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Electrical Engineer vs. General and Operations Manager vs. Industrial Engineer vs. Financial Manager

Updated on June 11, 2014

Choosing a career is the decision that decides one’s path in life. Starting in college one has to work his way up to that goal. Once he has the job, but doesn’t like it, then money, time, and the prime of his life has gone to waste. Picking the right path is one of the most important decisions one can make in his life. Four of the careers that were investigated in order to find the right path were an Electrical Engineer, a General and Operations Manager, an Industrial Engineer, and a Financial Manager. After going through all the careers, becoming an operations manager is the best choice. It allows one to be in control and provides one with an irrefutable salary. It has some cons such as long working hours, but its pros such as a high salary and being in a top position in the company outweigh them.

The first step in picking a career is getting a general overview of what the jobs are and what you do in them. Electrical engineers maintain electrical or electronic devices. They can also test medical equipment in the “research and development field”. These engineers “Also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft”. Sometimes they work overtime, but usually, they work fulltime (“Electrical”). On the other hand, operations managers have the option to apply for positions in a lot of industries, so it can be easier to choose a major in college in order to work towards this goal (“General Arizona”). This is because they major in the business and finance field and almost every company has this department. One problem is that there are lots of jobs but very few openings (“General Profile”). This is a position that requires working up to rather than directly applying for the position (“Top”). Applicants that have higher degrees and more experience will have an advantage when applying for the job (“General Profile”).

Industrial engineers mainly analyze circumstances and find ways to use resources efficiently by making more products out of the resources they have (“Industrial”). This job is for people who are organized and efficient. This job is a work-stationed job that requires very little, if any, travelling on the job (“Industrial Arizona”). In the field of finance, the financial manager position has not seen much growth. However, there will most likely be growth in this field in the future. There is more self-employment in this field as compared to the other (“Financial Profile”). Financial managers are “responsible for the financial health of an organization” (“Financial”). They do whatever it takes to keep the organization financially safe. Furthermore, they work fulltime for sure and occasionally they work extra hours (“Financial”). This job overview has explained the basics of each job, and so far, no decision can be made on this information.

The description of the job is not enough to be able to decide whether the career is the right choice. Thus, it is necessary to know the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the job. Electrical engineers have to use engineering software. They need to be able to learn new things and apply that knowledge quickly (“Electrical”). In order to stay on the job they need to have good verbal communication. Electrical engineers should also be interested in and care about detail. In order to solve complex problems, they must be good at high-level math (“Electrical”). Equally important, since it is highly impossible for one electrical engineer to complete a project by himself, they need to be able to work in a team. Similarly, they need to know how to design and be able to apply physics to their work. One major characteristic that they should have is being able to tell when a problem is serious or not (“Electrical Arizona”).

Contrarily, operations managers should have good communicational skills (“General Profile”). They have to make big decisions daily that can affect the company and this leads to a lot of stress. Thus, it is helpful on the job, ad preferable for the hirer if they have better knowledge in the field due to more specialized majors in college education. As long as they do what is needed they have their own timetable (“Top”). Another thing these managers do which is crucial to the company is that they recruit and select employees as well as train them in some cases. They need to be able to take in to consideration “the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data”. In summary, the operations managers need to be able to monitor the “performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action [sic]” (“General Arizona”).

Industrial engineers need to be able to think critically and use logic and reasoning when solving problems (“Industrial Profile”). The problems that they need to fix are reported to them rather than themselves trying to find problems to fix. They need to have high-level math skills in order to fix problems or design solutions. Industrial engineers also need good speaking skills so they can convey their solution clearly, else, people might not understand and their effective solution might not be carried out (“Industrial”). The major things that the industrial engineers need to be good at are mathematics, engineering and technology, and design (“Industrial Arizona”). Financial Managers are expected to make financial decisions that can affect the company in a good way or a bad way, so they need be good at making critical decisions regarding money. They should be good at communicating the “financial transactions,”(“Financial”) that they want to make in order to persuade the other financial managers and top and chief executives to carry out their method. They need good math skills. Also, they need to be able to fix a certain plan based on the circumstances that the customer has as well as being able to improve current financial plans (“Financial Arizona”). Based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities, the operations manager and the finance manager are more gradual positions that you can work your way up to since they make big decisions and it is good to have experience before you do that.

