Jumping to engineering

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  • #1
Hello, I'm a recent graduate with a BS in engineering physics but I basically screwed up with major selection. I should've done some kind of engineering, but I couldn't settle on a type and had a very poor experience in statics and dynamics, so I thought "what the hell I'll do physics". So I did but in the process I realized grad school wasn't for me. Unfortunately, I didn't give myself much of an indication of what is for me, having failed to do any internships while in school. So I have a couple questions:

Can I actually break into a field of engineering? Can I actually do the work or learn what I need to on the fly for an entry level engineer position? If not, can I still secure internships?

I'm guessing some fields are easier to get into than others. What field of engineering would a physics grad have the best chances in?
 

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  • #2
StatGuy2000
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To the OP:

First of all, before any of us can tell you what field of engineering would you have the best chance in, you haven't stated what skills you have acquired while completing your degree in engineering physics.

If I was an employer, my question to you would be -- what can you do? What experiences (if any) do you have that is relevant for my business/organization? You stated you failed to pursue an engineering internship -- do you have any other type of work experience? Can you program?

You need to tell yourself (and us) what you have learned, done, and are capable of learning/doing.
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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had a very poor experience in statics and dynamics
What field of engineering would a physics grad have the best chances in?
Sounds like ME would not be a good fit, but EE probably would. How much of circuits and E&M and programming have you had so far? What kind of summer jobs have you had? Have you built any projects like circuits or robotics?
 
  • #4
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You might look into Operations Research, often part of the Industrial Engineering department. I switched to it from pure mathematics and I consider it to be the best career decision I could have made. They were interested in me with a math background. Other Engineering departments told me to check back after taking years of undergraduate engineering classes. It is a delightful mixture of mathematics (linear and nonlinear optmization), computer science (descrete event and continuous simulation), statistics (data analysis, Monte Carlo techniques), and other interesting subjects. In any case, good luck with your search.
 
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  • #5
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How many jobs really exist in Operations Research?
 
  • #6
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How many jobs really exist in Operations Research?
I'm not sure that I can put a number on it. But I think there are a lot of jobs that involve some mixture of optimization, computer simulation, statistics, etc.
 
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  • #7
Besides a brief stint as an IT Intern in high school, my work experience is limited to 7 years in my family's restaurant. I'm basically the kitchen assistant manager. I can program a bit: I know some python and a little java. My bad statics/dynamics experience I think was unrelated to the material but more because it was a summer class I kinda blew off with a professor on his last class before retirement.

I have a year of physics lab too.
 
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  • #8
StatGuy2000
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Besides a brief stint as an IT Intern in high school, my work experience is limited to 7 years in my family's restaurant. I'm basically the kitchen assistant manager. I can program a bit: I know some python and a little java. My shitty statics/dynamics experience I think was unrelated to the material but more because it was a summer class I kinda blew off with a professor on his last class before retirement.

I have a year of physics lab too.
If your only work experience is limited to the family restaurant and the IT intern, and a year of physics lab, you don't have much to show to a potential employer (besides continuing work in the restaurant business). Have you worked on any personal projects related to programming or engineering on your own (e.g. open source code, robotics, circuits)?

My suggestion for you is to pursue a MS in an engineering discipline -- whichever engineering discipline that interests you, whether that be electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering/operations research, etc. Either that, or possibly beef up your programming and pursue a MS in computer science (if you like programming and considering going into software development).

And while you are pursuing your MS, definitely pursue an industrial internship, as this would provide you with the relevant industrial experience that can help you in landing future employment.
 
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  • #9
I don't really have any substantial personal projects. I wrote some little DnD programs for rolling dice and rolling characters but that's about it.

Regarding MS programs, my GPA is pretty poor at university--2.69. But I was a transfer student and so my cumulative GPA is 3.16. Could I get into a master's program?
 
  • #10
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Your post is a bit timely considering my recent post on engineering physics but anyway your GPA might cause a problem. Basically all I can think of is doing a distance degree with lower admission standards and trying to ace the GRE.
 
  • #11
Your post is a bit timely considering my recent post on engineering physics but anyway your GPA might cause a problem. Basically all I can think of is doing a distance degree with lower admission standards and trying to ace the GRE.
As it is I have about 65k of debt. I don't want to add to that. I need to find an alternate career path perhaps.
 
  • #12
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Distances masters can be had for 20k, doesn't matter that much considering.
 
  • #13
StatGuy2000
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I don't really have any substantial personal projects. I wrote some little DnD programs for rolling dice and rolling characters but that's about it.

Regarding MS programs, my GPA is pretty poor at university--2.69. But I was a transfer student and so my cumulative GPA is 3.16. Could I get into a master's program?
You mentioned that your GPA is pretty poor, but your cumulative GPA is much higher. What about your major GPA (outside of statics/dynamics)? Specifically, what about your GPA in the final 2 years of your undergraduate education?

