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Getting a hardware job without relevant internship experiences ?

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  • Getting a hardware job without relevant internship experiences ?

    Hello there, I am a French EE Engineer with around one year internships + six months work experience. I recently completed the "Learn to design your own boards" course while doing all the shown steps to make my arduino board with 3D models, libraries and output documentation and I previously designed a simple motor control (H bridge) with a PIC18 uC at the university.
    My current problem is that I find it difficult to get a job or position in hardware engineering without relevant internship experience. My internships were in the electrotechnics and embedded software engineering fields. Now that I have a little start in other fields recruiters seem not to want me for hardware positions and I almost always see at least three years of relevant professional experience as requirement on job offers.

    So now I ask myself, how do I get in the field of hardware engineering ?
    1. If I work another one or two years in other fields (e.g. measurements/electrotechnics) will I be definitively out of the field for recruiters ?
    2. Should I make many different boards, solder them and then send a pcb projects document with my applications ?
    3. Should I focus only on hardware, uC programming or FPGA or is it fine/good to have a basis in all three ?
    4. Is re-creating the boards from the basic Fedevel courses proof enough of my skills for a junior engineer position or should I only advertise my own projects on my profile ?
    5. Is high speed pcb design knowledge necessary at the beginner level now ? -> Should I complete the advanced courses or similar content before looking for a hardware job ?
    6. Do you think start-ups would employ junior engineers without relevant internship experiences ?
    7. What do you think are the mandatory skills for a junior hardware engineer ?
    8. Would you have general tips for getting a job in the field ?
    9. How many applications do you think I should have sent before asking myself such questions ?
    That may be a lot of question so feel free to partially answer them. Thank you in advance for your answers.

  • #2
    What worked for me:
    1) Every day search for companies which are working in the field you would like to get an experience in
    2) Every day select a few of these companies and send them your CV. Important - write a honest cover letter - why would you like to work in that company.

    I had to wait couple of months, but I found a great job this way.

    Even junior engineers are needed. What helps is to show that you are aware that you do not have much experience in the field, but you are happy to learn and ... do not be greedy. Recently I had a very bad experience with just graduated students who were thinking about themselves that they are extremely valuable even they had almost no experience and they would need at least 6 months of teaching & learning to be useful. They positioned themselves at the same level as senior hardware design engineers. I didn't like that attitude. And that was the reason why they didn't get the job - their attitude.

    Experience is not as important as personality. Experience can be learned, personality is very hard to change.

    PS: Most people are lazy. Doing anything extra can help. For example, I believe, just writing a honest cover letter will help you to get into the top 10% of applicants for a position. 90% of people just click on "Apply for this job" button. They do not really care about the job, they only want a salary. Be different.

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