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Engineering Engineering. Which one?

  1. Oct 4, 2017 #1
    So I am interested in becoming an engineer in the future, but I have no clue which engineer to be. I know there are tons, but could someone point me in the direction to find out which one is best suited for me? Here’s some “clues”:
    - I like tinkering with stuff
    - I love robots
    - I like programming
    - I am a thinker (yes, I tend to overthink things sometimes)
    - I am not into cars
    - When I was little, I would make sketches of some future inventions (that was embarrassing)

    If there are multiple that fit me, could any of you put a list or something to kinda help me single out a career?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

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    The first listed item, not too sharp.
    What is "tinkering"?
    What kind of "stuff"?

    This one, also difficult to understand:
    You would hopefully very soon or as soon as the opportunity, study Mathematics, computer programming, Physics, and maybe take some vocational skills training. Keep going... and at some point, you will make more focused choices.
     
  4. Oct 4, 2017 #3
    Tinkering meaning, I like to take apart things like my dad’s fishing reels and fix them up. Stuff meaning pretty much anything I can get my hands on that I can fix up. Also, the one hard for you to understand was pretty much that. I did draw little “inventions” that I thought I could make when I grow up (I was like 5 at the time). Thanks for the advice and support!
     
  5. Oct 4, 2017 #4
    Sounds like electrical or mechanical engineering. Research both and I bet you can't go wrong with either.
     
  6. Oct 4, 2017 #5
    Cool. Thanks!
     
  7. Oct 4, 2017 #6

    PhanthomJay

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    Or Electromechanical Engineering. But take your basic freshman /sophomore engineering courses first, and you'll have a better feel then. I know some colleges have you declare a major in your Freshman year ,or before. That is a shame. You should be able to take basic introductory level electrical ,mechanical ,and civil engineering courses (statics, dynamics, materials, circuits, chem, physics, calculus, fluids, CAD, etc.) common to all engineering students in your first 2 years before majoring in a particular discipline in your junior year.
     
  8. Oct 4, 2017 #7

    berkeman

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    It's great that you are enjoying STEM and thinking ahead to a career in engineering so early. Not many 13 year-olds are doing that (but I was very much like you when I was 13 too). :smile:

    At this early stage, it's best to just get experience with all of the possible fields you may end up going into. Does your school have a Robotics Club? If not, consider trying to start one -- talk with the STEM instructors at the school to see if one of them may be willing to help start one up.

    Look into building one or two electronics kits, like a simple radio receiver or a digital clock. Pick projects that result in something that you would like to have anyway (like the radio or the clock). Be sure to take all the math and science classes that you can at your school, to see what sorts of things interest you. You may find that you really enjoy chemistry, or biology, or robotics, or calculus even. The only way to find out if you like something is to try it out and see what it's like. :smile:
     
  9. Oct 4, 2017 #8
    Yes my school has a robotics club. I’m a programmer on it because I am not qualified (schedule wise) to be a builder although I wanted to be one...
     
  10. Oct 22, 2017 #9
    Usually in an engineering school before being accepted into a specific engineering program you are required to take freshmen general engineering courses. The purpose is to weed out those who dont have what it takes and to guide students to the program that best suits them.

    Don't worry too much right now about what kind of engineer you want to be if you're not even in school yet. I mean a lot of people go into it with an idea of what program they want to do but a school could have thirty different types of engineering programs, many of which you may not even know exists. You could go into it thinking "I want to be a chemical engineer" then take a couple classes and discover you actually want to do electrical engineering. So if you want to be an engineer but you're not sure what kind that's ok.
     
  11. Nov 4, 2017 #10
    Electrical or computer engineering. There are some programs that even combine the two. My university has a program called ECE, Electrical And Computer Engineering.

    Another option is mechatronics, which combines electrical and computer with mechanical.
     
  12. Nov 5, 2017 #11
    To OP: It's great that you're thinking about all this now. I got a great laugh when I read "When I was little, ...", and then found out from your profile that you are a mature ... 13. :-) I've found that a good indicator of a budding scientist/engineer is an interest in taking things apart to see how they work and an interest in building things. I consider this in the "tinkering" category.

