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Civil vs Mechanical vs Electrical Enginnering which should I choose?

  1. May 31, 2014 #1
    I am a second year civil engineering student. I decided long ago since I was in high school that I would be in engineering. However I only chose civil because I couldn't decide which engineering disipline I should choose. My college only has 4 course in engineering including computer eng.

    A month ago I though of pursuing electrical because i learned that it was highest paid(and yes, money does motivate me but its not everything) and I do love technology.

    but then I realized that EE, besides being the hardest in college, is a job that is ever-changing rapidly due to electrical technology innovations. I've heard that you have to always study new things because knowledge of the past becomes outdated at a fast rate. so its like going to college my whole life learning every innovation that is ever made. And boy! this in innovators work very fast in this job.
    so guys do you think that this the case with EE? Is it really worth your a while to have a job like this?

    or should I just continue civil engineering? I've heard it pays lowest but still not low for a career. Creating buildings and bridges are fascinating(well maybe) I also heard from somewhere that some corrupt politicians compromise with CE to use tax money to inflate public construction budgets while secretly hiding the real price in order to have the extra money for himself and share it with the engineer. That"s sick! but does it happen?

    as for mechanical, i think it is somewhat interesting too. I mean, all the tinkering and stuff. Plus I always hear that nanotechnology is the future. but are mechanical engineers educated enough to work on microscopic level?

    I need an adult's advice with these. anyone wanna enlighten me? i need guidance..

    please help i live in a third world country in philippines but i want to work abroad because it is higher pay and better lifestyle
     
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  3. Jun 1, 2014 #2

    jim hardy

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  4. Jun 1, 2014 #3

    SteamKing

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    No matter what profession you choose, be it in engineering or some other field, you will have to stay current in that field in order to be able to do your job.

    If you seek to become a professional engineer, most licensing authorities mandate a certain amount of continuing education to retain your license. The continuing education requirements don't necessarily mean you have to go back to school, though.

    A lot of what an engineer does is regulated in the law, which means that you will need to become familiar with regulatory standards and such in order to be an effective engineer. Civil engineers need to be familiar with building and construction codes, for example. Similarly for mechanical engineers.

    While nanotechnology will provide some exciting opportunities for future engineering work, not every engineer needs to be familiar with this technology unless you plan to work on developing nano-machines and the like. People will still be building buildings and regular machines in the future.
     
  5. Jun 1, 2014 #4
    yes i am aware of the continued education for engineering license but what im talking about is the fact that Electrical Engineers need to keep learning new things and previous knowledge easily become obsolete because it is the engineering discipline that deals mostly of technology. And technology these days are changing so fast. Almost every year there is a revolution in technology.

    right? because most of what EE deal with is the techs that are always being innovated. unlike civil where the innovation of making buildings better is slower because people are not trying as hard to make better buildings as they are trying to build better iphones and the like.
     
  6. Jun 1, 2014 #5

    jim hardy

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    hmmm.. its not a matter of effort expended or interest, but of prudence.

    A botched job in computer science might result in a computer crash or a release of flakey software.
    A bridge collapse is quite another matter, people get killed. Innovation is slow on purpose.
    Power side of EE moves more slowly as well because the machines are so much bigger.


    1318604341.png
    courtesy of http://lolwtfcomics.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post.html
     
  7. Jun 1, 2014 #6
    you lost me there sir.. Can you explain to me more pls?
     
  8. Jun 1, 2014 #7

    jim hardy

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    Consequences of mistakes dictate that some things be done more slowly , that is more cautiously, than others.

    that's all.
     
  9. Jun 1, 2014 #8
    but thats not the answer im looking for.
     
  10. Jun 2, 2014 #9

    jim hardy

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    This is the question i answered :

    i dont believe that for a moment.

    What did you intend to ask ?
     
  11. Jun 2, 2014 #10
    First: If you are American, then chemical engineering (especially petroleum engineering) is actually more lucrative right now. I prefer electrical/computer engineering myself, though.

