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Other The Should I Become an Engineer? Thread

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Would studying engineering on a part time basis (2 classes per semester) - while working - make the difficulty more manageable?
It's likely that it is different where you are, but something to consider. Where I go, engineering courses expire after 5 years, so completing a degree at 2-3 classes per semester would not work, as you would eventually have to go back and redo classes from your earlier years, eventually going in a continuous circle. Also, some classes may not be offered every semester, and certain prerequisite classes may not be met. There's much to factor in.

the average courseload engineering students take is around 6 or 7 courses
It is the same here. The course load is 6-7 classes every semester, and the average grades in these classes are often in the 30-40% range, according to the few engineering friends I have.
 
Okay, I've reviewed it in depth and decided that engineering is not for me personally. To be fair, probably 80-90% of people would not be able to handle it. I'm looking to specialize and master my knowledge in one or two key areas. Engineers have to be outstanding in a wide number of different areas. Being an engineer requires a profoundly deep background of mathematic and scientific excellence that I just don't have.

Plus, when it comes to demand, the deficit has largely been filled already. According to the BLS, most engineering jobs only have slightly above average growth. While definitely a more lucrative pursuit (for those who can handle it) than 90% of other majors, they're not the most in demand majors.
 
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Okay, I've reviewed it in depth and decided that engineering is not for me personally. To be fair, probably 80-90% of people would not be able to handle it. I'm looking to specialize and master my knowledge in one or two key areas. Engineers have to be outstanding in a wide number of different areas. Being an engineer requires a profoundly deep background of mathematic and scientific excellence that I just don't have.

Plus, when it comes to demand, the deficit has largely been filled already. According to the BLS, most engineering jobs only have slightly above average growth. While definitely a more lucrative pursuit (for those who can handle it) than 90% of other majors, they're not the most in demand majors.

Nice, good on you to have that profound personal insight. I am 2 years into Chemical Physics and it is rigorous as hell. I unfortunately jumped into it when I wasn't yet mature on a mathematics standpoint and problem-solving standpoint. but that was 2 years ago.
 
Now that engineering's out of the picture, here are my remaining options.

#1 - Applied statistcs degree w/ economics minor & passing an actuary exam
#2 - Nursing (most in demand of any major)
#3 - Geology (i began a major on it back when i was in school ; never finished it)
#4 - Special Education (my non-Stem option)
 
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Now that engineering's out of the picture, here are my remaining options.

#1 - Applied statistcs degree w/ economics minor & passing an actuary exam
#2 - Nursing (most in demand of any major)
#3 - Geology (i began a major on it back when i was in school ; never finished it)
#4 - Special Education (my non-Stem option)
If I had no interest in Engineering nor Physics I would have definitely pursued Statistics all the way.
now i suggest combining statistics and computer science, then have a shot at data mining. My statistics professor stresses that it is on the rise and he underlines that every chance he gets ^u^
 
I do want to give a heads up for those who are considering to major in Engineering only because it's in super-high demand. According to data, the growth of Engineering jobs is not significantly above average, and it does depend which field of engineering one decides to go into.

Average growth for careers, according to BLS.gov, is 5-8%

Electrical Engineering - 0% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm

Mechanical Engineering - 5% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm

Chemical Engineering - 2% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/chemical-engineers.htm

Civil Engineering - 8% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm

Marine Engineering - 9% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/marine-engineers-and-naval-architects.htm

Environmental Engineering - 10% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm

Industrial Engineering - Negative Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineering-technicians.htm
 
I am stuck with choosing my career path. My first intention was doing a math/cs dual degree and later opt for R&D path in AI (but without much interests in academia- I wouldn't really like to teach half of the time) but since I am young I don't know if I will stick with my interest in research, maybe one day I realize that dealing with abstract mathematical stuff isn't for me and that's why I started considering engineering path because it will give me chance to work in industry and R&D (I know that math/cs can give me option for industry too but I will have less applied experience). I am math oriented person and I like physics and science overall and I don't have much applied experience (I didn't work with electronics much).

