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Considering switching my discipline

  • Thread starter Piner902
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Currently I'm halfway through my 2nd year of Civil engineering in Canada. The way the program runs in my province is that you take the first two years at some university, then continue the last 2-3 years at a certain one. Anyway, I chose civil but I am strongly considering switching into mechanical engineering. I have an interest in biomedical, but the prof who teaches mech. eng. courses (which overlap with civil during 2nd year) is a bit..well, he worked for NASA, then Harvard, now here. Anyway, his failure rate is incredibly high so the courses he instructs this term (thermodynamics 1 and dynamics of rigid bodies 1) I dislike.

Could anyone (either still in university or practicing) give me an overview of civil/mechanical engineering? What a "typical" job may be? Salaries? Difficulties? Types of courses?

Any help is appreciated! If I do decide to switch, I'll be one course short for 2nd year, but I'll be two courses ahead in 3rd so that's not a big deterrent.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Danger
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I can't help you, but it's always nice to see a fellow Canuk on board. I'm in southern Alberta; where are you?
 
  • #3
Mech_Engineer
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Could anyone (either still in university or practicing) give me an overview of civil/mechanical engineering? What a "typical" job may be? Salaries? Difficulties? Types of courses?
You can easily search on Google to find the descriptions you seek:

Wikipedia.org said:
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works such as bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_engineering

Wikipedia.org said:
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_engineering

You can also find average salary data online. I would say based on my CE friends that Mechanical engineers have a slightly higher average salary.
 
  • #4
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Hi Piner902,

I was in the exact same situation. I'd completed 2 years of civil engineering and found the work boring, it didn't feel like i was learning about 'real' engineering work, just an over simplified version. (This may have just been the course at my Uni though).

Anyway at the start of this year i switched to a combined degree in mechanical engineering and physics, and it's been one of the best decisions of my life. The work is so much more involved and interesting, incredibly versatile career opportunities (pretty much anything with moving parts, and even some things without, could require the work of a mechanical engineer)- from developing new materials to rockets to renewable energy.

This Christmas break i also landed a vacation job at Australia's largest renewable energy research center, which is pretty much my dream job, only 1 year after changing degrees.

Anyway, if you want something more technical, challenging and versatile than civil then I'd strongly recommend changing- that being said everyone's interests are different so what i enjoy about mechanical could be different to you.

Hope this helps.
-Alex
 

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