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Engineer with math guilty pleasure?

  1. Jun 16, 2008 #1
    im in dire need of some guidance with what to do with my life. okay so after hassling me to become a doctor, my parents finally understood me when i said i wanted to become an engineer. throughout my electronics classes in high school we learned how stuff works, and we got pretty far in designing and building our own projects (radios, dual seven segment displays, logic probes, etc all made by us even the boards themselves). on top of this i love math, so engineering is the path for me right?

    well now im not so sure. i was a huge english nut (my other major is journalism) but after my first year in college (where i stand now) i find all of my engineering classes to be so damn BORING. all we really do is sit around learning about theory and its putting me to sleep.

    on top of this my math interest has grown a lot stronger. my plans were to do my masters/phd after my bachelors in engineering and become a professor of engineering. now the idea of teaching this stuff gives me a ghastly feeling. what to do? i mean is there any way i can continue doing my engineering degree, but wind up teaching math? or am i going to have to switch one of my majors to math instead of engineering?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2008 #2
    It's like with relationships. After the first year of engineering you get into the one-year crisis. You question both your abilities in the longrun and if it's any use. But to become a trained professional, i.e. a problemsolver, you need those theory courses. They are designed to make you think outside the box. They are boring, excruciating, but believe me, after two years they will instill discipline in you. With that discipline you can do anything.

    So hang in there, take extra maths and ditch journalism. Every idiot now a days thinks they're a journalist, so the job market is crap for them. If you want some liberal arts in your degree, study a foreign language, like an asian language (chinese or japanese) or a european one (german or french).
  4. Jun 17, 2008 #3
    yeah my parents dont think highly of my journalism thing either :P

    but idk i mean its something i love to do and maybe some day itll help me land a job somewhere. my original plan was to study engineering and become an engineering professor but i wasnt sure wether or not that would work (hence my post). i mean those guys gotta be brilliant and im struggling with a 3.5gpa so its nothign to really gawk at.

    is there any way someone with a bachelors in engineering could wind up teaching university level mathematics? theres a lot of math involved with engineering so maybe i could find some way to do that?
  5. Jun 17, 2008 #4
    I hesitate to say that *anything* is impossible... but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a university position teaching mathematics if you had a Ph.D. in engineering. Having only a bachelor's degree makes it only that much more unlikely.
  6. Jun 18, 2008 #5
    tron: Your parents sound like very resonable people.

    Yeah, let's look at "idk" and "maybe". If you get an engineering degree and do it for all you're worth, you will get paid accordingly. Being a freelance in the US have to suck mothballs. Especially since insurance is an arm and a leg.

    Struggling with a 3.5 GPA? isn't 4 the highest you can get? I wouldn't call that struggling.
  7. Dec 23, 2009 #6
    I find it strange that in the USA you can mix stuff like Physics and Maths with Journalism and English Literature and Media studies etc. Very weird that!
  8. Dec 23, 2009 #7
    I am a mechanical engineer and I went through a semester where I really really hated it mechanical engineering and wanted to change to something else. This was because my classes were boring and seemed useless. I got through them though and I have gotten involved in a really good research project and now I love mechanical engineering and could not imagine doing anything different. It was really just those classes that I did not like, not the actual major.

    There is a lot of stuff you can do in engineering research that is primarily math. Maybe you should try to work with a professor at your school whose work is computational or analytical but applied to your field of engineering.

    Regarding being a professor, I have had applied math professors teach a couple of my engineering classes but never the other way around.
  9. Dec 23, 2009 #8
    Oh, no, my poor 3.5 gpa...

    That's above average man, so don't worry, at least you're on the right track.
  10. Dec 23, 2009 #9
    Going with everyone else, 3.5 is good for engineering. As long as your gpa is high enough to qualify for most scholarships and internships, you're on the right track.

    Science writer or technical writer-the latter tends to pay decently because it's difficult to find people with strong communication skills and a science background. Both jobs also allow for lots of freelancing. Strong writing skills also help if you want to end up in the management track.

    Sure, just get your phd in math, and/or do your post-doc in a math research group. Basically, make sure your cv reflects that you'll bring in funding for the math department and (hopefully) teach math competently.
    It also depends on the school. The chair of our comp sci department's undergrad degree was in philosophy and chemistry, but he mostly teaches the theory/paradigm courses. My computer science advisers have their phds in math, but their research is so heavily comp-sci that the school didn't care and has them teaching cs courses.

    Why? It just takes extra time. I've got all the coursework for a psych degree on top of my computer engineering degree and my friends are doing English and math/biology double majors. I work as a writing tutor for my school's writing center, which likes having an engineer around for the occasional crazy technical piece.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
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