Most engineering professionals want to reach the pinnacle of their career by steadily climbing their career ladder. When there is career growth, you may no longer find the need to go to a university to get a degree ever again.
But time will come that you will encounter a speed bump as an engineer: you will feel that your field is not firing your passion anymore. It feels like you hit a wall and you can’t seem to advance.
That is where the idea of a postgraduate degree kicks in. It can be an accidental discovery or that’s what you have dreamed of doing but the dream sort of died after you have worked. You will learn engineering subjects again that concern your engineering profession.
Getting a postgraduate degree will give you benefits in your professional career like promotions, higher salaries, better job opportunities, and the chance to update skills. But graduate schools will require you for a fresh but familiar start: you will have to go back to the classroom to learn.
While that is sort of uncomfortable to others already being accustomed to the work life, the classroom environment shouldn’t scare you as much. But you must know what to do, as advised by those who have taken postgraduate programs, before you take that critical leap.
Here are tips:
Know your goals.
Graduate school is not a slice of cake. There is a high chance that you will be rattled with your first experiences as a graduate student if you do not have a clear mission statement. Devise a plan and think on it. That is your stronghold as you venture through graduate school.
Do your research on the graduate programs available.
There are a lot of graduate programs you can enter into and each one is different from the other. Study each and find the one where you see yourself fit. You might need to go to schools, talk with the professors and students about requirements and the time it takes to earn a degree. You need to know the frequency of meetings, and how much attention you will get from your teachers, among others.
Just keep calm!
Consider the expenses that graduate school may cost you.
If you can find financial aid and scholarships, or maybe ask the company you are working for if they have, then good for you. If you are sufficiently rich, then good for you, too. But if you are out of those two categories, be aware that graduate school is not cheap. It will entail you a certain amount of money to complete the degree and that varies from location and quality of the education. Consider the expenses before diving in to graduate school.
Check for distance education.
An available distance education will be good for working professionals who need flexibility. There are universities which now offer graduate programs via the Internet, or watching televised lectures and communicate via e-mail with the professors. It is advantageous if you want a postgraduate degree that is relatively far from you.
Seek for support from family and friends.
When you decide to enter graduate school, previous schedules with family and friends will have to be sacrificed. It is best that they are at least told with the change, and better if they encourage you with the decision. A strong support system means your social ties won’t have to be compromised.
Stop worrying about your rusty study skills.
This might worry most engineers as sometimes, the work entails lesser thinking and studying than learning again in a university. Study habits may have been lost or you have essentially forgotten how to study. But that’s a myth. All you will need is to be accustomed again to the process of spending evenings and weekends on study and research and you are all good.
Do not be intimidated with the young ones.
If you see yourself the withering leaf in a garden full of blooming flowers, all it takes is some shift in perspective. Use your age and maturity to your advantage instead. Your work experiences will yield more insights than the youngsters, and your expertise in engineering will show considering the work you have already done. Of course there will be some sort of initial shock, but in the long run, there is no reason for you to be intimidated.
Source: Quint Careers