1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    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!

Engineering is for Nerdy?

  1. Mar 11, 2010 #1
    Okay i am an average student and i don't do very well in either physics or math because of my screwed up teacher. ( i used to get 80+% in grade 11 but now i am getting mid 70s because of a screwed up teacher). So yeah, i was wondering if i have to be some very nerdy to become an engineer because i have been reading alot of threads around the internet about engineering and most of them says "its hard" "don't do it if you don't like it" etc. I really need some advice from experienced/expert users because i need to apply for a University or a College soon............so tell me what is your experience about engineering, do i need to be super nerd to be one?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2010 #2
    No, but you need to learn how to communicate in basic English. In general, the word "i" is capitalized as "I" in sentences. I know, for a fact, they taught you this in grade school. If you plan on going to any college or university, I hope you spend more time on your communication skills or they will weed you out pretty quickly. Your title should also read "Is Engineering for Nerds", not "Nerdy".
  4. Mar 12, 2010 #3
    If you choose engineering you will have to work hard at certain subjects such as math.
    If this is what you perceive as "nerdy" then yes, Engineering is for nerds.

    P.s Blaming others for your own failure isn't a good habit to start.
  5. Mar 12, 2010 #4
    Everything is 'hard' and choosing any career you 'don't like' would be a mistake - in other words, that advice you read about engineering applies to any other field or any other job. Unless of course, you're planning on doing the minimum with your life.
  6. Mar 12, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If by "nerdy", you mean "able to communicate effectively at all levels" and "willing to take responsibility for their own actions", then yes.
  7. Mar 12, 2010 #6
    Since you never said you really like math and physics likely you would not like engineering either....or a number of other sciences for that matter...
    do what you enjoy....days are really,really,really long when you are bored...
  8. Mar 12, 2010 #7
    What do you know about my teacher? Half of the student in my class has dropped the course and the other half are still struggling to maintaining mid 70s.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2010
  9. Mar 12, 2010 #8
    Some of my best professors made me sweat the hardest. You have two options, blame the teacher or let go of a few distractions and work harder.
  10. Mar 13, 2010 #9
    How do you drop a course in high school?

    Hell, when I was in high school it was sink or swim o_O
  11. Mar 13, 2010 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yah what kind of high school is this? The only "drop" we had was dropping out of high school all together :rofl:

    Seriously though, get over your teacher, study on your own. Whether or not someone else is to blame for problems in your life, you are always capable of fixing them yourself.

    Anyhow, you get all sorts of people getting into engineering programs, from the brightest to some of the dumbest (there's ALWAYS a college that accepts the poorer students). However, if you don't like math or science, engineering is not the field for you, plain and simple. It is difficult, you will have to work.

    You also, as others have said, need to put some time in writing down what you say. Do you have to be a nerd to be an engineer? Are you really asking whether or not you can be average and not care about educating yourself and be an engineer? Sure, but no one will ever hire you... if you can even make it through a program that is.
  12. Mar 13, 2010 #11

    I still remember being in a 3rd year chemical engineering course, having the professor say "Alright, we're going to learn some cool math today" and about 1/4 of the class groaned.

    It was pretty stunning. Why would someone go into engineering if they didn't like math o_O?

    Would you join the military if you hated your country? Would you become a rock star if you didn't like loud music? o_O

    Yes, engineering is definitely for nerdy people. What defines nerdy however is debatable. Good qualities of an engineer are typically:

    1. Hard working (can't stress this enough).
    2. Does meticulous and precise work.
    3. Excellent written and oral communication skills.
    4. Can recognize when they are in-over-their-head, and puts in the proper effort through the proper channels to get help.
    5. Doesn't cheat. (Its so common I figured I'd just toss it out there.)
    6. Has well-developed, effective study habits.

    I've seen lots of brilliant people who thought they were hot stuff flunk out of college.

    People who put in work succeed, not people who were born with great gifts and don't use them.
  13. Mar 13, 2010 #12
    Congrats, welcome to the average engineering course. One thing I've learned about the guys who stick around is that they don't let the bad grades get to them. They either work harder to get solid grades, cheat, or stick around anyway. But you can't get far if you just give up every time you get a hard (or bad) teacher.

    You might survive chemical engineering, though I doubt it. I got a C in AP calculus but I'm managing mostly decent grades in computer engineering, so I don't think it's impossible to do fine, but it requires time and effort and actually caring somewhat. I also happen to mostly like math even though I'm not very awesome at it.

    You don't need to be a nerd, but you do need enough of a reason to be in that engineering classroom to stick it out when you feel like you hate all of it and want to drop out.
  14. Mar 15, 2010 #13


    User Avatar

    Engineering is difficult, and requires a fair amount of ability in maths. If you dislike maths or science, then perhaps consider studying something else.

    On the other hand, if you like a challenge then engineering is a great subject. Personally I'm a bit of a geek, but I know loads of other people on my course that aren't nerdy in the slightest.

    They do all work very hard, though.
  15. Mar 15, 2010 #14
    Oh come on... I know many engineers who aren't even fluent in english...
  16. Mar 15, 2010 #15
    That may be, but solid communication skills are extremely favorable.

    For research purposes, the ability to write a cogent paper is extremely important.
  17. Mar 16, 2010 #16
    I thought that was what a collaborator was for; they get to proofread/rewrite all the papers before submission. If that doesn't quite pan out, doesn't a grad/undergrad student get the awfully awesome task of proofreading paper submissions? And if the CS paper generator project and it's ilk are anything to go by, the standards for science research English are pretty low.
  18. Mar 16, 2010 #17
    It's true that to advance to a managerial position, communication skills are a must, but for lower-level engineering positions, communication skills aren't nearly as important as for most other jobs.
  19. Mar 16, 2010 #18
    Well, maybe if you want to be suck working a low level looser job. I'm a graduate student and even I have to make professional presentations to customers, annual technical reviews for funding to members of the state industrial partnership program, professional societies, get to meeting congressional staff members, people in industry, ..etc. Communication skills are important - very important.

    What happened to being the best at what you do? Anyone? .....anyone? Develop your skills to be a well rounded engineer.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  20. Mar 16, 2010 #19
    No, you are largely responsible for making sure your paper is not crap. Not others.
  21. Mar 18, 2010 #20
    I'm sorry but engineers are known for their poor reading, writing and communications skills.

    ...and their non existent sense of humor...i find that true in my college and from the engineers i know.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook