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    Discussion in 'General jobs discussion' started by GreyBubbleGum, Mar 12, 2012.

    1. GreyBubbleGum

      GreyBubbleGum Member

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      Hey guys. I am new here. Not only that, I am new the the engineering design concept too. To be honest, I am a high school drop out. I always wanted to become a mechanical desginer but people tell me without a high school degree or college I might as well try another career. I was wondering if I can get some tips from more expericence people on where to start now that I am at home most of the time. I really like this feild and would like to major in it and wonder if anyone here could help me get started. This subject is really large and I don't know where to start, and I don't feel like giving up just yet. I just found this forum by random. There were many more forum that I try before this but people on there seem to be busy posting about other stuff. I'm just wondering if this website is for someone like me. I've been looking around and it seem like I am the only one here with no experience. Should I really be here?
       
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    3. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Hi. Firstly welcome to the Mechanical Design Forum! Yes - definitely this site is for you. We welcome anyone with an interest in mechanical engineering. You don't have to be a professional. The whole point of this site is to share knowledge and help others in doing so.

      In answer to your question, usually mech engineers have a bachlelor degree from a university. I've known one or two mechanical design engineers who don't have one, but in their case they went through an apprenticeship. I'm not sure what other non-degree routes are available. What options have you considered? What is feasible for you given your present circumstances?

      These similar discussions might also be of interest to you:
      Advice for next step
      The right place?
       
    4. GreyBubbleGum

      GreyBubbleGum Member

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      Wow, this is the first forum I've been to where the admin actually post something in the forum other than updates and announcement. Well back to the matter at hands.

      Here in the USA, we don't do apprenticeship anymore. They now only except internship, which of course is like apprenticeship except it is a program design only for kids in college and are taking classes to major in that field. Everyone else who just want to pick up engineer does not qualify for this, so apprenticeship is out of the question for me. However, I didn't let that stop me so I just send random email to company if they would let me have an apprenticeship with them. Of course, non of them reply since I told them I'm not in college.

      So far right now I can only self-educate myself. I'm watching free mechanical engineering classroom videos online. I've checked out your two links and it help a-lot. I am really new to this, and after I read those post, maybe I should start learning how to use program like cad. I took a month of cad while I was in high school so I got some knowledge for it. I think I'll start there. Thanks for the tip.

      Is there any websites or books you would highly recommend for a newbie like me?
       
    5. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      In the US, to be an "engineer" you need an engineering degree (bachelors degree from an accredited college of university). That said, many companies employ draftsmen or "mechanical designers" who have no such degree, and sometimes the personnel department even lists them as "engineer", but without even a high school diploma it's highly unlikely you'd get hired unless you dropped out of high school years ago and worked your way up through the trades (as a mechanic or something). Most people doing the hiring tend to equate "high school dropout" with "lack of motivation" (and usually rightly so, though I'm not judging your situation).

      Your best bet is to first get your high school diploma, either by going back to school or getting a GED. Then look into a college program... many community colleges offer engineering classes, often leading to an associates degree, which isn't enough for many companies but sufficient for others.
       
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    6. GreyBubbleGum

      GreyBubbleGum Member

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      Dana, what you are saying is right on. However, that was the sole reason why I left high school in the first place. There are many people out their who are passionate about doing something but are denied because the don't have that piece of paper. We both know that people with those piece of paper are no guaranteed that they are "motivated". I ace my graduation test and was short 2.5 credit so I knew I pass high school already. Just didn't get that paper, oh well. To be honest, if money is the bigger motive to land your career, maybe you really aren't into doing that field in the first place. However, like you said it will be very hard to land a job in engineering without a degree but at least it's not impossible.

      I can't go back in with the same reason why I got out right? Thanks for the advice though.
       
    7. Douglas J. Carr

      Douglas J. Carr New Member

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      Why not. It certianly can't hurt to read and digest some of the problems and solutions that people come up with. I think a big help would be to enter into a trade shills program like machining to begin your education. The some of the best engineers I know were machinist as well. Knowing and understanding how to make parts helps when designing.
       
    8. cwarner7_11

      cwarner7_11 Well-Known Member

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      GreyBubbleGum-
      While the normal route to a position in design or engineering normally includes many years of education (either university or the school of hard knocks), self-education is a valuable approach. To be good at something, one must have a passion for it. It doesn't matter whether you want to be a design engineer or a Wall Street Banker or whatever- passion defines success. Passion andd perseverance.

      If you are interested in starting with CAD, there are a number of free CAD programs out there that might interest you. Have a look at the summary I wrote a while back- note that it may not include all options available today because the industry presents a sort of moving target. Many of the suggested packages include tutorials and other helpful documentation that can help you get started.

      Next, mathematics is going to be a necessity- algebra and geometry especially, but some basic calculus always helps. A good learning tool for this would be Geogebra.

      Many years ago, when I left the military, with a wife and child to support, I did not have the resources to attend college full time, but I knew I wanted an engineering degree. Back in those days, drafting was all done with paper and pencil (or ink, if you were really confident of your abilities!). CAD adn the Internet did not exist in those days. I put together a protfolio of a few drawings, then started going from one engineering firm to the next, showing my work, door to door, if you will. I landed a decent job as a draftsman, which made it possible for me to start night courses, which ultimately led to the opportunity to return to university full time and earn the engineering degree. Hard work, yes, but it was worth it. Along the way, I met a lot of engineers that were more than willing to help me, once they recognized the passion and perseverance in my approach...So, it is possible.

      How to get started: get the GED. Then start designing things- anything. Build what you design, and figure out why it doesn't work the way it is supposed to, then redesign. Share your work- the Internet makes that a whole lot easier than it was in my day.

      And, good luck.
       
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    9. GreyBubbleGum

      GreyBubbleGum Member

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      Great tips. Thank you very much. I check out Geogebra and I'm using it right now, and also look at you "summary". Look confusing but I'm sure I can teach myself them. Everyone on here have been great help, thanks.
       
    10. DAUBIER Jean-Philippe

      DAUBIER Jean-Philippe New Member

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      Hi ,
      Passion and perseverance are the key to success ! Don' t wait to get started ! Good luck
       
    11. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      No matter what else you do, you need to get the GED. It's just a piece of paper, but without it your job prospects are pretty much limited to flipping burgers, stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, or mowing lawns. A college degree is less necessary-- I've known some very good designers who had none-- but it helps. If nothing else, the degree gets you where you want to be faster than working your way up through lower level jobs. In the eyes of a hiring manager, a degree, if not absolutely required, is a [partial] substitute for experience.

      If you already have good mechanical skills, you might look for a job a job with a company that builds machinery as a technician or machine assembler. There are also machinist/toolmaker apprenticeship programs, presumably in partnership with a trade school, though I don't know much about them. Note that you're still going to need that GED to get into the trade school.

      Don't get hung up on CAD. It's a useful, even necessary, skill for an engineer, but it's just a tool, no different really from a drawing board and T-square. Some schools try to sell you training leading to a "career in CAD", but there really is no such thing if you don't have the basic design and drafting skills.
       

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