April 1971 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
This 1971 article from Popular Electronics magazine was the twelfth in a long series of features reporting on electronics related college degrees, technical schools, on-the-job training, military training, areas of specialty, career planning and options, current hiring practices and companies doing the hiring, salaries and hourly rates, worker's compensation and insurance, etc. All the issues of importance today were being covered even half a century ago, although the names have been changed for some entities. For instance the state employment bureaus are now referred to as departments of labor and industry; e.g., here in Pennsylvania, the DLI supplies statistics on labor classifications and average pay. It can be downloaded rather than needing to write to or visit the office to get a copy. Interestingly, this column also addresses a dilemma still faced by many people - quitting college before actually being awarded a diploma, even if only a few credits shy, it gains you no favor in the sight of an employer looking for someone with a college degree.
See other installments: 3rd, 7th, 12th, 20th
Opportunity Awareness - Thoughtful Reflections On Your Future
Twelfth in a Monthly Series by David L. Heiserman
Wages - Yours vs. Average
How call I find out whether or not my wages are in line with other electronic technicians working in my part of the country?
The statistics division of your state employment bureau compiles the most complete and impartial wage statistics for your part of the country. These annual reports break down the wage figures according to occupation, type of business or industry, and city or geographic area.
You can generally get a free copy of the report - or at least see one - by visiting your nearest state employment office. If that doesn't work, write directly to your state's division of labor statistics.
Also, your local library should have a recent copy of Employment and Earnings Statistics for States and Areas. This book, published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor statistics, is a collection of all the wage reports submitted by the states.
Engineering College Drop-Out
I am in my third year of study at a 5-year engineering college. Although the VA is helping me, I am finding it more and more difficult to be a responsible family man and full-time engineering student at the same time. So I will be dropping out of college at the end of this term to get a full-time job. I have four years of experience as a Navy Electronics Technician and three full years of college behind me. How can I use this background to help me get a good job in electronics?
You may think your three years of college add to your value as an employee; and strictly speaking, you're right. However, without some kind of diploma in your hand, you'll most likely find yourself making some tough compromises at job interviews. You certainly won't be able to get a graduate engineer's position and salary, for instance, but you should be able to do better than a man who has no higher education at all. You'll find yourself being classified somewhere in a murky gray area between a technician and an engineer. The question is "where?" Unless you can get some kind of diploma or know someone who can vouch for your abilities, you'll probably have to start out more on a technician level.
A transcript of grades might help convince prospective employers you have the potential for becoming a good engineer or engineering technician. Unless your grades are exceptionally good, however, displaying then at a job interview may do more harm than good.
It's a sad fact of life that a college drop-out with an "A" or "B" average has a tough time commanding the same kind of respect granted a college graduate with a "C" average.
You may have guessed by now that my advice is to stay in college - at least on a part-time basis. If you don't have the money or time for part-time college work, I suggest you transfer your credits to a two-year technical school and attend evening classes. You might be able to get a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology in less than a year.
The point is to get some formal credentials. You'll still have to work hard for what you want, but formal credentials will give you a better foothold at the start.
In our October 1970 column. we suggested that readers looking for jobs in distant localities. should contact the headquarters of Snelling and Snelling (a nationwide employment agency) in Paoli. Penn. Since they have 540 offices in 45 states. the agency tells us that they can serve you better if you contact your local office or the one in the nearest large city. (See the white pages of the telephone book.) A list of these offices may be obtained by writing to the Public Relations Dept. of Snelling and Snelling. Inc., 2 Industrial Blvd ., Paoli, PA 19301, but resumes should be sent to local offices.
Posted March 11, 2019