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Help identify traits for Engineering Vs Research

  1. Feb 24, 2015 #1
    Hi all,
    I was just curious and wanted to know how to identify whether I like doing research or I like engineering. The best thing I can think of is to look what personality traits I have and compare those against required for research or engineering professions. For ex: An engineering trait might be to wonder how things work vs a research trait might be why things work?
    Are there any such more questions that I can ask myself and choose between research and engineering?

    Which of these might be more challenging as a long term profession - Engineering or Research?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2015 #2
    Research is much more challenging. Most engineering jobs are pretty mundane where you won't be using most of what you learned. There are high tier eng jobs of course. Depends on the job market and nature of industry as well, but I see people complaining here they are actually doing a technician's job.

    In research you constantly have to learn new things as new problems come op. Also, you can't brute force problems by just working harder. Sometimes you just have to have that special intuition which cannot be pinned down what it actually is. It can be very repetitive when you have to perform the same experiment over and over for weeks. Then do a completely different experiment the next months.
    With engineering you should be much more invovled with the overal operations of the entire company.
     
  4. Feb 25, 2015 #3
    There are engineering research jobs, so it's not like you couldn't do both. It's also not like you couldn't develop the personality traits of either one, you could want to understand the physical world in order to apply those principles to build things.
     
  5. Feb 25, 2015 #4
    I do think this is a good question because, while they both use the same knowledge of the natural world, they can be very different in what you do on a day-to-day basis.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2015 #5
    That's a pretty strong quote. I'm a bit doubtful you've tried "most engineering jobs." Engineering has plenty of interesting jobs and research can involve a whole lot of mundane things. That's not even mentioning the fact that many engineers do what most people would call "research."
     
  7. Feb 25, 2015 #6

    QuantumCurt

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    This seems to be a very misguided comment in my opinion. It's not at all true to say that most engineering jobs are mundane and don't involve using what has been learned. There are very active and exciting areas in both applied engineering and engineering research. It's not true to say that research is always more exciting, as there are plenty of areas of research that are mundane and downright boring. Engineering can be and often is just as, if not more challenging than research.

    "In research you constantly have to learn new things as new problems come up."

    This is very true...but what does an engineer do upon encountering a problem that they might not know how to solve? They...have to learn new things to solve the problem. Engineering problems can't always be 'brute forced' either. Sometimes they have to be solved very creatively with entirely new methods.
     
  8. Feb 26, 2015 #7
    Research in engineering is like research, not like engineering.

    I didn't say research is more exciting, let alone always. In fact, I suggested the opposite.

    When you do mundane research, you are just wasting your time and you will lose funding if others realize that.
    Engineering only has to be done at the level the business is operating at. The average job is like the average company in your area.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  9. Feb 26, 2015 #8
    I don't think you know what engineering is.
     
  10. Feb 26, 2015 #9

    QuantumCurt

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    Research in engineering is like doing research...in engineering. It's similar in many respects to doing research in physics because engineering uses a great deal of physics. However, it is still engineering.
     
  11. Feb 26, 2015 #10

    Choppy

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    This is incorrect in my experience.

    the best way to know if you would prefer engineering or research is to try both and make a call based on your experience. Even then, both fields are so broad and not mutually exclusive that you can't make a definitive conclusion.
     
  12. Feb 26, 2015 #11

    donpacino

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    There are many situations in engineering where you NEED intuition and to really think about the problem. To say engineering jobs are all easy and brute force is to say you dont understand engineering.
     
  13. Feb 26, 2015 #12
    No need to get protective about engineering. All we need to do is give OP info.
     
  14. Feb 26, 2015 #13
    I'm sure the OP would appreciate it if you stopped giving him inaccurate info.
     
  15. Feb 26, 2015 #14
    Don't look at me. Look at the people taking engineering research, which requires a PhD, and selling it as engineering, which requires a BSc.
     
  16. Feb 26, 2015 #15
    I do engineering research and I have a BSc, looks like you don't know what research and the spectrum of things that means either.
     
  17. Feb 26, 2015 #16
    Sure, whatever.
     
  18. Feb 26, 2015 #17

    donpacino

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    http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm
    http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm

    to answer your question in general, assimilators are more likely to be scientists, and convergers are more likely to be engineering.

    The problem with identifying traits for careers is in many cases different people can be good at and enjoy the same job for different reasons.
     
  19. Feb 26, 2015 #18

    donpacino

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    if you're also curious take the myers brigs type indicator
     
  20. Feb 26, 2015 #19

    QuantumCurt

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    If one has a PhD in engineering and does research in engineering, what exactly are they if not an engineer?
     
  21. Feb 26, 2015 #20

    e.bar.goum

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    According to my supervisor, the one, most important personality trait for a research career is "resilience".

    Take from that what you will. :)
     
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