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Engineering Mechanical or electrical engineering

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How to know if I’m more inclined towards mechanical or electrical engineering?
 
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Try a class of each and see which you like more.
I’ve tried both. I like more the physics concepts of electrical engineering I think electricity is fascinating. Although I do not like that much electrical engineering jobs because I like to think spatially and i don’t think electricity should be treated so linearly as it is done today.
 

berkeman

Mentor
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I’ve tried both. I like more the physics concepts of electrical engineering I think electricity is fascinating. Although I do not like that much electrical engineering jobs because I like to think spatially and i don’t think electricity should be treated so linearly as it is done today.
From looking at your Profile page and your other thread, I'm guessing that you are in your first year of undergrad? Is that correct? Or maybe second year, since the school year has just started this month at most universities?

If you are at university, does it require you to declare you major before your junior (3rd) year? My university had a pretty similar curriculum for all Engineering majors up until the Junior year, and you didn't have to declare your major until then. That was many years ago in California, so I don't know if that is still available, especially where you are now.

If you are not yet at university, can you say what classes you have had overall in math and science, and what classes you have taken in Engineering?

And finally, here are a few suggestions to try to help you work your way toward figuring what you would like to do in your upcoming career work...
  • What electronics projects have you built so far on your own? Have you looked into what basic electronics kits are available (they are pretty inexpensive)? Most kits come with documentation that helps to explain how the electronics works, and they can be a very rewarding and educational way to build and learn about electronics, IMO.
  • What physical/ME projects have you built so far? Have you built any woodworking projects? Cabinets, shelves, structures, vehicles, etc.? Same comments as for the basic electronics kits...
  • What CAD drawing programs have you experimented with so far and worked on learning? Learning 2-D and 3-D CAD drawing is a very important part of your fundamental ME learning, so it is very worthwhile to start that on your own before it is required in your classes, IMO.
  • And using those 3-D CAD skills, what basic 3-D printing shapes have you printed so far? That is one of the most fun parts of starting to learn 3-D CAD and Printing -- making real things from your conceptual drawings.
  • And back to electronics, have you tried searching on free SPICE circuit simulators? We have had a few such threads here at the PF, and a simple Google search will guide you to some downloads. As you learn about basic circuits, be sure to enter them into your free personal SPICE simulator and run DC Setpoint or Transient simulations on them. You will learn a lot by doing that. I had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow instead, back when I was in undergrad...
Enjoy the ride, and best of luck no matter which path your choose. :smile:
 
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I’ve tried both.
If you have tried both then you should already be able to answer the question. Which do you like more?

If you have a hard time deciding then flip a coin: heads ME, tails EE. If you feel relieved then keep that decision, if you feel disappointed then veto the coin and pick the other.
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
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OP: If you won the lotto, and could splurge on one playroom, would you outfit it as a machine shop or as an electronics shop?
That is a great question. When the principals are talking to you, they may ask something equivalent to "What do you really want to do"? or "What would be the ideal job if you could have it?"
 

jrmichler

Science Advisor
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Or you could do what I did. I started in electrical engineering, then at the start of my third year, figured out that I was in the wrong field. I was not sure what the right field was, was tired of college, tired of the poverty life style, wanted some time to think about it, and wanted to see some of the country outside my home state. So I dropped out of college and joined the military (U.S. Air Force).

Four years later, I had a savings account plus the G.I. Bill (a college scholarship program), had figured out what I wanted to do, and had traveled across country by hitchhike, motorcycle, and small airplane. I went back, this time in mechanical engineering. The first semester back was challenging, and I had to take a couple extra classes, but still managed to graduate in a total of 8 semesters (four years).
 
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Although I do not like that much electrical engineering jobs because I like to think spatially and i don’t think electricity should be treated so linearly as it is done today.
I'm not sure what you mean by electricity being treated linearly... Is this based on the one class you took?
 

berkeman

Mentor
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6,015
Although I do not like that much electrical engineering jobs because I like to think spatially and i don’t think electricity should be treated so linearly as it is done today.
I'm not sure what you mean by electricity being treated linearly... Is this based on the one class you took?
Yeah, don't worry. You'll have plenty of opportunity to stretch your mind with EE concepts (like analysis of transfer functions and poles/zeroes in complex space...)

1567266242347.png
 
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I'm not sure what you mean by electricity being treated linearly... Is this based on the one class you took?
I mean designing something in 3 dimensions with electricity, like a levitating car or controlling plasma with a magnetic field.
 
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I still have no idea what you mean.
I think I explain it better in this new post:


I mean doing mechanics with electricity and magnetism, moving things with electricity, redesigning motors, things like that
 

jrmichler

Science Advisor
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Designing electric motors is both mechanical and electrical engineering. The electrical engineers calculate ampere-turns, coil designs, end turn designs, plus any electronic controls. The mechanical engineers work on cooling, shaft stiffness, tolerance stackups, bearings, seals, and clearances. They work together in a team. The mechanical engineers need to understand enough EE to communicate with the EE's, and the EE's need to understand enough ME to communicate with the ME's.

If this is your interest, think carefully about which of the above is more interesting, major in that field and take as many courses in the other field as you can.

And there are related things like the iTrak: https://www.rockwellautomation.com/en_NA/products/motion-control/overview.page?pagetitle=iTrak-Intelligent-Track-Systems&docid=d3a3ff0f88ff7932e26c34ab9b53ca90. This was developed by a small company, Jacobs Automation, which was bought out by Rockwell. It's a really neat system, with some good creative thinking in the entire system. The original patent is US Patent 6,876,107 if you are curious.
 

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