The Should I Become An Engineer? Thread


by russ_watters
Tags: engineer
bruce999
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#55
Apr26-05, 03:46 PM
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FredGarvin

Sounds like a better place where you are - US I assume.

Here in the UK most engineering companies won't even give you an interview unless you have extensive experience. There is fierce competition for jobs offered by large companies, who offer reasonable starting salaries, and they use work experience as a filter. The starting salaries in smaller companies are usually quite poor so people move away from engineering for employment.

As brewnog said engineering grads are, generally, more employable than other graduates in non-engineering roles.
brewnog
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#56
Apr26-05, 04:12 PM
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Quote Quote by bruce999
FredGarvin

Sounds like a better place where you are - US I assume.

Here in the UK most engineering companies won't even give you an interview unless you have extensive experience. There is fierce competition for jobs offered by large companies, who offer reasonable starting salaries, and they use work experience as a filter. The starting salaries in smaller companies are usually quite poor so people move away from engineering for employment.

As brewnog said engineering grads are, generally, more employable than other graduates in non-engineering roles.
Bruce. I'm in the UK, and have just (this week) been offered two seperate jobs, in engineering, on graduate training programmes, with starting salaries in excess of 22k, with very reputable companies. I have under 10 weeks of practical, real-world experience under my belt, which was only partly relevant to one of the jobs. Most of the other guys being interviewed had similar levels of experience, but almost all were attending interviews to decide which offers to accept! There is so much of a shortage of good engineering graduates that graduates choose which employers they want to work for, not the other way round. I'm currently turning down interviews...

Incidentally, the job I was offered with the smaller company (25 employees; - the smallest employer to offer the MPDS programme) had a higher starting salary than the large company (10,000 employees in the UK alone).
nhut
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#57
Apr26-05, 09:15 PM
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This is probably my first post here. Yay for me.

I'm currently in my final year of secondary school, and will start university next year. From what I've read, engineering sounds like what I want to do (I enjoy maths and physics, and loved playing with lego until I 'grew out' of it). Engineering also sounds incredibly diverse, which is obviously a good thing in many respects, but it makes it hard to work out what field you'd like to study.

Fortunately where I'm going you don't have to decide your field of study until the end of your first year, but I'd still like to know in much detail what the various fields of engineering involve. Anyone care to educate me?
FredGarvin
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#58
Apr27-05, 06:35 AM
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Quote Quote by nhut
Engineering also sounds incredibly diverse, which is obviously a good thing in many respects, but it makes it hard to work out what field you'd like to study.
That is indeed very true. Many people get a real understanding of what it is they like about engineering after they have been in the private sector for a while and have had some exposure to real world engineering. That is definitely not uncommon.

I think in the the main factions of engineering, i.e. mechanical, electrical and chemical, you can make the decision early what general area interests you. You should have an inkling as to what you like and what you don't. All of those areas have many specializations within them that are the tougher decision to make. Don't worry too much about that right now. You'll see how it somewhat, just develops.
brewnog
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#59
Apr27-05, 07:46 AM
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Quote Quote by FredGarvin
I think in the the main factions of engineering, i.e. mechanical, electrical and chemical, you can make the decision early what general area interests you. You should have an inkling as to what you like and what you don't. All of those areas have many specializations within them that are the tougher decision to make. Don't worry too much about that right now. You'll see how it somewhat, just develops.
This is all good advice.

Nhut, you grew out of Lego?! Sacrilege!

I'd just like to add civil engineering to Fred's list of main disciplines. If you can get any work experience at all, then you should be able to get an idea of whether mechanical, civil, electrical or chemical is the right kind of field for you. You'll be able to specialise more (structural, aerospace, automotive, mining etc) much later so don't worry about that too much at this stage.

