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15 and i am interested in engineering as a career

  1. Jan 16, 2014 #1
    hey, i am 15 and i am interested in engineering as a career in my future. i am going into my A-levels soon and i am hoping to do Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Geography for my A-Levels. i am predicted A's and A*'s in my sciences at GCSE. i want to know what sort of engineering there is, i am looking for mainly physics (i prefer it) but i would appreciate some help
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2014 #2

    Meir Achuz

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    If you prefer physics, and are good at it, why not major in physics?
    I was told (long ago) by a high school adviser "Since you're good in math and physics, you should be an engineer." I took his advice and fooled around for four years as an EE undergrad, before going to grad school for a physics PhD. Don't waste your time. Go right for physics.
  4. Jan 16, 2014 #3
    If you'd rather do physics then do that. Just because you're good at maths and physics, doesn't mean that you'll enjoy or be good at engineering.
  5. Jan 16, 2014 #4
    A job is a great reason. I fooled around in physics for the better part of a decade. Now I want a technical career so I am going to school for engineering.
  6. Jan 16, 2014 #5
    There are many kinds of Engineering. But it's not like pure science. Engineers are involved in designing everyday things that make our civilization possible. It can range from a small thing, like a computer/radio chip that might lurk inside a power meter on the side of your house. It can also be very large things like an offshore wind farm.

    Engineers study existing designs and innovate. There is an art to the designs that very few will notice, let alone appreciate. However, Engineers are not usually involved in discovery. That's the realm of the Scientist, and the Physicist in particular. If you are enamored with the idea of discovering things that have never been known before, then consider a career as a scientist.

    Scientific investigations are almost never lucrative for the scientists. By comparison, though Engineers rarely get rich, they have historically received middle to upper middle class salaries. I should caution you that although the earnings history is a fact, predictions are often wildly inaccurate. What has happened in the past is no guarantee that this will be what you get if or when you graduate.

    As for kinds of engineering, there are many applications and kinds of engineering. The broad swaths are Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering. There are also corrosion control engineers, Software Engineers (for embedded software), Aeronautical Engineers, Control Systems Engineers, Marine Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Industrial Engineers and so many more.

    Consider what you like doing. Do you like building construction sites? Do you like industrial plant sites? Have you ever really been to any of these sorts of places? Think about whether you'd like to travel or whether you prefer routine office work. Do you like getting involved with your work or would you prefer to stay at arms length? Engineering can be all of those things.

    I find that while I think the work is interesting, it's the people I work with that make it enjoyable and worth doing. At age 15, you still have much to learn about what work places are like. Don't make up your mind yet, but think about broad goals of what you'd like to see yourself doing. Be on the lookout for every opportunity you can get to learn about various professions.

    If you had told me when I was 15 years old that I would be working at a water and sewer utility, and finding it enjoyable, I'd have been horrified. And yet, here I am.

    I design industrial control systems and wide area SCADA (Telemetry) systems. I deal with energies and scales of operation that very few people comprehend. It's truly awesome seeing the systems I designed, programmed, and tested operate extremely large infrastructure that millions depend on. I also have a very broad cross section of people to work with, from misfits who didn't even graduate from high school, to very smart thought leaders of industry, to political hacks of all persuasions, to managers and bureaucrats ranging from churlish to genuinely helpful and understanding. I get to work with them all. And the work matters. Without the things our company does, our cities would be unlivable in just a few days.

    Get involved in various hobbies and engineering clubs in school. Look in to interests such as Amateur "Ham" Radio, home chemistry experiments, software design, Robotics, automobile repair, rocketry, or even your local marina or airport. People are usually happy to share their experience and opportunities with you. Don't wait for these people to come to you in your school.

    Good Luck!
  7. Jan 29, 2014 #6
    I am in a similar dilemma as you. I have not really taken an actual Physics class yet, (Im taking AP Physics senior year next year) but after I've done a little bit of self-studying and reading books about string theory and other junk I am in love with physics, and in particular astrophysics/astronomy. Math is my favorite class, and numbers really come to me. From the basic physics formulas and stuff we're being taught in chemistry right now I hope I will love physics next year...
  8. May 18, 2014 #7
    This is very late but may I recommend you take further maths and not chemistry if you want to go into physics or engineering. Good luck either way
  9. Dec 31, 2014 #8
    Don't you have to take chemistry courses to get into engineering? Or at least in America ur college system is designed this way.
  10. Dec 31, 2014 #9


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    The typical undergrad engineering curriculum, which is generally the same regardless of engineering specialization, typically includes courses in statics and dynamics, the physics of heat, light, sound, and electricity, chemistry, metallurgy, and plenty of math, usually calculus, differential equations, and complex and vector analysis.
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