The manufacturing industry remains an essential component of the U.S. economy.  In 2016, manufacturing accounted for almost twelve percent (11.7%) of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and contributed slightly over two trillion dollars ($2.18 trillion) to our economy. Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds close to two dollars ($1.81) to the economy because it contributes to development in auxiliary sectors such as logistics, retail, and business services.  I personally think this is a striking number when you compare that contribution to other sectors of our economy.  Interestingly enough, according to recent research, manufacturing could constitute as much as thirty-three percent (33%) of the U.S. GDP if both its entire value chain and production for other sectors are included.  Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment in manufacturing has been trending up since January of 2017. After double-digit gains in the first quarter of 2017, six thousand (6,000) new jobs were added in April.  Currently, the manufacturing industry employs 12,396,000 people, which equals more than nine percent (9%) of the U.S. workforce.   Nonetheless, many experts are concerned that these employment gains are soon to be halted by the ever-rising adoption of automation. Yet automation is inevitable—and like in the previous industrial revolutions, automation is likely to result in job creation in the long term.  If we look back at the Industrial Revolution.


The Industrial Revolution began in the late 18th century when a series of new inventions such as the spinning jenny and steam engine transformed manufacturing in Britain. The changes in British manufacturing spread across Europe and America, replacing traditional rural lifestyles as people migrated to cities in search of work. Men, women and children worked in the new factories operating machines that spun and wove cloth, or made pottery, paper and glass.

Women under 20 made comprised the majority of all factory workers, according to an article on the Industrial Revolution by the Economic History Association. Many power loom workers, and most water frame and spinning jenny workers, were women. However, few women were mule spinners, and male workers sometimes violently resisted attempts to hire women for this position, although some women did work as assistant mule spinners. Many children also worked in the factories and mines, operating the same dangerous equipment as adult workers.  As you might suspect, this was a great departure from times prior to the revolution.


In an attempt to create more jobs, the new administration is reassessing free trade agreements, leveraging tariffs on imports, and promising tax incentives to manufacturers to keep their production plants in the U.S. Yet while these measures are certainly making the U.S. more attractive for manufacturers, they’re unlikely to directly increase the number of jobs in the sector. What it will do, however, is free up more capital for manufacturers to invest in automation. This will have the following benefits:

  • Automation will reduce production costs and make U.S. companies more competitive in the global market. High domestic operating costs—in large part due to comparatively high wages—compromise the U.S. manufacturing industry’s position as the world leader. Our main competitor is China, where low-cost production plants currently produce almost eighteen percent (17.6%) of the world’s goods—just zero-point percent (0.6%) less than the U.S. Automation allows manufacturers to reduce labor costs and streamline processes. Lower manufacturing costs results in lower product prices, which in turn will increase demand.

Low-cost production plants in China currently produce 17.6% of the world’s goods—just 0.6% less

than the U.S.

  • Automation increases productivity and improves quality. Smart manufacturing processes that make use of technologies such as robotics, big data, analytics, sensors, and the IoT are faster, safer, more accurate, and more consistent than traditional assembly lines. Robotics provide 24/7 labor, while automated systems perform real-time monitoring of the production process. Irregularities, such as equipment failures or quality glitches, can be immediately addressed. Connected plants use sensors to keep track of inventory and equipment performance, and automatically send orders to suppliers when necessary. All of this combined minimizes downtime, while maximizing output and product quality.
  • Manufacturers will re-invest in innovation and R&D. Cutting-edge technologies. such as robotics, additive manufacturing, and augmented reality (AR) are likely to be widely adopted within a few years. For example, Apple® CEO Tim Cook recently announced the tech giant’s $1 billion investment fund aimed at assisting U.S. companies practicing advanced manufacturing. To remain competitive, manufacturers will have to re-invest a portion of their profits in R&D. An important aspect of innovation will involve determining how to integrate increasingly sophisticated technologies with human functions to create highly effective solutions that support manufacturers’ outcomes.

Technologies such as robotics, additive manufacturing, and augmented reality are likely to be widely adopted soon. To remain competitive, manufacturers will have to re-invest a portion of their profits in R&D.


Now, let’s look at the five ways in which automation will affect the workforce.

  • Certain jobs will be eliminated.  By 2025, 3.5 million jobs will be created in manufacturing—yet due to the skills gap, two (2) million will remain unfilled. Certain repetitive jobs, primarily on the assembly line will be eliminated.  This trend is with us right now.  Retraining of employees is imperative.
  • Current jobs will be modified.  In sixty percent (60%) of all occupations, thirty percent (30%) of the tasks can be automated.  For the first time, we hear the word “co-bot”.  Co-bot is robotic assisted manufacturing where an employee works side-by-side with a robotic system.  It’s happening right now.
  • New jobs will be created. There are several ways automation will create new jobs. First, lower operating costs will make U.S. products more affordable, which will result in rising demand. This in turn will increase production volume and create more jobs. Second, while automation can streamline and optimize processes, there are still tasks that haven’t been or can’t be fully automated. Supervision, maintenance, and troubleshooting will all require a human component for the foreseeable future. Third, as more manufacturers adopt new technologies, there’s a growing need to fill new roles such as data scientists and IoT engineers. Fourth, as technology evolves due to practical application, new roles that integrate human skills with technology will be created and quickly become commonplace.
  • There will be a skills gap between eliminated jobs and modified or new roles. Manufacturers should partner with educational institutions that offer vocational training in STEM fields. By offering students on-the-job training, they can foster a skilled and loyal workforce.  Manufacturers need to step up and offer additional job training.  Employees need to step up and accept the training that is being offered.  Survival is dependent upon both.
  • The manufacturing workforce will keep evolving. Manufacturers must invest in talent acquisition and development—both to build expertise in-house and to facilitate continuous innovation.  Ten years ago, would you have heard the words, RFID, Biometrics, Stereolithography, Additive manufacturing?  I don’t think so.  The workforce MUST keep evolving because technology will only improve and become a more-present force on the manufacturing floor.