Moreover, the tasks and activities that will be a part of daily life need to be considered to know whether you are the right fit for the job. Electrical engineers design products, increase product efficiency, maintain the product, test the product, and improve the product (“Electrical”). They find the best way to solve a problem out of the various ways to solve the problem and pick the best solution to perform (“Electrical Profile”). In this career one must also be able to use computers “to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information” (“Electrical Arizona”). They follow a well thought out plan to solve the problem (“Electrical Arizona”). Operations managers help the company reach its goals. Additionally, they work closely with the financial managers, oversee the staff, and hire new people. According the to the company’s current position they have to fix problems. Making the company more efficient is one of their main tasks that they daily try to achieve. They closely oversee day-to-day activities, products and efficiency and long term goals (“Top”). Also, they must be responsible for scheduling things ranging from “events, programs, and activities” and when the work on something should end and the next project should begin (“General Arizona”). They also monitor the performance of individuals as well as the company as a whole.

On the other hand, Industrial engineers get information needed from higher managers in order to carry out their plans and designs (“Industrial Arizona”). Depending on the situation they come up with various ways to solve the problem and choose the most efficient one. And in order to do this they must think creatively (“Industrial Arizona”). They also analyze data in order to solve problems (“Industrial Profile”). Also, they keep applying knowledge that they already have to different situations as well as new technology that has recently come out (“Industrial Arizona”). Finance Managers deal with the company’s money. They know the specifics of what they are doing and supervise the company according to those requirements (“Financial Profile”). Along with the Industrial engineers, they implement ideas to cut costs (“Financial”). However, their biggest job is to help the company improve financially (“Financial Profile”). Thus, they are active members in making the company’s financial decisions. Based on reserve cash, they accept or reject financial decisions (“Financial”). They worry about company’s record and find ways to fix it. Again, the operations manager and the finance manager have the most pressure on the job as compared to the other two jobs.

Still, one must also consider the tools and technology that are going to be part of their new day-to-day life. Electrical engineers need to be able to use semiconductor process systems, signal generators, spectrometers, and tube furnaces. They also have to use scientific software to devise solutions to the tasks. One major thing they must be able to use is computer aided design software. Being able to program in an object oriented programming language such as java or C++ is required. And the main operating system that they should be familiar with is Microsoft windows or Unix (“Electrical Arizona”). Operations managers must use calculators, desktop computers, digital cameras, “credit card processing machines”, and notebook computers. These managers should also be able to use accounting software to keep track of the company’s financial progress. They need to be able to use email since communication is a big part of their job (“General Arizona”). Industrial engineers need to be able to use video recording devices. They should also be able to use touch screen monitors to help them in the design process. In addition, they have to use scientific software, graphical user interface development software, and the Internet. They should also be able to use computer aided design software, which would allow them to design freely in a design friendly environment (“Industrial Arizona”). Finance managers need to use calculators, desktop computers, notebook computers, personal computers, and PDAs. They have to be able to use accounting software in order to help them keep track of everything. They need to be able to use email like and spreadsheet (“Financial Arizona”). According to this information, it shows that the engineers have to be more educated.

A main concern when it comes to choosing careers is the education required for those careers. Without the right education and training it can be very hard to get the job. Electrical engineers need to have prior “practical experience,”. They need high-level math skills. It is also better to be certified by the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Therefore, in college, one should take “Cooperative programs [which] combine classroom study with practical work”. Some 5-year college programs allow one to finish with both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree (“Electrical”). Typically, no prior work experience is needed for this job (“Electrical Arizona”). Operations managers usually need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field that they are working in (“Top”). Doing an mba allows for more specialized knowledge in the business administration part of the job. It is a job that can be worked up to even with a low level of initial education (“General Arizona”). It is a job that considers a lot of work experience very valuable (“Top”).

