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Civil Vs Electrical

  1. May 18, 2007 #1
    Good morning all,

    Well it's finals week at my school and I've been studying for the past few days. Anyway, a dillema that I've been trying to deal with is deciding whether or not to switch over to electrical engineering. I've been a civil because I wanted to design buildings as a kid. Now, when I'm almost done with the weeder classes (physics/calculus), I'm confused as to whether to switch over to electrical. Here are my reasons why I should stay in either:
    -passion for a long time (from tv shows, architecture marvels, etc)
    -finished projects will benefit great numbers of people (like a bridge, everyone needs to use it)
    -taken few classes about it
    -started on the path, don't want to extend my time at college
    -honestly, it seems easier (academically)

    -learned that I REALLY like this stuff in the intro circuit analysis class
    -I know I need to learn more about it, but I like the fact that there is less field work and more office (calculations, I think)
    -seems to have more of a future (as in technology; engineering is a good job regardless of which field - i think)
    -hear they pay the best (not super important, but it is a factor)

    Anyway, I think my question is, how do you know which field? I don't want to look back later on in the future and be like, damn I wish I did the other thing. Can anyone provide insights as to how it is like what it's like to be an EE? This is sort of my personal research, here to find out questions, so any comments would be appreciated.

    Also, do you feel an MBA would be appropriate? I know a lot of the engineer professors recommend MS in engineering instead of the MBA because with the MBA, you're not really an engineer an not really a business person. I'm sure there are benefits from either, but what do you think would be better?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2007 #2
    Well, I'm electrical..
    I also love architecture, but chose electrical cuz I love the subjects taught there..

    As I noticed from you post, you didnt talking about what you study in civil, while you mentioned what people study in electrical..
    Seems like your choice for civil was driven only by your fantasy, and not real reasons, while you mentioned some good reasons for choosing electrical eng.

    Thats what I got from your post, and I recommend re-thinking this all again..

    The only advice I have for you is, never, never, never let the money choose your career....You must choose what you REALLY love...

    (and hey, think about the academic subjects you learn, which one is more preferable to you)

    I wish you luck :)
  4. May 18, 2007 #3
    Thanks Dark Knight.

    Well the money thing isn't really important because I do agree with you that it's not worth making 6 figure salaries if dread every day of your work. I guess I really like both fields (so far).

    For civil, I've taken solid mechanics (loved, got an A in it so far; final will determine), intro to transportation (hated it, but because of the teacher, not the subject), statics (loved it), surveying (hated it because it was the same teacher, but material wasn't bad).
  5. May 18, 2007 #4
    Well, then compare between the two curriculums, and try figuring out which of them look more interesting for you, regardless the teachers thing.. :)

    If I was to judge my major by means of teachers, I would never consider studying it!

    Anyway, thats a good start, keep comparing subjects, and good luck in your choice :)
  6. May 18, 2007 #5


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    Great handle, mrmotobiker :cool:

    It's good that you are thinking about things like this -- revisiting early decisions, based on new experiences and finding out what new things you enjoy.

    When I first started undergrad, I went in thinking ME/EE double major, but really wasn't sure and was open to whatever I found that I liked. So I took a broad range of engineering intro classes, and found that I was really turned on by programming and circuits. My first programming class was in Fortran of all things, but I really enjoyed the mental challenge of designing, coding and debugging programs, especially as they got more complicated. That was a difficult class, but I worked hard, enjoyed it, and aced it. And at the same time, I was finding that I enjoyed the intro circuits and other EE classes a lot too, probably because they used more Physics and Math than the other engineering specialties.

    So at the 2-year boundary, I declared as an EE (almost gave in to my first love of Physics, but not quite), and never looked back.

    Here's one test that I like to recommend to folks who are trying to decide between two different career paths while in school. Get the list of textbooks for the upper division classes that you would likely take for each discipline. Then go to your college bookstore, and skim through each textbook, front to back. If you get goosebumps skimming through the textbooks that you will be studying from over the next year or two, then that discipline is probably a good match. If you find both sets of textbooks equally compelling and exciting to skim through, then you're on your own!

    Best of luck either way.
  7. May 20, 2007 #6
    Thanks everyone. Sorry I didn't get a chance to reply lately, been swamped with finals!

    berkeman, I think I will try what you said, skimming through text books that I may be using throughout the next two years. I'll continue doing research and will probably take the electronics course to see how that goes and if I like it or not. Thanks!
  8. May 20, 2007 #7


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    Homework Helper

    Well the thing about Civil is that is very broad. You can't really tell if you hate or like civil simply because you didn't enjoy a few subjects, there are plenty of paths you could end up.

    You said you enjoyed the idea of building structures, maybe what you'll like is becoming a structural engineer? (So far you liked Statics and Solid Mechanics, maybe you'll enjoy structural analysis and structural design as well?)

    So far you didn't like transportation and surveying?, well guess what, you don't have to be a transportation engineer if you don't like it.

    In Civil, if you look hard you'll probably find a place you'll enjoy (be it in transportation, structural design, construction, water planning, enviromental, geotechnical, coastal, etc...)
  9. May 20, 2007 #8
    hey cyclovenom,

    I'm sorry I didn't mean to give the impression that I didn't like either of these. What I want to say is that so far I really like both. Actually I was really considering civil (structural) vs electrical. I wasn't fond of transportation/surveying because of the instructor, but still found both very interesting.

    The only opinion I have about structural is that it seems to be the top choice of people doing civil (or at least at my school that is). It seems to be the most competitive here because it is so common.

    Oh, just a quick question, if I decide to stay with structural (most likely) would you recommend taking a structural geology class? How beneficial would that be towards the degree?

    Sorry, just wanted to express my thoughts and get some feedback to help me come to the decision next semester.

  10. May 20, 2007 #9


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    Yea, i felt the same with Water managing. It isn't what i want to do with my life, but luckily there are other choices in Civil i enjoy.

    Structural may be common in some places, but the reason is, because it is one of the most challenging fields in Civil Engineering. Don't worry, it's still a broad field and the society will always need structural engineers.

    I don't know what "structural geology" will teach you at your college. It looks to me like a Geotechnical engineering or Engineering geology subordinate?. Probably more suited for a geotechnical engineer... Anyway research the syllabus and see if its something you might be interested in.

    Don't apologize, there's nothing wrong with what you did. I was just saying Civil is pretty broad, and you should see if there's something a Civil Eng does, you will enjoy.

    By the way, in my case i really liked physics. I wanted to learn as much as possible, where i got to the point, i didn't want to learn further, it wasn't what i really liked. You must be critical in making your choices, sometimes they seem perfect in the head, but they don't make us feel good about it. Personally, i disliked circuit design.
    Last edited: May 20, 2007
  11. Feb 25, 2011 #10
    Hey mrmotobiker,

    I've just completed my common year and am stuck choosing between Civil & Electrical, what did you end up doing?
  12. Feb 25, 2011 #11


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    Staff: Mentor

    mrmotobiker hasn't posted in the 4 years since this thread. He may not reply to you... :wink:
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