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Advice Needed

  1. Apr 30, 2008 #1
    (I thought I'd repost this into the appropriate section)

    Hi, I'm a semi-sophomore in Engineering at a community college in Massachusetts.
    We don't have engineering classes, but a great Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics department (My Linear Algebra class has 6 students in it).

    I plan to transfer to UMass in another year, and have yet to decide which Engineering field to enter. I have Calculus I & II, Linear Algebra, Physics I & II, Chemistry I & II, and a bunch of general education courses completed. Next year I'll be finishing up my maths with Multivariate and Diff-EQ, along with the remaining general education courses I'll need for a bachelors degree. I'm also taking two courses in 3D modeling and animation using Cinema 4D for personal enjoyment.

    I'm 26 and work full-time, so 4 classes a semester is my limit while maintaining 3.5+ grades. I run a wastewater treatment plant at night, and have close to 10 years experience in this field. I plan on four more years of school - taking things at my own pace and learning because I really enjoy it.

    I'm interested in almost every field of engineering for different reasons. Civil/Environmental really builds upon my 10 years in wastewater treatment (for which I have extensive laboratory and operations experience). I'm really interested in electrical because I have a strong desire to learn how to make my own intelligent control systems (along with various sensors). Adapting this knowledge to automated wastewater controls is a future goal. I'm mechanically inclined (I rebuild my own engines, make components for various projects, TIG welding, etc.). And I'm also a private pilot, so aerospace engineering interests me (along with fluid mechanics, control systems, lightweight high-performance powerplants, etc. which tie back into other fields).

    I've already resolved to entering multiple fields as I go, but what to enter initially and obtain a bachelors in is what has me pulling my hair out. Civil makes a lot of sense for the economic aspects (along with the greater training in project management which tends to lead to well-paying management roles), but almost everyone I speak with - friends, engineers, and advisors tell me to do Electrical. Electrical has a higher peak potential as an actual engineer (at least in my area) along with more available positions. It also allows me to pursue more classes in the Physics department which I love.

    I'd be interested in hearing some advice here.

    Thanks guys/gals!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2008 #2
    Do what you want, not what other people tell you. Unless they manage to convince you that you want it...

    Any engineering field tends to have nice career prospects. It varies a bit, and by region, but still nice. Are you planning on doing a MS afterwards?
  4. Apr 30, 2008 #3

    You really have to do what you think is right for you, not what your friends say is the best. If you really enjoy what you do now, why not consider civil/environmental more strongly.

    Me personally, I was all over the place so I ultimately chose Mechanical for the breadth and now I am very glad I did so.
  5. Apr 30, 2008 #4
    I definitely plan to continue my education after my BS, but I'll probably go into another field of engineering from the one I major in. Advisors told me that it's easier to move out of electrical engineering into civil/mechanical than to go from civil/mechanical into electrical.

    I definitely find the "black box" style of electrical engineering much more challenging as well. My advisor told me to major/focus on the field I find most difficult, as I can pursue the fields I find easier on my own with greater effect.

    I'm just concerned that I will be a control systems engineer that won't understand the systems I'm trying to control. I still have my next four years planned out to complete my EE degree, but my confidence in this decision hasn't quite hit that threshold of acceptability I'm trying to corner with reason.

    So I'm looking for more advice.
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