    No rush to decide what field (or fields) of science/engineering to specialize in though. In junior high and high school (or however your local schools are structured), you've got years of general science, biology, chemistry, physics, and math ahead of you. Explore and see what piques your interests. Participate in a variety of science/engineering clubs and enter projects in school science fairs.

    I also second the recommendation to play around with various science/engineering kits, such as chemistry kits, electronics kits, and mechanics kits. Get instruments such as a microscope and a telescope (you can get good used instruments off eBay these days fairly inexpensively), and do projects on your own (there are many useful books available plus resources on the InterNet). That's how I got started in science/engineering (though the InterNet and eBay did not exist when I was your age). You may find out early on that you've got a calling in a specific field, or you may find out that your interests will evolve ... and that's before you even set foot on a college campus. As a personal example, I started out with a strong interest in chemistry, didn't like biology much, but ended up majoring in physics (up to a PhD). I developed a strong interest in optical microscopy when I was ~10, hated yucky specimens in biology, but got intrigued by crystals. I eventually became a solid-state physicist with a specialization in crystal growth.

    By the way, there's broad overlap between science and engineering, so don't limit your options at this point to just engineering.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  13. Nov 5, 2017 #12

    symbolipoint

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    CrysPhys made a comment about not liking Biology, and really Biological sciences are messy compared to the physical sciences; but you should find that a real course on Microbiology is one of the better ones in Biology, more systematic compared to the other ones.
     
  14. Nov 5, 2017 #13
    When I was a kid, I filled twenty pages of a notebook full of sketches for inventions I was going to patent when I was older. One of those inventions included a "hot knife" with a built-in heating element in the blade that "cooked" slices of meat as you cut them. I also had plans for single wipers that moved from left to right across a car's windshield and high-tech potato mashers like the ones you see on TV infomercials. I like to look back with my adult mind and laugh at how stupid it all seems now.
     
  15. Nov 5, 2017 #14

    berkeman

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    That's not a bad idea at all... :smile:

    I designed a fusion-powered spaceship at about age 12. Very detailed drawings, too. :smile:
     
  16. Nov 5, 2017 #15
    I had plans for constructing a time machine, but I think I was more interested in the design of the machine itself than whether I had enough physics skills to find a workable loophole allowing time travel in the first place. I eventually decided it was intractable and switched to human teleportation. I also made up theories of time and modeled "the present" as a dot moving across a line representing all past and future states of the universe. I think I was on to something.
     
  17. Nov 5, 2017 #16

    berkeman

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    [hijack#3]The first thing I drew up at about age 11 was a flying backpack that had intake turbines and exhaust turbines that revcovered the energy and kept the shafts rotating. Dad used that design as a teaching moment about PMMs.. o0)[/hijack#3]

    so @doglover9754 -- what have you been designing lately? :smile:
     
  18. Nov 24, 2017 #17
    Lemme think...

    I designed my own computer, a Bluetooth flash drive, I actually made an app (not for sale). In the past, I have designed stuff that would help my family like an automatic lawnmower, something that would help my mom in the morning so she could drive comfortably to the other side of the island (I forget what that was), a coffee machine that could make any drink that you wanted (ran on solar power), and even something that my sis could play with (I also forget that one). Right now, I’m working with the LEGO company to make a buildable lego dog for people in care homes. We are currently working on making it look more realistic, and letting it have more varieties (different dog breeds). Also working on a price so it’s even affordable for the public.
     
  19. Dec 5, 2017 #18
    @berkeman, so wadda ya think? Remember, I was like 5 so yeah... I look back at it now as well and realize how dumb it seemed lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  20. Dec 5, 2017 #19
    The freshman engineering curriculum at Tulane includes a "Chemistry Recitation". This was in the second semester. Despite the "Chemistry" in the course title, it began with the dean from each branch of engineering talking to the entire freshman (engineering) class about what their branch of engineering was all about. Basically a series of 20-30 minute sales pitches for a specialization.

    Looking back that was without a doubt the most important class in my entire engineering training curriculum (high school - Ph.D.). With a little luck you will end up in a program with a similar approach. After those series of lectures, a lot of freshman changed their majors. I had never even heard of Chemical Engineering until that class and that's the field of my Ph.D.
     
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