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Engineering

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by idratherbedivin, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. idratherbedivin

    idratherbedivin Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Washington, DC
    140
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    I'm not really sure what forum this would go under so I just decided to put it here. I am in high school and am thinking about majoring in engineering. I was wondering if there are any engineers on this site. I want to know if your job allows you enough time to dive a fair amount and are you able to use any of your engineering skills such as mechanical or electrical engineering to tweak or fix scuba gear?
     
  2. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    11,383
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    Yes there are many engineers here, including myself.

    Sure we find time to dive, we have lives too! :)

    Being technically inclined can't hurt. I'm a DIY sort of person anyway and I have done some gear modifications and additions.

    Having a good working knowledge of engineering principles certianly takes a lot of the mystery out of the physics behind this sport.

    Pete
     
  3. idratherbedivin

    idratherbedivin Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Washington, DC
    140
    5
    18
    It seems like engineering is the business to be getting into right now. The market for engineering jobs out of college is growing a lot. I realize that you have lives too :) but coming out of college I'm sure not to many jobs will be short enough hours to get a dive or 2 in every day and I was wondering what are the hours an average engineer works. It is probably the same as every other job but I just thought I'd ask. Also, since scuba gets pretty expensive, do most engineers make enough to easily support their habit?
     
  4. ItsBruce

    ItsBruce Solo Diver

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    If you want to be in a position to dive and have a comfortable income, you'll have to put diving on the back burner, or at least on a slow simmer. Focus on your education and on being the best engineer you can possibly be. That will give you the best chance of finding yourself in a position where you can afford a house, car, wife, kids and diving (with wife and/or kids).
     
  5. SharkLover

    SharkLover Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Cypress, Texas
    91
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    I am a mechanical engineer and have been designing computer hardware for 22 years.

    Well, my job takes me to China and Taiwan for several week long trips throughout the year. On my way back from these areas I (that is by myself) stop by places like Palau, Yap Guam etc for a week. I bring all of my gear with me so I have a 60 cu/in bag. That takes care of my flight, I use CO miles from Guam to wherever.
    I will do this 2 times per year.

    I am married with 2 teenage kids and no one dives but me so this is my time. My work/family are supportive of my efforts. Just so long as I go to places that they would like to go then I am okay!

    So yes, it does work with this profession very well.
    You can PM me if you need addtional info.




     
  6. tehach

    tehach Angel Fish

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    The hours can be longer than a typical 8-hour day that's for sure, just depends on the particular employer and/or project.

    Enough? I suppose, but sometimes it doesn't seem commensurate with the effort it took to get a degree and license. It does support the habit however.
     
  7. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    11,383
    820
    113
    As you said it all depends.
    Most engineering jobs are sallary and that usually brings an expectation of a little more than a 40 hour week. The trade-off can be some flexibility in scheduling.

    2 dives a day is a bit much. I did average a dive every other day from June to November when we all slowed down for the winter. I suppose if I were single I would have been diving even more.

    Money? It's a carear ladder like most professions but if you aren't a travel or boat junkie scuba can be a very affordable hobby once you are trained and equipped.
     
  8. Turtle Diver

    Turtle Diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Carlsbad, CA, USA
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    I'm an electrical engineer, and my job does support my dive habit. My job has sent me to Hawaii and Florida on occaission, where I managed to do a bunch of dives on the weekends.
     
  9. pj5

    pj5 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Houston, TX
    74
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    Probably more than you want to know, but here it is:

    Mechanical engineering would be more useful than electrical engineering as far as helping you tweak or fix scuba gear. I suspect mechanical aptitude is more important than engineering knowledge, though. I know an engineer or two that can design some fine equipment, but they'll break it if they touch it.

    Entry level engineers are almost always salaried. Companies generally expect salaried engineers to work 50+ hour weeks, and they usually don't pay overtime. You can strike the o-word out of your vocabulary if you are a salaried engineer with "senior II", "principal" or "executive" in your title. If you invent something that is even remotely related to anything your company does, the company gets the patent. There are fringe benefits such as medical, dental, etc that the company will pick up the tab on for you, you will usually pay extra for covering spouse and kids.

    Salaried engineers typically start off with 2 weeks of paid vacation per year. At my company, your vacation and 1 week sick time are in a single account (so you start out with 3 weeks per year time off. You should end up with at least 3 weeks paid vacation after 5 years. How it accrues after that varies, and typically maxs out at 5-6 weeks per year. My company limits the amount of vacation you carry forward into the next year to 1 week, which I believe is a common practices.

    This, of course, assumes you stay with the same company long enough. If you switch jobs (voluntarily by quitting or forcibly by being laid off), you will have to start over with two weeks of vacation plus whatever sick time you're allowed. The harsh fact is that the easiest way for an engineering firm to save money is to pay less out in wages and salaries. If you end up developing an engineering skill on the job that for some reason is in high demand, you can sometimes negotiate for more vacation up front when you switch jobs; but you pretty much have to walk on water, and you are likely to be the first to get dumped in the next lay off. If you're that good, you should consider becoming a contractor or a consultant.

    Once you get enough experience to be obtain the word "senior" in your title, you have the option of becoming a contractor (requires switching to another company). In the engineering world, a contractor is usually paid hourly and usually goes home with more money per hour in his/her pocket, though they may not get medical/dental benefits or paid vacation. Companies may go so far as to not allow contract engineers to work more than 40 hours because they have to pay them for the hours they work. Contractors are the first to get the axe when it's time for lay offs.

    As a contract engineer, if you are willing to move, don't buy a lot of toys (travel light), and are disciplined enough to build a rainy day fund for being unemployed between contracts, you can work the system and do very well for yourself. Sometimes the company will compensate you for moving expenses. Sometimes you can take a temporary job out of town and get paid per diem for up to a year, at which point you quit or decide to move there. (In the mean time, you've probably already moved into a apartment there and replenished your rainy day fund.) You may be very busy when you're working, but if you build up your rainy day fund you can take several months off for vacation and casual job hunting. Networking is required, and you must build a good reputation for yourself. Collect as many written references as people are willing to give you, keep in touch with as many folks as you can, and don't burn a lot of bridges...your ability to get your next job may depend on this. You go where the work takes you, but maybe look harder where the diving is good. If you want get married and intend to live this lifestyle (really as much a lifestyle choice as a career choice), you must choose a like-minded spouse (always willing to relocate and willing to travel light). This lifestyle isn't for everyone, certainly not for packrats or folks who want to put down roots.

    If you get the next level of promotion past senior ("Senior II", "Principal", "Executive", etc) and have developed expertise in an engineering discipline in high demand then you may have a future as a consultant getting paid a lot of money and have a better ability to take off all the time you want to. If you have also been published in a technical journal, have an advanced engineering degree, or have invented something in high demand, you may have a future as a consultant getting paid an obscene amount of money and have the ability to work whenever you darn well feel like it.

    As an executive engineer or a consultant, you may be able to take long business trips to locations where you can dive when you're not working. Problem is, you may not end up with much play time on a business trip. If they are flying you out there because of an ugly situation/problem, you'll probably be pretty busy. If they are flying you out to improve their performance, you have a fighting chance of being able to get in some dive time. Though taking a week of vacation after the business trip ends is always an option (moving the airline departure date out to correspond with the end of your vacation generally isn't a problem).
     
  10. darylm74

    darylm74 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pittsburgh PA
    726
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    My OW instructor is an Engineer as well as an active rescue diver. It is really going to depend on the company you work for instead of job title. I am a database administrator and have worked places where I was lucky to get to take vacation and others where I had more time than I knew what to do with.
     

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