As always, I welcome your comments.

At one time in the world there were only two distinctive branches of engineering, civil and military.

The word engineer was initially used in the context of warfare, dating back to 1325 when engine’er (literally, one who operates an engine) referred to “a constructor of military engines”.  In this context, “engine” referred to a military machine, i. e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult).

As the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings developed as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the older discipline. As the prevalence of civil engineering outstripped engineering in a military context and the number of disciplines expanded, the original military meaning of the word “engineering” is now largely obsolete. In its place, the term “military engineering” has come to be used.

OK, so that’s how we got here.  If you follow my posts you know I primarily concentrate on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.  Engineering is somewhat uppermost since I am a mechanical engineer.

There are many branches of the engineering profession.  Distinct areas of endeavor that attract individuals and capture their professional lives.  Several of these are as follows:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Materials Engineering

Of course, there are others but the one I wish to concentrate on with this post is the growing branch of engineering—Biomedical Engineering. Biomedical engineering, or bioengineering, is the application of engineering principles to the fields of biology and health care. Bioengineers work with doctors, therapists and researchers to develop systems, equipment and devices in order to solve clinical problems.  As such, the possibilities of a bioengineer’s charge are as follows:

Biomedical engineering has evolved over the years in response to advancements in science and technology.  This is NOT a new classification for engineering involvement.  Engineers have been at this for a while.  Throughout history, humans have made increasingly more effective devices to diagnose and treat diseases and to alleviate, rehabilitate or compensate for disabilities or injuries. One example is the evolution of hearing aids to mitigate hearing loss through sound amplification. The ear trumpet, a large horn-shaped device that was held up to the ear, was the only “viable form” of hearing assistance until the mid-20th century, according to the Hearing Aid Museum. Electrical devices had been developed before then, but were slow to catch on, the museum said on its website.

The works of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison on sound transmission and amplification in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were applied to make the first tabletop hearing aids. These were followed by the first portable (or “luggable”) devices using vacuum-tube amplifiers powered by large batteries. However, the first wearable hearing aids had to await the development of the transistor by William Shockley and his team at Bell Laboratories. Subsequent development of micro-integrated circuits and advance battery technology has led to miniature hearing aids that fit entirely within the ear canal.

Let’s take a very quick look at several devices designed by biomedical engineering personnel.



NOTE: PET scans represent a different technology relative to MRIs. The scan uses a special dye that has radioactive tracers. These tracers are injected into a vein in your arm. Your organs and tissues then absorb the tracer.






Biomedical engineers design and develop medical systems, equipment and devices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this requires in-depth knowledge of the operational principles of the equipment (electronic, mechanical, biological, etc.) as well as knowledge about the application for which it is to be used. For instance, in order to design an artificial heart, an engineer must have extensive knowledge of electrical engineeringmechanical engineering and fluid dynamics as well as an in-depth understanding of cardiology and physiology. Designing a lab-on-a-chip requires knowledge of electronics, nanotechnology, materials science and biochemistry. In order to design prosthetic replacement limbs, expertise in mechanical engineering and material properties as well as biomechanics and physiology is essential.

The critical skills needed by a biomedical engineer include a well-rounded understanding of several areas of engineering as well as the specific area of application. This could include studying physiology, organic chemistry, biomechanics or computer science. Continuing education and training are also necessary to keep up with technological advances and potential new applications.


If we take a look at the top schools offering Biomedical engineering, we see the following:

  • MIT
  • Stanford
  • University of California-San Diego
  • Rice University
  • University of California-Berkley
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
  • Georgia Tech
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Duke University

As you can see, these are among the most prestigious schools in the United States.  They have had established engineering programs for decades.  Bio-engineering does not represent a new discipline for them.  There are several others and I would definitely recommend you go online to take a look if you are interested in seeing a complete list of colleges and universities offering a four (4) or five (5) year degree.


The median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $86,950 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest ten (10) percent earned less than $52,680, and the highest ten (10) percent earned more than $139,350.  As you might expect, salary levels vary depending upon several factors:

  • Years of experience
  • Location within the United States
  • Size of company
  • Research facility and corporate structure
  • Bonus or profit sharing arrangement of company


In their list of top jobs for 2015, CNNMoney classified Biomedical Engineering as the 37th best job in the US, and of the jobs in the top 37, Biomedical Engineering 10-year job growth was the third highest (27%) behind Information Assurance Analyst (37%) and Product Analyst (32%). CNN previously reported Biomedical Engineer as the top job in the US in 2012 with a predicted 10-year growth rate of nearly 62% ‘Biomedical Engineer’ was listed as a high-paying low-stress job according to Time magazine.  There is absolutely no doubt that medical technology will advance as time go on so biomedical engineers will continue to be in demand.

As always, I welcome your comments.


August 28, 2016

The following post is taken from information furnished by Mr. Rob Spiegel of Design News Daily.

We all are interested in how we stack up pay-wise relative to our peers.  Most companies have policies prohibiting discussions about individual pay because every paycheck is somewhat different due to deductible amounts.   The number of dependents, health care options, saving options all play a role in representations of the bottom line—take-home pay.  That’s the reason it is very important to have a representative baseline for average working salaries for professional disciplines.  That is what this post is about.  Just how much should an engineering graduate expect upon graduation in the year 2016?  Let’s take a very quick look.

The average salaries for engineering grads entering the job market range from $62,000 to $64,000 — except for one notable standout. According to the 2016 Salary Survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers, petroleum engineering majors are expected to enter their field making around $98,000/year. Clearly, petroleum engineering majors are projected to earn the top salaries among engineering graduates this year.

Petroleum Engineers

Actually, I can understand this high salary for Petroleum engineers.  Petroleum is a non-renewable resource with diminishing availability.  Apparently, the “easy” deposits have been discovered—the tough ones, not so much.  The locations for undiscovered petroleum deposits represent some of the most difficult conditions on Earth.  They deserve the pay they get.

Chemical Engineering

Dupont at one time had the slogan, “Better living through chemistry.”  That fact remains true to this day.  Chemical engineers provide value-added products from medical to material.  From the drugs we take to the materials we use, chemistry plays a vital role in kicking the can down the road.

Electrical Engineering

When I was a graduate, back in the dark ages, electrical engineers garnered the highest paying salaries.   Transistors, relays, optical devices were new and gaining acceptance in diverse markets.  Electrical engineers were on the cutting edge of this revolution.  I still remember changing tubes in radios and even TV sets when their useful life was over.  Transistor technology was absolutely earth-shattering and EEs were riding the crest of that technology wave.

Computer Engineering

Computer and software engineering are here to stay because computers have changed our lives in a remarkably dramatic fashion.  We will NEVER go back to performing even the least tedious task with pencil and paper.  We often talk about disruptive technology—game changers.  Computer science is just that

Mechanical Engineering

I am a mechanical engineer and have enjoyed the benefits of ME technology since graduation fifty years ago.  Now, we see a great combination of mechanical and electrical with the advent of mechatronics.  This is a very specialized field providing the best of both worlds.

Software Engineering

Materials Engineering

Material engineering is a fascinating field for a rising freshman and should be considered as a future path.  Composite materials and additive manufacturing have broadened this field in a remarkable fashion.  If I had to do it over again, I would certainly consider materials engineering.

Systems Engineering

Systems engineering involves putting it all together.  A critical task considering “big data”, the cloud, internet exchanges, broadband developments, etc.  Someone has to make sense of it all and that’s the job of the systems engineer.

Hope you enjoyed this one. I look forward to your comments.


September 7, 2015

Information for this post are taken from Design News Daily Magazine: Article by Mr. Rob Siegel Design News

Previously, in a post entitled “What Not to Do”, I provided three lists of occupations that just might not be too productive relative to employment or continued employment through 2022.  After spending four or more years in a course of study, then not being able to find a job, is at best very frustrating.  With that being the case, I also issued the following statement:

“I would again say—IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR A GIVEN PROFESSION, follow that passion, BUT make sure you are one of the best in the world.  Competition is global not just within the confines of our country.   In the post that will follow, I will indicate those STEM professions considered to be “everlasting” and indicate current open positions.  I was greatly surprised at the number of jobs that are waiting on acceptable candidates.”

OK, this is the post that follows.  Let’s take a look at those STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions that will remain viable and in demand through 2022.  These are not in any given order.  I would ask you to look at the text under each category indicating salary levels.  Also, I have listed job openings, at this time; i.e. right now, that exist.

Aerospace Engineering

Of the 1,375 jobs in aerospace, around eighty percent (80%) are mid-level positions. Twenty-five percent (25%) are located in California.

Applied Mathematics

In 2013 there were 3,500 job openings for mathematicians with a projected thirty-five percent (35%) increase expected through 2022.

Chemical Engineering

A good number of the 5,790 jobs are mid-level and yet twenty percent (20%) are at the senior-level.  The good news, there is no particular geographic location where chemical engineers are located.

Computer Engineering

Most of the 9,751 job openings are mid-level or senior-level.  As with Chemical Engineering, the jobs are dispersed evenly across the United States.

Electrical Engineering

There are 28,382 open positions for electrical engineers.  This discipline represents the second largest demand for engineers.  Software engineering is the first.  Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the job openings are in California, with half in the San Jose area.  Most are mid-level but there are definitely openings for entry-level graduates.

Computer Science

There are 28,382 open positions for electrical engineers.  This discipline represents the second largest demand for engineers.  Software engineering is the first.  Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the job openings are in California, with half in the San Jose area.  Most are mid-level but there are definitely openings for entry-level graduates.

Material Science

There are approximately 1046 job openings for professionals with degrees in Material Science.  Most in mid-level positions but companies are interviewing for entry-level positions.

Nucleur Engineering

In 2012, there were 20,400 NE job openings available in this country alone.  This number has greatly increased due to the need for engineers abroad.  We are beginning to wake up as a country and realize the technology has improved since Three-Mile Island.  We also know there were significant design errors made with Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Errors that will not be duplicated here in this country.

Petroleum Engineering

There are approximately 38,500 job openings for petroleum engineers.  A great profession and one that will not go away within this century.


This one may be a bit of a surprise but job growth for physics majors is projected to steadily increase at the rate of seven percent (7%) through 2022.  This discipline prepares an individual for employment in several other STEM professions.

                                      BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

Biomedical Engineering

This is not only a growing profession but a fascinating occupation.  The technology is advancing at an extremely rapid rate and there is no shortage of challenge.

                                    INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

Industrial Engineering

                                      PROCESS ENGINEERING

Process Engineering


                          MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING

Manufacturing Engineering

These 8,234 job openings are located throughout the United States.  No one industry captures a great percentage of the market.


                                        QUALITY ENGINEERING

Quality Engineering


                                     MECHANICAL ENGINEERING


Mechanical Engineering


                                    SOFTWARE ENGINEERING


Software Engineering

As you can see, software engineers are certainly in demand with 158,323 job openings available right now.  This is the reason for demands that HB-1 visas remain available.  Companies cannot find qualified US citizens to fill these vacancies.

The STEM professions will remain the most viable option for employment for the future.  I would like to indicate to you that YOU CAN DO THIS.  You do not have to be a genius to graduate with a four year degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the above professions.  Do NOT be intimidated with the work. IT’S “DOABLE”.

