# Other The Should I Become an Engineer? Thread

#### darkxponent

-Should I become an engineer?
The answer to this question should be that one should try to become an Engineer if one wants to. As simple as that. Whether one will complete his degree in Engineering or not is a different thing. But if if one wants to be an Engineer then he must give it a try at least.
-What engineering discipline should I study?
Depends on which subject you found more interesting in your high school. If you liked Electrodynamics/Semiconductors then go for Electrical. If you found Thermodynamics and Mechanics more interesting then go for Mechanical/Civil. Similarly Chemical for Chemistry loving people and Software Engineering for those who like Coding.

-Is engineering difficult?
It depends on which branch you choose and how much you study everyday. But comparably we can say that Bachelors in Engineering is tougher than Bachelor on Science degree. It also depends on which University you are studying in. Some universities have a very difficult curriculum compared to other.

#### Cod

Is a bachelor's in an engineering discipline required to become a certified PE? Or can one be certified with just a master's degree in an engineering discipline?

I have a bachelor's in computer science, but looking at different grad school options for engineering at this time.

Any help is appreciated.

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Is a bachelor's in an engineering discipline required to become a certified PE? Or can one be certified with just a master's degree in an engineering discipline?

I have a bachelor's in computer science, but looking at different grad school options for engineering at this time.

Any help is appreciated.
Usually one would obtain a degree in one of the engineering disciplines which is recognized by NSPE (http://www.nspe.org/) or one practices engineering under the guidance of an engineer, or licensed professional engineering. Anyway, one take a fundamentals tests (FE), which used to be the EIT or engineer-in-training. After some experience, one would take the PE, or P&P, which is the Principles and Practices test, in a particular discipline, e.g., Mechanical Engineering, Structural Engineering, . . . .

http://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure

NSPE does not do the licensure, but rather NCEES, which is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors, develops, administers, and scores the examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure in the United States.

http://ncees.org/

A PE is usually required in order to sign drawings and other engineering documents used in the design or construction of some engineered system. One becomes licensed in a given state of residence/practice, but there is often a reciprocal arrangement that eases the licensing in other states.

#### sousa1

Hello. I have some questions and I think this is a good place to get the answers. I'm thinking of studying mechanical engineering, because I always ponder about how a train or a clock works. I've recently made a career aptitude test and the top result was engineering. I've refrained from considering scientific or mathematical paths because in my home country the secondary school is divided in multiple categories and I chose humanities, which limited my professional prospects from early on. This means I barely have knowledge of any kind of science and I haven't made calculations, other than simple arithmetics used in day-to-day life, in more than five years. A cousin of mine is currently in his last weeks to get his Masters in Automotive Engineering, and our conversation in Christmas rekindled my interest. I still don't know if I'll try to enter into a Mechanical Engineering course, so I've decided to finally sign up to this forum in order to get some answers from a more informed and open mindset.

1) I want, first of all, to move to UK and study there. Is a course with a foundation year a good option for me, and what are my chances of entering, given that I have nothing more at all than just finishing high school? Consider that I live in the European Union, have family in England and I've passed several weeks there for the last two years. I read novels and magazines in the english language, and I'm capable of maintaining casual conversations with natives.

2) I am currently twenty years old, even if I enter this year in a foundation year I'll only get a diploma at 26, and this is if I can enter at the earliest chance and make it as fast as possible. How does it hurt my professional prospects if I just finish my degree in the late twenties?

3) Are there any programs, internships or workshops I can do now or during the next years to learn more about M. Engineering and improve my chances of entering a university and build my résumé? And is there anything I can do to know if I'm absolutely certain that I want to follow this professional path?

P.S.: 4) What are some daily activities, including leisure, that can improve my skills for anything mathematical and scientific?

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#### ME_student

I have a general question about engineering. I'd thought I just post here instead of making a new thread. So I am almost done with my sophomore year of engineering, only a few engineering core classes than I can transfer.

So how much harder is junior year? I heard it's way harder than sophomore year, however one of my engineering instructors said sophomore years the hardest... I heard as an ME student junior year you take fluid mechanics 1 and 2, thermodynamics, an upper level statics, machine design, and an upper differential equations class (forgot the name of it). Today while studying circuit analysis I saw an old classmate I took vector Calc with. He told me he was taking 300 and 400 level EE classes and not having a life. So I am pretty much not going to have a life junior year?

#### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
I have a general question about engineering. I'd thought I just post here instead of making a new thread. So I am almost done with my sophomore year of engineering, only a few engineering core classes than I can transfer.

So how much harder is junior year? I heard it's way harder than sophomore year, however one of my engineering instructors said sophomore years the hardest... I heard as an ME student junior year you take fluid mechanics 1 and 2, thermodynamics, an upper level statics, machine design, and an upper differential equations class (forgot the name of it). Today while studying circuit analysis I saw an old classmate I took vector Calc with. He told me he was taking 300 and 400 level EE classes and not having a life. So I am pretty much not going to have a life junior year?
Some of the classes you mention you probably should have already taken. What courses have you spent your first two years taking?

It's not clear what 'upper level statics' encompasses. Statics is pretty basic. Do you mean dynamics, perhaps?

Did you go to school to study engineering or to be a party animal?

It's not clear why you are concerned with what classes of yours can transfer. Are you thinking about changing schools and/or majors?

Look, getting your education is an opportunity to do something which will affect the rest of your life. Missing a couple of parties is a small sacrifice to make for a chance at getting a career.

#### ME_student

All I need to take is strength of materials, circuits 2, CAD, gen Chem 2, and a few Gen electives then I am good to go.

The core classes looked at by the university I am transferring to looks at Calc 1-4, differential equations, linear algebra, Gen Chem 1-2, Calc based phy 1-3, strengths, statics, dynamics, CAD, microecon, and a few more.

I've never partied in my life and I don't plan on partying ever. As of right now I don't have much of a life right now... When I was referring to not having a life I meant not just relaxing a bit from the studies. I don't plan on changing majors ever... I've put a lot of time and money into this career (been paying for college since I started), about half way why stop now? It's been a dream to be an ME since I started school.

#### pongo38

Dear ME STudent "So I am pretty much not going to have a life junior year?" I would say this IS your life that you have chosen, and you need to find a work-life balance in it. This phase of concentrated study doesn't last forever. You can be encouraged by the observation that many have trodden this path before you did, and have succeeded.

#### onethatyawns

Do many people attempt to get a graduate degree in engineering after studying physics in undergrad? What might make the transition easy or difficult?

I assume the answer here would vary depending upon the field of engineering, so assume that I am speaking about any of the closest engineering fields to physics.

#### andreyw

Hello PF !

I plan to go back to school in september but I don't know what I should choose. I am 27 years old and my initial plan was to go back to school for 5 years and get a degree in Condensed Matter Physics (in Luxembourg, it is 3 years for the bachelor's degree (undergraduate kind of) + 2 years to get the master's degree).

I want to work in sciences and I want a degree that will open me those doors. I know that a degree in physics can open a lot of doors like finance etc but I hate finance (I am a software developer in the financial sector at the moment and I have a bachelor's degree in IT). I am not sure I will have the motivation to try to get a PhD and finish school at 35 years old.

I often read that engineering is awesome for the job prospects (compared to Physics) if you want to work on a daily basis with sciences. The thing is that I am not sure I would like engineering. I love to understand how and why things work and as far as I know, I have no love for design or build things (I love software development though).

I read a lot about that and I think the best thing for me would be Computational Physics but I don't have the possibility to study it (no university offers that degree close to me).

I am not worried about my future because I will have a bachelor's degree in software development and a master's degree in Physics (if everything works of course :) ).

Any advice ?

Thanks.

#### Meron

I'm a Class 12 student in a CBSE affiliated school in Saudi Arabia. I am strongly interested in Maths and Physics, and I am very strong in both of them. I've always been infatuated by space and have considered to be an astrophysicist. But currently I have started to feel lost. I don't know whether I should go for engineering or physics. Since becoming a physicist would take a lot of time(around 12 years I guess), I don't think I can afford it without a scholarship of some kind. So, can anyone please help me find scholarships?

#### jorcesca

Should I become an engineer: I am currently a nursing student but ive always had a knack for computers and technology i take apart cell phones and mp3 players and laptops and put them back together to make them work more efficiently, and im great with most math effortlessly, and today i realized those gifts could be nurtured in a career that id love and it would actually pay me (the pay being a bonus)

but im 27 and i feel like id be starting all over and its too late in life to start over bc im getting old and need to hurry up and get my degree.

if i do switch im thinking magor computer hardware engineering with a minor in geology geared toward oil and gas extraction

#### ME_student

I think it's best for me to put this question here than to make a new thread. Apologies for threading jacking.

