Cody Szeto is director of the IT&T, engineering, supply chain and procurement divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
When choosing engineering qualifications, it helps to take account of personal circumstances
I have completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I wish to pursue higher studies in heavy-duty equipment and have applied for a college which offers a course but the credential given is a diploma. Is it a good option to choose that course or should I consider another master of engineering in automotive course? Thank You.
Both a college diploma in heavy-duty equipment and an M Eng degree in automotive will be recognised in Hong Kong and prepare you for a career in engineering. Yet, the career choices they lead to will be quite different.
Undertaking a technical diploma will give you more hands-on training, opening doors in more technical and specialised areas. It may lead you to assume positions such as lead engineer. On the other hand, pursuing an M Eng degree offers a broader appeal and may open up more diverse business-related roles. Some typical roles will be, for example, those in the area of project management.
Ultimately, you should make your decision based on your career goal, which in turn is shaped by an understanding of yourself–your interests, your strengths and weaknesses, your time and financial resources. For example, if you wish to grow to be a lead engineer, you are likely to be a patient person with an inquisitive mind. You have a passion for technicalities and are sensitive to the market and users’ behaviour. Yet if you wish to become a project manager, you need to be systematic, organised, detail-minded and persistent.
I’m sure you’ll also be weighing out the time and financial investments required for a master’s in engineering and a technical diploma. You are concerned whether your investment of time and money can offer you greater returns after you graduate.
According to the 2022 Manpower Projection survey published by the Labour and Welfare Bureau in May last year, by 2022, there will be a surplus of 50,000 master’s and doctorate degree graduates, a surplus of 16,000 diploma or sub-degree graduates, but a shortage of 51,000 bachelor degree graduates. So be realistic about whether your master’s degree will pay back.
The most important factors are whether you are good at and passionate about what you do. Your strong aptitude and positive attitude will be crucial to help you stand out from the crowd.
I wish you all the best in the future pursuit of your career goal.