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Engineering Alternative Careers to Engineering :|

  1. Jun 7, 2004 #1
    Hey, I understand this is a homework help zone - but I believe deciding on a university major is important to myself and probably a lot of others.
    I am in this dilema - I like math, but i think engineering is dead, CS does not seem to be a big market for jobs right now, electrical engineering is no better, aerospace engineering = move away, environmental engineering = biology :yuck: :yuck: :wink: etc. So what are the alternatives?

    I looked at Economics,for those math oriented individuals (like myself) Economics seems to make sense. But does it involve studying lots of history, and memorizing instead of math? And will it be possible to get jobs?

    I then looked at a career in science. But once again I will likely have to move away. Theoretical Physics is not a huge job opening....but perhaps very rewarding for those interested in theoretical science.

    I then looked at taking pure math - but that is probably the worst for jobs, and well, I do love Math, but pure math....no.

    Finally I'm considering accounting, but that involves working around the clock with people's finances, and well, it could be interesting, I dont know...

    Anyway, I am completely lost in finding an alternative to the engineering, can anyone give their thoughts, and ideas on this????


    "Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
    for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Prov. 8:10-11)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2004 #2


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    Going into university, I had pretty much the same situation as you, except moving away was never a problem, and my only objection to pure maths was that it was bad for jobs. I went with engineering, and in my experience it's horrible. If you like maths, engineering isn't really the place to be. I think my biggest concerns were that I find something that I'm interested in, and something that would lead me to a "rewarding" career. However, I now think that the career bit is overrated. Study something you really enjoy studying, 4 years of doing something you don't enjoy so you can get money later on, to me at least, is far from desirable. Anyways, I suggest you do some research of your own, but http://www.pb.uillinois.edu/gs/html/job_major.html [Broken] from the University of Illinois provides a chart showing the relationship between the jobs held by students one year after graduating and their undergraduate major. Also, find out some people's personal experiences, and see if they had a lot of career options after graduating, or had effectively very few. I talked to two people who graduated out of engineering at my university, one ended up working in finance soon after graduating, the other working with a dentist; neither really went into anything that had anything to do with engineering.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Jun 8, 2004 #3

    Chi Meson

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    People like that guy Ballard (the guy who found the Titanic) need technicians who are more than just an "engineer." Hollywood and Broadway need people who understand stage mechanics, electrical, and lighting. Regular electricians (in the right market) get $100+ an hour and work 8 months of the year (by choice). Then there's the medical field: someone who knows what there doing needs to operate/maintain the MRI's CAT's PET's and other scanning machines. I met one civil engineer who inspects bridges, the underwater part: SCUBA is his job. There are those guys/gals at "Consumer Reports" who are constantly finding new ways to test and compare new things.
  5. Jun 9, 2004 #4


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    What's up with the "moving away" problem. Man is a nomadic species - you've got to get out there and see the world. Heck, first thing I did after the making the dean's list for the first time in my life was to drop out and hitch hike to California (I had no major and my grades could only go down - what else could I do?).

    I've lived in four different states (excluding different mental states, of course) and seven different cities. I haven't been to Hawaii, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. I've even spent a few months in Italy.

    I didn't go back to school until I'd already settled down with a family and already managed to fake my way into a job (then I got caught by those damned ISO audits and had to go to back to school in order to keep my job).

    You're still young! Be bold! Be daring!

    And what's with the 'liking math'? That's kind of like liking grammer. It's a language! It's just a skill! If you're not interested in the things that have to be expressed in math, why learn it?

    Look for something you actually like doing. Then learn the skills you need to do that. (Of course, one caveat - there's an awful lot of skills that are much less enjoyable to learn than math. I learned musical tones by listening to cans rattling down an antique assembly line. If I guessed wrong on which one was rattling in too low of a pitch, I got an eyeful full of methanol. And trying to get that darned machine to work right may have been fun, but it didn't pay very much anyway.)
  6. Jun 9, 2004 #5
    Thats nuts man, but my concern is not moving away, If I am able to find something I truly love, I will pursue it, may that be science, some hot chick, etc. Moving is not a problem, and I think most people would agree...

    The problem is finding what you like. I like math, therefore I figured Id go into engineering. But personally I doubt engineering is for me. I own computers, but mechanically i am an idiot - and i am ready to apply for aerospace engineering :confused: :confused: . How do I figure out what to apply for !!!!!!

    AHHHHhhhh i hate this game called life, how do we decide our lives in 4 years of high school?

    1 last question, is there such a thing as theoretical engineering, for those people who cant use a wrench, but like math, and thinking, and theory?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2004
  7. Jun 9, 2004 #6


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    My experience tells me if you like math, keep the hell out of engineering. It is the very reason why I'm leaving Engineering Science to be a Mathematics Specialist. As an engineer, I would have done 3 courses on Analysis, 4 on Differentials, 1 on Algebra. As a mathematics student, I'll do maybe 5 on Analysis, 4 on differentials, 3 on algebra, a couple on set theory, some stuff on topology, geometry, logic, etc.
    Your plight is so strikingly like the one I was in. Deciding after 4 years is ridiculous. Engineering Science was supposed to be the theoretical engineering. It's why it was called engineering science. Engineers focus largely on the technical, practical aspects, but as scientists you want to investigate and understand theory, that was the "idea" behind Engineering Science. That's not what it turned out to be, at least not enough. It was certainly more theoretical than the other engineering disciplines, and I would assume it would be more theoretical than most engineering programs in general, but it was still unfulfilling. If you can get past the worry of what job you can get, then go for maths; it is what you enjoy. And really, I think I suggested that you talk to real people and get their experiences. See what jobs they get, and how it relates to their education. I think I provided a link that had some numbers on that for the University of Illinois.

    You could take my mom for example. She came from India with a B.Sc., I don't think she had much or any education in computer science, but came and took a 6 month course in programming, then started as an entry level programmer, and stayed in that career for 30 years; now she's pretty high up there and makes really good money.

    I really think getting a job should be the least of your worries. And that you really should study what you want to study. This is what I've come to realize after my first year as an engineer, and from what I can tell, I started out in the exact same position you are in. Of course, with only one more year experience than you, I can't know it all. See if you can figure out what a degree in math is good for in terms of jobs; most universities will have something about it to entice you to choose their program. Of course, you should really be skeptical about what they say, but at least consider it. See if you can talk to any actual math students, or even go out there and call a few employers and see what they'd think of a degree in maths compared to an engineering degree (but don't bother calling an engineering firm).
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