Industrial engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree (“Industrial”). It is also possible to take a 5-year program to finish with both a bachelor’s degree and masters degree. The higher level of education, the more likely chance one will get hired. FE (Fundamentals of Engineering Exam) and PE (Professional Engineering) licenses are good to have but not necessary. FE “can be taken right after graduating,” whereas PE is taken after gaining work experience (“Industrial”). They generally don’t need prior work experience (“Industrial Arizona”). Finance managers need a master’s degree “preferably in business administration, finance, or economics”(“Financial”). The more certification and the higher degrees one has are directly proportional to the salary one makes. The more experience one has, the more likely that he will be in a higher position. The minimum work experience generally required by most companies is 5 years (“Financial Arizona”). The engineers need a higher level of education but in exchange, they do not need experience. On the contrary, the managers do not need so much education, but experience is required.

Finally, the most important part is the wage and lifestyle. Electrical engineers make between $54,700 - $131,700 and on the average: $85,900 (“Electrical”). This job has the second lowest wage but it also limits your lifestyle. One will have lots of free time because the job does not require working overtime (“Electrical”). Operations managers make between $47,600 - $187,200+ and on the average: $91,500. They get “stock options and performance bonuses” as well. This job has the second highest wage and the widest range of salary (“Top”). However, these managers generally work full hours and a lot of the time they work overtime (“General Profile”). On top of that they work under a lot of stress since the decisions that they make can influence the company greatly (“Top”). However, they can afford many amenities that increase the quality of the way that they live.

Industrial Engineers make between $50,300 - $115,300 and on the average: $77,200 (“Industrial”). This job has the lowest wage out of all the other jobs but requires the least amount of work and stress compared to the other jobs (“Industrial Profile”). It allows you to be freer in your life rather than to be working all the time. Finance Managers make between $58,100 - $187,200+ and on the average: $107,200 (“Financial”). This job has the highest wage, but the most stressful working conditions (“Financial Arizona”). The decisions you make could hurt the company financially (“Financial”). Also this job requires you to work overtime a lot (“Financial”). Both manager positions tend to have similar wages, but finance managers have a higher average wage according the Bureau of Labor Statistics and CareerOneStop. However, both positions have similar working conditions and this can restrict their lifestyle.

Most important of all, one must take advice from someone who has already been through this experience. In an interview Nick Crawley, a project finance consultant, who has his own consultancy group, told the media how he got interested in the job at age 17 and gradually worked his way up to it(“Interview”). He and his father first did research and then they made that decision that he wanted to go into finance when he grew up (“Interview”). With that goal in mind Crawley worked his way up to the job by doing good in his school exams and eventually his college exams(“Interview”). By setting this type of goal at an early age, he accomplished his goal and now has a blast in his personal life as well as his work, despite the long working conditions (“Interview”). He now has further plans of making his consultancy bigger and wants to achieve that goal as well soon (“Interview”).

After analyzing four careers the general and operations manager has been the one that has stood out. It provides stress but not as much as the financial manager. Also, it has a nice salary that allows you to live in style. Electrical engineers and Industrial engineers are decent jobs, but they have too small of a salary to enjoy oneself. After all, as Buddha said, “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

Works Cited

“Career Interview: Project Finance Consultant.” +plusmagazine. +plusmagazine, 1 Mar.

2005.Web. 5 Jan. 2013.

“Electrical and Electronics Engineers.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29

Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Electrical Engineers: Arizona.” careeronestop. careeronestop, Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Financial Managers.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2012.

Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Financial Managers: Arizona.” careeronestop. careeronestop, Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“General and Operations Managers: Arizona.” careeronestop. careeronestop, Web. 10 Dec.


“Industrial Engineers.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2012.

Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

“Industrial Engineers: Arizona.” careeronestop. careeronestop, Web. 10 Dec. 2013.

“Occupation Profile for Electrical Engineers.” careers. careers, Web. 5 Jan. 2013.

“Occupation Profile for Financial Managers.” careers. careers, Web. 5 Jan. 2013.

“Occupation Profile for General and Operations Managers.” careers. careers, Web. 5 Jan. 2013.

“Occupation Profile for Industrial Engineers.” careers. careers, Web. 5 Jan. 2013.

“Top Executives.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Mar. 2012. Web.

10 Dec. 2012.


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    • sherwani profile image

      Mohammed Abdullah Sherwani 

      4 years ago from Karachi

      For me, just go for what you love, and the wealth will come itself. :)


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