    An EE won't have to know everything about EE. Power people know power, EM people know EM, and so on. They get a shallow look at all of these topics, but specialize in one. Even then, they only work in a small niche of their field, but have shown the ability to learn as much as they need to know.

    I can't speak for the others majors. They are all in high demand, though, and you will probably only see a small salary difference (unless you go with petroleum).
     
  12. Jun 2, 2014 #11

    SteamKing

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    That's it: the technology changes, but the underlying principles of EE stay the same. Ohm's Law hasn't been repealed, and AC circuits are analyzed pretty much the same way now as 50 or 75 years ago, except their is probably a calculator or a computer involved. You still have three basic circuit elements: a resistor, a capacitor, and an inductor. The rest is just combinations of these three elements.

    The biggest new device introduced into EE in the last 75 years has been the transistor. The principles of its operation are well known, but changes in its packaging have allowed for millions of transistors to be crammed onto a single silicon chip. But a circuit is still a circuit, just that now we are dealing with circuits containing many more elements than before, a difference in scope but not in the underlying principles of operation.
     
  13. Jun 2, 2014 #12
    thanks for that. are u an EE if you dont mind me asking. this is for my future so i have to be thorough.

    so are you saying that working on EE-specific jobs is not more challenging compared to mechanical or civil? because from what i read on some websites EEs need to have more initiative because their field keeps upgrading and therefore they need to keep learning because there's always something new coming. new methods, new codes, etc im not sure..

    i want someone to confirm this, do you really have to keep learning new methods in EE? like every year ? or every 6 months
     
  14. Jun 2, 2014 #13

    can you explain why you prefer electrical/ comp eng? and whats your profession?
     
  15. Jun 2, 2014 #14

    SteamKing

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    No, I'm not an EE. I'm a naval architect. We have to know a little EE, a little ME, and other things in addition to knowing about boats.

    I'm not saying anything of the sort. All I'm saying is that the basic engineering knowledge taught at college, be it for MEs, CEs, or EEs, is pretty mature, meaning it's been around for a while and isn't likely to change. People are always inventing new gadgets, but the principles of how these gadgets operate aren't always that new, they've just been applied in a different way.

    After all, the wheel, the inclined plane, and the pulley have been known for thousands of years, yet people are still coming up with new ways to apply these basic, simple machines.

    Things change, but they don't change that fast. You will learn things after you graduate as a CE, an ME, or an EE and start working, some of the more practical aspects of your particular profession. Basic engineering principles have matured over time, and this body of knowledge is pretty stable.
     
  16. Jun 2, 2014 #15
    I'm currently a student [edit: of computer engineering], but I work as a software developer (a common career for EEs and CpEs, but not where I want to be forever) and just finished a stint as a teaching assistant for a digital logic design class.

    My preference for my major is purely a matter of taste. I just really like electronics, and I love that I finally have some idea about how they work and how to make my own. I recently made a circuit (using logic gates and a timer) that reads the input from an NES (original Nintendo) controller and controls an array of LEDs. It's completely useless, but it was just really cool to me.

    Some people would rather understand and be able to implement mechanical systems, but that just isn't me. Motors, servos and actuators do all the mechanical stuff that I really need (read: "want").

    Think about what fascinates you most, and what you would rather learn about - that is what you will have the best time studying. Just don't be deceived; what you learn in school will probably just serve as a theoretical foundation for what you actually do as an engineer. As much as I love building circuits, I probably won't actually be doing that as an engineer. That's where garages and hobbies come into play.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  17. Jun 2, 2014 #16
    now im totally having a real hard time choosing...... damn. EE would be nice but Im afraid that I might work twice as hard as my friends who are taking up ME and CE
     
  18. Jun 2, 2014 #17
    yeah i feel the same way you do. electronics are pretty interesting. i guess i'll be choosing EE. Although its like twice more challenging than any other engineering course in my college. Damn
     
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