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Masters: Most Employable area to specialize in?

  1. Jan 26, 2009 #1
    I have an bachelor of science in Music Technology from Drexel. I am no longer interested in working as an audio engineer. I have been considering a masters in mechanical engineering for some time.

    I realize that a masters is more specific and not as broad as an undergrad in mechanical engineering. I have to carefully decide what area to specialize in because I dont want to put myself in a situation where I can only get one kind of job.

    In general, what is the best area to specialize in in terms of job availability and pay(especially for someone WITHOUT an engineering undergrad)? I know you can choose mechanics, controls or thermal and fluid sciences at Drexel. At Villanova you can just taylor the degree and pick the courses you want.

    If I choose thermal and fluid sciences what kind of jobs might I be able to land?

    I dont think that I am interested in controls. Mechanics is also not as appealing to me as thermal and fluid sciences, but nothing is set in stone at this point.

    I am just reaching out and trying to gather information from people in the industry and I really appreciate any advice and guidance. I dont want to go through getting a masters and then not be able to find a job.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2009 #2


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    If you're worried about employment, why not work out what your best university course would be based on the job you wish to spend 30 years doing, rather than work out what job you can do based on 1 year's study?
  4. Jan 26, 2009 #3
    I am trying to gather advice. yes, I should work in an area I WANT to work in, but I also want to not box myself into one type of job by specializing in an area that doesnt have good job prospects.
  5. Jan 26, 2009 #4


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    Tough one. If you want to master a technical specialty and work in a job long-term, you're going to have to be a fortune teller AND lucky AND ready to learn throughout your career. Technologies change or get superseded all the time, so you've got to roll with the changes.

    I worked in the pulp and paper industry in several positions, and over the course of less than 10 years, I saw the phase-out of pneumatic controllers with paper-disk recorders, and the ascendancy of the electronic controllers with paper roll-chart recorders, then the introduction of dedicated microprocessors to control specific processes, then the introduction of far more generalized computers with graphical interfaces, that communicated with process equipment through Allen-Bradley PLCs. That was a long time ago, and things have not stopped changing. In a dynamic field, your education cannot stop when you get another degree and then land a job, or you will find yourself looking for work in short notice.

    Just something to think about... Instead of asking "can I get a job?" it might help you to consider "what kind of job do I want?" and prepare to watch your skills, duties, etc morph for years.
  6. Feb 9, 2009 #5
    I recently attended a seminar by a senior engineer at Bell Helicopter, and he said that engineers with expertise in structural dynamics and vibrations have better job security than those that don't. I'm not sure that I believe it, but that's what he said.
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