# If you are an engineer but find out you don't like it?

• Studying
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My question is how do I find my right engineering focus? What resources can I utilize to better narrow that? Where I am able to learn all the various different engineering focuses. I have time to figure it out but why wait? The sooner I start looking the better. More time to figure out what I want.
Quote is from one of your earlier posts on this topic.
The best way to find what you want to know is, actually enroll in and attend an Engineering program; either directly at your chosen university, or if necessary starting at your local community college (and then later, transfer to a university). Much of what you want to know, nobody can answer for you. You just must study according to the program.

SeasonalBeef
Quote is from one of your earlier posts on this topic.
The best way to find what you want to know is, actually enroll in and attend an Engineering program; either directly at your chosen university, or if necessary starting at your local community college (and then later, transfer to a university). Much of what you want to know, nobody can answer for you. You just must study according to the program.
Can I attend engineering programs at a university even if I don't attend it and have not yet taken any classes regarding engineering except some math and science prerequisite classes? The community college I go to doesn't really have many programs going on. Especially not since covid.

SeasonalBeef
You WILL NEED to make your own choices as you go.

Your "engineering background" will just have to be what you do from now until you finally graduate with an Engineering degree. You are starting late, and catching-up is a very difficult thing to do. Much more needs to be said about this; but I am not ready to continue such right now in this topic.
"You WILL NEED to make your own choices as you go."

I'm well aware of this. I've only been asking for the tools abd resources and understanding of how I can better make that choice. Why don't people understand this? I'm simply trying to optimize my information collection to better figure put what I like and sort out which this I want to do and not do and come to a smaller but more optimized and optimal option pool rather than an ocean of options with no idea how to find what I like. Perhaps the degree I should go for is a degree that encompasses a large amount of different engineering focuses. Because I do need to pick a degree to graduate with and then tend to be just under one category of engineering each.

"You are starting late, and catching-up is a very difficult thing to do."

I'm up for the challenge.

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One can obtain a degree in Engineering Physics at many schools. It is not easy, but it is general. You will know much more after a year or so of study...things you cannot possibly know now.

.

Astronuc
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Can I attend engineering programs at a university even if I don't attend it and have not yet taken any classes regarding engineering except some math and science prerequisite classes? The community college I go to doesn't really have many programs going on. Especially not since covid.
Your community college should (I wish I could say MUST) have the typical common preparatory courses for every engineering student: Calculus 1,2,3,+some additional Math course, Physics of Mechanics, E&M, Modern, likely a couple of Biological Science courses, very likely two semesters of General Chemistry, and probably a small assortment of lower level Engineering courses. All of this would be only required academic preparation. You would find more, much more from a university program when you are ready. Other than the Mathematics courses, nearly all of the other courses come with laboratory components, a very necessary part of any Science or Engineering education.

SeasonalBeef
Your community college should (I wish I could say MUST) have the typical common preparatory courses for every engineering student: Calculus 1,2,3,+some additional Math course, Physics of Mechanics, E&M, Modern, likely a couple of Biological Science courses, very likely two semesters of General Chemistry, and probably a small assortment of lower level Engineering courses. All of this would be only required academic preparation. You would find more, much more from a university program when you are ready. Other than the Mathematics courses, nearly all of the other courses come with laboratory components, a very necessary part of any Science or Engineering education.
Oh yeah they have that. I thought by engineering programs that meant like where they work on projects outside of normal classes

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Perhaps you will read the whole thing if I repost it. Please don't look for attacks that do not exist:
Your background does not scream "engineering" to me but what the f*** do I know about you. You need to pursue it with energy. If you don't know exactly which flavor then choose the one that has the stiffest math and physics requirements (it will be easier to switch if desired).
Its your decision, not a debate topic, and you need to get going..

Staff Emeritus
But ultimately I need to choose one path to get a degree in.
So, make a choice -- right now!
do not perseverate
👍

Otherwise, make list of problems, or areas of application, that one finds interesting, and those that one finds uninteresting or objectionable for personal reasons. Then make a choice of engineering field based on the kinds of problems/areas one finds interesting or enjoyable.

