What is the ideal job? Lets talk about this

STEM Career Paths: Technical vs Management

At some point, you will need to decide if you wish to pursue a technical pathway or a managerial pathway. While this should be seriously addressed before and during your Masters degree – yes I said and met Maters degree – it is important to start thinking about this as soon as possible. I generally advise people to stay as technical as possible for a long as possible. Why? Hi-tech companies need and will continue to rely on brain power. I also advise them to deeply understand what their companies do!!!! By so doing, they can really participate. Without that deep understanding, they risk not knowing how their work really fits in. This is dangerous because it can lead to them being replaced. Not seeing it coming is awful! Keep learning. Life-Long Learning is important. These are not just a few buzz words to fill a page.

Life-Long Learning is critical for you and your family to have real security.

Of course, such companies need talented management to lead, guide, assist and support their technical groups and see opportunities for the company.
You will have to decide which pathway you wish to pursue. Do you want to be a technical leader or a people manager. You will need to decide. This should not be an overnight decision. It should take years to arrive at your final decision. You just need to carefully do your homework. There’s lots of the homework you will need to do. Much of it will involve figuring yourself out! This can be challenging for many. The sooner you become a practitioner of critical thinking, the better off you, and those around you, will be.

In some companies, an MBA may be essential to rise in the management ranks. There’s lots of home work to be done here…in order to do things properly.
What is an IDEAL JOB? First, we all know that it simply doesn’t exist. What do I mean? Every job has pros and cons. However, with proper preparation (and yes….a little luck), you can come close; i.e. maximizing the pros and minimizing the cons.

  • A good salary with good benefits (i.e. education, vacation, daycare, healthcare, insurance, retirement, etc.)
  • Salary Considerations: initial salary, raises, bonuses, promotions, stock options, etc.
Think hard about the benefits, not just the Salary!

  • Continuous learning…if you are not learning, be scared or at least cautious….prepare to make a future move
  • Working on cool state-of-the-art (in demand) stuff
  • Flexibility in choosing what you work on
  • Flexibility with how you can approach the problem (creative freedom)
  • Access to relevant resources

  • Flexible work hours
  • Working from home
  • Daycare

  • Work Outside vs Office?
  • Work group dynamics
  • Management assistance
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Location
  • Travel
  • Benefits: education, vacation, daycare, healthcare, insurance, retirement, etc. (YES…I REPEATED BENEFITS BECAUSE BENEFITS ARE VERY IMPORTANT !!!)





Dr. Armando A. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Southwest Institute for ENG Transfer Excellence (SWIETE)

Motivated Engineering Transfer Students (METS) Center
Professor of Electrical Engineering
School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
Arizona State University

Tyler Mall, GWC 352
Mailstop 875706
Tempe, AZ 85287-5706
Office: (480) 965-3712
Fax: (480) 965-2811