To intern or not to intern?

Hello everyone, I was wondering if anyone had any advice or has been in a similar situation. I currently have a permanent job, which pays my rent and bills, but it’s not in the design field–It’s in the mechanical engineering field. I’m looking to get into the design field, yet it seems like most places are either looking for people with years of experience or interns. I have applied for some of the jobs requiring experience, thinking that I could somehow offset that requirement with the engineering background, so far it hasn’t worked.

Taking an internship would give me the experience I need, but at the same time it could leave me without a job once the internship is over. That’s something that I can’t really afford to do, since student loans are kicking in and I still have to be able to survive.

Is there anyone out there in a similar situation or has been in a similar situation? Any advice would help.

“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” Henry David Thoreau

I think he said it better than I could, but the real question is not whether or not you should take this internship, but rather whether or not you want to be a designer. Answer that second question and the answer to the internship opportunity makes itself.

Wanting to be a designer is what made me quit my good paying, full time job and go to school full time for 4 years. The difference now is that I can’t rely on financial aid to make it through.

You do bring up a good point though. I’ll have to decide what’s more important to me in the end.


Perhaps try to get a job at an engineering/ID firm as an engineer and go from there?

If you have been trained as a designer as well, it is pretty likely that your employer/manager/director will start to notice that you have another skill set besides that of a traditional engineer (they might even hire you because of it). You might be able to push/suggest that you be involved in projects that are ID heavy.

I guess my suggestion is to use your engineering experience to get in the door and, over time, flaunt your design skills at optimum moments. I am not saying to try and get hired and immediately try to switch to ID – but put yourself in the position to get noticed and, in the mean time, pay attention and be helpful. “Do you need any help with that foam model?” “Could you use an extra sketch monkey?” Show them you are interested in doing more than engineering and maybe it could happen.

Maybe they might want a design-savvy engineer on the team so they don’t have to translate what “wonky” means into engineering terms?

sprockets: your suggestion would be the last resort. I have been working in the engineering side long enough to know that it’s not what I want to do with my career. I am willing to take the pay cut, start at the bottom, etc. that would be required for the career change, but I don’t want to continue down my current path.

Am I the only one who thought “and Rakim?” when I saw ericb’s name?

I guess so.

Anyway, do you have a portfolio we could take a look at?

Didn’t even catch the correlation with the DJ and my name. :lol:

As far as portfolio goes, I’m currently working on it.