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What language should an engineer learn?

Emi2008Emi2008 Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
edited July 2008 in Engineering Majors
My mom keeps saying to take a language in college (going into bioengineering) but to be quite honest, I really don't want to. I already *despise* Spanish class, and even if I took a language in college I sure don't want to learn Spanish AGAIN.

Is being fluent in another language vital in the engineering world or can you get by without one (especially in bioengineering?)? And if I should learn another language, what language would be a good one to take??
Post edited by Emi2008 on
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Replies to: What language should an engineer learn?

  • ViviVivi Posts: 631Registered User Member
    Bioengineering? German or French =D
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,883Registered User Senior Member
    The downside to taking a language is that they are very time intensive courses. It may even take away from your ability to focus on other classes, so it can actually be hurtful. Most engineering schools don't have a foreign language requirement (I don't know of any personally).

    If you don't want to take another language course, then don't. You'll be plenty busy with everything else.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Posts: 6,598Registered User Senior Member
    I'd say C++ would probably be a pretty good language to learn. There's still a lot of people that use FORTRAN and PASCAL, too.
  • Emi2008Emi2008 Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    I have no idea what those even are RacinReaver, but I'm assuming it has to do with computers. I'm going more into the tissue engineering field. Not to say I'll never be seeing a computer again...
  • YOUYOU Posts: 621Registered User Member
    I believe you'll need to use the programs RR mentioned to model tissues? I dunno.. I'm just guessing that you'll need to use those programs..
  • mregomrego Posts: 1,038Registered User Senior Member
    Latin.

    But Java, Esperanto, AMSLAN, and Klingon might be good at parties.
    For writing, check out e-prime.
  • lowendnewbielowendnewbie Posts: 264Registered User Junior Member
    c++ or matlab. If you want to work in some parts of Canada, french would be helpful.
  • Emi2008Emi2008 Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    Ok, I mean actual spoken languages, not computer languages here... :P

    I was thinking of taking Japanese though, but I'm hesitant to because... well, its Japanese.
  • keeferkeefer Posts: 616- Member
    In mechanical engineering, German is extremely helpful. Even in other engineering fields, it's useful as well. Japanese, Chinese, and French are all good languages for an engineer.
  • jessiehljessiehl Posts: 3,328Registered User Senior Member
    Chinese is supposed to be good these days. If there's some non-English-speaking country that does a lot of work in your field, learning their language might be useful.

    Learning another language can, among other things, expand your possibilities for internships to an international scale.

    I highly recommend learning computer languages as well, but in addition to human languages, not as a substitute.
  • ViviVivi Posts: 631Registered User Member
    I would assume as an engineer, learning at least one computer language would be a given ;D
  • aibarraibarr Posts: 4,248Registered User Senior Member
    Ok, I mean actual spoken languages, not computer languages here...

    I know of several people who've made excellent cases towards having computer languages fulfill language requirements, so it's not as far-fetched as you might think!

    Learning a second language isn't critical. Most engineers I know don't speak a second language (unless it's English, and something else is their first language). Spanish is useful in my field. German or Latin might be vaguely useful. If you plan on studying or doing research abroad, might want to learn that language.

    I really don't think that there's a spoken language that'll give you a specific edge in tissue engineering, though. I wouldn't worry too much about it, if you don't enjoy learning languages.
  • phurikuphuriku Posts: 2,763Registered User Senior Member
    I was thinking of taking Japanese though, but I'm hesitant to because... well, its Japanese.

    Well, first of all, I don't know how Japanese would be beneficial to you as an engineer. It may be the most interesting to learn, as it is to many, but I would imagine that it's not exactly the most useful language.

    Also, Japanese is almost definitely the most difficult popular modern language to learn (if you discount the pronunciation aspects of Chinese). I'm semi-fluent, and despite knowing and seeing hundreds of learners of Japanese, I've seen very few competent speakers who didn't already have a Japanese background. Moreover, these few competent speakers were at national essay contests, which tells me that that are really only a few such speakers in the U.S. Japanese takes a lot of time and effort, so if you do decide to learn Japanese, beware. Also, Japanese has a lot of unnatural/illogical grammatical aspects, so you won't actually be able to learn some of the material on your own -- this requires lots of time around Japanese speakers to get used to.
  • laxfanlaxfan Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Chinese (I guess Mandarin, specifically, is the predominant dialect) without a doubt. Read a book like "China, Inc." (ISBN: 9780743257350) if you need convincing that most business will be done with that country in the next 20 years.
  • rixtehstixrixtehstix Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    Portogusese ore spanish would not be bad at all.
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