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Author Topic: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.  (Read 1013 times)

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Offline EltonTopic starter

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New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« on: July 26, 2012, 03:20:30 PM »
Hi everyone! As the title says, I am pretty lost. I graduated from Penn State at the Fall of 2011 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. For the past year, I had been trying to find a job in my field, with a particular interest in control theory. No luck; but probably because I lack any job experience in this field, and never had luck finding internships while at school. I had been working as a cashier at a local restaurant, so I am technically not unemployed, but it is really hard to pay off bills with near minimum wage.

While I was at Penn State, I had the option to join the Penn State Robotic's Club, but instead, I joined the LionTech Rocket Labs (formerly known as USLI), to build rockets. I have no regrets, and learned a lot, but sometimes, I look back and say to myself, maybe I could have done both. So recently, I finally decided build my first robot with the help and tutorial from http://letsmakerobots.com/start/. I enjoyed every bit of it, as much as I did with building rockets, even though the robot is admittedly, quite elementary.

So I want get into the field of robotics, or at least give it a good try. The problem is, I have been away from school for a year. I am not sure which track I should and can take. I could go back to school for Masters in Robotics, but not sure my success rate due to my education in Aerospace Engineering. I could try find a job, but I already have trouble finding jobs relevant to my field.

What should I do? Is there a third or fourth option? Have any of you guys been in this situation? Tell me your success stories.

Thanks for reading.

Offline EltonTopic starter

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 02:19:13 PM »
Whelp, I took off work for the GREs today. Even though I didn't prep for it at all, I think I did very well with the math portion, but the reading and writing... not so much, especially the writing portion. I left my answers in outline form due to time constraint. I know many of you guys would say to apply to Carnegie Mellon, but that's beyond me, I think. My GPA is 3.65 and I was fairly active in clubs, but I don't think my resume is exemplary.

I also started applying for jobs outside the aerospace companies. Probably one of my downfalls was that my job search was too narrow. I am looking into mini quadcopter, which I find interesting, mainly because I never learned how helicopter flight works, or how they maintain stability and control. Anything new I usually find interesting.

So yeah, I am going both routes. Hopefully, I will land on one of them. I am still job and school searching.

I am also looking into building more personal robots on my free time. The owner of this site has pretty nice tutorials. Thanks!

Offline waltr

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 08:48:10 PM »
How are your general electronic troubleshooting and soldering skills?

Maybe work a few short term jobs as an electronic tech. After I graduated with a Physics degree I work a few electronic tech jobs through a temp agency then got hired as a senior R&D Tech and got promoted to engineer at a company that make instrumentation. I gained lots of hands on experience in those temp jobs.

Maybe this would work for you.

Offline EltonTopic starter

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2012, 10:18:54 AM »
Can you elaborate on general electronic troubleshooting?

I have done my fair share of soldering. When I build rockets, I had to solder components for the science bay. I also put a hidden USB flash drive inside my mouse, which needed soldering. lol But I think I am overall, a novice, as I never had extensive training. I just learned soldering through YouTube videos. I never thought of putting that on my resume though.

An electronic tech position does sound pretty fun. I will make a note of that.

But yeah, you inspired me to call up the Aerotek Staffing Agency this morning, who had contacted my several times already. I will be speaking to a recruiter on Monday. Hopefully, everything goes well!

Congrats for being a senior R&D tech, and thanks for the reply, waltr!

Offline waltr

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 11:32:02 AM »
Quote
general electronic troubleshooting?

You understand the basics like resistive voltage divider, Op-amp gain (inverting and non-inverting) bipolar ( NPN & PNP biasing) & MOSFET transistors.
Then be able to determine what is not working properly.

Also know about digital circuits, Low/High logic levels. Binary, hex numbers and data and address busses, and
decode logic. Good to know something about micro-processors, memory and serial devices and protcols.

Now you don't need to know it all but be able and willing to read data sheets and app notes to learn. This is what your college education should have taught  you which is 'how to learn'.

Consider a tech position an 'internship' and resume building for the job you really want.
And yea, hobby experience does count so put on your resume Hobbies: building robots, soldering, programming etc. This allows an interviewer to ask you additional questions and for you to talk about things you like doing.

Quote
Congrats for being a senior R&D tech
I'm now an Engineer and have senior techs work for me (they also work for the other engineers in the RnD department).

Good luck with your interview and be sure to have fun while learning.

Offline EltonTopic starter

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 05:25:22 PM »
Hey, thanks again waltr. I do not have the money right now but I do plan to become a more active member of this forum to build robots.

Offline jkerns

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Re: New to robotics, unemployed, and need help or inspiration.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 10:42:36 AM »
Hi everyone! As the title says, I am pretty lost. I graduated from Penn State at the Fall of 2011 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. For the past year, I had been trying to find a job in my field, with a particular interest in control theory.
A background in control systems can be used in purd near any industry. And I worked with more than one aero engineer when I was in the auto industry. Aero is big in automotive and active aero devices are starting to make an appearance - might be what you are looking for.
I get paid to play with robots - can't beat that with a stick.

http://www.ltu.edu/engineering/mechanical/robotics_engineering.asp

 


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