As always, I welcome your comments.


September 6, 2015

Data for this post is derived from the following sources: 1.) The Simple Dollar, 2.) Forbes Online, 3.) The Daily Beast, and 4.) Design News Daily: Article by Mr. Rob Siegel

If you follow my posts you surely know by now that I am a mechanical engineer-registered in the State of Tennessee as a professional engineer.  You also know that I have a great interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.  With that being the case, I make a concentrated effort to stay abreast of current trends relative to 1.) Graduation Rates, 2.) Starting Salaries, 3.) Developments in Technology, 4.) Salary Levels vs. time in profession, and 5.) HB-1 Visa allowances.  You get the picture.  I was asked the other day, “If you were doing it all over again, what career path would you follow?”  I would choose engineering again but possibly a different branch of engineering such as materials or biomedical engineering.  These two disciplines are experiencing tremendous growth and provide contributions to our society that will be everlasting.

The conversation got me to thinking, other than the STEM professions, which professions are in great demand.  What professions should a senior-level high school student steer away from?  Which careers might present difficulties relative to salary level, possible advancement and overall job satisfaction?   Many students ask the very same questions.  We all know that changing majors during college years can be time consuming and with the loss of credits, thus prolonging graduation.  The following three (3) lists were compiled by looking at probable job opportunities through 2022.  Now, please keep in mind, there is room in any profession for the VERY BEST in that profession.  I certainly don’t want to appear negative relative to having an individual follow their passion.   Also, these are not presented in any given order.    The first on each list does not represent the “worst” profession to steer away from.  I do consider the three sources to be reliable and capable in making a judgment concerning the viability of occupations for the long haul.  Let’s just look at what areas to shy away from.

The Simple Dollar: “10 Worst College Degrees to earn in 2015”

  • Communications
  • Psychology
  • Theater Arts
  • Fashion Design
  • Sociology
  • Liberal Arts (This covers a range of disciplines and I wish they had been more specific.)
  • Microelectronic Engineering
  • Fine Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Hospitality and Tourism


  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Video and Photographic Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Music
  • Physical Fitness and Parks and Recreation
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • History
  • English Language and Literature


  • Political Science and Government
  • History
  • Music
  • Hospitality Management
  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Journalism
  • English Literature and Language Studies
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Architecture
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • Film, Video and Photographic Studies
  • Drama and Theater Arts
  • Fine Arts

Several on these lists really surprise me and I would take issue with.  Microelectronic engineering is really “hot” right now due to continuing demand for computer science.  We bring in through H1B visas, hundreds of individuals to fill needed positions within the computer science field.   Physical Fitness for a very fat America is not only needed but provides a great contribution to the health and wellbeing of those participants.  (I think participants is the operative word here.) In our global economy, there will always be a need for multi-lingual practitioners providing interpretation for the rest of us not to mention filling open positions abroad for multi-national American companies.

I would again say—IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR A GIVEN PROFESSION, follow that passion, BUT make sure you are one of the best in the world.  Competition is not global not just within the confines of our country.   In the post that will follow this one, I will indicate those STEM professions considered to be “everlasting” and indicate current open positions.  I was greatly surprised at the number of jobs that are waiting on acceptable candidates.


May 24, 2014

Portions of the following information were taken from “Dice Tech Salary Survey”, released date:  29 January 2014.

We all enjoy knowing where we are relative to base salary, pay increases, bonuses, etc.  One of the better on-line employment services is Dice Holding, Inc or Dice.com.   Dice.com is a career website basedin Urbandale, Iowa serving individuals in information technology (IT) and engineering professions.   Dice is now a public company and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, (DHX.)    Dice.com has approximately 60,000 tech job listings at any one given time.  The website claims to have 3 million registered technology professionals and approximately 2 million unique visitors each month.  Of those registered users, 75% have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 65% have 10 or more years of experience in their given field.    In June 2009, Dice.com advertised 48,000 jobs.   It’s a big company.

Dice was originally a bulletin board service where recruiters would list open jobs.  The company began operations in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1990 but moved their headquarters to Des Moines, Iowa . They then launched the URL http://www.dice.com in 1996.  In 1999, Dice opened the career website to direct hiring companies while continuing to serve the recruiting and staffing industry. In February of the same year, Dice was acquired by EarthWeb.

I mention all of this to indicate the company has a great understanding of pay scales and compensation packages existing in all regions of the United States for all classification of IT and engineering professionals.    The 2013 “Dice Tech Salary Survey” is a great resource for professionals when gauging positions currently held and looking for positions to better ones’ financial situation.

The 2013 Dice Salary Survey was administered online, with 17,236 employed technology professionals responding between October 14, 2013 and November 29, 2013. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice site and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed. The Dice Salary Survey was adjusted for inflation in 2013: technology professionals earning salaries of $250,000 and above were not automatically eliminated from the survey if they met other criteria.  With this in mind, I would like now to indicate several major points made by the survey.

In looking at a ten (10) year trend, we see considerable improvements in salary levels with increase each year.  Over the past eight years our economy has been extremely tough with considerable unemployment and yet professionals within technology fields have fared much better than most.  Only in 2004 did negative growth in salary levels exist.   The average salary in 2013 was $87,811 representing a 2.6% increase over 2012 figures.

Ten Year Trend

Stated reasons for salary increases look as follows:

Reasons for Salary Increases

To me, it is comforting to know that 45% felt their increases were due to performance and not just luck or being related to the boss.  Twenty-six percent (26%) of measured improvements came as a result of changing employers while eleven percent (11%) was due to internal promotions.  These numbers are very much in line with other STEM professionals.

We are know that motivation plays, to some degree,  a role in encouraging employees to do their best but the following graphic indicates professionals really do not need significant motivation.


