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Is a jump to Engineering for me too far?

  1. Dec 17, 2005 #1
    :confused: At the moment I'm qualified in the creative industry (Graphic Design) and I absolubtely despise it...my reason for choosing this route was part lack of guidance...being an accurate drawer ...knowing the right software beforehand...and some insane (and completely ignorant) notion that graphic design was all about illustrative and technical wizardry.
    Motivating myself to finish the HND course was a real struggle and the only facet of it that I enjoyed... 3D Animation, is the reason why I'm doing a BSc in "technical direction in computer animation" next year.
    A-level maths is a requirement for this course and so I have been studying in my spare time to get some skills back in this area. Thing is I'm kicking myself that I didn't do this years ago (I'm 25 now), and by looking around these forums I've pretty much sold myself on the idea of switching to an engineering degree. The mindset required for an engineer I think fits myself pretty well and it would explain my motivation for wanting to figure out why things work and trying to draw things in tiny detail. I also enjoy the maths side of things (though I think pure maths is out of my league)
    I really want to be doing something that has its roots in science as opposed the arts...is an engineering degree a viable move given that I have no background in this field...only lots of fascination by it, and have only 9 more months to get through as much material as possible? (whilst working 40+ hours per week)
    I've finished a book on A-level maths (though not further pure yet) and am working through mechanics and calculus textbooks...do I need to add A-level physics to this list? (don't know if I have enough time to work through all of that...)...how underprepared will I be If I do actually make this switch, and from what I have said is it worth taking this risk? (my family members and friends either don't know or think I should just stick with what I've chosen because they *think* I'm really good at what I do (but what I do has little to do with art))
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2005 #2


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    Try to visit a job fair now (or really soon). Not a cattle call for telemarketers, etc, but something sponsored by your local technical college, community college or university system. Find out what skills are in critical demand now, and where you might leverage the skills you already have by adding some skills that are not as common in the labor-pool.
  4. Dec 17, 2005 #3
    I just started my engineering education path this fall. I worked as an electrician and decided I hated it and have always had a passion for engineering. I have no real math or science background so I'm starting from the beginning again. I'm 25 as well.
    If you don't like what you're doing, pursue your passion. You have atleast 40 years of working ahead of you so you better enjoy your career or you'll miserable.
    Oh and don't worry about what jobs are hot right now, if you enjoy what you do, you will be good at it and always in demand.
  5. Dec 18, 2005 #4
    cheers for the replies folks...would probably have never thought about the job fair idea (never been to one before) so cheers for that :smile: ...done a bit of googling but so far the closest event I've found is in April so I'm gonna hafta keep looking
  6. Dec 20, 2005 #5
    Engineering + graphics design = what we need scientifically for the online community RIGHT NOW

    go for it

    I can do graphic design, but not 3D
  7. Dec 20, 2005 #6


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    If you can get a maths A level (up to Pure 3), you'll have no problems with the maths on an engineering degree, particularly if you're keen, and particularly if you take mechanics modules along with it. While you don't need to actually enjoy doing pure maths to be an engineer, you do need to be able to carry it out competently, most of the calculations you'll be needing to use in order to engineer things will require some form of mathematical manipulation, and much more to derive them and understand where they came from.

    There's no point sticking to something you're not enjoying, and don't think you're too old, - my 25 year old flatmate has just sacked in her well-paid career as an optometrist to go back to university to do a medicine degree, she's so much happier now!

    I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of physics, though depending on which type of engineering you're after it might well be a bonus.
  8. Dec 20, 2005 #7


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    I totally agree with the A level maths qualification but whilst we're at it, I would like to confer with all the other members giving advice to GregA on whether he would also benefit from having an A level physics qualification or not. I'm aware that A level Maths already incorporates mechanics but there's some many other topics that he would also benefit from. I would personally advice him to do it but I fear it might be too much, hence why I choose to confer it first.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2005
  9. Dec 20, 2005 #8

    Tom Mattson

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    LOL GregA, you are still a kid. That's not a put-down, I'm 32 and some people still tell me that I'm a kid. The point is that you've got plenty of time to bone up on your mathematics and go for an engineering degree. I am currently employed as an instructor of mathematics, physics, and engineering at a 2 year community college, and I have had several students who are older than I am. It's more common than you think.
  10. Dec 21, 2005 #9


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    GregA, I think it's never late for doing what you like! Just 1 thing: make sure that engineering is what you're really looking for. Sometimes things aren't the way we think. But from what you're saying, I think you already get enough informotion about it while you were here. So wish you success in what you're going to do!:smile:

    Are you sure?:biggrin:
  11. Dec 21, 2005 #10
    Thanks to all of you for the replies..a switch feels even more like the correct move now :smile: (which branch would be most suitable I'll have to figure out yet though!).
    Think I'm gonna try to make some head-way with physics but I should probably make the pure maths and mechanics sides of things a priority right now because I must go to university this year. (finances prevented me last year and the promise of uni in 9 months is one of the few things keeping me sane right now)...though I will try and finish it during the course.
    About the age thing...I know I'm not exactly an old man yet :biggrin: but it just stings a little bit to think about where I could be now (in theory) if I had thought differently 9 years ago!...ah well, probably got at least another half a century left in me yet!
    DM, you mentioned that there are other things that would be beneficial to me?...I'm grateful for any suggestions :smile:
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2005
  12. Dec 21, 2005 #11


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    Well Greg, I'm studying AS Physics and let me just tell you that in less than 2 months I saw great benefits from it. First and foremost allow me to express how AS/A level Physics is not only important for an engineering course but also for first impressions. A student with a competent grade at A-Level physics is more eligible for jobs than any other student. This is because A-Level physics requires a great depth of thinking, hence the boost in job opportunities. In your case for instance, engineering requires much more than just calculus and mechanics. Learning about thermodynamics, electricity, radioactivity and solid materials (optional unit) will massively increase your understanding about engineering. Despite calculus and mechanics being the heart and soul of engineering, the above stated topics makes you a better engineer as is covers other essential parts of the job. For example, how would you know what material to use for a particular engineering piece? How would it affect the science of it? Finding the tensile strength and yield point of a material would benefit your overall product.

    However, as previously mentioned in my last reply, I would personally feel more satisfied if other members were unanimous on this advice.
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