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Undecided Major Engineer or Computer Science?

  1. Sep 3, 2011 #1
    Hi everyone.

    I am going into my last year in High School, but am still undecided with what I should major. I consider myself to be good at math, but I am not talented in it. I learn what I'm taught, but if I am given a problem in which I have never encountered and taught, I will never be able to solve it. Throughout my high school years I have achieved mid-high A's in math. I learn math pretty quickly, but as some people say, High School math is a joke, so I'm thinking that even if I find math easy, I might not be able to do just as well in University (considering that I am only good at it, not talented in it). I like physics and the mathematical side of chemistry. It takes me a great deal of practice to excel in those subjects, but when I am given a mathematical problem related to Physics or Chemistry, I am determined to use various methods to solve it.

    Originally I was determined to become an Engineer due to my interest in Math, Physics, and Chemistry (the mathematical side) but at the same time, I'm scared that I will not be able to handle it due to its difficulty and heavy course load. Like I mentioned, I am only good at these subjects but I do not excel in them. Moreover, I have some friends who want to go for Engineer and they love to build things. In contrast, I have no motivation to build because I do not have the creative mind that they have. The main thing that is holding me back from pursuing a degree in Engineer is that I have no confidence. I'm not good with handling stress and it takes me a while to study. Seriously, would it be worth it if I opted for Engineer and in the end, I'm kicked out of university? Also, wouldn't it be hard to transfer out of Engineer since Engineer have a heavier courseload than other departments and transferring weighs a lot on your grades? I hear lot's of stories saying that those studying Engineer only have like 30 hours of sleep per week and I really hope that this isn't true, because I value my sleep very much

    So, I'm not sure if I should go for Computer Sciences instead since it has an easier courseload and quite similar to Engineer. Both require knowledge in math, physics, and chemistry. I have some interest in Computers but no prior knowledge of Computers. I have never done things such as programming and do not even know what algorithms is. Through my research I find people saying that programming is something you can do or cannot do. Only those with talent will be successful in this program, otherwise even though how much you try, you can never truly excel. Also... I am not interested in theories ...

    I'm a female and I know Engineering and Computer Science is male dominent..... why is that? I'm really doubting in my choices.....

    Key :
    - good at math, though not talented
    - interested in mathematical side of physics and chemistry
    - no prior knowledge of computers
    - no interest in theories
    - no interest in building (no motivation)
    - worried about difficulty and heaviness of courseload
    - some interest in computers
    - unable to handle stress

    Please help me decide!

    Thanks (also, sorry for my bad English )
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2011 #2


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    Gold Member

    I wouldn't be worried about that, there are some mathematical techniques you need to be familiar with in engineering but nothing ground breaking and all will be taught
    I find these two a little conflicting, could you give an example of what you enjoy doing and an example of something you don't?
    depends on what you what sort of jobs you like. If you want to do post-grad research, you will have to want to find/make something new. If you don't mind settling as an engineering stuff in some company doing quality control or something like that, then that isn't a worry because all you will be doing is listening to your boss on doing this and doing that (people in the workforce can feel free to correct me because my sources are secondary at best)
    maybe it is like you have mentioned before, it is something you can or can't do.
    Before university I had virtually no experience in programming, and in the first programming paper I did, I got an A+ and found the course a walk in the park. But I also see other people in the class pulling their hairs out weeks before assignment deadlines.

    I'm not sure about the structure of your university but my advice would be doing an introductory programming course (make sure it isn't something like how to turn on a monitor or something type of course, which exists in my university, quite a joke among science faculty students) and then see how you do in it.
    I don't know what gave people such impressions about studying in engineering. I started my degree doing physics, then started taking engineering courses. I have to say engineering courses take a lot less time. As long as you familiarise yourself with the relevant formulae and have a solid conceptual understanding before tests and exams you will be fine (in contrast to physics where I've seen even A+ students walk into the exam room, looked at the script and then our eye balls start to fall onto our desks)

    bottom line is a lot of this depends on what you want to do after you finish your education. Also, do you have other interests? like socialising with people? I know someone who had average grades end up making big money in high-tech companies because he loved socialising and basically worked his way up the ranks doing sales, grades become almost irrelevant in this case
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