Tag Archives: salary

I was talking to my brother-in-law about salaries the other day. He mentioned he knew some police officers in the area that had base salaries in the $70-80K range. With the regular overtime they got policing public events like carnivals and sporting events (rough gig!), their salaries went into the six-figure range. Aside from the shock I had at my decision not to be a police officer, I caught myself wondering: How much do I think that job is really worth? Part of me thinks that the police should be paid well. They are protecting people and that’s an important thing. It’s an odd situation too, because we are in a relatively safe area. Should cops in the safer areas get paid well because they continue to keep us safe? Or should they be paid less because the area is already safe? (And for those wondering: yes, this is a suburb and…

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I’m heading car shopping today. I’m not particularly excited about it. I’m really not a fan of spending money. I’ve written before about being a cheapskate as an engineer. I think it’s just baked into my fabric and I don’t think I’m the only engineer like that. However, there are exceptions to when I’m a cheapskate and I’ve been changing over the years. Many times in engineering, there is a huge value in paying more for something than you would deem natural. One example is shipping. Would I normally pay $100 to get a box of parts the next day? No, of course not. I’d wait and complain about not having my parts if I were ordering them at home. Would I pay a consultant to help me solve a big problem I’m having in order to get the job done faster? No, I’d strain over it at home for weeks, still…

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There’s been a constant call in the media to recruit more people into science, technology, engineering and math. I’ve talked a lot about this issue on my own blog. Mainly that I believe the argument that we are graduating too few people into STEM disciplines is one propagated by industry to keep wages low on the one hand but also to feed their desire to expect more and more from entry level employees and cut back on training that was standard in the past. There’s been reports on both sides, arguing that impending mass retirement will create a shortage and others that we’re falling behind other countries and need to catch up. Other concerns are probably valid but mis-targeted. Analysis I have done on open jobs shows that the kinds of engineers we’re actually short of are software engineers and programmers and developers rather than the more core engineering disciplines. But…

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A question was posed my way on the economics of academia. The question(s) asked are as follows: Why, with the high cost of university tuition, can’t schools have teach-only professors? With a ratio of 20:1 in the classroom and a rate of 100/hour (roughly), why do professors still need to get research dollars? Is it economically feasible to have teaching-only professors? Why doesn’t this happen more? Why do universities have to rely on research funding to stay afloat? We were talking about the demands on researchers and how that prevents better teaching (because so much time is involved chasing funding) and were questioning why not just give up the research side of things? Wow, that’s a loaded set of questions. There is, actually, an easy answer to this. In short, we have institutes that do specialize in teaching. Community colleges and technical colleges specialize in teaching rather than research. If…

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This past weekend, Ken Cid from the US Department of Commerce was nice enough to leave us  a comment about the administration’s jobs prospects for STEM workers. The link to their blog is here [figure credit] and the actual report can be downloaded from here. Naturally, this sent us Engineer Bloggers into a tizzy for two reasons. One, They found us! And two, we would actually have to craft some sort of response that might actually be read by government media folks. You’ll probably find a better response from Chris Gammell or FrauTech, who are much better with stats than I am. Sadly, they post later in the week so you’re stuck with me for now. In Summary: The STEM Jobs Report says that 7.6M people or 5.5% of the workforce is employed in STEM fields and over the past 10 years, STEM fields have had more job growth than non-STEM fields. Also,…

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Last week, I posted on Engineer Blogs about how you can definitely go to engineering graduate school for free (and get paid) if you’re a US citizen. Helena posted the following comment: I’m entering college this fall as a freshman, and I’ve enjoyed reading EB for a long time. I’ve always known that I wanted to go to graduate school, but the chances seem to be slimming down, due to the intensity of the undergrad curriculum and the lack of research in my field of interest at renowned universities. The tens of thousands of dollars of debt I’ll have at the end of my undergrad isn’t helping the outlook either. What is the benefit of having a graduate or PhD level degree, as opposed to entering into industrial research for specialized companies? I intended to write just a short answer but, that really wasn’t possible. I definitely needed more space…

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            We’ve talked several times about salary issues on EngineerBlogs.org. Over time, engineering salaries tend to level off, and one has to go into management to make more money. On the other hand, a new study came out showing that, despite this plateau, engineers make more money over time than high school grads and nearly every other major.  If you have an degree in engineering, Education Week reports that you can expect to make $1.1 million more than a high school graduate.  (More if you have a graduate degree!)  The down side is that engineering is not considered one of the most stable areas of employment…nor was it the most unstable. The report noted that minorities still make a significantly less than their white counterparts, and women are clustered into the lowest earning majors. One thing the study tracked was undergraduate major, but it didn’t…

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That, to your left, is detective-turn-teacher Roland “Prezbo” Pryzbylewski from HBO’s The Wire. If you have seen The Wire, then you know the phrase “jukin’ the stats”. If not, rent it, buy it, steal it, do whatever you have to do to see it because you’ve missed out on one of the greatest dramas ever to grace a TV screen. In short, The Wire is all about Baltimore in the early 2000s and is centered around Baltimore crime, police work, and city politics. One of the recurring themes in the show is the phrase “jukin’ the stats” which is how the police manipulate the numbers to make crime rates appear to go down. Now, I know I’ve gone far off field so I’m going to bring this back to engineers and engineering. As engineers, we tend to be very good at everyday math. Also, we probably like our data to be presented in…

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This week’s theme at Engineer Blogs is all about salaries. Chris gave us some excellent big picture view for those starting out in engineering; FrauTech provided insight to the current conditions and future outlook for engineers in the United States; while for Cherish, the temporary-engineer and cash-poor grad student, she isn’t in it for the money. Bless Cherish for still being able to hold on to her ideals. Still, if you’re in engineering for the money, you’re in the wrong industry. But that doesn’t mean that as a practising engineer, one shouldn’t try to milk as much out of your employer as possible. At the very least, one should be able to get paid more than an academic. Given the big picture has already been covered, I will focus my attention on a specific case study and what lessons we can draw from this case. Let me start by saying…

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If there’s anything I’ve gained from corporate America it’s realism and bitterness in abundance. Chris just wrote an excellent post on the expectations for starting salaries in electrical engineering. His curve for how an engineer’s salary might start out comparitively high but then flatten out over time is spot on. Chris gives some good numbers that are fairly reasonable for a mechanical engineer as well. Back before this recession the average graduate with a BS from my institution (which ranks fairly well, but not in the top 10 or anything crazy) was about 55k. Most of these graduates would be taking jobs in high cost metropolitan areas so this might run a bit high compared to other places. And there are several great comments on the post. An old engineer discusses the importance of training in the latest technology and how companies often try to squeeze employees out if they…

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