If you're still not sure, then mechanical engineering always seems to be the broadest in terms of content, and has relatively easy paths into other disciplines.
mister_okay
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#60
May28-05, 09:12 PM
P: 20
Is there such thing as automotive engineering? If there is, can someone give me some brief info on it (no links please).
pete worthington
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#61
Jun27-05, 03:20 PM
P: 56
If there is, and it is a Bachelors of Science program you may want consider if is really a wise choice. a Mechanical Engineering degree can get you into the automotive field. When I got me M.E. degree in 1987 I interviewed with Ford Motor Company, a plastics engineering firm that supplied technology to the automotive industry and a rubber processing eguipment manufacturing firm that supplied tire companies with equipment.

In my opinion you would be better off getting a M.E. degree at a college or university that is in the vacinity of heavy auto manufacturing. That way the connections and applications, perhaps even work/study or co-op, would be there for your specific interest while you earn a degreee that is more applicable to a broader area.

I would imagine that the curriculum in the first three years would be very similar anyhow. Good Luck !
FredGarvin
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#62
Jun27-05, 04:36 PM
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Quote Quote by mister_okay
Is there such thing as automotive engineering? If there is, can someone give me some brief info on it (no links please).
I laugh (no, make that cringe) when I hear that term. However, with all of my preconceived notions aside I will tell you that my alma mater has a MS in Automotive Engineering available. They do not have an undergrad as far as I know. If they did that would be a damn shame. If you would like a link to my school I'd be happy to email it to you or post it.

If automotive is your choice, I would re read Pete's last post and seriously consider it.
brewnog
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#63
Jun28-05, 12:01 PM
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There are several undergrad (BEng & MEng) Automotive Engineering degrees available over here, particularly some excellent ones at Birmingham and Loughborough. They're pretty much Mech Eng degrees with an automotive slant. They kinda go against Fred and Pete's advice, and for those who definitely want to enter the automotive field they're very well respected by industry, and even for non-automotive degrees they're broad enough to get you jobs which might normally employ straight Mech Eng graduates.
nikola-tesla
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#64
Jul26-05, 09:17 AM
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in a month i'll be starting my 1st year of EE studies. although i've been a very good high school student, i do worry will i be able to manage my university studies since i never did like physics. i do like mathematics and electrical engineering courses, but physics does NOT attract me. am i dummed for a failure:-)
brewnog
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Jul26-05, 03:47 PM
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Quote Quote by nikola-tesla
in a month i'll be starting my 1st year of EE studies. although i've been a very good high school student, i do worry will i be able to manage my university studies since i never did like physics. i do like mathematics and electrical engineering courses, but physics does NOT attract me. am i dummed for a failure:-)

It seems slightly odd that someone so interested in EE dislikes physics so much, but since you've enrolled on an EE course and say that you DO like EE type courses, I don't see why there should be a problem! While you'll be using lots of concepts which are based on ideas you could learn on a physics course, almost all of it will be of an engineering nature. If you've done well at school, there's absolutely no reason why you can't succeed at university.

Good luck anyway!
Nomy-the wanderer
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#66
Jul26-05, 05:58 PM
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[QUOTE=russ_watters]Should I become an engineer?

Well my 1st thought was i'm a practical person who's in love with maths and physics...An engineer is someone creative that can have ideas more economic and much easier to use a certain theory of whatever...

-What engineering discipline should I study?

Engineering is not all about pure physics, i mean i'm a nuclear engineer, i love both physcis and maths and i should, because nuclear engineering is all about physics and i will have to use a lot of maths, but thinking physics is different then thinking maths...
But an EE can hate physics and love maths, and certainly has to love maths, electrical engineers are all about maths, even their physics don't just use maths as a language but it's all about maths ...
It's kinda hard to me to explain in which sense, but clearly we had the same courses to study sometimes, and probably it was hard for them to solve some of our problems, because the hardest part there is about using mathematics, for us the hardest part was using physics itself...

Well i'm sorry if i'm not clear but it depends on what u feel comfortable with more, again engineering is a life style, i believe engineers can replace each other, it doesn't matter what's ur speciality, it matters more that u've the mind of an engineer.

-Is engineering difficult?