EE program seems really interesting (I can see it will give me more broad training of skills) as I saw that there is programming, physics and math involved. And and I can see that it is intellecutally stimulating field so I can see myself in it so I wonder if I should go for it or should I pick up EE books in my free time and self study so I apply for a MS if I am really sure.
 
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So here i am, in 12th grade
I want to become an engineer but my classmates say i should rather become a footballer(because i am exceptional at it,even my coach says that i should become a footballer aka soccer player)

but the thing is i really don't want to become a footballer!!!!

I want to become a good mechanical engineer.I don't care how much hard work i have to do....i will do it,i don't care for sleepless nights i have to spend just studying...i will study.Its just whenever i wake up and see those machines...air conditioners,cars,planes,the physics of these stuffs interest me(the sound of engines,those heavy cranes,ships all these look amazing to me).I am fascinated by all these things

but i have an iq around 80 to 90.My percentage in school (for physics and maths) are 67/100 and 64/100 basically B- or C+.BY THIS THEY(classmates and teachers) SAY TO ME

"Jab aukaat aur dimag nahi hai Engineering ke liye to karne ki kyo soch ta hai,ja footballer ban ja" (When you don't have the acumen and a brain for doing Engineering, ..then why do you even want to do that .. you should better become a footballer

I am willing to work hard even day and nights i don't care about failures....if i fail i will get back up and up and up until i get to become a very good engineer.

so do i have i chance to become a good engineer?
 
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I do want to give a heads up for those who are considering to major in Engineering only because it's in super-high demand. According to data, the growth of Engineering jobs is not significantly above average, and it does depend which field of engineering one decides to go into.

Average growth for careers, according to BLS.gov, is 5-8%

Electrical Engineering - 0% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm

Mechanical Engineering - 5% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm

Chemical Engineering - 2% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/chemical-engineers.htm

Civil Engineering - 8% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm

Marine Engineering - 9% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/marine-engineers-and-naval-architects.htm

Environmental Engineering - 10% Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineering-technicians.htm

Industrial Engineering - Negative Growth
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineering-technicians.htm
Software Engineering?
 
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From the first post listed I think I am supposed to post this question here.

Some background: I am currently 25 years old, and (almost)ready to start going back to school. The first time through I was not ready nor was I a good student. I have a plan to do the first two years at a local community college then transfer in to a state university to do the last two years. Given my first attempt at things I'll probably have to pay the first two years out of pocket (~10-12 grand), and while saving up for this I am doing all of the relevant studying I can do. I can provide a list what I am working on if requested.

As a general rule of thumb, most people say to get undergraduate degrees in a "major" engineering discipline, such as mech/electrical/civil/etc. I have talked with the university admissions and department heads about what electives I should take. I really want to do aerospace - specifically ship/satellite design with some FEM stress modeling and CFD. I was given a couple of options - I could do a mechanical engineering degree and take as many math/aero electives as I could, or a dual degree option.

The second degree is "Computational and Applied Mathematics", and I can knock out a lot of the requirements for it by taking the correct electives.

If I do mechanical with the math degree, it will amount to another year of schooling, which is about the length of time for a masters in aerospace or mechanical after a single degree. If I do aerospace (due to the math-heavy course load and electives I want), which has more credit requirements than mech, I get to do some more interesting classes (orbital mechanics, fluids, spacecraft design) and knock down the extra time to a single quarter at most.

