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Career Advice for Mechanical Engineering

  1. Apr 16, 2012 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    I am at a road block in my life where I have no idea what to do next in terms of my career plans. I graduated with a Bachelors in Biochemistry, and recently, I realized there was nothing that spoke to me within this field which I could obtain as a career.

    I looked into Mechanical engineering, because I have always been good at/ comfortable/ enjoyed calculations and math, but also because I believe there is freedom within this field to do a wide variety of work. I had an epiphany the other day because I realized that I do not think I am very good at/ enjoy analyzing and using physics, and I fear that the work I do as a professional ME will consists of a lot of concepts with physics.

    I am thinking about going back to school for ME because I want to eventually get into product designing (have not decided for what industry, but interested in environmental or consumer/ industrial goods).

    If there are any professional engineers out there who can tell me what their tasks are as engineers in the work force, and maybe correct me if I am wrong about all the physics involved? ( I realize that the curriculum to obtain an eng degree will require a lot of physics, but I also believe that the work we do in academia is more theoretical and not as applicable to the real world or industry)

    Thanks a lot for all your posts. I really have been struggling with this for a while, and I thought ME was finally the right field for me, but now I am not so sure...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2012 #2
    Dude, you are probably already at least as smart as you need to be to get started.

    Look for internships or jobs in a mechanical side of the biochem job. I don't know what that would be, but maybe something like designing the tubing, pump, and tanks for a algae-fuel startup company. I don't know.

    Don't go back to school unless you are serious. You will dump a bunch of money and you won't necessarily be any closer to a job.

    I think if I were you, I would get "certified" in Autodesk Inventor or Solidworks so that you have the design skills that are needed. (It's not that hard).
    Then you have a really good resume-- biochem plus Solidworks! Bam!. If I were an employer I would be stoked.

    My 2 cents.
  4. Apr 16, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    I actually have been trying to get at that angle for a while now. It seems that it is very difficult to obtain even volunteer work in this area, because this kind of work really requires background knowledge or experience. Maybe I am approaching it in a wrong way, but I find it really difficult to find opportunities for internships in this area, and I feel like all I can really get with my degree is a research bench job.

    I have been working on obtaining certification for SolidWorks, but I don't want to be stuck doing CAD all day on a computer either. Right now, I am trying to assess if going back to school would help me, or if I should just stick to working, even if it is a research position with a biotech company. I would be ok with that now, but honestly, I don't see a future after a couple of years and I don't know what I could do at that point to move forward.

    I was just thinking for the long-term future. I don't believe that my BS in Biochem will sustain me in any other position than research really, and I actually really dislike that environment and kind of work. (I had experience working in a lab while I was pursuing my degree).
  5. Apr 16, 2012 #4
    What is your approx. geographic location?
  6. Apr 16, 2012 #5
    northern california. Silicon valley/ sf bay area
  7. Apr 16, 2012 #6
    Well, you're in just about the best place in the world for having a weird biochem/engineering type thing going on. Granted, you probably have a hell of a lot of competition out there.

    I would just really recommend fully contemplating not going to school. Think about it. You're probably already 24ish. The next 4-5 years are going to be your most productive. Do you want to be holed up in some university, competing against fresh-out-of-hi-school kids?

    I would say, look, you have got a great skills, a good head on you... so see what you can do. Go for it. What would Steve Jobs do?

    I think of it this way:

    What's going to pay off more in "the long-term future":
    5 years working hard building that unique career path?
    5 years in a university, a late start, and not all that much more knowledge (maybe less)?
  8. Apr 16, 2012 #7
    I was actually contemplating about going back for a Master's ( there are some programs I have looked into which are tangible for a person in my situation), because I think that if I wait a couple years, my academic aptitude will be lost.

    But you make a good point to get work experience. It has been my initial plan and I have been trying to do it for months, but the lack of results has made me think twice. I have gone to new creative measures of applying/ getting employer's attention as well. I just don't know what else to do, because I feel like if I can't get work, I should at least make use of my time getting a higher degree.
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