For me it's easier than anything in the world, and it has affected the way i think and deal with things deeply...So i think it's a character issue. Eversince i was a child people noticed i was practical, and mostly use the shortest ways to get what i wanted. After finishing the highschool, i spent sometime with myself, thinking that being an engineer was my entire life dream but do i really fit?? Well i was never certain untill i finished my 1st general year, everything was clearer to me.
zeronem
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#67
Aug12-05, 07:47 PM
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I've been struggling with these kind of questions forever.

I am talented at Mathematics and Physics. I have a hard time deciding whether I should go Full Blown Mathematics, Full Blown Physics, or go for engineering. My original major is Mathematics. I enjoy explaining Mathematics, however I can find it quite boring because it is so easy and repetitive to me. Though I am always learning something new in the Mathematics as I continue, then it slowly but surely gets repetitive until I go onto something new. I am not bad at Solving Physics Problems at all, and I enjoy explaining Physics. Physics doesn't much get boring to me. However I must admit, my skills in Mathematics are quite incredible compared to Physics problem solving. I find though, that I have no trouble at all when it comes down to solving Physics Problems in general.

I always loved the Theory behind it all. I have the ability for my mind to make a transition from Mathematics to Physics. I come across Mathematics I can solve Mathematics Problems. I come across Physics Problems, I can easily make a transition from Mathematics problem solving to Physics Problem solving in terms of Understanding Physical Concepts. I am originally a Math Major who took some Physics classes just for the Theory behind the Physics and not for the engineering aspect.

Richard Feynman was right, when mentioned the differences between Mathematics and Physics. How he explained that some some students of Mathematics may look at Physics and make the cocky claim that he/she can do Physics just as well as the Physics student since he/she can do the math. He also explained that those mathematics students may go far, but as for major contributions to their field, is rare.

Though, I have met with a striking blow to the stomach. I would like to make money, and I would like to beable to buy a beach house in a little secluded area of Hawaii. The thing is I can go for a Ph.D in Mathematics which was my original direction. Or I can go for a Ph.D in Physics. However If I go for engineering I don't have to go to school as much as I would if I were to go for a Ph.D.

I do admit though. It would be nice to beable to take all the same holidays off as do Students do, If I were to go into teaching College. I do not want to teach High School, and if I had to teach I would only go as low as say Community College. I would love to be off every summer, not have to teach at college and just to relax in my dream beach house. I know I sound crazy, but it's my dream.

Anyways, there is also the fear that If I were to go far into Mathematics I would get tired of attending school any longer and end up only with a Masters. I know many Math Professors at my Community College who just got their Masters, and didn't feel like attending School any longer to get a Ph.D

I also want to have a family early in my life. If I were to go for a Ph.D I may not have time for that. If I only go for Masters I may have time. If I do engineering I know for sure I can get some time to start a family. As I know many Engineers that have started families at a young age, or atleast as it looks to me they did.

I have also met with another devastating blow that has killed me from my love for Mathematics. That at the age I am at, is supposedly the age where one make's their original contribution to Mathematics. I have not yet thought of my original idea. I can't seem to invent or discover any thing original in Mathematics which has brought me low morale in trying. I have ideas in my head I cannot describe Mathematically. I can do the mathematics, I certainly cannot think of that original idea. That leaves me with Physics, whereas I certainly cannot think of an original idea due that I am still in my lower stages of learning modern Physics.

When it comes to engineering, I do not know exactly what I am going to be getting myself into. I know exactly what I am going to be getting into when it comes to Mathematics and Physics. As for Engineering, I am dead clueless. I don't care much for chemistry, however the only aspect I can see myself dealing with that is related to chemistry is Thermodynamics. Though Thermodynamics is generally more of Physics, Quantum Physics. Anything else with chemistry can be left to the chemists.

I am also a perfectionist. I find it takes me a long time to do experiments in Science simply because everything has to be perfect. As I was doing Physics Experiments in my Physics lab, my team would always be the last to get done with the experiment. I come to the notion that whatever Scientific tools used to perform Science Experiments I have to throughly get used to and know exactly all the particular functions of the tool. Which can be a heavy disadvantage to getting experiments done on time. When it comes down to it, I've always like the theory rather then experiment. I think maybe I am willing to bare with experiments. Especially If I were to get into Experimental Physics.

