This last week has been a wild one for me. Along with the two tests that I had I got a job offer from my current job. I guess I should rewind even a bit farther to explain myself. A couple of weeks ago I interviewed with Spectrum Engineers. They are an engineering firm here in downtown Salt Lake City that specializes in the electrical system design for large building projects. They are set up a lot like a law firm and once you get your PE (professional engineering license - which you can't get before being in industry for 5-7 years) then you can become a partner in the business. They pay extremely well (they've told me numerous times that nobody has ever left over money - they've even got engineers making up into the $300,000s, but of course they are workaholics). I think that their average salaries for PEs are in the low to upper 100s. In short, the way that I see it right now I have 4 options with where to work.
1. The first option is with Rocky Mountain Power. Like I mentioned, they gave me an incredibly generous offer earlier this week. The offer is for a field engineering position in the Salt Lake City Metro - the job that I would probably most enjoy doing there. They have an incentive (i.e. bonus) plan that pays up to 12% a year, I would get a car and work in an office with guys whom I get along with extremely well. The problem is, power engineering is nothing like the other three types of jobs I am considering (If you want to know what my offer was, just ask. I've got no shame and don't really care if others know what I'm making - as long as that information isn't used directly as a bargaining chip. Just know that if you ask me what I'm making, then I'll probably ask you!).
2. The next option is with Spectrum Engineering. As I mentioned above, I interviewed with them a couple of weeks ago - and I was actually offered an internship - that I ultimately accepted. This internship only lasts through the end of the school year - but obviously I'll have the opportunity to sign on with them once school ends if I so desire. I don't see accepting this internship as turning down the power company in any way. It's a chance to try something else and see if I like it. Working for the power company or Spectrum Engineering mainly requires on the job training - none of this stuff is taught at the U (they don't have a power engineering program (or even a class); the closest ones are Idaho State University or New Mexico State University). The stuff that Spectrum Engineering does as well is also quite unique for EEs. Very few EEs go onto being professional engineers because it is required in so few jobs.
3. The next type of job that I have been pursuing (although not as actively as I could be) is with defense contractors. These companies (such as L3, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc.) have stable, interesting jobs and pay very well. They would give me the opportunity to easily work all throughout the United States because they are all located in the majority of the 50 states and some have divisions in all 50. I've also had a couple of interviews with Hill Air Force Base. This wouldn't be my dream job, but they do a lot of really cool stuff up there. I would not sign on making nearly as much at the other jobs but the opportunity for speedy advancement is available. They would offer me a 25% signing bonus and write off up to $20,000 of student loans (I don't have nearly that much, so I would have them pay off my credit card - and then go buy a $10,000 plasma tv...).
4. The last type of job that I am most seriously considering (I once again haven't been too actively seeking) is with semiconductor design and/or manufacturing companies. These are jobs that I am most qualified for because of my schoolwork. I have designed numerous chips, had a couple of semesters of lab in the University's microfab cleanroom and feel very comfortable with this type of work. My adviser has been trying to recruit me for a couple of these companies. This is the type of work that I feel most passionate about - but I haven't had the chance to do any of the jobs mentioned above.
As you can tell, I've got a lot going through my head. All throughout the day I'll decide to seriously commit to any one of the mentioned areas but I'm all over the place throughout the day (and Rocky Mountain Power wants to know by the end of the week - they may have to wait). I feel a little bit of extra pressure with these decisions because they are difficult industries to move between. Moving from the power company to a fab engineer at IMFlash (flash RAM semiconductor company) would be very difficult because there are almost no similarities between the two types of work - and the same goes for Spectrum Engineering and the defense contractors. Anyone that made it through this long post deserves to be commended - but instead why don't you just share with me your thoughts?