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russ_watters
SeasonalBeef
So, make a choice -- right now!

👍

Otherwise, make list of problems, or areas of application, that one finds interesting, and those that one finds uninteresting or objectionable for personal reasons. Then make a choice of engineering field based on the kinds of problems/areas one finds interesting or enjoyable.
"Make a choice right now!"

"make a choice of engineering field based on the kinds of problems/areas one finds interesting or enjoyable"

Honestly I don't know. I mean what I'd really like to do is become a physicists and work on theoretical physics. But some engineering classmates pushed me to go for engineering and make convincing arguments that a physics degree doesn't really get you anywhere and it's progress is SLOOOOOOW. Also the salary probsbly isn't that great. I don't care too much about salary so long as it's over a certain point to where all my bills are getting paid and I have enough left over to spend on decent food and maybe a vacation every so often.

Actually now that I'm talking about it I don't know if maybe I do want to go for being a Physicist. Or theoretical Physicist.

I'm unsure about a lot of things in my life. But I like the idea of problem solving practical problems and honestly I'd really like to work on a project to help reduce head Island effects in cities like Phoenix. Maybe help invent or come up with the concept to create solar cells or something that can be placed on the outside of buildings so not only would it reduce the heat by absorbing it but also it turns it into electricity so it can reduce energy costs.

Staff Emeritus
But some engineering classmates pushed me to go for engineering and make convincing arguments that a physics degree doesn't really get you anywhere and it's progress is SLOOOOOOW. Also the salary probsbly isn't that great.
I suspect that one's classmates, being students, have little experience to make convincing statements about careers as physicists.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicists 2020 median salary = $128,950 per year, or ~$62.00 per hour. Education level is doctoral or professional degree.
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/mobile/physicists-and-astronomers.htm

"The median annual wage for architecture and engineering occupations was \$83,160 in May 2020", but it varies according to the engineering field. A table provides an summary of different fields and education requirements, usually an undergraduate degree. However, salary increases if one obtain a professional degree or PhD.
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/home.htm
https://www.mtu.edu/engineering/outreach/welcome/salary/

Actually now that I'm talking about it I don't know if maybe I do want to go for being a Physicist. Or theoretical Physicist.

But I like the idea of problem solving practical problems and honestly I'd really like to work on a project to help reduce head Island effects in cities like Phoenix. Maybe help invent or come up with the concept to create solar cells or something that can be placed on the outside of buildings so not only would it reduce the heat by absorbing it but also it turns it into electricity so it can reduce energy costs.
Well, that seems like a good choice, and an area that could have broader application and impacts. Think beyond buildings, but vehicles as well.

Actually, many groups are already working on that matter.
https://www.science.org/content/art...heir-own-power-thanks-see-through-solar-cells
https://sustainable-now.eu/windows-generate-electrical-energy/
https://www.ibtimes.sg/filipino-stu...ar-windows-that-can-produce-electricity-53580

There is the actual product, then there is the process by which the product is manufactured, economically. With respect to the product, there is the process by which, in this case, produces electricity, but also, the structural performance during the product lifetime. However efficient is the product over it's lifetime? Was is the lifetime? Can such technology be applied to vehicles?

What are related applications?

There are many more useful applications to be discovered.

Edit/update: ps - there is also no reason that one cannot do both physics and engineering. Afterall, engineering is applied physics. There is also a hybrid discipline of engineering physics. I worked for a small company whose motto was linking theory with practice.

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symbolipoint
jonegrossman
You're asking the right questions. I recommend you view your career more like a journey than a destination. This takes the pressure off of picking the right thing.

If you start your career as an engineer and turns out you don't like it, it's not a loss. You'll pick up valuable life skills, plus engineering backgrounds are in high demand in roles other than just an engineer. You can go into product development, law, medicine, business, or practically any other field.

I studied chemistry, went to law school, practice patent litigation, and then switched careers to software development. Having the engineering background will make you stand out and being able to think like an engineer and work easily with modern technologies in the office will help a lot. Good luck.

hutchphd and sophiecentaur