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Computer engineer vs Mechanic engineer

  1. Jan 15, 2010 #1
    Hi I want to be a engineer when i grow up,I'm 13 years old and don't know which one to choose.Can I be both?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2010 #2
    I'd say probably not.... it's not completely impossible, but you are talking about a wide base of knowledge here that would be very difficult for any one person to master.

    The good news is you have plenty of time to examine both fields and see which one suits you best.
  4. Jan 16, 2010 #3

    No seriously, that's the field that best blends ME and CompE, so do some hobbyist stuff (like lego mindstorms and VEX kits) and get a feel for what you're really interested in. What country are you in? If you have FIRST robotics, try and get involved in it when you start high school.
  5. Jan 16, 2010 #4
    Well, I like building computer which job would that be ?
  6. Jan 16, 2010 #5
    One way to look at it in some sort of blunts terms as above, which would you enjoy the most, designing a car or the computer system of sensors for a car, if you didn't know cars contain many many micro-controllers these days.
  7. Jan 16, 2010 #6
    If you are interested in designing the circuit boards or the chips, that would be computer engineering or electrical engineering.
    If you are interested in writing the software, that would be computer science or computer engineering.
    If you are interested in designing the power supply, that would be electrical engineering.
    If you are interested in fitting everything into a case, that would be mechanical engineering.
  8. Jan 16, 2010 #7
    Designing a lot of the other hardware (video cards, sound cards, usb buses, etc.) also falls under computer engineering.

    If you just like putting computers together, well that doesn't really require a degree. You might have fun as a system administer, which is mostly experience based but lately requires computer science/information technology type degrees.
  9. Jan 17, 2010 #8
    How about a Mechanical engineer?
  10. Jan 17, 2010 #9
    You design the body of the car, boat, oven, robot, just about any physical object. You could also be involved in power systems-designing turbines or other equipment for a power plant. I have a friend who is an ME who works for an architecture firm and climbs up buildings during actual construction. I think that she works with the civil engineers on the structural aspects.

    You could actually kind of sort of do both. I have a friend who got his bachelors in ME, is working on a masters in EE (it takes a year or two extra and you need your school to sign off on it), and who has lots of experience in programming. It just takes an insane amount of time and it's crazy difficult and is often not worth it. My friend works with robots, so it makes sense for him.

    You're also 13, so you've got plenty of time and might change your mind. You'll get a much better sense of your interests once you take physics, when you may find yourself leaning either towards mechanics or towards E&M (electricity and magnetism). You also probably haven't taken much math or computer science yet, so I highly suggest taking as much of both as you can stand.
  11. Jan 17, 2010 #10
    Thank you guys for helping me !
  12. Jan 17, 2010 #11
    Hi Thomas,

    Another way to decide is to take some courses in whatever discipline(s) interests you. keep your options open/flexible....you will be a different person by time you start college...

    I happened to find electricity in HS really interesting so I studied electrical engineering in undergraduate...while at college I found I could also take nuclear reacter theory....so I had a minor in that...it was totally unplanned. I had absolutely no reason to study that discipline but it sounded cool and seemed interesting....and my college had a nuclear reactor on site!!!

    During my study of nuclear reactor theory, many years ago, I decided (a) materials will fail from exposure to radiation and (b) there is no way to dispose of nuclear waste so I figured the field would be limited, (c) the public would likely be afraid of it, (c) it was expensive. Nobody taught me that; it just seemed obvious.

    Turns out most of the materials issues were solved, I think, over ten or 15 years, but nuclear waste and environmentalists killed nuclear power in the US for many years...it was accepted much more widely in France.

    I took some extra math classes in undergraduate...turns out just a few more and I could have gotten a degree in math as well as EE....but I did not realize that at the time and my "guidance counsler" a MATH prof, never mentioned it!!!!!!!!! ???????? That was my second bad experience withj guidance counselers, so do not rely on them.

    While in college I decided to go for a graduate degree in EE...I had never planned for that either...but I liked studying EE....that turned a Masters was enough school for me....and I needed to earn money....another unplanned event was that in graduate school I was given an Assistantship and I taught an EE lab to undergraduates there, then a senior EE lab back at my undergraduate college the next semester. When I interviewed for jobs, employers loved that I had already supervised people!!! (I had never even thought about that.)

    I heard a radio talk show on artifical limbs this past week.....prototypes are now being used on veterans that involve most of the skills discussed here..medical electrical,mechanical,robotics,etc,etc....that should be a rapidly growing field....I think MIT does work in that field....
  13. Jan 17, 2010 #12
    Do you guys have any tips for me if, I wanted to be a computer, or mechanical engineer?
  14. Jan 17, 2010 #13
    At your age the answer is the same either way:

    Math, chemistry, physics, writing.
    FIRST Robotics, metal shop, any programming classes you can get.

    The first 2-3 years of college are mostly dedicated to core topics. You don't really have to choose a "major" or field of study yet.(many people do themselves a dis-service by believing they know what they want to do when they grow up and then neglecting their education in things like writing because they don't think it's relevant.)

    Read slashdot if you want to know what being a computer scientist is like. CNCzone and this forum will get you around mechanical engineers.

    lockpicking101.com is an opportunity to work on real world mechanical engineering problems. You're going to find things to hobbies of your own though, and just about any of them offer opportunities for intellectual problem solving which will present themselves to anyone who goes looking. Our entire world is a patchwork quilt of quality in terms of the status quo. A discerning eye doesn't have enough of themselves to go around to fix the problems they encounter in a day given 10 assistants and a 1 week deadline.

    Being able to program is becoming increasingly useful in many specialties so you can get a taste of it without making a career out of it.
  15. Jan 18, 2010 #14
    Can someone list the types of engineer or mechanic?
  16. Jan 18, 2010 #15
    How much money does a robotic engineer make annually ?
  17. Jan 18, 2010 #16
    "Roboticist" I think is what they call themselves.

    I'm not the one to answer this question but my understanding of the robotics job market is that it's the professional athlete of engineers.

    You would chose a specialty later on in your education like physics, mechanical, electrical, manufacturing engineering, ect, or computer science: and then you would try and land a job with a company that designs robots. Other opportunities may include research positions with a university.

    Below seem to be what you'd be looking at if you shot for the stars and missed?:

    The "icist" implys to me that physics would be useful, but on my robotics team: we have a diverse selection of aspiring engineering disciplines.

    You're not going to have a lambskin for another ~7-8 years at least. Market value of a skill can fluctuate a lot in that ammount of time, although I think the bureau of labor statistics makes tenative projections on demand for various trades. Further: the answer depends on your specialty as some types of engineers are more valuable than others.

    Can someone who knows what they're talking about fact check what I just wrote?
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  18. Jan 18, 2010 #17
    aeronautical; mechanical; chemical; civil; electrical; manufacturing; nuclear; ...I'm drawing a blank. That's all that come to my mind.

    Computer science has a variety of sub-divisions within it.
  19. Jan 20, 2010 #18
    Do you guys know any computer forums or mechanic forums because, I have a lot of spare time.
  20. Jan 20, 2010 #19
    Like tusavision said, slashdot.org is your one stop shop for computer stuff. This forum also has computer and mechanical engineering subforums.
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