The average salary by major metropolitan area is given with the graphic below.  Silicon Valley tops the list of highest paid metropolitan areas when it comes to tech talent, with an average annual salary of $108,603 and an average annual bonus of $12,458. The seven percent year-over-year increase in salary was partially driven by those tech professionals earning more than $250,000 being included in this year’s results. Excluding those highly paid professionals, Silicon Valley salaries still increased at a greater rate than the national average or five percent year-over-year.

Most of the top ten markets enjoyed year-over-year salary increases at or above the national average, including Los Angeles ($95,815, up 4%), New York ($93,915, up 5%), Denver ($93,195, up 3%), Philadelphia ($92,138, up 8%), and Austin ($91,994, up 3%).

Average Salary by Metro Area

Changing Employeers

Many times changing employers requires relocating.  If that is the case, the IT personnel feel as follows when asked if willing to relocate:


Looking at employee type, we see the following:

Average Salary by Job

Employee Type


This is a very quick look at the salary ranges for the IT profession.  I post this hoping to attract more young men and women into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions.  IT positions within technology are growing at an ever-increasing rate simply due to need.  Supply vs. demand is driving all STEM professions and as you can see, certainly the IT profession.

I welcome your comments.

Jacob Beningo – May 21, 2013

NOTE:  Jacob Beningo is a lecturer and consultant on embedded system design. He works with companies to develop quality and robust products and overcome their embedded design challenges.

The following article was written by Mr. Jacob Beningo for EDN Network Today.  Even though this is a “reblog” I certainly feel it is worth posting through Cielotech and Word Press.  The information is extremely valuable, not only for engineering graduates, but should have application for individuals seeking employment in other professions.   I have modified Mr. Beningo’s post to some degree adding my comments as I feel necessary.

It’s that time of the year again where spring is in full force, the sun is shining, birds are chirping and this year’s college graduates are spreading their wings and sending out resumes. Despite at least four years of schooling and tens of thousands of dollars spent on tuition, it’s unfortunate that their curriculum doesn’t include a resume 101 course or at least require students to attend a seminar on resume writing. Awkwardly crafted and abysmal resumes aren’t constrained to recent graduates but also reach into the general engineering population. This leaves the perfect opportunity to review some basic tips for handling resumes and establishing an online presence, after all, resumes are no longer limited to simple paper versions.

Tip #1 – Ignore the one page rule
For some reason, since the beginning of time there has been this notion that a resume should only be one page. It should be short and simple and provide very basic information. This is great if the plan is to be a professional job seeker. A single page, in a readable font, provides enough space to put a name, a few companies and education before there is no more room left on the page. It doesn’t provide enough space to really sell or distinguish the applicant from anyone else. Single page resumes are often looked at and quickly discarded because there is nothing on them that really catches attention. Don’t allow this outdated rule to dictate the length of a resume.   I don’t think droning on and on is advisable to telling your story is important—very important.

Tip #2 – Explicitly show experience
A potential employer is not going to take the time to read between the lines as to whether an individual has a certain type of experience or skill. Experience needs to be explicitly declared and not implied. This can be done by listing each project that was performed at a company and then providing details as to what was involved. Demonstration of problem identification and the ability to come up with a solution is critical.   I would show this experience as well as the company and dates worked by the employee.

Tip #3 – Use bullet points to improve readability
Instead of writing paragraphs about the work performed at a company or on a project, the use of bullet points is highly recommended because they can drastically improve the readability of a resume. Bullet points are a quick way to break down skills and efforts that were put into a project. They allow the potential employer to quickly skim through and catch the highlights or experience.  You do this with other presentations so why not with resume writing?
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Tip #4 – List professional experience first
College degrees always hold a special place in everyone’s heart especially after paying the enormous tuition rates that have become known to students in modern times. Unfortunately, on a resume they hold less weight than professional experience. This means that while having a degree may be necessary, they should be listed after professional experience. It seems unfair but the fact of the matter is that the first few years of one’s career are spent learning what should have been taught in higher educational institutions. Please note that professional experience was noted earlier in the paragraph. This means that coffee shops and a stint at McDonalds are not going to be of interest to your next engineering employer, so it can be removed from the experience list.

Tip #5 – If project experience is lacking, use a DIY project
Sometimes inexplicable things happen and a college student never has an internship, or an experienced engineer finds themselves on the unemployment list for a while. This can result in an employer having a hard time justifying even taking the time to talk with the candidate. This is why these gaps should be filled with learning experiences from do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Create something and go through the design process of gathering requirements, block diagramming and prototyping and put that experience and maybe even some lessons learned on the resume! This will show the prospective employer that the individual is self-motivated, passionate and a number of other things. The best part is that when they call for an interview, the candidate can bring what was designed and talk about the process, the hardware design, the software etc. It might just give that edge needed to even beat out the competition.

Tip #6 – List useful skills
Forcing an employer to read between the lines is a dangerous game. Listing project details is one thing but an employer also wants to know in general the types of skills the candidate has. Having a technical expertise section that lists various items such as hardware, software and programming language and provide a quick overview summary of what an individual brings to the table can be very beneficial.

Tip #7 – Identify industry buzz words and use a few
At different times there are certain buzz words that take an industry by storm. They may indicate a certain type of design paradigm such as model driven design or event driven design or perhaps a new field of device such as internet-of-things or machine-to-machine. The whole point is that while the resume is being dusted off and updated, spending a little bit of time learning the current buzz words can do a lot to increase the likely hood of the resume being discovered. Of course if the buzz word doesn’t apply it should be over-looked but there will most likely be buzz words that do apply and that greatly raise the resumes visibility.