I am really interested in doing the dual degree in Aerospace Engineering and Comp/Applied math, but I hear a lot of stories about people with AE undergrad degrees having difficulty getting started in engineering. What are everyone's thoughts on the matter?
 

analogdesign

Science Advisor
1,127
343
Software Engineering?
The problem is Software Engineering isn't an Engineering field. Before you throw tomatoes at me, what I mean by that is people with all kinds of skills levels, from AI algorithm researchers at Google down to help desk folks at Best Buy are often lumped together in one box. It is as if everyone from Medical Assistant to Brain Surgeons were all referred to as "Medical Professionals". It would be pretty useless to ask what the growth of "Medical Professionals" is going to be if you really want to know what the growth of surgeons is going to be.

Another point is that it is very, very difficult to become an electrical or chemical engineer without a degree in those fields. There is just too much to learn and understand. Plenty of people become "software engineers" after going to a six-week bootcamp and learning a bit of Python. It is just too hard to make generalizations about the software business. Almost any you see in practice are self-serving in one way or another.
 
i have completed my bachelor in electrical engineering but due to financial stress i decided to work for 1.5 years atleast to get experience and finances so that i can start my master,i read alot to avoid the gap,i want to learn quantum physics while i am on this gap,any help?
one more q,can anything be learnt from this forum?
 
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Now that engineering's out of the picture, here are my remaining options.

#1 - Applied statistcs degree w/ economics minor & passing an actuary exam
#2 - Nursing (most in demand of any major)
#3 - Geology (i began a major on it back when i was in school ; never finished it)
#4 - Special Education (my non-Stem option)
Applied statistics sounds like a watered down statistics degree...much like my watered down electrical engineering degree "computer engineering" xd. It would be better If you do pure statistics major :d,
 
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april-slawson

I want a career in the Aerospace Industry. My original major was Physics and after my first year of a three year community college degree, I have learned much more about what different degree's lead to what jobs. I am a solid A student, English, Geography, Computer Science, and Mathematics are subjects I have taken so far. I want to stay in my current city due to family obligations, and the University here offers EE and ME.
I am thinking that I want to major in EE, even though that will take me 6 years in all to graduate. It seems it will be the most stimulating and rewarding for my interests. I like to work hard, I like to build things and I enjoy mathematics.

I haven't had the opportunity to take physics in college yet. I am 25 years old, I took 7 years off to work minimum wage jobs, and spent the last 3 semesters catching up to where incoming Freshman start at since my high school only offered up to Pre-calc.

1. Will I be able to pursue a career in the Aerospace Industry with a Bachelor's In Electrical Engineering?

2. (Opinions) Would it be beneficial to pursue a Masters in Science in Physics after earning an EE? Can I pursue a Masters in Aerospace Engineering after earning an EE?
 
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I want a career in the Aerospace Industry. My original major was Physics and after my first year of a three year community college degree, I have learned much more about what different degree's lead to what jobs. I am a solid A student, English, Geography, Computer Science, and Mathematics are subjects I have taken so far. I want to stay in my current city due to family obligations, and the University here offers EE and ME.
I am thinking that I want to major in EE, even though that will take me 6 years in all to graduate. It seems it will be the most stimulating and rewarding for my interests. I like to work hard, I like to build things and I enjoy mathematics.

I haven't had the opportunity to take physics in college yet. I am 25 years old, I took 7 years off to work minimum wage jobs, and spent the last 3 semesters catching up to where incoming Freshman start at since my high school only offered up to Pre-calc.

1. Will I be able to pursue a career in the Aerospace Industry with a Bachelor's In Electrical Engineering?

2. (Opinions) Would it be beneficial to pursue a Masters in Science in Physics after earning an EE? Can I pursue a Masters in Aerospace Engineering after earning an EE?
Shouldn't this be a new thread, rather than a continuation of the OP?

To answer your questions, both ME and EE can lead to jobs in aerospace. I've worked in aerospace for a company that built electro-mechanical subsystems, and we had lots of MEs and a modest number of EEs. I think you will find that aerospace is largely ME oriented, unless you work specifically on the electronics end.

To be sure, you could pursue an ME Aero after an EE degree, but you will find yourself significantly behind in terms of things like fluid mechanics, structures, celestial mechanics, and a few other odds and ends.
 

april-slawson

Shouldn't this be a new thread, rather than a continuation of the OP?

