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Which engineering field makes the most money?

  1. Feb 26, 2007 #1
    I plan on going into engineering, and i wont chose a field just because it pays the most. BUt i am still curious. In general, what are the highest paying fields in engineering? I know it can fluctuate time to time, but just in general, which ones pay really high?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2007 #2
    usually most engineers are paid the same. according to my observations engineers who get into business or management will get paid higher and will go further in modern day corporations. (my observations are limited to the middle east though)
  4. Feb 26, 2007 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I googled engineering salary comparison, and got LOTS of hits. Here's an interesting one with a salary calculator:


    But keep this in mind -- as long as incentive stock options (ISOs) are allowed, you can make by far the most money by getting really good at something that a startup company needs, and then going in early and getting a good stock option package. And then over the next couple of years, do great work (be prepared for 80+ hour weeks) and make key contributions, which will earn you even bigger blocks of stock options, still at very low prices (typically <$1 each in the first couple of years before starting the ramp to go public).

    If you're willing to take a risk on a new startup company (do your homework reading their business plan before making the decision), and are willing and able to work your behind off for a couple years in a row, then you can do very well after the company goes public. Keep in mind that one risk is that the company will fold after a couple years of private work, if the market or product development don't go in the correct directions. But during those couple of years, you're getting paid a pretty good salary anyway -- you're just working 2x hours, that's all....

    But to get into a position where you are that valuable to a startup, you need to do very well in school and do very well in your first 5-10 years of work after school. And you need to groom yourself by choosing the best engineering fields to study (not necessarily based on short-term salary potential), and then picking some hot public companies to work for that are on the cutting edge of your selected fields.

    Now, having said all of that, I'd recommend EE. Whether you are grooming yourself to be part of a startup ISO ride, or just want to have a very portable, solid, high-paying regular engineering job, there are many fields within EE that are interesting work and well-paying.
  5. Feb 26, 2007 #4


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    Homework Helper

    There are many factors that come in play, the needs of the society, the technological advance of the society, the economy state and means of the society, etc... For example, where i live Civil Engineering has the highest pay on average, while on the USA it seems to be Nuclear Engineering (i think).
  6. Feb 26, 2007 #5


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    Essentialy, it all depends on you.

    So pick a field you're interested in, that's most important. If you've got a nose for money, you'll make some, no matter what field of engineering you pick.
  7. Mar 18, 2007 #6
    In the US, of the five core engineering disciplines (Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical) the rank in pay goes something like this:

    Highest Paid:

    Mid Range:
    Electrical and Computer

    Low Range:
    Civil and Mechanical

    Masters degrees do not seem to add much value if you look at the labor stats at the Bureau of Labor for the US: http://www.labor.gov [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Mar 18, 2007 #7
    petroleum and nuclear always seem to be at the top of any lists I see; however, they seem to be more niche fields with more limited places you can work so it would help to have a legitimate interest in the subject.
  9. Mar 18, 2007 #8


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I have seen lists the put physicists and nuclear engineers at the top. On the other hand, demand plays a role, and that is somewhat cyclical. I have seen demand rise and fall for EE's and Chem E's. During the Internet Bubble, programmers and CS people were in demand, and then they weren't.

    It's best to pick an engineering discipline because one is interested and motivated to become very good in that field with the objective of making valuable contributions to the state of the art.

    I also strongly recommend diversification in engineering, which itself may vary according to the discipline.
  10. Mar 18, 2007 #9


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    Homework Helper

    In my country, the list from post #6 reverses.
  11. Mar 18, 2007 #10
    ummm for I dunno wich most pays.. but I wouldn't adise u by civil or architechture engeeneerin.. (and civil is more worse), my mom and dad are civil and architechture, and they have to work a looong time on projects for a small ammount of money, not mentionin if the client was kid of moody or demanded u have to work double
  12. Mar 18, 2007 #11


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    Homework Helper

    No offence and with all due respect, but that's their problem, and not the problem of CE.
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