Background: I graduated in 2019 with a bachelor degree in electrical Engineering and work in the electronics R&D section of a German power tool manufacturer for roughly a year now.

As a beginner I thought that I would be doing the circuit design and PCB layout myself to get experience but in fact I am mostly coordinating external engineering service providers and evaluating their solutions.

This is not only the case for me but also my more experienced colleagues do barely design something on their own.

This is okay for them, because they did projects on their own in the past. But for me as a beginner it is really difficult to evaluate designs, when I have very little experience due to my lack of own projects and just overseeing the work of others.

Therefore I want to convince my manager to give me some projects where I can play a more active role to gain experience instead of outsourcing. What can be good arguments for that, when outsourcing is the typical way in the company? Or are there any other options to gain professional experience?

As a Note:I really love to work in this company because of the cool products, nice colleagues and the premium working conditions.

  • 1
    @TymoteusPaul, done!
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 9:53
  • 1
    Probably more important than taking on the herculean task of changing project setups as a beginner is also coupling back that they should make their current way of working clear to new hires during the interview process. Premium working conditions are great, but many people will want to switch jobs quickly if the perceived and actual work differ this much.
    – DonFusili
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 9:58
  • @Joe Strazzere Not yet, but in january is my meeting with the manager concerning the goals for 2021 and I want to be prepared. Therefore I want to gather opinions from people who might have experienced the same situation.
    – Amigo54
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 13:27

2 Answers 2



Changing the way a big company does its business may not be possible for a junior engineer. Arrange yourself with the conditions, or look for another opportunity with a job description more fitting for you.


What you experience is somewhat the norm for big tech corporations in Germany. I experienced the same in the automotive sector (BMW, Audi, their bigger suppiers...)

The work environment in those big companies is inflexible and strictly planned. There is a process for everything. Because of that, working on new things and driving change is hard. If you have to fill out three forms and collect five signatures just to add a new resistor value to your design, designing a new product in reasonable time becomes impossible.

This is the reason the "real" development work is outsourced to smaller, more agile companies. The engineers at "big corp" only coordinate the development effort of the smaller contractors.


That said, It might be possible to accommodate you at your current employer. Every company has some projects where they don't feel comfortable outsourcing. Maybe a real research project, where the goal is to build knowledge, or a project so small, that the overhead of outsourcing doesn't make sense. Tell your manager what you need to be successful, he may have something for you.

  • 1
    I am going to ask my manager about pre-series-developement projects where I might be able to participate. Hopefully there are some, where a newbie can get a chance.
    – Amigo54
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 17:38
  • If you really want to do original work, seek out the "outsider" engineer in the company, the anti-social one who sits in the corner. Sometimes these people actually have carved themselves a space to do really interesting work, and senior managers realise they need freedom and/or don't have the courage to confront them. I am not one of these types, but I have always appreciated their views and opinions. Provided of course they will lower their guard with you.
    – maurocam
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 21:47
  • @Thauer To point at the elephant in the room: your technical expertise will never be on the same level as of someone who started at a smaller company. I'm currently working in an IT department of a big company on a software project and I'm the only one out of 30 who actually has built software, so that I'm the only one allowed to make strategic decisions. If you're there just for the money that's fine, if you have intrinsic motivation to become an expert then you have to find another job.
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 9:50
  • @Chris This is my major concern which is enforced by the fact that I am the only young professional in my team whereas my colleagues have a background in smaller companies doing the „real“ development. Therefore I am wondering what the managers saw in me as a recent graduate what could enable me to coordinate more experienced service providers. Because I really like my work environment I guess that my best way at the moment is to ask for research/pre-series development projects without external services where I can grow as a developer.
    – Amigo54
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 12:24
  • @Chris But I guess that you are right, that I can not get the premium working conditions of a big company simultaneously with the detailed/agile work of a smaller one. As my goal ist to get a deep understanding of the topics, I may have to look for other opportunities when there are no suitable projects for my demands at my current company.
    – Amigo54
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 12:37

The obvious argument is exactly the one you've made - habitual outsourcing will stop the reproduction of expertise within your company.

Whether that will stop them outsourcing or not is unclear, because it'll be a decade or two before the firm (and indeed the geographic talent pool) is hollowed out, but in the meantime the bosses will be reaping great profits by outsourcing to lower-paid workers, or by buying generic inputs and selling them on under the reputation of a premium engineering brand.

  • 1
    I realise this may seem like an extreme case, but how many tech companies have come close to catastrophic failures and loss of life like Boeing? That is the result of indescriminate outsourcing and pursueing only stock market results! All senior tech managers should be forced to watch this - youtube.com/…
    – maurocam
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 21:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .