|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 06:14 pm: Edit|
I am a senior who can't put my foot down on what my interests are. Friends/Family members suggested that i should go into engineering. I have asked around for infos on engineering, but nobody i asked thus far really explained what it is. Can anyone please give me an in-depth description on what exactly an engineer is, what they do, job security as an engineer, courses required to take, what do engineers work on, who hires them, and typical hours of work a day of a professional engineer..etc (anything that you guys think are worth mentioning)
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit|
exactly what kind of engineer? civil, chemical, computer, mechanical, petroleum, nuclear?
i really want to get into Civil Engineering or Petroleum/mining.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 06:22 pm: Edit|
i just want a general background. i know it sounds contradicting to "in-depth background." but as my name suggests, i am a diletante. Perhaps an area that's more math oriented?
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 06:25 pm: Edit|
i guess my questions sum to to the general statement of "why would i want to be an engineer?" i just listed specfic questions to attract a more profound reponse.
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit|
do you like to play with legos? do you like model rockets and paper airplanes? are you a chemistry nerd? do you spend saturday assembling your new computer? did you completely love physics? do you enjoy being "the bad guy" and have an interest in geology? do you get wood at the sight of a nuclear power plant?
each division of engineering seems to cater to a different type of person, and each type of engineer seems to have a different type of workplace.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 07:24 pm: Edit|
hm.. you seem to have your mindset on engineering. your profile says that you're 16, perhaps you did in-depth research or have family members that are in the the fields of engineering. Either way, can you tell me about your experiences of how you said to yourself "this is it (engineering) , this is what i want to do" and what/how did you come to have an interest on Civil Engineering or Petroleum/mining? What are some benefits or down-sides to each category?
P.S. as i said before, i lean towards fields of mathmatics and science (because those are the areas where i feel that i did not need to study-hardcore to get an A). I do find that chemistry and physics turned out to be easier than bio. I have not a clue to what this job is about, i am trying to figure out if this is the job for me. I basically spend my time on manga and videogames (a typical asian-american thing), that's why i don't lean towards any major. Perhaps through this little info u can suggest a division?
|By Scorp (Scorp) on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 12:57 am: Edit|
If someone hates math and physics can (s)he still make it as an engineer? (BioMedical, Computer?)
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 12:57 am: Edit|
i havnt always been into engineering, but heres a history of what i used to want to be:
webdesigner > programmer > lawyer > international business > engineering
i like to design and build things, like this year at school we had to design something that we can put an egg in, then drop it off the roof of our school and have the egg not crack(mine didnt). id like a more "project" type of job, where i work on a construction project from start to finish, and feel some sort of accomplishment, being able to drive past a place and know you helped build it. civil engineers usually either work in the field or indoors designing the building. i dont want to live in a cubicle for 30 years of my life, and being in CA id love to work outdoors at construction sites.
My cousin just graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. Now shes back home in Alabama making good money and managing about 800 oil rigs throughout north america. Petroleum Engineering is the highest paid engineering major, averaging $55k bachelors degree starting salary. Mining also looks very exciting, but locations of working seem very limited. I love to travel though, and thats what mining engineering or petroleum engineering would bring.
a really good place to find info about any career is the government's site. http://www.bls.gov/search/ooh.asp?ct=OOH just type in a type of engineer and itll tell you all about what they do, how they get paid, where they work, etc.
|By Legendofmax (Legendofmax) on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 01:14 am: Edit|
Taffy: I've never seen anyone get wood at the sight of a power plant...
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 01:32 am: Edit|
hm.. thank u for the feed back. you see, i wanted to build stuff too. i haved loved building projects since my mag-lev train project from technology. I wanted to do something in helping shape polygons or design CGs for video games or movies, but i am also realistic about things and think that u'll have to be exceptionally smart to do something like that... I am not big on the money issue, i just want to live my life knowing that i'll enjoy what i do and have no regrets on my decisions. Are there any down-sides to engineering?
|By Farmmom (Farmmom) on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit|
Engineering encompasses a huge array of occupations and fields. In some ways, that could be good for a person who is undecided. There is a growing trend of students majoring in engineering for undergrad as preparation for a variety of different grad school options including med school, law school and business school. This is because an egineering major gives you good training in analytical reasoning and logical problem-solving. These skills are essential in any field. One of the downsides of engineering is that it is a very difficult and demanding major. There are far more requirements and class hours required of an engineering major than pretty much any other. And not everyone can hack the level of abstract reasoning, conceptual understanding and spatial thinking required in the math, physics and engineering courses. If these subjects come easily for you, that really helps! Engineers can end up in a variety of different fields that may not end up directly using their specific technical training from hazardous waste clean-up to city planning, to project managers, etc.
