I am currently a masters student in electrical engineering at Cornell University, and am set to graduate next spring. I have been listening to the Bigger Pockets Podcasts for a little while, and that is what brought me to this site! I wanted to hear if anyone had advice for a young person (22) that is passionate about trying to get started in real estate investing and ultimately achieve financial freedom. After I finish with school I should be looking at a job that pays ~100-110k a year, and will have 70k in student loan debt. Should my sole focus right away be to pay off my loans, and then look into maybe a house hack or another strategy for a beginner investor?
I'm a EE as well. I graduated from Rose-Hulman in Indiana and worked in the field for awhile. I did power, energy, backup generation and switchgear projects and did some stuff for utility clients as well. I got out of the W-2 design engineering world and now do more 'engineering lite' to support our real estate ventures.
Don't be in too big of a hurry on the RE stuff. There will be time for that.
Your education and earning potential will open up doors. In my case, my first purchase was a safe but steadily appreciating one with good schools, and that worked with me to build equity as the 'next' steps came into focus. (MBA, getting married, and then full fledged into real estate). Every journey is different but there are HUGE take-aways with the traditional work experience.
With your EE background if you get more into the capital projects side of things (energy, etc) rather than small circuits, I found that experience to be very transferable and now use my engineering PE license quite a bit to take on value add projects and draw out designs (I now do structural design work in addition to EE work). Suffice it to say that it offers a very differentiated experience and capability level compared to the 'competition' on the real estate side.
So, again, congrats, and do not be in too big of a hurry! You'll do great. Also note we are in the later part of a cycle so be a little cautious re: buying right now is my read.