I have thought about Mathematical Physics, but that is of course not generally offered among Universities. I have also thought about Electrical Engineering, simply due to the heavy Mathematics involved however, I do not care much for Computer Science which is also involved heavily in Electrical Engineering. Which brings me down to Mechanical Engineering which is a little bit of Everything. Then as Engineer one has to beable to design. I find I am probably not going to be that great of a designer either.

So I am left at the crossroads. Maybe I shouldn't pursue anything remotely near to Math or Science. Maybe I should just pick up a guitar and learn it and feel satisfied enough. Is it possible for one to go into professional research for a company with only a Masters in Mathematics? or Masters in Physics?
brewnog
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#68
Aug12-05, 08:03 PM
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- Don't choose anything just for the money
- Don't choose anything just because you can do it well
- Don't choose anything just for the career prospects

The part of your post which did catch my eye was that you've "loved" the theory behind maths and physics. It's this 'love' which you should try and pursue. I'm not saying you should do pure maths or physics, but find something which you can throw passion into.
russ_watters
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#69
Aug12-05, 10:44 PM
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Quote Quote by zeronem
I have also met with another devastating blow that has killed me from my love for Mathematics. That at the age I am at, is supposedly the age where one make's their original contribution to Mathematics. I have not yet thought of my original idea. I can't seem to invent or discover any thing original in Mathematics which has brought me low morale in trying. I have ideas in my head I cannot describe Mathematically. I can do the mathematics, I certainly cannot think of that original idea. That leaves me with Physics, whereas I certainly cannot think of an original idea due that I am still in my lower stages of learning modern Physics.
Ya know, you don't need a Nobel Prize to be a successful professor, right? If it happens, great, but I think you're setting the bar a little high.

I can assure you that if you do something you don't enjoy just for the sake of money, you'll be miserable. Yes, money is important, but it isn't the most important consideration when deciding on a career.
zeronem
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#70
Aug12-05, 11:46 PM
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I do enjoy the Math and Physics, and I can pretty much enjoy anything that I do well at. However I do not know if I can do Engineering well enough to get a rise out of it. But I am pressured to maybe give engineering a try. I just worry whether If I'll get that same rise out of Engineering like I do the Math and Physics.

I was born and raised in a very conservative family given I was born and raised in the heart of Conservative America(Texas). My whole family measures how smart you are by how much money you have or make. Given that I gained a passion for math and science and the ability to carry it out, I have been pressured by my family, friends, and professors to get into engineering and go for money. My old man had to work three jobs at once at one time. I'de certainly like to pay my parents back for their hard work. I just don't know if I have what it takes to get a Ph.D. Surely I can, but like I said I don't want to end up stopping at a Masters degree like most Mathematics professor I know that did so. Engineering does look highly interesting to me, but the question is whether I will get the same rise out of it as I get out of solving math and physics problems. I think it is matter of giving engineering a shot, and If I truly like it then I will stay with it.
Nomy-the wanderer
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#71
Aug13-05, 05:34 AM
P: 188
Zeronem i think engineering would be great, as long as u love both, and there r fields where it cna be more physics or more mathematics, so it's up to u..

And then u don't have to make any breakthrough, engineering is more about practicality so if u can be so...Go ahead!

But i agree don't concern urself with being unproven or the career prospect later follow ur passion!

I'd have joined pharmacy if i thought of a better career at leats i'd have managed our own pharmacy and i'd have foudn a thousand oppotunities for a great job with a great salary!
Orgonics
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#72
Aug13-05, 08:09 PM
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I am already a trained and qualified Engineer just not in this exact field.

www.i-sis.org.uk

Genetic sequences are analysed by supercomputers these days. How many manipulate genetics by using some form of physics here?

Zeronem what field would you be inetrested in graduating in? If you like science and enjoy experimenting then an eventual Ph.D may be good for you. It's worth getting a degree just for your CV or Reseme these days.


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