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Good at math and physics. Should I become an engineer?

  1. Aug 7, 2015 #1
    I finished grade 11 this june and was thinking about what career choice I should go to. I got a 97% in physics, a 100% in grade 11 functions, 98% in grade 12 advanced functions (took this in night school), and a 100% in grade 12 data management (took in summer school). However, I'm only good at math and physics. For chemistry, I only got an 83% average, biology a 77% and english an abysmal 62%. I'm a one trick pony in the sense that I'm only good at math based courses.

    Assuming I keep these grades up, would engineering be a viable career path for me? Also, which branch of engineering focuses the most on math and physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2015 #2
    Also I didn't take AP classes because my school didn't offer them.
  4. Aug 7, 2015 #3
    Yes, I think engineeringwould be a viable path. Although you will regularly have to take classes which are not only math and physics. I think the degrees that focus most on math and physics will be mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. But all types of engineers use math and physics in one way or another.
  5. Aug 7, 2015 #4
    Are there any other career choices that rely primarily on math and/or physics?
  6. Aug 7, 2015 #5
    Researcher at university, in industry or at the government
    Mathematical modeling

    There are a lot of options, not all of which are easily described with a single name. For example, you can decide to do outreach with nonscientists through journalism. Or you can help make physics tests like the SAT or GRE. Or you can decide to do programming (most programming won't include much math and physics, but some will, such as programming mathematical applications, or modeling physical behavior). You just need to be a bit creative, since jobs will rarely advertise directly to a mathematician/physicist, although they might be suitable for it. As long as your people skills don't suck too much, you shouldn't have many problems getting a decent job.
  7. Aug 7, 2015 #6
    I just want to point out that you shouldn't be so quick to come to conclusions about that. It seems strange to me that you quote percentage grades in classes as some sort of evidence that you are bad at so and so. You seem to be taking grades a little bit more seriously than you should. Of course, I agree that something math-based or technical seems like a good way to go, and maybe your overall conclusion is okay, but you might not be giving yourself enough credit in terms of ability to do other things if you found the right approach to them.

    Control theory, signal processing, image processing, coding theory, and information theory are subjects in engineering that involve a lot of math. There are aspects of electronics that have a lot to do with physics, and electromagnetics is another area you might like. Keep an open mind, though, because you might enjoy something like computer engineering, which uses a lot of logic, but it's not the most stereotypically mathematical field. I find it pretty fun. I've been thinking about it a bit lately in my spare time, along with other aspects of computation, since I was educated as a mathematician, but became a software developer (you might also consider programming). Although it doesn't help me in my job per se (except maybe in terms of moral/finding meaning in my work), I like to try to make some connection between what I am doing now and my former life as a math student. There's a whole big story about logic and computation that I am trying to understand a bit better.
  8. Aug 8, 2015 #7
    The financial sector would be a very good choice too. There are plenty of maths intensive jobs available.
  9. Aug 8, 2015 #8
    If you want to sacrifice your soul on the altar of greed, ie work in the financial sector, get a PhD in economics. Or if you are lazy, an MBA.

    Donno why you say you are a one trick pony because you got high grades in math. First of all, math is everywhere. Second, you don't pick a career based on your grades. Third, you don't know how you can learn and develop in other ways. Fourth, look at the humane/personal element in deciding a career first and foremost. You are going to be spending a large portion of your time on this. If this isn't something you get a positive vibe from, you are ****ed no matter how 'good' you are.

    Engineering focuses on engineering. The thing is to solve a real-life problem. This has as many facets as you can imagine. Physics and math play a role, but usually you want to simplify a problem to simple math and simple physics, take tons of precautions and solve the problem that way.

    If you want to generate new insights from first principle using complex math, that is done in science.
  10. Aug 8, 2015 #9
    For many technical jobs in the financial sector they would more prefer a maths degree or electrical engineering degree. If you want to be a design engineer you would know already. You would have built many gadgets and things. Likewise with science, if you were interested in biology you would already have a microscope.
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