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Hardest part?

  1. Jul 18, 2009 #1
    Hi guys, I'm a junior and i have my heart set on becoming an engineer after high school. I don't have the slightest clue of what specific type of engineering i want to be in, but it is narrowed to aerospace, mechanical, nuclear, or sustainability. Could anyone point me in the right direction to make up my mind about this, and could you give me your opinions on what the hardest part is of being an engineer in general? thanks ahead.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2009 #2


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    That's a very open ended question that will have a million different answers. You need to help yourself and do some research and talk to some people at the colleges you would like to go as well as your own guidance counselors. The number one thing you should do is to get a bit of a handle on where you would like to see yourself. You don't have to know exactly, but you do need a bit of an idea. From there you are armed with an ability to ask good questions about the different types of engineering. Since you are set on being an engineer, you have already answered some tough questions.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you do have time. The first two years of most engineering curricula are basics that are shared across all disciplines (with the exception of one or two classes maybe). This is where your counselors and college counselors come in. By talking to them, you can put together a plan that is flexible as possible so that, if you decide to go one way or another, you won't skip a beat and probably provide you with the ability to change your mind if you want.

    The toughest part about being an engineer? To me, those are the intangibles that you won't even come close to touching in school. For example, dealing with present day business that treats engineers as liabilities or necessary evils in stead of assets.
  4. Jul 20, 2009 #3
    I'm in my final year as an undergraduate student of mechanical engineering and I have to agree wholly with Fred. Engineering is a really deep pool and it will take you a while to figure out exactly where you want to go with it. The study itself is very rewarding and you'll learn a lot in 4 (it's taking me 5) years. The study of engineering requires a lot of work and I've spent many a late night in the library and at home in study, but it is well worth it. I suggest not trying to lock yourself into any particular branch of engineering from the onset, because after taking some of the earlier classes, you may find that you want to do something else.
  5. Jul 20, 2009 #4

    Ranger Mike

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    As always , Ferd has sage advice...business treats everyone like that though..I was in Marketing and Sales for Fortune 100 company and everyone in the Boardroom was an expert on selling because they bought things...no wonder that Corporation got BOUGHT then those Einstiens were given the cardboard RIF kit and had to hit the streets..
  6. Jul 22, 2009 #5
    something that is also bothering me about becoming an engineer is the math. im a solid average student at maths like algebra and geometry, and so im worried i may not be able to handle the mathematics of the trade. could someone tell me if i'd be in trouble with math as an engineer, is it hard? and also could someone tell me what they like and dislike about mechanical engineering?
  7. Jul 22, 2009 #6


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    Engineering is calculus based; it is very math heavy, and the math can get quite difficult. However, hard work can offset some deficiencies in your math skills.

    That being said, if you're not good at math, engineering will prove quite difficult.
  8. Jul 22, 2009 #7
    I was terrible at math when I was in high school. I got C's and D's in most of my math classes and was always one of the lowest ranked students. If you would have asked me my junior year of HS if I would ever be able to understand how to solve highly non-linear systems of partial differential equations I would have laughed. Yet, here I am.

    Don't worry about the math to much. It is extremely difficult depending on what school you go to and it will require a lot of work. But once you develop your "engineering sense" it all becomes second nature and learning math becomes as easy as breathing.
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