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Enquiries on a potential career in Engineering

  1. Jan 6, 2013 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm an Australian student and for the past two years of my life, I have been studying quite hard to get into an MD after I finish my undergraduate degree. Now, something has dawned upon me, although I can handle working hard in university, I'd like to think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, that doesn't really exist in medicine. I love the medical field and the prospect of operating on someone and helping them change their life. However, in Australia at least, surgeons regularly work 80 hour weeks and it's not uncommon for them to work 100+ hour weeks.

    I dont' want to go into a field that becomes my entire life. I love medicine, but I also love other aspects of life and I feel like medicine would not allow for this.

    I was toying between engineering and medicine when I completed high school, so I have a few questions to ask before I make a final decision on whether engineering is the right career for me.

    Realistically, as an engineer, can I expect to work a 40 hour week most of the time? I accept some weeks might require an extra amount of work, but generally, can I expect a 9-5 job?

    Pay is not a big issue for me at all and I understand I would make significantly less in engineering than I might make in medicine, but could I reasonably expect 75,000+ AUD by the time I'm ~30? I figure this would be a decent enough salary to help me live.

    As an engineer, do YOU find your job enjoyable?

    Finally, I would like to be an engineer that does some hands-on work as well, would electrical or mechanical engineering allow for this more?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2013 #2
    I'm a mechanical engineer in the automotive industry, and specialize in noise & vibration. I do both hands on measurement and computer simulation work. Lots of problem solving and conceptual work, so it's pretty good. I have mechanical engineers who sit across the aisle who have alot of paper work...documentation, bill of materials, cost files, test validation paper work, program management, etc.... on top of some design responsibility. I'd find that work a bit more tedious. My work is pretty much based on a 40 hour work week.

    Work for a small firm and you'll be exposed to a greater variety of work experiences, some outside traditional engineering fields (quality, manufacturing, marketing, customer support, sales support, etc)

    Large firms may result in you being more specialized, and exposed to less variety.

    Both electrical and mechanical have potential for hands on work.

    Have you considered something like bio-medical engineering? This could offer work in a field that meets both areas of interest for you. There are mechanical and electrical variants of this specialty field. Usually would be a masters level specialization after an undergrad degree in either mechanical or electrical, but that may depend on the programs offered in your country.

    Do you have to work those hours as a doctor? My last doctor (in Canada) worked "part time" and that equates to about 30 hours a week I'd estimate...and she makes most likely three times what I earn...
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