To answer your questions, both ME and EE can lead to jobs in aerospace. I've worked in aerospace for a company that built electro-mechanical subsystems, and we had lots of MEs and a modest number of EEs. I think you will find that aerospace is largely ME oriented unless you work specifically on the electronics end.

To be sure, you could pursue an ME Aero after an EE degree, but you will find yourself significantly behind in terms of things like fluid mechanics, structures, celestial mechanics, and a few other odds and ends.
Thank you for your reply. I decided to post a thread from your advice.
 

doglover9754

At the suggestion of Shahil, I'm starting this thread as a general guidance thread for prospective engineers. Some typical questions:

-Should I become an engineer?
-What engineering discipline should I study?
-Is engineering difficult?

I encourage people to post personal experiences in school and in the professional world regarding the field of engineering.

Some background info on me - I'm a mechanical engineer working in the field of HVAC design. I started off studying aerospace engineering, but the math was just too much for me. I like mechanical engineering because it is a very wide field with all sorts of job opportunities everywhere.
I wanted to be an engineer, but one, I’m too young, two, I’m still not sure what kind, and three, I am more into robotics, so if there is anything more robotics related, then I’d be happy to research about it
 

russ_watters

Mentor
18,849
5,039
I wanted to be an engineer, but one, I’m too young, two, I’m still not sure what kind, and three, I am more into robotics, so if there is anything more robotics related, then I’d be happy to research about it
You said "wanted" as if you don't want to anymore. Was that a typo?

Anyway, both mechanical and electrical (not to mention computer) engineering would be appropriate for robotics and often there is a robotics "track" associated with different majors. You will just have to decide what aspect you are more interested in and look at the "tracks" available at prospective colleges.
 

doglover9754

You said "wanted" as if you don't want to anymore. Was that a typo?

Anyway, both mechanical and electrical (not to mention computer) engineering would be appropriate for robotics and often there is a robotics "track" associated with different majors. You will just have to decide what aspect you are more interested in and look at the "tracks" available at prospective colleges.
That was a typo... so sorry! Thanks for the suggestions.
 
Hi guys,

Firstly apologies for the lazy post if hordes of people have asked a similar question before - this thread is 43 pages and I cba to read it all, sorry... basically physics is my first love, but I want to earn money; would I make a bad engineer?

I could lose sleep happily doing physics, and always thought I would naturally do a physics degree at uni but am having doubts now due to poor career prospects in any fields other than finance (which I'd rather avoid - I once heard it described 'selling your soul' which sounds about right). But I want money - a lot of money - and an interesting career in which I can utilise my brain.

A natural second option is engineering as it has good career prospects and still uses physics, and I am a good problem solver. However, I know definitively that I am not a born engineer - I don't care how something works, and engineering is nowhere near as beautiful to me as physics, because the equations are just for optimising a system, not explaining the world which is something I intrinsically love. I much prefer reading to tinkering, and working with code or computers to figuring out how a bunch of ugly wires connect to each other, but I guess I am good at finding improvements in systems as I am very detail orientated. This sounds stupid but I'm very visual and everything in engineering seems to be so... ugly? Physics is pen and paper, equations which explain the universe... the epitome of beauty. And don't get me wrong, I admire engineering greatly, but it doesn't speak to me as much. Perhaps part of the issue is that I'm a girl and engineering seems really hands on, spanner, oil and grease sort of stereotype which I'd rather not harbour. However I heard engineering is better if you're more well-rounded, which I am. I also plan on working in Europe in the future and learning a language or two, which comes easier with engineering.