For more on the cons of an engineering degree, read the post under the College Search and Selction topic on why you shouldn't become an egineer.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 12:00 am: Edit|
thank you for all your help, i actually did read that post. I stopped reading it after the poster's 6th reason.:
6) mostly foreigners -- out here in CA I'd say the hi-tech workforce is 1/3 chinese, 1/3 indian, 1/3 white. If you've ever wanted to feel like a minority in your own country, engineering is the job for you. And BTW a lot of them don't bother with soap or deodorant because thats the way things are in their country. If you're in a building you can tell when you're close to the section where the farm of cubicals for engineers is just by the odor. Yeah, you'll see people jump on this claim, but like they say in court, truth is a defense to libel. As the well-known leftist magazine "Mother Jones" wrote in an article about foreigners moving here, "Ravi's boss actually took him shopping for deodorant" (see "High-Tech Melting Pot" in August 4, 1998 issue).
I was really offended by what Marleys Ghost said particularly in the line "And BTW a lot of them [chinese and indians] don't bother with soap or deodorant because thats the way things are in their country." He was a really biased guy who hated his job... can't get a girlfriend/surround by noncaucasian. I found his reasoning to be offensive and biased, is there possibly another post that describe both ups and downs at engineering? how does engineering help in getting into med-grad? your comments are appreciated, thanks
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit|
weird, CC wasnt working for me last night and so i saved my response to you
engineering majors usually work a lot harder in college, and 5 years isnt uncommon. my cousin did 4, with the help of AP classes. that hard work is rewarded with the highest starting salaries of any bachelors degrees. its usually in the range of 45-55k starting, and i think it increases with experience up to 100k-130k. if your not quite sure what engineering major to choose, but think you want to get into engineering, mechanical engineering is like the wild card of engineering majors.
|By Farmmom (Farmmom) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit|
I was offended by that post as well and clearly the op has his own issues and axe to grind. But what I found interesting were the other peoples comments which refuted his remarks and showed the upside of engineering, as well as those that corroborated some of his points which showed it was not just his own personal axe.
I assume that the reason grad schools in other disciplines look favorably on engineering majors is because they all know it is the toughest major to survive. If you can do well in an engineering major you have proven that you have the brains to learn just about anything and that you have strengths in analytical reasoning which you will be able to apply even to a new field. Of course for med school you would still need to add the bio background but most engineering majors will already require the chemistry. Also, both practicing doctors and those that go into research must be able to demonstrate strong problem-solving and analytical reasoning skills to be successful. Bio-engineering is a particularly fascinating and growing field in which medical devices and prosthetic devices are invented.
scorp - IMO, I do not think someone who hates math and physics could make it as an engineering major because these two areas are the foundation of all future engineering courses.
|By Farmmom (Farmmom) on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:25 pm: Edit|
Dilettante you should look into shadowing a real engineer to see what their day is really like, but keep in mind that the "average" day is very different for different fields of engineering. You should think about attending one of the summer programs that they offer at many universities specifically designed to give students a taste of engineering fields in different industries.
Also, don't sweat not knowing what your major is. That's exactly what college is for - to try out a bunch of stuff so you discover what you are really interested in, NOT what you think you should be interested in. The only problem is that for an engineering major, you pretty much have to be ready to start the required courses your freshman year coz otherwise you will never be able to complete all the requirements in 4 years. That's the biggest downside of engineering - you don't get the chance to just explore a diverse variety of different fields.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 12:45 am: Edit|
Thank you for your comments, taffy and farmmom have been really great with providing me with info. i am eagered to know what my major will be (or at least have some idea) because people on this site stressed how important it is to base your college selection on social life,the feel, and that THE COLLEGE YOU SELECT IS STRONG IN YOUR AREA OF INTEREST. (sorry about the caps lock, i couldn't underline or bold) Any suggestions then on how i should go about selecting my college not knowing what i am interested in? thank you for your time on the post. (and thank you taffy, for saving that post)
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 02:34 am: Edit|
theres the top 50 engineering grad schools, usnews also has like top 3 schools in each area, but that would be kinda useless to you right now.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 11:32 pm: Edit|
hm... michigan ann arbor is a school that my guide. couns. mentioned as a match school. It's up there for engineering, i wonder how it is for med (my guide. couns. gave me some schools that were pretty good for med, just wondering if she choose this school from my med interest or my engineering interest. not that i have mind mind set on med or engineering, my guide. couns. thinks this though through because i had to tell her SOMETHING for areas of interest during the Junior conference) again, helpful site and tips as usual from taffy. Any suggestions now on how i should go about selecting my college not knowing what i am interested in? thank you for your time on the post. perhaps would posting my stats help? any feed back is appreciated
|By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:12 pm: Edit|
Thedilettante: If you are interested in engineering generally but don't know that you want to be an engineer, you might want to think about a program at Lafayette that offers a bachelor of arts degree in engineering that can be combined with a second major. However, there probably isn't enough hard science and math in that degree to give you the background to work as an engineer.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit|
ty dadofsam for your comments. i was wondering though, what is wrong with university of michigan, ann arbor? it was a college i am looking into anyways and it is a school that my counseller told me i had a really good shot at getting into. perhaps you say this because ann arbor's engineering program is oriented around a particular subject? if so, can you tell me what that particular subject is? thank you for your feedbacks
|By Taffy (Taffy) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit|
3rd in Aeronautical Engineering
3rd in Industrial Engineering
3rd in Environmental Engineering
2nd in Mechanical Engineering
|By Calkidd (Calkidd) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit|
"how does engineering help in getting into med-grad? your comments are appreciated, thanks"
It doesn't. Check out the thread in "College Life" called: "Engineering: The Truth, Part III. Grad schools get a small enough group of applicants that they can screen peoples' courses. Med and law schools are overwhelmed with people and will use GPA as one of their primary means of sorting people out, and engineering majors require more work and give lower grades than almost every other field (exceptions, at some places, are physics and math).
