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01/05/2013

3 Career tips for the engineering/IT graduate.

The job market for engineers has gotten somewhat saturated in recent years. While that does not mean that one will lack a job, it does mean that one may spend some months, or even a few years, out in the cold before they get a job. True, some graduates may get six figure pay in companies like Sony Erickson, Nokia, Airtel, Safaricom, KenGen, Geothermal Development Company- GDC, straight out of campus, but that is the exception, not the rule. A majority of engineering graduates will get somewhere between 30k and 50k as starting salaries. For those who get jobs in industrial area, the salaries may even be lower, at between 15k and 35k. So, how do you stand out?

Practical skills matter.
If you get a truly engineering job, then practical skills will matter far above anything. Perfect your skills in technical drawing and drafting, and hands on skills like wiring, welding, or using the lathe machine- for mechanical engineering graduates. The reason why some employers prefer diploma graduates is precisely because the degree holders sometimes look down upon such tasks. Even if you will be leading a team of
technicians, you will need to know a thing or two about basic practical skills and get your hands dirty, no matter how knowledgeable you are in other fields. Since computer is becoming a key part of everyday engineering operations, leading companies will also expect that your programming and IT skills are up to scratch, and that they can be smoothly blended with the traditional engineering skills.

If you want to go into consultancy, civil service/parastatal jobs are preferable.
Unless you are pursuing civil engineering, where you are likely to be utilizing your practical skills on the ground regardless of which company you work for, civil service and parastatal jobs are the way to go if you wish to go into consultancy in future. Civil service jobs, especially working on municipal and city council projects, will provide a wealth of experience that will make it easier to be registered as a professional engineer- where two or three years experience is usually needed.

However, the pay in government jobs may not be as high as in the private sector, so, you will have to choose between immediate rewards and less experience in private companies, or more skills but future rewards in the civil service. However, the lucky ones who get the best of both worlds are those who will get jobs in parastatals. KenGen, Geothermal Development Company- GDC, Kenya Power, and private companies of similar caliber. They will carry out work that is directly linked to their training, and will also get a high pay. For those in the electrical engineering field, leading telecommunications companies in the private sector just as well provide the much needed training, skills, and monetary rewards.

In the end, it will be upon you, which matters most at the beginning- money, skills, and experience, or a mixture of all three? You decide.

3 comments:

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  3. Engineer can be very rewarding career however students are often confused as regards selecting a particular branch of engineering & other issues, nice informative blog, thankyou!

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