Tip #8 – Use action words
Companies like to have leaders on their teams or up and coming leaders. Leaders are action driven and employers like to look for candidates that take initiative and are on their way to becoming leaders. For this reason it is always nice to include action words that grab extra attention. Mention leading the team or managed the team or were conducting investigations to list a few. While investigating resume action words, a website with “100 Great Resume Words” popped up and after a quick review there was little argument about it.     I highly recommended you take a look.
Tip #9 – Use social media to enhance your resume
Paper is out, electronic is in. The resume in general hasn’t changed a whole lot but with social media outlets such as Linkedin and Twitter, the opportunity to enhance a resume is astounding. Linkedin can be used as an enhanced resume by duplicating the information on a resume and then filling in the extras that Linkedin allows. In today’s society there seems to be more chance of being found on a social media website first and then only after connecting with someone does a request for a resume occur. This means that social media profiles need to be just as good at attracting attention as a resume but that is an entirely different article for another day.

A few examples of some enhancements that can be made through social media are getting colleagues to verify your skills, getting recommendations and then also cross linking colleagues on projects. This provides employers with the ability to cross reference what they are being told and verify that the material is in fact real.

There has been some buzz about something called Klout that is supposed to analyze social media interactions and then rank a user based on those interactions. A value of 1 to 99 is then assigned to them. Despite all the authors’ interactions on social media sites, posting baby pictures on Facebook seems to raise the score the most. This leads the author to believe that Klout is an interesting sidebar that will most likely not be taken seriously by employers in the near future.

Be very careful when using Social Medial and make sure what you show is what you want a prospective employer to see.  Pictures of your latest binge drinking episode just might not get you the interview or the job.

Tip #10 – Review and update quarterly
The worst time to update a resume is when an individual is looking for a job. Going for long periods of time without updates usually results in gaps of information or misrepresentation from just forgetting what was done. That is why it is useful to set a periodic time, whether it is every quarter or twice a year to sit down and update the resume with new projects, skills, etc. Sometimes employers will include employee resumes in proposals in order to show a potential client that their team has the skills necessary to get the job done. If a resume isn’t kept up to date then the team could quickly look like they are not up-to-date with the latest and greatest techniques and cause the employer to lose business.  In my opinion, this is a big one.  DO THIS.

I am sure there are other recommendations that could be added but telling YOUR story is what this is about.  The jury is out relative to references.  I would indicate they are available upon request.  Also, MAKE SURE YOUR RESUME HAS UPDATED INFORMATION FOR ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBERS and E-MAIL ADDRESS.


September 3, 2012

The sources for this blog come from the following  institutions: 1.) College Board, 2.) National Center for Education Statistics, 3.) US News, 4.) The Cafferty  File and 5.)   New York Times.

My wife and I have two older granddaughters attending Georgia State University in Atlanta.  The oldest is pre-law and the second granddaughter is majoring in textiles.   Our son, their father, was discussing with me the incredible costs of sending those girls to school, even with scholarships, grants, loans and generous grandparents.  “How much more could it cost than when you attended Mercer, I ask?”  I was literally blown away.  Books alone were about $600.00 for each—one semester; one semester and undergraduate at that.    I am one of those guys who always purchased new books.  I always said that surviving an engineering course is somewhat like earning a “badge of honor” and in my opinion, keeping your books just may come in handy as reference guides when working a real job.   With that being the case, I took a look at several of the books I used as a student years ago.  Are you ready for this one?

  • Norton Anthology of English Literature–$8.9 5
  • The American Tradition in Literature– $7.25
  •  Introduction to Logic–$5.50
  •  Marketing Management and Planning–$12.50
  • Thermodynamics– $7.95
  • Kinematics and Dynamics- $9.75
  • Design of Machine Elements– $ 10.95

Granted, that was years ago, specifically 1961 through 1966.  OK, I’m an old guy but these are undergraduate publications, the content of which has not changed that much over the years.  Undergraduate work is ground zero and during that time basic foundations are hopefully established from which more detailed and specialized work is accomplished.  The concepts are really not cutting edge at all.

The comparative cost of books necessary for completion of undergraduate education got my attention.  I decided to take a much closer look at how university costs have risen.  I was actually shocked.  Here we go.

You can see from this chart and the summary above, the cost of a university education continues to outpace the rise in median family income by a considerable amount.   Even the cost of medical care has risen less than the cost for obtaining a four-year university or college degree.   By the year 2008, tuition costs represented 25% of a families’ combined income.   At this rate, tuition costs are estimated to rise as represented by the following graph:

Can you imagine the debt after four years of attending a private university?   Granted, a public education is considerably less expensive but still substantial.  Very few families can pay outright the costs of a four year degree; wonderful if possible but somewhat rare indeed.  An estimate of the actual itemized cost is shown with the next chart. 

Even if you are a resident, like my granddaughters, you are “in the bag” for approximately $18,000   plus.  The “other expenses” could vary considerably depending upon spending habits and I feel the “other expenses” above is a very conservative estimate.    (Have you seen the number of shoes my second granddaughter has?)

OK, where does the money come from if you are not a trust fund baby?  Another look!               

As you can see, approximately 50% come from Federal loans—indentured slavery.

Fewer than 12% of private college students pay those schools’ high sticker prices. Fully 88% of all freshmen at private universities received scholarships to reduce their costs, according to a recent survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Private college students receive, on average, $15,530 in scholarships and federal tax benefits, reducing their average net cost to $26,700, the College Board found.

Fewer than half of all public university students pay the full sticker price to attend. Federal surveys show at least 52% of all students at public four-year universities receive scholarships or grants. Aid, not counting loans or campus jobs, brought the net tuition paid by the average student at a typical public university to about $2,500, the College Board estimates. That brings the total average net cost of a year on campus (including dorm, books, travel and living expenses) to $11,400.

 The really sad news– according to one study, the median starting salary for students graduating from four-year colleges in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000 a year. That’s 10% lower than what those who entered the workforce from 2006 through 2008 earned. A separate study found only about 45% of college graduates under age 25 are working jobs that requires a college degree. Less than half. That number varies from major to major: Those who majored in education and teaching or engineering are much more likely to find a job requiring a college degree. But while engineering jobs are highly paid, education and teaching jobs have much lower earning potential.

And here’s a sobering thought: Half the 54,000 jobs created in May of 2012 came from McDonald’s.

I studied engineering, specifically mechanical engineering, because I was fascinated with the way things worked.  How they were put together.  What components “made them go” and go properly.  How to improve designs that would allow the products to “go the distance” and perform their function well into a tenth year or even longer.  In my wildest dreams, I did not realize my efforts would allow me to work to the ripe old age of 70.  I unknowingly chose one profession that seems to remain in demand– regardless.  Now, I have made every attempt to keep up with existing technology.  You really can train old dogs to learn new tricks.  If I were giving advice to an entering freshman, I would say consider the engineering profession.  Consider a life in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professions.   These disciplines will not fade as time goes by.  They will not lessen in importance.  They are global in their appeal.  One possible fact does worry me. 

By virtue of university costs, we may be structuring a caste system n which the educated control the uneducated and using this mechanism, advances become problematic if not impossible.  Some educators feel this is happening now with the remarkable elevation in costs…Just a thought.

 It’s that time again.  As you know, the magazine “Design News” publishes yearly a study detailing the results of a questionnaire sent to working engineers relative to the following areas:        

      Results this year are based on 1,684 usable replies.    At a 95% confidence level, these results are accurate and projectable within a + or –2.4% margin of error.    I don’t know if you are comfortable with statistics but a 95% confidence level means there could be a + or – 2.5% error relative to the sample size.   This actually is excellent correlation and makes this study one which can be believed.  I would indicate all of the data used in this document is provided by Design News including the graphics.    The text and descriptive information is mine.  I definitely hope you enjoy the study.  Here goes.

 Let’s first take a look at a general overall presentation as to where we stand by region within the United States.   These are average salary levels.

As you can see, the New England region once again wins the prize for having the highest average salary; then the Southwest, then the Pacific Northwest.  As a point of reference, when I entered the engineering work force in 1966, I was offered a $15,000 annual salary by Pratt and Whitney.   That sum was the “going rate” for graduating mechanical engineers.  EEs were higher with industrial engineers bringing up the rear.  From the standpoint of averages, let’s take a look at several conglomerate numbers:

You can see from this chart the “average” annual salary is about $97K.  The stat that blew me away was the 46 hour work week.  I certainly wish I had supervisors who believed in less than 50 hours.  Most of mine thought you were just getting warmed up around 40 to 45 hours.  My, how times have changed.    We are going to delve deeper into the various elements of the profession as we try to highlight certain responses that indicate basic demographics. 

 When considering base salary with no bonus factored in, we see the following:

Please keep in mind, entry level starting salaries will be the lower figures AND differing disciplines AND differing industries will have averages and starting salaries commensurate with industry standards.  For instance, the average salary for a mechanical engineer in the appliance business will be lower than the average salary for a mechanical engineer working in engineering medicine or aerospace.   The complexity of the product dictates the level of compensation to a great degree.   Please note also, the chart above is a “bell-shaped” curve, as it should be with 56% of the salaries being between $60 K and $110K.   Very few true engineering types make north of $ 150 K per year and I suspect these would be individuals having P&L responsibilities in addition to managing teams of people.  (Now you see why there are more doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc than engineers.)

 As mentioned earlier, the discipline and its complexity dictate to a large degree the salary brackets.  You get a feel for this fact with the chart below.

I consider manufacturing engineering being one of the most important engineering fields and yet it always seems to be the “anchor-man” relative to compensation.  Manufacturing is tough with seemingly fewer resources to do a specific job. 

Classifications are further broken down into education levels as follows:


Those individuals with PhDs usually work for educational institutions and not industry or manufacturing.  Theirs is the world of R&D and teaching.  The overwhelming ranks are filled with bachelors of science and masters degrees.  In my day, the thing to do was obtain a BS and follow up with an MBA.  With this economy, just finding a job within your field can be quite challenging.  If we further breakdown education vs. age, we find the following:

As you might suspect, greater the years of service, greater the compensation.


One of the things we find with engineers–they are not “job hoppers”– with the average length of service for any one company being 13 years.  I find this to be fascinating.  I will let you draw your own conclusions here, but for me it says that most engineers are fairly satisfied with the companies they keep.

The relative company size also has a definite bearing on compensation.

When I retired from GE in 2005, my total compensation package was $93K.   This is after 18 years with the company.  As you can see from the next chart, this is right in line with the Design News data, even for appliance manufacturing.

 Let’s look now at the likes and dislikes of the profession at large.  Most engineers do like their jobs.  This is evident by the next chart.

Job satisfaction was not too difficult to achieve.

One slide that is very telling is given below: I can definitely identify with this chart, although when the word engineer is used, most people think of a guy who drives a train and not a graduate problem-solver or designer.  We certainly have a long way to go with educating the general public as to what engineers really do.  When we discuss fully using engineering skills and overworked and underpaid, don’t we all feel that way at times?  These two categories are definitely objective and certainly based upon an individual engineer’s “feel” for the job.


One definite “downer”:

Engineers, like most professionals, feel very uncomfortable about the future and what might happen.  Only 42% indicate they are not very concerned at all.  The chart above is supported by the feelings indicated by the following:

This write-up is definitely not meant to make a political statement but it is an election year and elections do determine the future of our country.   If you read the individual statements beside the pie-chart, you will get an indication as to some of the responses.