If those are higher, then you might still have a possibility of pursuing a MS in an engineering field (if you count out the possibility of scholarships or funding, which will likely have to come out of further student loans -- you are likely to be paying an additional $20000-30000 in tuition and books, and so you would have a total of $85000-95000 in student loans altogether to finish such program). I know that sounds high, but if said degree can lead into a career opening, then I would at least want to take that into consideration.

I would suggest that you speak to the various engineering departments and explain your situation, and ask about the possibilities.
 
  • #14
verty
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As it is I have about 65k of debt. I don't want to add to that. I need to find an alternate career path perhaps.
Have you tried to get an engineering job? I would do that, try and see what the responses are.
 
  • #15
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Have you tried to get an engineering job? I would do that, try and see what the responses are.
He could maybe get a job as a technician, no way he's going to get hired to do actual engineering.
 
  • #16
verty
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He could maybe get a job as a technician, no way he's going to get hired to do actual engineering.
Well maybe he can do that. I just think he should work for a year before doing his Masters, to be sure that it's what he wants to do, given the debt, etc. If he works as a technician, he can get an inkling of what the engineers around him are doing.
 
  • #17
Dr. Courtney
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All job markets are local. In areas where demand is high and supply is low, a graduate with your degree has a better chance.

Think of your resume in terms of "What are my best skills for my local market?" rather than "What can I do with this degree?"
 
  • #18
StatGuy2000
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Distances masters can be had for 20k, doesn't matter that much considering.
I don't believe a distance masters program exists for engineering, at least in Canada. Perhaps the situation is different in the US?
 
  • #19
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I don't believe a distance masters program exists for engineering, at least in Canada. Perhaps the situation is different in the US?
Then you are very uninformed. They are all over the place both in the US and the UK. Arizona, Ohio, Idaho, NJ, UCLA, Imperial-College London, there are more.
 
  • #20
symbolipoint
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Then you are very uninformed. They are all over the place both in the US and the UK. Arizona, Ohio, Idaho, NJ, UCLA, Imperial-College London, there are more.
What I would typically wonder for an ONLINE MASTER'S in ENGINEERING is, what is the laboratory situation? Student should need to handle materials and equipment directly, live, somehow.
 
  • #21
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What I would typically wonder for an ONLINE MASTER'S in ENGINEERING is, what is the laboratory situation? Student should need to handle materials and equipment directly, live, somehow.
Not really, I go in person and there are no labs but my area is more theoretical in nature.
 
  • #22
StatGuy2000
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Then you are very uninformed. They are all over the place both in the US and the UK. Arizona, Ohio, Idaho, NJ, UCLA, Imperial-College London, there are more.
In case I wasn't clear earlier, I live in Canada (in the city of Toronto, to be more specific), and as far as I'm aware, online Masters degree program in engineering are not offered in Canadian universities.

It appears that the situation is quite different in both the US and the UK. It may be possible that people from Canada can apply for these online masters programs offered from such schools, but I have questions whether the professional engineering societies in Canada will recognize someone with such credentials, since in order to work as an engineer (or even call yourself an engineer) in Canada, you need to be certified with a P.Eng. designation (equivalent to a PE designation, but the criteria are more stringent in Canada).
 
  • #23
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In case I wasn't clear earlier, I live in Canada (in the city of Toronto, to be more specific), and as far as I'm aware, online Masters degree program in engineering are not offered in Canadian universities.

It appears that the situation is quite different in both the US and the UK. It may be possible that people from Canada can apply for these online masters programs offered from such schools, but I have questions whether the professional engineering societies in Canada will recognize someone with such credentials, since in order to work as an engineer (or even call yourself an engineer) in Canada, you need to be certified with a P.Eng. designation (equivalent to a PE designation, but the criteria are more stringent in Canada).
I suspect they are offered in Canada but I haven't looked. Nobody cares about the professional engineer registration for EE excluding people in power systems. I assume the same for most ME jobs but I don't know.
 
  • #24
I've had 2 interviews so far for engineer positions. The first declined to hire me and I'm still waiting on the second. I'm thinking about taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. For those who have taken it, is it realistically possible for someone with no 300 level engineering experience? I looked at the list of topics and it looks pretty doable but some sections I would get nuked on.
 
  • #25
StatGuy2000
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I suspect they are offered in Canada but I haven't looked.
BTW, as an update, I have looked into whether there are online degree programs in engineering in Canada. These didn't exist until very recently, but there are undergraduate programs now available. See the link below:

https://www.tonybates.ca/2017/03/29...eers-in-canada-the-professional-associations/

Please note that nothing is stated about Masters programs. Also note that as of 2016, the professional engineering associations in Canada do not recognize online or distance learning.
 

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