On the other hand, an engineering degree, ESPECIALLY when combined with solid writing and communications skills (don't skimp on those humanities courses even if the school you choose allows that), opens a lot of doors in industry. If you see yourself building or designing it can be a rewarding thing to do.
One thing I wish I would have done before college is had some hands-on "engineering" experience - a summer program like the one Farmmom suggests sounds like it would be very useful for someone in your position.
|By Farmmom (Farmmom) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 09:02 pm: Edit|
I agree that an engineering major won't help you into med school if you don't do well in it. But it is impressive if you can show that you can do well in a major which is that tough.
In my experience with GCs, I have been told that one should NOT pick a school based on your major since such a high percentage of people change their majors (not to mention the number of people who end up in careers outside their major!). You are suppose to pick your school based on if you want a small population or a big one, a rural area or urban, highly diverse or not, etc. Remember, you have to LIVE there for what may well be the best 4 years of your life! It's not just about job training! Find a school where you think you will be able to grow and discover your passions.
If none of those other factors matter to you, pick a school with a large variety of majors so you can take classes in a variety of areas and so that you change your mind about your major. The University of Michigan has excellent programs in many different areas as well as a top engineering program. For that reason it could be a good choice for you. However, if you are not use to a large public system, don't forget to look at the small liberal arts colleges where you can get a lot of individual attention and have plenty of opportunities for intellectual exploration.
|By Thedilettante (Thedilettante) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit|
why are people saying that engineering is the biggest GPA killer in college? i thought pre-med was the GPA killer in college. if i go into engineering, how many hours of sleep/free/work would i have in a college like UMAnn Arbor
|By Calkidd (Calkidd) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 08:04 pm: Edit|
Check the "Engineering the Truth" threads in "College Life." A safe estimate is 10 hours per week per class , unless it is a lab course. The difference between engineering and most other subjects is the massive load of required hwk in engineering (and in some classes, that hwk is half your grade) - even if you're so smart that you never have to study to ace a test, you'll still have to put in a significant amount of time each week to survive (i.e., get a C).
Maybe because engineering is one of the very few fields where one can get a job right out of college (and thus, grad school isn't a requirement the way it is for so many fields), engineering proffs, especially at public schools (UM, UCB, UCLA, UNC included), have no qualms about giving Cs and Ds. Another issue is that when you take courses (which are usually curved to some extent) and are competing with non-engineers, you have people in the class who can devote 20+ hours a week to that one course - say Ochem. As an engineer, you'd be hard pressed to put that much time into one class while still keeping up with the assignments in your other courses.
With an outside job at UM, I'm guessing you would have a hard enough time getting Cs and Bs that you might decide that it's not worth killing yourself to be a premed engineer. If you do opt to go that route, I'd recommend summer school for at least one year (take Ochem or intro bio when you can focus on just that class) and APing out of as many courses as possible.
I do agree that Med schools are impressed by high engineering GPAs. The problem is that the return is significantly outweighed by the risk. Yeah, a 3.7 engineer looks great compared to a 3.7 biology major, but a 3.1 engineer probably won't even get past the AMCAS application.
|By Takiusproteus (Takiusproteus) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:28 pm: Edit|
If you want to go to Med/Law school...
1) Forget engineering
2) Live through pure hell
-Abridged Edition of 'Engineering the Truth I, II, III'
Oh, btw, engineers are also valued in financial fields for their great (like, seriously great) analytical skills. $$$.
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