top of page

Ask Engineers Top Questions of the Week Answered | Engineering IRL Podcast Rev.39

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

The r/AskEngineers thread on reddit is a nice place for people to ask engineers questions. Sometimes it's engineers asking engineers questions and others it's asked by non-engineers.

The questions asked by non-engineers tend to be technical oriented but the top questions of the week I'll be answering here will be the former.

I decided to make episode 39 of the Engineering IRL podcast dedicated to answering a few questions as it has been quite some time since the previous episode release. The top questions engineers asked:

  1. "I feel like I know absolutely nothing from my undergrad. How did you feel when you graduated?"

  2. "A good reason for leaving a company"

  3. "Task Time Estimation Multiplied by PI"

  4. "Should I grad next year or avoid covid affected economy and go for internship year and a masters?"

We also covered these topics:

  1. 10 Steps to Problem Solving

  2. Writing Technique to Prevent Writers Block

  3. Book Launch Date

"I feel like I know absolutely nothing from my undergrad. How did you feel when you graduated?"

When I graduated I certainly felt as though I knew nothing. Nothing practical at the very least. I studied Computer Systems Engineering and all of the other Interns starting with me were all Electrical Engineers.

So I couldn't even laugh at the electrical engineering jokes on purpose. I was just going with the flow. Nevertheless employers know they will be giving their graduate engineers the skills they need on the job. Even if you were an experienced engineer in the field, there is a certain amount that will be new to you in regards to how the company is run, or alternative set of products and rules.

There's no shortcuts to these things so any engineer would be learning. As a grad they would expect a certain level of brain capability and professionalism more than anything else. That you are capable of understanding some of the base principles.

Most companies have standards or software that allow them to calculate things so this is why it feels unneeded.

"A good reason for leaving a company"

In an interview setting when you get asked why you left your old company you do want to avoid bad mouthing your previous company. Not saying you should lie, but overall you want to minimize the negative tone associated with your interview and ultimately, you.

"Task Time Estimation Multiplied by PI"

Do I multiply my task time estimations by 3? No I do not, but it is not bad advice. I do tend to add buffer but I've also been a culprit of assuming ideal "working on it full time" conditions and so I answer optimistically. You would rather under promise and over deliver rather than the other way around.

Be careful if you are new, you don't want to totally over-inflate either or you might get picked less often for a task.

"Should I grad next year or avoid Covid affected economy and go for internship year and a masters?"

If you can make it in this economy, you will make it in others. The thing is, there's always going to be something wrong with the timing of the economy or other. What you want most is to be clear about your goals. If you want to be a full fledged engineer ASAP I'd say go for it now. You can't allow road blocks like this to derail you.

Now you've defined a win-win situation with the alternative being an internship year and then follow up with a masters.

If your vision for yourself was to always have a Masters degree, then it may be a great opportunity. That is your goal, go for it.

Just consider that if it's a nice to have, or just idealistic and you aren't too sure, if you get a job and work as an engineer, you will get to learn which specific Masters will be most beneficial to you. Better yet, you could also get support from the company you are working for and you might be getting paid while you study.

"What are the differences between Entry level Engineering and Senior Engineering in terms of roles and responsibility?"

There are several differences but there can be similarities in specific roles and responsibility. Executing the project work assigned to you will be the same. But the senior engineer will own more responsibility of the delivery of the project. Let's say a junior is in charge of delivering a part of the project. It is the Senior Engineers job to check. Even if you messed up and it is literally you that is the root cause of the problem, responsibility-wise the senior engineer wears this. Management is asking he or she what happened.

Listen on the Engineering IRL Podcast

For all of these questions I have answered in more detail in the Engineering podcast if you prefer to listen.

Check it out wherever you get your podcast.


OT Ultimate Guide Cover.png
bottom of page