I'm in the UK which makes things more complicated because I can only apply for one course. Furthermore, my first choice uni is Cambridge and I know I have to work hard this summer on a personal project maybe (I'm thinking something with an Arduino and C++) or read a lot more books to prepare myself. Another option is applying for physical NatSci which I feel more prepared for if I were to apply for, and, if I do get in, changing courses in year 3 (a common occurrence according to the website) ; however that's a BIG IF and most likely, I'll fail the interview and end up at a uni doing physics where I'm not certain what policy they have on changing courses.

Any thoughts welcome. BTW if I drop physics I shall be very sad indeed. If I don't pursue engineering I shall be sad and poor indeed. Lose-lose? Or am I being pessimistic or naive?
 
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I think what you might like engineering R&D. I worked for a chemical company for 35 years using math modeling to describe the behavior of physical systems, and loved it. It involved pen and paper formulation of equations to translate the physical laws and fundamental mechanisms involved into the language of mathematics, and then solving the equations on the computer. The results of the calculations were used directly in the design and improvement of real world products and processes. So there was the satisfaction of seeing your work come to fruition physically, and seeing your work result in actual money for your company. It was very rewarding both in terms of satisfaction and in terms of compensation. Imagine seeing physics and chemistry being applied to solve real world problems.
 

CWatters

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My wife and I are retired electronics engineers in the UK and happen to live about 45 mins from Cambridge. We have two 16 year old boys who have just done their GCSE and are also considering what to do for A levels and beyond. Five of our friends did engineering or computing degrees and all were able to retire early - so finance is certainly not the only way to make money.

Its the time of year when universities have open days. Go to some!!! We were at one last Saturday and sat in on several presentations in the engineering department. The opportunities in engineering are very good and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend someone consider that as a career.

I forget the website but there is one that tells you which university has an open day on any particular weekend. I think Southampton University has one next month that we also plan to go to.

Yes Oxford and Cambridge are the top universities in the UK but demand for places is so high it's a lottery as to who gets in. Arguably there are other better or equally good universities elsewhere for many subjects. You should pick the one with the best course you want not the one with best overall reputation.

Some universities offer combined degrees. For example I would bet there are some that offer Physics with Electronics or Physics with computer Science or similar combinations either way around. These would be a way to keep your options open allowing you to study physics while giving you a degree allowing you to go into engineering or finance (if you must).
 

CWatters

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PS An acquaintance, who is a head hunter, says that Composite Engineers and Electrical/Electronic Engineers with experience in drive train design are in demand by the car and aerospace industry.

The UK finance industry is waiting to see what Brexit brings. My contacts in investment banking are worried about head offices being relocated to places like Frankfurt, Paris and Ireland.
 
Hello everyone, I am looking for advice about whether or not to try engineering in college.
I just graduated from high school and am heading to a US university in a program where I can explore different majors before choosing which I want to pursue.
In general I have a lot of interests, particularly how things work, and as my username indicates I just like learning (when I can understand what it is I'm trying to learn).

Up until this past school-year I thought that I might be an engineer, but then I took AP Physics 1 - that was a mistake, as I had immense difficulty understanding what we were supposed to learn (maybe just because of the way it was [not] taught?). I did not do very well in the class, and it was by far the class I dreaded the most (I don't normally dread classes).

However, about potentially being an engineer - I am often told that I should be an engineer because of the way I look at and think about things, as well as my interest in how things work and ability to think about and apply (and explain) the best/most efficient way to do something.
Also, until taking a physics class this year I had a great interest in engineering, and at least one of my relatives was an engineer.

So I am wondering - would it be possible to succeed in engineering without being able to do well in physics? That does not sound possible, but I have a friend already in college doing engineering who says that physics is a super hard class for everyone, so I don't know what to think.

Thanks

Edit - I might be able to take just one sort of introduction to engineering class, so really I am wondering whether it is likely to be worth doing that for the experience even if I don't pursue engineering, or if it would just be a waste of a class/time.
 
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This is my own personal opinion, and many might disagree. But in my judgment, mastery of Physics is a key element to being able to succeed as an engineer.
 

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