How do you know if you're smart enough for engineering?

In summary: But as the retired electronics guy said, "All you need to have is an interest and a work ethic." If you have both of these, you can be successful in engineering. It's not about being "smart enough." In summary, the individual is questioning their decision to major in architecture and is considering switching to engineering due to a dislike for the repetitive nature of architectural work. They have enjoyed math and science courses in the past but are unsure if they are smart enough for engineering. It is suggested that interest and work ethic are more important factors in being successful in engineering rather than innate intelligence. It is also recommended to familiarize themselves with the standard engineering curriculum before making a decision to switch majors.
  • #1
someonehelpme
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Some background: I just finished my second year in college. Currently majoring in architecture and realizing more and more each day that this might not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have a love/hate relationship with the schoolwork itself, but after working for an architect, talking to architects, and just being more exposed to the profession, the job seems so boring. I'm realizing that a day at work doesn't change much between being internship, new grad, mid career, etc. It makes me depressed thinking about staring at AutoCAD and Revit for the rest of my life. So I'm trying to get a feel for other career options.

I haven't taken any calculus since high school but I somewhat enjoyed it there. I've taken general physics 1 and 2, and structures 1 and 2 and enjoyed all of them. I was able to skate by with solid B's in all of them putting in minimal effort. I would have liked to actually study and get an A but there was just never time with something always due in studio. Now I'm very aware that any engineering classes, including engineering physics, will be significantly more difficult than any of those. But I'm no stranger to spending 90% of my time each week on schoolwork.

I honestly wish I had taken the time freshman year to explore more career fields but I can't do anything about that now. Growing up I always loved science. Probably the main reason I didn't really consider engineering is because my dad is an engineering professor and seeing the papers and tests he grades scared me off. But I find myself jealous of people doing things like building cubesats and the racing team and other engineering and science ECs.

So anyways, my question is how do you know if you're smart enough for engineering? And how do you know if it's for you? I'm at the point now where I don't have 3 semesters to jump around majors and decide what I want to do. If I end up switching majors, whatever I switch to really needs to be it. If I switch to something, spend a year doing it, and then crash and burn, I'm going to be in trouble.

Thanks!
 
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  • #2
It really isn't a question of "smart enough." Honestly, you don't have to have any form of innate super-intelligence for any field, much less engineering. All you need to have is an interest and a work ethic.
 
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  • #3
From the description of your current circumstances, interests and outlook, this retired electronics guy says GO FOR IT!
(Even if you do crash-and-burn (unlikely) you can get into structural engineering in the architectural field.)
 
  • #4
someonehelpme said:
Some background: I just finished my second year in college. Currently majoring in architecture and realizing more and more each day that this might not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have a love/hate relationship with the schoolwork itself, but after working for an architect, talking to architects, and just being more exposed to the profession, the job seems so boring. I'm realizing that a day at work doesn't change much between being internship, new grad, mid career, etc. It makes me depressed thinking about staring at AutoCAD and Revit for the rest of my life. So I'm trying to get a feel for other career options.

You do realize that engineers use AutoCAD and similar tools a lot in design and analysis, don't you? If you don't care to be doing CAD work as an architect, what makes you think doing CAD work as an engineer is going to be any different?
I haven't taken any calculus since high school but I somewhat enjoyed it there. I've taken general physics 1 and 2, and structures 1 and 2 and enjoyed all of them. I was able to skate by with solid B's in all of them putting in minimal effort. I would have liked to actually study and get an A but there was just never time with something always due in studio. Now I'm very aware that any engineering classes, including engineering physics, will be significantly more difficult than any of those. But I'm no stranger to spending 90% of my time each week on schoolwork.
I don't know what topics were covered in your Structures classes, but rest assured, the engineering version of these classes will have a heavy concentration on calculus.

Before you switch from architecture to engineering, you should familiarize yourself with the standard engineering curriculum courses in the math and sciences.

I honestly wish I had taken the time freshman year to explore more career fields but I can't do anything about that now. Growing up I always loved science. Probably the main reason I didn't really consider engineering is because my dad is an engineering professor and seeing the papers and tests he grades scared me off. But I find myself jealous of people doing things like building cubesats and the racing team and other engineering and science ECs.

Not all engineering work is building cubesats or being a member of a racing team. There is plenty of tedious engineering work which is quite unglamourous but necessary.
So anyways, my question is how do you know if you're smart enough for engineering? And how do you know if it's for you? I'm at the point now where I don't have 3 semesters to jump around majors and decide what I want to do. If I end up switching majors, whatever I switch to really needs to be it. If I switch to something, spend a year doing it, and then crash and burn, I'm going to be in trouble.

Thanks!
In many instances, you can't know this until you start doing the coursework. Some engineering students take a couple of years of studying before they realize that maybe engineering isn't really the field they want to be in. Others go all the way through engineering school and then find a career as something besides being an engineer.
 
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1. How do I know if I have the right skills for engineering?

Engineering requires a combination of skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical abilities. If you possess these skills and have a strong interest in math and science, you may have the necessary skills for engineering.

2. Do I need to be good at math and science to be an engineer?

While having a strong foundation in math and science is important for engineering, it is not the only factor that determines your success. Other skills like communication, creativity, and attention to detail are also crucial for a career in engineering.

3. Can I become an engineer if I didn't excel in math and science in high school?

High school grades do not always reflect one's true potential. If you are willing to put in the effort and have a strong interest in engineering, you can still succeed in the field. Many engineering programs also offer support and resources to help students improve their skills.

4. Do I need to have a specific type of intelligence to be an engineer?

There is no one type of intelligence that makes someone suitable for engineering. While logical and analytical intelligence are important, other types of intelligence, such as creative and practical intelligence, can also be beneficial in the field of engineering.

5. How can I determine if engineering is the right career path for me?

The best way to determine if engineering is the right career path for you is to research the different types of engineering, talk to professionals in the field, and gain hands-on experience through internships or shadowing opportunities. You can also take career aptitude tests to assess your interests and strengths.

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