I would like to thank Design News for doing another marvelous job and I give them all the credit for putting together the data from which this blog is developed.   Let’s hope 2013 is a year of prosperity for all professions and we can present “great reviews” next August.


April 22, 2012

Statistics sited in this document were taken from “National Association of Colleges and Employers”, Bethlehem, Pa. Survey of 160 Major Employers across the Country.

Across our country right now are millions of high school seniors anticipating graduation within a few weeks.  Many of those students have been accepted to attend colleges and universities, both near and far, with goals of pursuing their passion and finding that coveted “dream job”.  There are also a great number that really don’t know what they want to do but realize they have about two years to “declare” a major.  Too many times they do what daddy or mommy want them to do without taking a good hard look at what’s selling.  What occupations would I enjoy for a lifetime AND what occupations satisfy need for the basics; i.e. food, shelter, clothing, gas in the car, enough money for a date on Saturday night, etc., if graduate school is not in the picture four or five years down the road.  The statistics below may give the graduating high school senior insights as to where we are in this nation relative to employment and where we might be in the very near future.


  • 2009-2010            40.4
  • 2010-2011            21.1
  • 2011-2012            32.6

Scary right?  As a college or university graduate, you will be competing with many individuals FOR THE SAME JOB.     Also, no longer is your competition “local” only.   People seeking employment have online sources to search for positions AND, they are willing to move in order to get the best job in their specific field.    My town is very fortunate to have VW as an employer.  Over 2500 people work at VW with 800 additional individuals being sought at this time.  I think it is very unfortunate that VW  is having to go “national” in its search for technical people.  We simply do not have candidates that meet their needs.  This is the country we live in right now and I suspect conditions will not get much better.


The recessionary period we have just experienced, and some say we are still in, has lead employers to defer hiring, thus creating the average number of job applicant per position as given above.  This hiring “freeze” has abated somewhat but competition is still extremely great.  Let’s take a look at employee hiring vs. year:

                YEAR         YEARLY CHANGE

  • Spring 2007         19.2 %  gain
  • Spring 2008         8%  gain
  • Spring 2009         21.6%  decline
  • Spring 2010         5.3%  gain
  • Spring 2011         19.3% gain
  • Spring 2012         10.2%  gain         

Hiring is definitely on the rebound and the greatest gains are within very specific fields of endeavor.  Let’s take a look at spring 2012 to see what professions are in demand.  Please keep in mind that 160 companies were interviewed to find out what disciplines represented the greatest need.


ENGINNEERING               69

BUSINESS                     63

ACCOUNTING               53


ECONOMICS                22




HUMANITIES               13

The 160 companies interviewed also indicated they prefer prospective employees to have work experience within their specific field of study.  Co-ops, interns, volunteer efforts may just give you the edge when competition is the greatest.  It certainly won’t hurt.  Also, having a great and credible reference (or references) is a definite benefit.  

I will now like to give you my “short list” of desirable attributes relative to securing a position in the highly competitive job market.  This list is really intended for that entering university freshman and possibly gives them something to think about along the way.  You eventually WILL graduate.  You WILL eventually seek gainful employment.  Let’s take a look:

  • You MUST know how to draft a well written document, put words together to make a sentence, paragraph or page that makes sense and is readable.  Good punctuation, good “wordsmithing”, logical sentence structure and basic flow of ideas will get you a long way.  You would not believe what I have seen from university graduates.  Some simply don’t know how to write (which consequently makes me believe they don’t know how to think!).
  • The need to be bi-lingual or even multi-lingual is extremely desirable in today’s culture.  Learn Spanish or French or German or Italian.   Oh by the way, we have English and we have Southern—I’m from Tennessee, and I know the difference.   Know how to speak English- the King’s English -but know at least one other language. 
  • If you are a person of color you may have to “act white” when dealing with customers, peers, managers and teachers.  Don’t “axe” them a question, don’t use “ghetto” language and think you will get ahead any time soon.  It just does not work that way.  You will eventually be working in a professional atmosphere so be professional.  Employers won’t say anything but you will be evaluated based upon how you speak and how you answer questions.   I have told our three children that their first manager may just be an old guy like me, so behave. 
  • Read continuously from the moment you enter college and continue that action throughout your professional career.  Don’t ever think that watching hours of TV will do anything but waste your precious time.  Stay abreast of developments within your profession and discuss those developments with your peers and your manager.  Cultivate the habit of reading about subjects outside your chosen field.  Some day and in some way, that information will come back to benefit efforts within your profession.  Never fails!  Managers needing employees know those individuals who are well-read and articulate subject matter in a concise manner. 
  • Network—ALWAYS, prior to the interview and after the interview.
  • Dress in a manner that is appropriate for the interview and the job.  DON’T WEAR YOUR LUCKY BALL CAP TO THE INTERVIEW!  Pull up your pants.  Leave your mini-skirt at home.  The interviewer is looking for a worker, not a date.  Don’t even think about smoking or “dipping” during an interview or on the job.  (You would not believe what I’ve seen over the past few years.  What are these kids thinking? I even interviewed a guy who was smoking “weed” during the very short interview. )
  • Know the company you are interviewing.  Do your homework before you sit down with the HR guy.  What do they do?  Where are they located?  How many employees?  Where are their offices?  National or international?  You get the picture. You must know this information before you go in.
  • Don’t go into the interview unless you are sober. (Please see previous discussion.  Again, what are these kids thinking? )

Good luck!   I have worked with some of the very finest young people on the planet in my years as a mechanical engineer.  They are smart with great work ethic and really resourceful.  (I love the resourceful.)  Trust me on this one, you can do extremely well during the interview and on the job with the proper attitude and a willingness to listen, apply your considerable talents, and work.  Always remember—If you want to leave you’re footprints on the sands of time, you must wear work shoes.  Been there, done that, got the “T” shirt.


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