I am a student who is about to enter junior year for mechanical engineering. Do we have any petroleum engineers here on physics forum? I was wondering what classes were like junior year and give me a quick summary of what kind of work you do? Someone told me I should go to school for petroleum engineering... I don't think it's worth it since I will have to attend a college out of state and most likely move down south.

#### ME_student

Should I become an engineer: I am currently a nursing student but ive always had a knack for computers and technology i take apart cell phones and mp3 players and laptops and put them back together to make them work more efficiently, and im great with most math effortlessly, and today i realized those gifts could be nurtured in a career that id love and it would actually pay me (the pay being a bonus)

but im 27 and i feel like id be starting all over and its too late in life to start over bc im getting old and need to hurry up and get my degree.

if i do switch im thinking magor computer hardware engineering with a minor in geology geared toward oil and gas extraction

Do you like math, phy, science, programming, circuits analysis, not having a life (social life), and studying all the time? If you like the following then I say go for it!

#### Caolan

Lastly, the money is good BUT you should

NEVER
NEVER
NEVER
NEVER

ever choose a career for the money - and I'll stand by that.

Hope this helps.
I have been a software engineer for 20+ years and that is so true. I have seen many people try to do engineering because of the money but they do not have the brain, patience, or whatever it is necessary to be a good engineer. They end up frustrated, angry, and in some cases, feeling like they're not intelligent. Not everyone is meant to be an engineer, just like not everyone is meant to be a politician, or a doctor.

#### irenebaron

If you are debating as to which field of engineering to enter and want to ensure you will have employment when you obtain your degree, check out in what fields the engineering scholarships are being offered. Any field that needs engineers will be offering scholarships. At one time there were not enough engineers entering the fields of mineralogy, petroleum, and geology. The geology firms were so desperate, they were hiring first and second year students out of college to get workers. I wrote a blog about the Mohole Project which relates to that. The project was begun to bring attention to geology and to entice college bound in that field.

http://irenebaron.com/irene_baron_blog1/mohole_project___the_true_origin/

#### brainbaby

-Is engineering difficult?
the person who ask this question..should be probably the last person to become an engineer on earth....

#### kevnst

I have a general question about engineering. I'd thought I just post here instead of making a new thread. So I am almost done with my sophomore year of engineering, only a few engineering core classes than I can transfer.

So how much harder is junior year? I heard it's way harder than sophomore year, however one of my engineering instructors said sophomore years the hardest... I heard as an ME student junior year you take fluid mechanics 1 and 2, thermodynamics, an upper level statics, machine design, and an upper differential equations class (forgot the name of it). Today while studying circuit analysis I saw an old classmate I took vector Calc with. He told me he was taking 300 and 400 level EE classes and not having a life. So I am pretty much not going to have a life junior year?

I remember the freshman and sophomore year classes to be the "weed out" non-engineer students. I had plenty of fun in all 4 years of my mechanical engineering undergraduate program. The list of classes you have -- thermo, fluids, thermal power systems was some of the best classes I ever took (you can tell I'm a true blood ME).

If you decide to major in ME, then the upper division EE classes you might have to take is either in Process Controls or in Automation. Those are useful classes and I really enjoyed the practical lab aspects of it. When it came to theory, not so much for me. And obviously it showed it my grades -- good thing I had stellar grades in the first two years such that my last two years of college only managed to pull me down to a 3.4 GPA. I aced every upper division class related to thermal / fluids / energy. I did my best to skip every upper division non-engineering courses.

The last two years is basically when you get to apply the knowledge you have gained and do fun stuff in classes and labs and projects. Oh, it was also in the last two years when I took on engineering internships of 20-30 hours per week on top of taking a full ride in courses. So I think your instructor might be on the right track....

#### ME_student

I remember the freshman and sophomore year classes to be the "weed out" non-engineer students. I had plenty of fun in all 4 years of my mechanical engineering undergraduate program. The list of classes you have -- thermo, fluids, thermal power systems was some of the best classes I ever took (you can tell I'm a true blood ME).

