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Speaking as a 2004 UT ECE grad, I recall 2/3 of my class detested the program because they went into it for all the wrong reasons (mentioned in previous post). Most people won’t admit it while they’re in the program, because they still hope their efforts will generate matching returns, and that jobs will fly to them after they graduate. But a year or two after graduation, they usually become disgruntled, and realize in hindisght, there were better ways to advance. Yes, even after I got my job, I kept thinking, “damn it, all that work for jsut this?”

I am now a software developer for Torstar Digital. Having been in the technology field for 4 years now, I can say that U of T has done little to prepare me for the work force. I dont know what other universities are like, but if they don’t emphasize the importace of industry experience, then the students are in for a rough time.

I mentioned the wrong reasons for entering UT ECE previously, but forgot to mention the RIGHT reasons for entering UT ECE. Here they are..

1) You are a technology fanatic. You alreayd love technology so much that you build your own A to D converters for fun while everyone else is playing video games. You dont need university to expose you to technology or help you develop a passion for it, you already have it. You just want a degree on paper to make your passiion legit in the face of your employers.

2) You know friends, family or relatives who are engineers. You grew up around engineers. Hence, after you graduate, you’ve got a network of people to work off of.

DO NOT GO INTO ENG if you don’t know what it’s all about already. Don’t expect the university to teach you what it is, because they won’t. Academia and leading edge technology companies are two totally different entities. The former focuses on antiquated theory professors ramble on about, the latter focuses on money driven and efficient development practices.

So if youstil want to go into UT ECE, make sure you spend every summer working in a technology capacity. If you can’t find a paying job FIND A VOLUNTEER ENginEERINg job! Do eveyrthing you possibly can to get a co-op job. PEY “might” be a good option, but you can probably get by with out it. Make sure to expand your business contact networks. Even though everyone is still a student now, 5-10 years form now, they will all be lawyers, accountants and engineers. And trust me, they will become valuable resources to further your career (or start your business).

in fact, that’s probably the most important thing about university. Establishing contact with potential business partners. They may be your peers, friends, lab partners or study buddies now, but they will grow to be powerful allies in the future. So make sure you establish a good relationship with them now.

Written by John Lai

April 29th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

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