be a large organization or a small organization?
When all of the issues are considered, the advantages and disadvantages are surprisingly even between the large and the small organization. Normally the large organization will have a wider range of jobs, but the jobs may require greater specialization. The top of the ladder may be higher, but early progress may be more routine and less individual in its considerations. Large organizations most often will have a well-developed program of research, offering greater opportunities for those interested in research.
Some of the greatest opportunities for the young engineer lie in those small organizations where little use has been made of engineering talent. Usually these opportunities are not covered by any systematic plan of recruitment and must be sought out. Such work opportunities involve many uncertainties but offer much latitude for individual initiative. Frequently, there are no specific plans for recognition of professional training and status, but once the young engineer has become established within the organization, there may be little or no competition.
Within each area there are different functions which demand distinct types of individual interest and capacity. As an example, one may concentrate on investigation – experimental, analytical, or economic; or on design and development; on planning the programs of instruction; on supervision of operations; on the application of products or services; or on the closer related selling of goods and services.
Whatever the situation, the young engineering graduate would do well to look carefully over the field with an open mind. Each opportunity will have to be evaluated on its own merit. Matching the available position with the needs, background, education and experience of the individual applicant requires careful analysis.
A Good Job Opportunity Must Offer Two Ingredients for Personal Development
First: experience, though varied, must be cumulative. It must add up progressively to something that is coherent and must rise continually in the amount of responsibility required.
Second: the work must not be allowed to bog down in routine. Whether these things happen is most often your direct responsibility, rather than that of your employer. Any job is just about whatever you want to make it. Work is a powerful molding influence, and you will do well to ask yourself what will a given type of work make of me in a given time period, say fifteen years.
Work in engineering differs widely; some engineers work mostly with materials, some mostly with machines, some mostly with money, and some mostly with people. Your individual characteristics, interests, and inclinations will, in a significant way, determine in which of these areas you will eventually concentrate your efforts. You must choose among job opportunities. Your employer must choose among other applicants. From a survey of a representative group of industrial employers, the American Association of Engineering Societies established the points of consideration which carry the most weight in selecting a candidate for an engineering position. These characteristics, ranked in order of their importance, are as follows:
Although technical qualifications are important in an engineering position, it is the composite of personal traits and characteristics defined by the term “personality” that determine which young engineering candidate will be selected for the best position.