ECE Board Exam? What's Life After It?

If it's easy, it's not ECE. Yes, Electronics Engineering (previously Electronics and Communications Engineering) is one of the hardest engineering degree in the Philippines. I, personally, have taken this course for five years in one of the universities in the north and have passed through challenges drawing blood, sweat, and tears. Most of my friends might not believe me, but YES, I confess and admit that this course is tough and a bit complicated. Many ECE students and graduates would agree to my thought that sometimes it really is hard to fully appreciate things which we do not see or feel. Electromagnetic waves, flow of electrons in diode and transistor, these are just few examples of the things we studied and knew by heart yet we didn't see or even feel. Enough of this, I just really wanted to prove that I was once a full blooded ECE student who went through the same things an ordinary ECE student have experienced.

I don't know which kind of air I breathe today, but I just felt so inspired to write reflections about those days, before and after the exam. Four years ago, I was one of those graduates who attended review, refresher, and coaching (the most important of all) courses in review centers in Manila. To name a few, Excel, PERCDC, Edge, Powerful, ERA, these were the institutions (I've just known that there is TOP now) we have back then (based on my personal experience and my friends' insights about the review program, I would recommend the first three). In that period, I LITERALLY HAVE READ A LOT! Though, I also ended up memorizing those multiple choice type questions, and the Q&A slides presented during the coaching sessions. That was what I basically did to prepare for the board exam and get the precious license card we all have dreamt to put in our wallets. I PASSED! Most of my classmates and friends did too, but the sad thing was there were those who didn't. You might have felt awkward in greeting them the first time you see them personally, or have found it hard to find the best words to use when you chat with them on facebook.

Well that's the reality, not everyone will pass the exam at the same time. Unless, the HONORABLE Board of Examinees are so generous that they would let everyone in the same batch to pass. (See passing rate trend) This is barely possible though so let us just face it. Whether you have a license or not, there is this BIG WORLD with full of opportunities waiting for you. License is actually a plus factor when you are applying for your first job. Well, it somehow brings a sense of pride not only to you but also to your family. I, personally, have used my license and the ratings I had in choosing the job I want. I am not sure if it applies to everyone or just me that owning a license makes you a bit choosy to jobs. I am LICENSED so why would I enter this kind of job? Why would I accept that amount of salary? Did you also have these thoughts? I did and I was wrong.

I just realized that life after board exam or even graduation is about FINDING what you WANT and if you are adventurous or still a bit confused you can do this with EXPERIMENTING and EXPLORING. But always remember to take an avenue where you think you will enjoy and get inspired. There is a broad range of careers which you can choose from as an ECE graduate. You can enter telecommunications, electronics, IT, broadcasting, manufacturing, navigation, etc. You can also start a business of your own or continue your formal studies. There really are many field and companies which you can enter. In which field do you want to develop your skills? Are you an adaptable person or you are looking for a company culture which you think you will fit in and enjoy? I would say, that salary would be the last factor you should consider when you are looking for your first job. You are searching for your stepping stone, as they say, you are just starting to build a strong foundation. I know a lot of people who entered a high paying job at first but eventually quit to go to a job with lower salary. They just wanted a job which they will enjoy doing, they wanted a job where they will grow. I am not telling you not to accept jobs with good pay but consider first the career which you really wanted to pursue.  Imagine it, working in things which you enjoy, discovering new things about yourself. Wouldn't these help you grow? Try to find a career which makes you happy. And surely, MONEY will come soon.

EXPERIMENTING and EXPLORING. These are easy yet risky. By doing these, you might either land a career where you will excel, build relationship, and develop yourself. On the other hand, you might find issues in the culture, stability of and your personal development in the first companies you will be in. "I just don't think I can fit in this team culture, I even do not appreciate their values and goals", "Politics is everywhere","I am not sure about the future of this company", "I can't apply my skills here, I might need to find a job where I will be able to show off my special skills, knowledge or expertise". These are the common lines you can hear in every  company. Wherever you go, you might hear or even utter them. It is normal to hat e your job for weeks or months. You can quit your job when the going gets tough. But even if you extremely hate your job, you can do some things to make u for it. Make the most out of it. You can ask to change your job description, transfer to a different team or department and work with new people. You have the right to discuss all of these to your managers. Tell them how your work conditions are. Remember, it's also hard to find a new job in a different company. So why not find it in the same company you are in. Aside from the fact that it's easier, it will be faster for you to adapt. Doing these will also contribute to your learnings. Don't be afraid to learn something new. You need them to reach the top. You might also reach the point where moving from team to team within the same company isn't helpful because the things you want for yourself isn't there. This is the time when you need to shift your gear.

These few thoughts are too general that you can apply them even if your not an ECE. I just want to emphasize personal development which I believe is the most important. Aside from becoming more effective, it brings a sense of satisfaction in the current career you are in.