1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Computer Software Engineering vs Chemical Engineering

  1. Aug 28, 2012 #1
    Basically. I'm a sophomore at Stony Brook University and I was doing biomed but now I think I want to be a software engineer so, I'm trying to get into the Computer Engineering program at my school.

    I did research and I learned that software developers/software engineers are growing in demand and it's a very lucrative field. My father has been urging me to pursue Chemical Engineering b/c it's very lucrative and chem engineers often work for oil companies and make a lot of money. I kept telling my dad that I've read the stats for the two professions and their salaries are in the same ballpark and I don't want to do chem E b/c I feel like I'm too far behind coursework wise and it'll take me 5-6 years to complete. I don't think I can handle such a long term commitment. Then he told me that I'm making a big mistake and I won't realize it until I'm noticeably older. So, to combat what he was saying, I looked up more stats. I learned that from 2010 to 2020 there will be an influx of 1800 more jobs. However for software developers/engineers, there will be an influx of 270,900 more jobs. This is one of the main reasons I chose the latter. Although both professions have similar salaries, the latter is in more demand.

    In sum, my dad told me that he wants me to live a great life and be financially secure and he doesnt believe I can achieve that as a software developer and that Chemical Engineers command more respect in society. He believes that computer engineering is a saturated field and the fact that I'm a nigerian american male won't help me much either. Honestly I want to be able to make a decision that will allow me to live a rather upper class life. So, I would really appreciate your input guys.

    Btw, this is where I got my stats from


  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2012 #2
    I think you're right on this one. The job market is much larger for computer engineers, and the wages are mostly comparable. The only downside I can think of is software engineering would be easier to outsource.

    And being Nigerian American should be helping you. You're part of an underrepresented minority, and most schools/companies have some preference for minorities. That's not to say there isn't also racism.
  4. Aug 28, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It would be a good time to consider the "portabilty" of the careers. If you end up working at a refinery or a pulp mill or a plastics manufacturer, you may end up with great upward mobility with that company, but little opportunity to move if your plant should suffer losses and cutbacks. As mentioned above, though, software engineering jobs are so portable that they can be move offshore with little fuss.

    Those are not the prime considerations, perhaps, but they might be very important to you in the future. Good luck.
  5. Sep 27, 2012 #4
    what were your reasons for choosing chemical engineering? I really want to do chemical engineering but I am struggling to give reasons for my choice in my personal statement.
    any help would be much appreciated!! thanks!
    xxx :)
  6. Sep 27, 2012 #5
    Right to the point huh? What happened to the whole ''study and work on something you love and the money will come" - Do whatever you want to do, engineers in general already make better money than the average job. Stop concentrating so much on being rich and choose something that you WANT to do and if possible benefit society not just your pockets.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook