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nicksterdomus

interviewing a practicing engineer

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Hello, I'm a freshman at a university taking a "Foundations of Engineering" course. One assignment in this course is that I have to interview three practicing engineers. I've already interviewed two people I know, but they are in disciplines that I am not interested in at all. I read the beginner section of these forums all the time, now I found this forum and I am wondering if anyone who is a practicing software engineer would like to answer my four interview questions, I'd really appreciate it. Here are the questions: 1. What discipline do you work in, and what is your current job description? 2. What do you like about your current job? 3. Anything you don't particularly like about your current job? 4. Anything you would recommend an engineering student do while still in school to make his/her education more worthwhile? All you would have to do is email your responses to me at nicksterdomus@gmail.com Many thanks to anyone who would like to help out an aspiring engineer. :) Also, if you do respond, please post here so others know I already got a response. Thank you for your time. Nick

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1. What discipline do you work in, and what is your current job description?

I'm a recient Computer Engineering graduate who is working as the Software Tools Administrator for my company. What might be of more interest to you is during my internship with this company I worked in next gen software development which I will be going back to after I get this position organized...

2. What do you like about your current job?

My company produces avionics equipment so next gen software tended to lean towards developing new methods writing software to operate our hardware. I also learned more about using math equations in programs working here than I ever did at school.

3. Anything you don't particularly like about your current job?

Working in avionics means you have to follow FAA regulations that state EVERYTHING must be documented to a t. This includes in depth requirement design, heavy code commenting and very detailed testing of the software. While very tedious at times, these proceedures also teach you how to write programs that (hopefully) work right the first time.

4. Anything you would recommend an engineering student do while still in school to make his/her education more worthwhile?

I feel the best thing that anyone in a technical field can do while in school is to find a company that you can work with in the field while you are going to school. School is very good at teaching theory but actually surviving in the work place can be some thing different. ( Nothing in my engineering courses included Software Licensing and Administration... heh.)

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Thank you very much! Your job sounds really interesting and the advice is something I've heard from a couople teachers, it's nice to hear it from someone who has went through it recently.

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1. I work for a military contractor desigining battlefield planning software. Its fairly similar to games only we take things to an incredible level of detail... But we don't have the flashy graphics ;)

2. I love the domain. I could never work on weapon systems and the like due to my own personal ethics issues. But the planning and knowledge engineering is facinating. I also like that fact that we are MANDATED to create the best possible quality. It's bad if we are late or over-budget, but its far worse if someone dies because we cut corners.

3. The politics of working with different companies as teammates on one project, but they are competitors on other projects. As an engineer I want the project I'm working on to be the best it can be, I hate playing the games required because the person I'm working with may be competiting with us on different project.

4. Don't sit at the back of the class and wait to graduate. Some professors (especially in the more advanced classes) have a great many industry contacts, and can help direct you toward a career that interests you. I'm not talking about brown nosing, but don't be afraid to talk to a professor about your interests.

-Jeff

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Hi ya all,

Interesting questions - and in order to give you another answer, let's go :)

Quote:
Original post by nicksterdomus
1. What discipline do you work in, and what is your current job description?

I am a lead software engineer. My current job is to develop new image manipulation algorithms which are included in a professional film scanner (the one which powers the Kodak System 89 minilab - some infos here (PDF). I had been responsible for creating the user space driver for this driver for 4 years until Jan-04.

Quote:
Original post by nicksterdomus
2. What do you like about your current job?

Research. Design. Code. I feel like an architect.

Quote:
Original post by nicksterdomus
3. Anything you don't particularly like about your current job?

I have been working on this project for too long, and I'm tired of it. I want to move - and I'll move in the next weeks.

Quote:
Original post by nicksterdomus
4. Anything you would recommend an engineering student do while still in school to make his/her education more worthwhile?

A) Try to find a job in the software industry - one or two day / week is enough. It really helps the understanding of what your job is.
B) Code at home, experiment concepts, read books, improve your math - during your spare time :)


HTH,

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