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Need to decide which branch to study by the end of the week ;)

  1. Jul 29, 2008 #1
    So...Im a first year student doing civil engineering atm. I passed everything in the first semester (1 70, the rest were 60s except for 50 on the dot for app maths...we did mess around a lot and skipped many lectures so i shouldve done better i guess), second semester has just started. Gotta say even though for physics i got 72, i liked the mechanics but hated the waves section :/ havent yet dealt with electricity in physics.

    I am thinking of swapping, and if i want to swap i have to decide ASAP. I saw loads of threads here regarding career choices etc, so thought id come post and see whether you guys can help out.

    I had applied for many types of engineering last year, got accepted for civil as i had put it first in the list of engineering courses I'd applied for, so decided to accept civil then decide later in the year which branch to change to as i was told swapping was possible. So first semester has come and gone but i still dont know whether i should swap (from civil to electronic/computer, maybe even mechanical) or not, and was hoping you could help.

    A bit about me, I love computers, gadgets, as well as cars and anything coool and could be considered a tech freak as such. Ive built a few computers and love upgrading mine etc. I could probably work as a IT technician now. I like being upto date with the latest with e.g. tech stuff, computers&hardware, the latest in adsl/ telecoms in my country, im quite a downloader :p, love fast cars anything cool basically and am on my computer in most of my spare time.

    But i know loving computers gadgets etc doesnt mean i will definitely like electronic/computer engineering, infact even after reading up quite a bit on the internet i still dont know whether I'd like it or not. When i saw some of the subjects etc and people telling me how hard it is and im crazy to swap made me unsure

    Another problem is that I havent done any programming/coding except for some basic turbo pascal which is useless in a sense. If i had to look at code its mostly gibberish to me, i dont take keen interest to coding and prefer working with eg a GUI rahter than coding. But then again I see people with far less knowledge on computers etc studying electronic/computer engineering, and wonder if I should as well.

    I enjoy graphics design (even been earning $$doing some work in photoshop) I am inclined to like things i can see or visualise, rather than hectic theorectical matter, which makes me think maybe i should stick to civil or mechanical. "Usually able to master theory and abstract thinking, but don't particularly like dealing with it unless they see a practical application"

    My personality type ive seen is istp/intp which ive found out while trying to figure out what to study...http://www.personalitypage.com/ISTP.html http://www.personalitypage.com/INTP.html

    Would appreciate some comments from you guys ;). Im one confused guy

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2008 #2


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    Do you want a job to make a living to buy fun stuff or do you have to work with fun stuff for a living? Civil engineering is usually a stable career choice!
    There is a lot of variation in engineering. You could be a civil engineer and write code all day, or spend your time abseiling down a mineshaft checking rock bolts!

    Ignore the personality tests - they are easy to fake - even to yourself.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  4. Jul 29, 2008 #3
    I would say that you should study what you love. If you love it, you will be willing to put in the necessary work to understand the subject. And if you study something in IT, or something similar, you won't have to worry about your salary.
    It's not a problem if you don't know any programming, they teach you from the very start anyway. I must tell you will need to do quite a bit of maths, only two years is usual, if you want to do anything related to computers, and if you want to do gaming design, you'll probably have to do some physics or applied maths too (atleast, that's how it is at my university).
    Also, you will probably have to take a second major where you can apply your computing knowledge. Anything at all, it could be physics, biology, psychology, mathematics; the possibilities are endless. There really is quite a bit of freedom in that respect.
    If you love computers, I would say that is what you should study. Like everything else, it requires many hours of hard work if you wish to be successful; shouldn't you rather do something you love then? As well, you can major in something else you love.
    Try speaking to a career advisor (or whatever they're called) at your university. Maybe you will be able to study something in engineering and computers, or you could just switch completely.
  5. Jul 29, 2008 #4


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    I don't think this is a decision you should make in less than a week.

    Based on your post, it's hard to tell whether or not you're happy in civil engineering. The first year physics is (to my understanding) common to just about all engineering specialties, so you if don't like that, the question may really be one of whether you should pursue engineering at all.

    What I might recommend is that you don't change course until you find something that you're reasonably sure you'll be happier with. Otherwise, you'll end up jumping from ship to ship to ship and not really getting anywhere.

    I second ignoring the personality tests.
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