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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4
e-field Offline OP
Junior Member
Hi all.

I'm currently a third year Electrical Engineering student, and I'm the process
of interviewing for different positions and one of the position qualifications
specifically states that I may need to do field work where I have to verify
code compliance.

Furthermore, I have to have "knowledge" of NEC codes.

What I'm wondering is, where's a good place to get basic information?
Obviously, I'm not going to be able to completely gather everything that is
listed within the NEC code book, but I want to know some general ideas that I
can present to the interviewer so that I atleast convey a sense of basic
understanding of NEC codes?

Also, what is MEP design?

Any help is greatly appreciated,


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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4
e-field Offline OP
Junior Member
BTW- Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but this is seemingly the most active community where I could find a diverse range of opinions about this subject. And, as is apparent by the threads, a lot of people here are very knowledgeable.

Also, if you could give me any general engineering interview tips I would be much appreciative.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4
e-field Offline OP
Junior Member
Reading the rules again, it seems as if only advanced topics are allowed, so I apologize for the inconvenience.

So, I'll understand if this topic is promptly closed or deleted.

If you have any advice, then please send it to my email:


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
e-field Welcome, give it a chance, you will get some answers.

I do not think you have broken any rules, Bill will let you know if you have.

In my opinion it would be tough to sound proficient with the NEC in just a few short forum postings.

The thing with the NEC is hardly anything is yes or no. It is no, never,... except yes in this particular situation.

There are some good reference training books, check the book store here at this site and / or at Mike Holt's

Good Luck, Bob

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
The best way to get both NEC knowledge and to learn how to apply it to actual real installations is to work for a picky electrical contractor. I would suggest trying for a summer job as an electrical apprentice. Depending on your situation and availble work, you might be able to to work some during the school year.
One of the irritations of the and probably all construction trades is designs that are incomplete and/or unworkable. You will be able to learn how to be a more effictive engineer once you have actual work experience.
Good luck

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
If I had to pick out one book—NEC Handbook published by the NFPA. Second would be McPartland’s NEC Handbook published by McGraw-Hill. Don’t want to discourage anyone, but unless you have a year to prepare, it’s a tough task. The best would be to familiarize yourself with how the Code is organized and indexed—mainly to know where to find specifics. Code terminology is its own sort but critical. Even senior people have to look up details, so in a job interview the best answer may be something like, “Motor overload protection—I’d start in chapter 4 (or article 430) depending upon familiarity with the book. Having a photographic memory of technical details helps.

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 582
Ron Offline
What type of classes do you take? During my undergrad in EE, my classes were pretty far off from the design and code compliance of power related construction.
I wouldn't have imagined trying to interview for a job that required "knowledge" of NEC codes, as before diving in with a boss that was willing to teach me for a a few years, I wouldn't have had a clue. Even if I read the Code handbook, at that time, I had no concept of some of the language used.
Not to be negative, but it would be a hard sell, if you did not already have code knowledge to be able to determine code compliance of a project/system.
BTW, MEP is Mechanical (generally Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Electrical and Plumbing.
My best interview technique, is to be humble, and tell them you are willing to learn.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4
e-field Offline OP
Junior Member

Yeah, before the interview I'm probably going to browse over the more popular books as suggested by Bjarney.


You're right about "incomplete work"-- even "ambigous" work could be regarded as a more serious offense as opposed to incomplete work, and I'm sure you've had experience in dealing with both.


Thanks for the book recommendations. I'll be sure to atleast browse over them before the interview. And you're certainly right that the best thing for me to do is figure out how the book it outlined, realize that it's not completely yes or no (as stated by iwire), and then go from there.


I've completed all of my general engineering courses (engineering design, statics and dynamics, and thermodynamics), so this semester I am getting started with my electrical courses, specifically digital system design and circuit theory.

None of these classes, btw, discusses any of the NEC codes, and I honestly doubt that any classes really do. Working knowledge and educational knowledge seem to be completely separate, and I'm trying to bridge the gap (so to speak) right now.

I'm honestly not expecting them to drill me on NEC codes, rather, I think that they will expect me to know their application and use with regards to the company, because it seems like it would be more or less having to research the NEC codes and use them on a case by case basis. This emphesis is what I'm hoping for, atleast.

I'm essentially interviewing for a rather large engineering consulting firm for their summer internship positions. I think they don't expect most students to know much about MEP design or NEC codes at this stage of their educational career.

Thanks for the interviewing tip. Due to my relative lack of experience, I'm going to stress my grades and willingness to learn and put forth effort on my own time.

-Thanks all!

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
My favorite book is "American Electricians' Handbook" by Croft and Summers. Covers it all, including installation techniques.


Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
I'm not going to mention any names here, but one of the books that Bjarney reccomends I will never buy again after after I purchased the 2002 version. There were many, many sections of it that have not been updated to reflect the 2002 NEC, despite the fact that the cover insists that it "conforms to the 2002 NEC".

I get frustrated when I spend my own hard earned money for a book that the author/editor has not taken the time to fully update. [Linked Image]

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City
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