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Engineering Help with career : mechanical or computer engineering

  1. Jul 12, 2012 #1
    I have a background as a automotive technician for over a decade. I would like to move into a career that is less stressful on my body and provides a higher ceiling for pay.

    I am interested in computers with hobbiest knowledge of the how's and why's they work. I have professional experience in the auto motive field.

    My question is would my automotive technician experience really benefit me in my ME studies and future work or is their a better future in the computer engineering field ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2012 #2
    I can't answer your question, but I think you might re-consider your approach to entering these fields. IMO the most important question to ask is what field you would enjoy working in more -- ME or CE. While it's good to have some prior experience in the field, if you don't enjoy the work or don't like learning new things in the field, then no amount of prior experience will help you overcome the dislike you have for your chosen career.

    I work in computer engineering and there is a large degree of problem-solving required, but not much in the way of working with your hands. Mainly I work at a desk all day looking at a terminal. There is some work in the electronics lab, moving around and probing things and what not, but it's not a major part of what I do. If you really enjoy creating or fixing mechanical things then CE won't have a lot of that and you might look into ME. OTOH if you like problem-solving and have patience with difficult problems, then CE would be a a rewarding choice.
  4. Jul 12, 2012 #3
    I'd like to agree with the previous comment and add that your technical experience in the automotive field will probably apply a lot less to Mechanical Engineering than you expect. They are different animals. ME is very calculus and simulation based, and there isn't much putting together of models like there used to be (this depends a lot on the job of course). You might understand a few concepts (like torque, for example) at a deeper level because you've actually worked with this stuff, but it doesn't go as far as you'd like.

    In both jobs, the fact is you will probably spend 90% of your time sitting on your rear-end staring at a computer screen. So, choose the subject matter that excites you, that you'll be willing to put in the sweat to really learn what you are doing, and that you could see yourself thinking about 8 to 10 hours a day.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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