1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Torn between ME and EE,I need an advice from engineers.

  1. May 5, 2013 #1
    I am going to graduate from high school in a month and then I will have to decide what engineering major I should go for.
    my main interest was computers and programming (I am a huge fan of big hackers who can hack stuff) and I always wanted to be one of them:biggrin:
    but yesterday I have seen a video on YouTube about mechanical engineers at Mercedes company in Germany and these guys rocks :cool: so I have started seriouslly thinking about ME as a major.
    plus I have an intention to go into the energy industry after I graduate ,so is EE a better option for this kind of job (like Nuclear powerplants)?? or ME is a better one.
    a friend of mine told me that once you get your basic degree in engineering you can then do your master in whatever you want ,is that right ?? and how do you do that?
    if I am an undergraduate student majoring in Electrical Engineering ,how so I can do a master in Mechanical engineering without a background in ME??

    1 more question:
    is CS minor a good idea with ME major??
    is CS a helpful thing in the industry when you are a ME??

    additional information:
    I have not made any decision about my future graduate studies yet ,but in my country Material Science engineers have really high salaries so I am considering that as an option.
    do you believe that ME is better if you want to go with Material engineering? or mining?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2013 #2
    If you want to be a hacker (God forbid) then go into CompSci. Be sure to post all of your personal contact info somewhere on the internet so the FBI, CIA, and NSA can track you down later.

    I was given this advice when I was entering the University life: If you don't know which type of Engineering you wish to enter, then go into ME as a starting point. It is the most broad curriculum. And the fact of the matter is that the first two years of any curriculum is generally the same. That gives you time to figure out what you like / don't like and want to do / don't want to do.

    Enjoy the ride.
  4. May 5, 2013 #3
    Meantime, you'd do well to remember the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers:

    Mechanical Engineers build weapons......Civil Engineers build targets. :)
  5. May 6, 2013 #4
    I love building weapons by the way :D
  6. May 6, 2013 #5
    Good! There's a burgeoning future in directed-energy weapons....Learn thee the laser on your own time, while you engage in that war of attrition between professor and student, wearing each other down over the next four years, till you finally walk away with your ME.
    But always keep in mind that a college degree usually means nothing more to future employers other than that you have the ability to learn. The three keys to success, starting out in any career, are network, network, and network. Get your name out across industry and professional websites, and always reply to every message, warmly, gratuitously.
    In five years, you'll be a known commodity, and will be able to name your job, name your salary, and even choose your country. Good Luck!
  7. May 6, 2013 #6
    My advice is pick one for now, and don't stress out about it too much.

    Most freshmen going into engineering are in your situation. They know they want to be engineers but aren't sure which discipline.

    Colleges recognize this. They usually use the freshman year as opportunity to expose you to all disciplines of engineering, and help you find the one that is right for you. Also the course loads for freshmen in engineering are mostly the same. So its not going to set you back too much if you pick ME, but decide you want to do EE and vice versa.

    That being said, when you actually sign up for classes talk to your advisor. Tell them that you're considering EE and ME.
  8. May 9, 2013 #7
    I started off in Electrical Engineering and ended up designing control systems. The truth is that your educational foundation is not a limit to what you can or can not do as an engineer. It is only enough to get your foot in the door.

    My brother studied mechanical engineering, but ended up in Aerospace. However IT is still IT. If you studied computers, you can eventually drift away, but that's not a sure thing. HR departments have a way of pigeon-holing people for life. IT is NOT engineering. Whether you study electrical or mechanical engineering, you'll still study most of the same courses. The electrical guys spent more time on signal theory and semiconductor physics. The mechanical folk spent more time on dynamic structures, fluids, and control theory. But the difference is merely a few courses and you can practically learn this on your own.

    And you can choose which P&P exam to take after the EIT for the PE certificate. It doesn't have to be what your degree was related to.

  9. May 13, 2013 #8
    I'm a mechanical engineer and I work in aerospace, so getting your degree in one field doesn't preclude you from working in another field. The degree is just a way to show that you have competency in a particular field; however, there are other ways to show an employer that you have competency in a field as well. I knew MEs that studied a LOT of electrical theory and work at companies as EEs. They have a work history that shows they can hack it as an EE, so they can get those kinds of jobs without necessarily having that degree. I can imagine that in software development they don't care what or if you have a degree as long as you can code well. If you can showcase a lot of software projects you've done personally or been a large part of, you can work as a software developer just about anywhere.

    As far as switching fields in grad school, it really depends. I wanted to do EE as a master's student, but I was told the admissions office at my undergrad university would reject me because they have no way to judge my competency in EE against the other EEs because I didn't take the same classes. I would have to get a professor to vouch for me and then I'd have to plan out all my courses and graduation date BEFORE I ever got accepted, and then have the professor try to convince the graduate committee to take me on. That's just my experience, but I think other universities might be more lenient.

    About doing some CS in ME, I say hell yeah. I got a job with an engineering company right out of high school just because I had the ability to program. I wrote some software that recalculated filament winding patterns for non-uniform mandrels for carbon fiber composites as a high school intern, and the company loved my work so much they offered me a position there. Since then, I've found numerous places to apply my programming knowledge and it's helped me gain an edge. I think it's a very useful skill that all MEs should have, even if it's only a basic knowledge.

    I think you might be having a hard time choosing a discipline because you don't know what you want to do for a career. I think you ought to just apply to the university, declare yourself as an open major, and work really hard at getting internships really early on. That will help you decide what you want to do and consequently, what to study.
  10. Jun 26, 2013 #9
    If you complete your undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, you will be able to apply for a Master's in Mechanical Engineering. However, you will have a little catch up to do when you enter the program. There will be a slight learning curve, but I dont think it will limit your ability to do well as long as you apply yourself. I know several people who have completed undergraduate degrees and have gone on to do a Master's in Electrical and Control Engineering. If your looking for the most general engineering degree, I would recommend Mechanical engineering. Master's degree usually does not depend on your previous undergraduate degree, however, there are limitations depending on the relavence of your undergraduate. Hope this helps!
  11. Jun 26, 2013 #10
    At this point I would relax. You have no idea what kind of engineering you like. No idea.

    I say that because while you may like computers, or cars, or airplanes or whatever, you have no idea what principals and techniques are used to construct and operate them. You need to get exposure to a bunch of different areas and find the one you're passionate about. That's why most Engineering majors are pretty much the same for the first two years. So take your classes and pay attention to how they are affecting you. Is your circuits class fascinating or torture? Do you enjoy thermo or fluid mechanics? Do you get a rush hacking Python all night for a class project?

    I'm telling you, the right field for you will be obvious in a couple of years.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook