The internet makes the world small.

Computer programming, designing a part etc can easily be done via the internet, so can designing mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems for buildings.

I am down on an island where the cost of living and the cost of doing business is easily double that of Miami. My main competition is 'outsourced' work, done by South Florida Engineering companies WHO are always cheaper than I am. Some architects virtually use these firms exclusively.

But it is difficult to do things from far away, it is almost like trying to solve a HO's heating system problem by what they describe to you over the internet. If a job is really challenging such as a major rennovation or addition to a commercial building, I will pick up the normally outsourced work as it gets too expensive for them to start flying in people multiple times and putting them up in hotels.

I do not make my living picking up the tough crumbs that cannot be outsourced. I have my own customer base as well.

There are a lot of jobs out there that cannot be outsourced and there is a shortage of engineers. You need to get your time in and follow through and get your PE or PEng designation. Use the Dilbert jobs to get your time in. Also remember that when you get your degree, it just gets your foot in the door. 95% of what you need to know will be learned through experience.

Hands on experience and the degree can make you quite valuable. Working the trade can also give you more satisfaction and more pay if you are good. Myself, I got tired of threading gas pipe outside when it was -30C.

Contractors will argue with engineers when there are a problem on the job. I don't see them flying in some one from Punjab or Karachi every time a duct conflicts with a beam.