If you decide to major in ME, then the upper division EE classes you might have to take is either in Process Controls or in Automation. Those are useful classes and I really enjoyed the practical lab aspects of it. When it came to theory, not so much for me. And obviously it showed it my grades -- good thing I had stellar grades in the first two years such that my last two years of college only managed to pull me down to a 3.4 GPA. I aced every upper division class related to thermal / fluids / energy. I did my best to skip every upper division non-engineering courses.

The last two years is basically when you get to apply the knowledge you have gained and do fun stuff in classes and labs and projects. Oh, it was also in the last two years when I took on engineering internships of 20-30 hours per week on top of taking a full ride in courses. So I think your instructor might be on the right track....

I transfer next term as a junior. I would say Sophomore year was a lot of fun. I did pretty well in all my engineering classes.

#### rwm4768

So I'm in a bit of a difficult spot right now. I'm trying to decide between Engineering and Physics. I love Physics, but I don't know how much I love the idea of going on to a PhD. This decision is made more difficult by the fact that my school has a limited selection of Engineering majors. You can do only civil, mechanical, or electrical. The field that interests me the most is Materials Engineering. I can't switch schools because this is my second degree, and I'm only able to finance it because of student loans and living with my parents. I'm 26 and only in my second semester, so that's why I'm wary of going the Physics route. I'm not completely against the idea of a PhD, but I want to have more options when it comes time for that decision.

Technically, I could fit in a double major in either mechanical or electrical and physics, but that would require a pretty insane course load. It would also limit me when it comes to electives in both disciplines. I'd only be able to take the bare minimum.

As for my background, I'm doing very well in my physics classes. The lowest grade I've had on a physics test is a 91, and the class average is usually between 65 and 75 percent. I'm currently taking statics. My first test is tomorrow, and I think it should go pretty well. I feel like I get what's going on. I've also gotten through all my Calculus sequence and Differential Equations with an A in every class.

If this were my first degree, I wouldn't hesitate to go with physics, but at some point, I feel like I need to get an actual job.

I'm having trouble deciding between Mechanical and Electrical. Each one has courses that sound interesting and courses that don't. I wonder if I could do the Mechanical and take a few of the materials related electives in both Mechanical and Electrical and maybe sprinkle in a few elective courses in Physics and Chemistry.

#### Zionic

I am a Chemical Physics major for two years now, and now I think I will be switching majors to Chemical Engineering or Engineering Physics. For my University, the average courseload engineering students take is around 6 or 7 courses. That is insane! I have only at most done 5 courses in one term and it ended up being decent however, 7 seems suicidal. So my question for you folks is that, how does one manage to even DO 7 courses in a term (around 4 months)

Best Wishes,
Zionic

#### billy_joule

Science Advisor
That is insane! I have only at most done 5 courses in one term and it ended up being decent however, 7 seems suicidal. So my question for you folks is that, how does one manage to even DO 7 courses in a term (around 4 months)
I don't know how it's done elsewhere but in my country all degrees follow the same standard course load. Doing more courses just means the average work per course is lower. The highest workload I had in my mechanical engineering degree was while taking just 2 courses, on paper it was the standard course load I had taken throughout the rest of the degree, including a semester I took 7 courses.

#### Zionic

I see, it differs from course to course, some courses are 3 credit (9 hours of study per week outside of lecture) and some are 4 credit (12 hours of studying per week outside of lecture), my first and second term I will be taking 21 and 23 credit hours respectively (63 and 69 hours of study per week outside of lecture) that how it works here with Canadian Universities in British Columbia

#### Derek Francis

Would studying engineering on a part time basis (2 classes per semester) - while working - make the difficulty more manageable?

#### Zionic

Would studying engineering on a part time basis (2 classes per semester) - while working - make the difficulty more manageable?
I really depends on yourself and the kind of student you are.
It will definitely take longer to complete the degree, though at the same time you are less likely to burn out.
Also it will cost you more in the long run enrolling in more semesters as fixed rate student fees and activity fees (for some institutions) add up (these fees for my university are charged every semester regardless of how many credits or courses you take, it is about $150 every semester so if I enrolled full-time for a year I would have paid$300 as opposed to the \$600 I would pay if I completed the same amount of course work as a part-time student)
Another factor that I have heard often is the notion that:
"employers would like to see a full course load that was well accomplished, showing that you can handle the rigor of the work."
or something of the sort. There are more factors to be taken into account.

Zionic

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