# Career Switch to Engineering

1. Dec 12, 2009

### cpa

I am a CPA considering going back to school for B.S. in Engineering, or possibly doing Computer Science Masters/Ph.D. I would appreciate commentary anyone could provide on either of these fields. I am 35, btw ...

I would really like to do research and teach, so the ms/phd track is appealing. But, i also like to build things which is why i'm considering engineering. I would like to do something more brainy like ee, but honestly think work in the civil sector might satisfy my building and creative urge.

Thanks!

(btw: have read career engineering thread, but posted here for fresh thought and also distinction between cs and eng - thanks)

Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
2. Dec 14, 2009

### pseudophonist

I'm a recent ee graduate who was thinking of doing a PhD and from my honours research experience it sounds like an Engineering PhD would satisfy your research and teaching urge as well as your wanting to build things (particularly microelectronics... there's lots of research going into Micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems, for example).

One thing you've got to be prepared for in ee is the maths but otherwise its a really really interesting field.

All the best in your future career!

3. Dec 14, 2009

### minger

If you have the science chops, then have at it. One thing about civil engineering though. It will certainly not let you flex your creative muscle. I have several close friends in civil, and the majority of what they do is paperwork and project mangement. You must consider the fact that much of civil engineering is done by your states respective department of transportation. I'm not trying to bang on Civil engineers or anything, but I just have to express my opinion until I hear otherwise.

As far as a BS in engineering, you'll typically have to choose an area, be it civil as I mentioned, mechanical which is quite broad, electrical, computer, aerospace, etc.

It is really a matter of talking with some advisers and seeing what fits you best. Do note that the math is quite different from business math. It is very calculus dependent and many people are unable to handle it.

4. Dec 14, 2009

### cpa

Thank you very much for your comments. I will look into this. I was leaning more towards engineering because of the marketability of the degree and the fact that you actually produce something of use to society. And, as you say, the academic track is always before me if I indeed like the field as much as I suspect I may.

5. Dec 14, 2009

### cpa

The math is no problem. I have always had an interest in math and my book shelves are littered with many volumes of related subject matter. My education is limited, but the interest and capacity are there.

Thanks for the comment on civil. That's the kind of perspective I was seeking. My wife is an ee, and she seems to feel that her field is not very creative either! What can I do? It looks like "real world" takes the fun out of everything. Maybe I'll be one of those who enjoys learning about engineering but hates doing it as I recently read from one writer.

What do you think about mechanical? It seems to have the most marketability of any of the disciplines.

6. Dec 15, 2009

### Brian_C

Electrical engineers are in very high demand, but mechanical engineering is a much broader discipline. It touches on topics such as structural statics/dynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and control engineering.

Make sure you get an ABET accredited degree in engineering. This will probably take about five years to finish.

7. Dec 15, 2009

### cpa

Do you have any ideas on the best markets for ee? In our region, it's pretty tough for my ee wife.

8. Dec 15, 2009

### minger

When I was young I wanted to be a civil because I thought it was about making tooth pick bridges. I didn't realize the amount of road construction involved.

I am personally working in the aerospace industry with a mechanical degree. The broadness of the degree does have appeal, but it will eventually come down to what you're most interested in.

9. Dec 15, 2009

### Brian_C

I live in the Dallas area, and there are a ton of EE jobs because of all the semiconductor and telecom companies in the area. Houston and Austin also have a strong job market for engineers of all stripes.

10. Dec 15, 2009

### cpa

From my limited persepctive, I would have to say that electrical is where my interests most lie. But, with that being said, I also want to be smart about my decision and pick a track that will have the most job prospects (not necesarily the highest paid, but rather the strongest job security).

This is kind of off-point, but I will ask anyway: do you think there is a connection between spatial intelligence and sucess as an engineer, or can one get by strictly with a strong analytical mind?

11. Dec 15, 2009

### cpa

Thanks. Maybe we will move to Dallas. We are considering making a move for this very reason.

What is the economy like? Where i live (deep south), if you make $100K you can live well as a single person, and raise a family comfortably, but not extravagantly. A town home in the city is$150K and a family home is \$200K and up.

12. Dec 16, 2009

### minger

I would say that having spatial intelligence is certainly a plus. Having the analytical ability will get you to realize that your initial design isn't going to work. After that, it helps to be able to "see" things in your mind and mentally create an idea of a possible new working design before re-starting the analysis.

e.g. I have move this piece foreward which might have relieve stresses in this part...but then how can I fit the spacer in?

13. Dec 18, 2009

### cpa

I assumed that was the case. I have a very, very strong analytical mind, but I "think" my spatial intelligence is average at best, and quite possibly deficient ... lol ... i say this because I seem to find myself getting disoriented with a sense of direction and I also don't have an artistic aptitude ... I sometimes feel like a savant ... I have a few exceptional qualities that really carry me, but sometimes marvel at how unable I am to find myself from point a to point b ... if i take an elevator down 3 stories, i can get disoriented as to which direction to go to my car in a particular building I visit often ... some of it has to do with building layout, but I still think this must be an unusual phenomenon ...

As said, I have a great love of science, learning and building things, and some qualities that indicate that I do well with this, but then spatially I'm just not there ...

14. Dec 18, 2009

### minger

That's not to say that you wouldn't be effective. Give it a shot and see what happens, you know. The most important thing in any field is finding a position that fits your abilities and interests.

15. Dec 18, 2009

### skgoyal4591

Dear CPA & Everyone,
I am in a similar position and wanted to get your advice-- I really appreciate your help! Feel free to email me anytime!

- Sanjay
-----------------------

My undergraduate degree is in City Planning with a minor in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007). After college I worked in RE Development for 1 year and then decided to pursue my current MBA at the University of Illinois-- Chicago-- I plan on graduating by May of 2010 and working in City Planning, Development or Real Estate Finance (Let's assume the market is ok by then!...LOL)

Basically my heart is set on Civil Engineering because I love to see physical plans built into reality! Thus, I really want to return to get a 2nd B.S. in Civil Engineering-- but I don't know if it's possible to make a career switch-- considering the following?

- Will anyone hire us versus fresh 22 year old undergrads? Is it looked down upon to be a "career-switcher?"

- Have you ever heard of anyone successfully doing this, Business-->Engineering switch?

- I'd love to exchange dialogue with anyone who has knowledge or experience in this area: my email is:

anandwisc@yahoo.com

Sincerely,
AJ

16. Dec 19, 2009

### cpa

You are right. Thanks for the encouragement.

17. Dec 19, 2009

### cpa

Sanjay, you are very young and just getting started. You can do anything you want to do. It is extremely common for people in their 20s to change careers a couple of times until they land in a field that suits them. This happens because they don't really know what the career is they are signing up for until they get in to the real world, and also they grow up some which changes priorities and perspective on life.

You have a lot of good credentials at your level in career and life, so it's just a matter of presenting it the right way to your next potential employer.

18. Jan 7, 2010

### ScienceGuyOrg

Having a degree in computer science and having done that type of work for over 20 years I would say it was a good choice but not always the most creative. When I started out it was all about programming and now it is pretty much all about doing support. The many problems that come up are challenging for sure.

To be more creative I design model airplanes, water rockets, solar model cars, etc, and write articles and produce videos. Maybe someday that will make some money for me, but now it is entirely a hobby.

Bill Kuhl

19. Jan 12, 2010

### avant-garde

ScienceGuyOrg, would a PhD in CS have been different? I think the OP is talking about computer science moreso than programming...

20. Jan 12, 2010

### ScienceGuyOrg

In computer science I could only see going on past my BS degree for teaching but I am sure there could be other reasons.