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READ BEFORE POSTING! The (Engineering + FAQ) = Thread

EnginoxEnginox Posts: 828Registered User Member
edited November 2013 in Engineering Majors
The purpose of this thread is to serve as a general guide for individuals interested in Engineering. Here, you will find general information and common answers that will assist you during your initial steps towards a career in Engineering. The information contained within this thread is not meant to be definitive; it is highly recommended that you invest time searching these forums, as well as other authoritative sources, for answers to specific questions you may have. Always consult with your college advisors and professors if you have any doubts or concerns.

If you have invested considerable time searching for, and are still unable to obtain specific answers to your specific questions, feel free to post said questions within this thread or elsewhere in the Engineering Subforums. Current Engineering majors and graduates, please feel free to share your experiences with the rest of us. Please check back often as the information contained within will be updated periodically.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Engineering?

Engineering is the discipline, art and profession of acquiring and applying technical, scientific, and mathematical knowledge to design and implement materials, structures, machines, devices, systems, and processes that safely realize a desired objective or invention. (Wikipedia)

Should/Can I become an engineer?

If you are a responsible individual, are mathematically inclined/prepared, and applying the laws of nature to design, invent, or build useful things fascinates you... yes! You can/should become an engineer.

What kind of preparation should prospective engineers have?

Before enrolling in an Engineering program, prospective individuals should be proficient in Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. Additionally, solid knowledge of basic, elementary science is beneficial. Calculus knowledge is a plus but not necessary since your academic institution will teach you the higher level mathematics you need to know.

What is the hardest/easiest Engineering branch?

The answer to this question will vary from person to person. It is safe to say the difficulty of any Engineering branch will be affected by your level of academic preparation, the level of preference towards a specific Engineering branch, your academic institution, your professors, your attitude, and many other factors too numerous to be listed here. Choose your major based on your interests; if you find <ABC> Engineering interesting and you are well prepared, major in it.

What's the salary for <insert branch here> engineers?

Salary will be determined by many factors such as geographical region, level of demand for specific Engineering branches, supply of specific engineers, personal level of academic/professional preparation, employer, industry field, etc. Check salary charts from authoritative sources (government, universities, reputable organizations) to get a general idea of what kind of salary engineers by branch, by professional level, by industry, etc. have been offered recently. Word of advice: do not base your choice of Engineering primarily on salary levels; consider other factors as well (aptitude, level of interest, etc).

CE vs ME vs EE vs ChemE vs CompE vs CS vs NucE vs EnvE vs IndE vs Etcetera E?

Stop. All Engineering branches utilize the same fundamental laws of nature in some form or another. Many branches have from heavy to no overlap between them. None is better than the rest; choose according to what you like best. Questions of this nature will be Ice Creamed.

My school has this Engineering Technology program...

Here's a brief description of engineering technology programs. In sum, these programs require less calculus and more labs.

A BS in Engineering Technology (BSET) is a more hands-on and less theoretical course of study than is a BS in Engineering (BSE). These programs require less math than do BSE programs (typical BSET programs require two semesters of applied calculus, and may or may not require an applied version of differential equations). The physics required is non-calculus-based. These programs require more labs.

Graduates of these programs primarily get more hands-on jobs, such as test engineers, field engineers, applications engineers, manufacturing engineers or jobs in manufacturing management. They are far less likely to become design engineers.

There is some controversy about whether engineering technologists are engineers or not. Some call them engineering-lite programs. Two-thirds of the states will license them as PE's with a couple more years of work experience than a BSE grad needs, but a small number of states will not license them regardless of their number of years of experience.

If you choose a BSET program, bear in mind that you may be limiting your options somewhat, compared with the options a graduate of a BSE in Engineering program will have.

ABET or not?

Some Engineering branches do not require ABET accreditation. Check with your academic advisors to obtain authoritative knowledge. If anything, go ABET; it won't be a negative.

Seriously, dude... CE vs ME vs EE vs...

Ice Cream.


Authoritative Links (US):

Engineers
National Academy of Engineering (NAE) - Home
Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Healthcare

Engineering Organizations (US):

IEEE - The world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society Of Mechanical Engineers - ASME.ORG
The IEEE Computer Society
American Academy of Environmental Engineers
AIChE Home Page
IIE - The Global Association of Productivity and Efficiency Professionals
Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)
Tau Beta Pi - The Engineering Honor Society
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Home Page
Welcome to American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Institute of Biological Engineering - Institute of Biological Engineering
Society of American Military Engineers - The Society of American Military Engineers
BMES | Welcome to the Biomedical Engineering Society
American Nuclear Society
Association of Information Technology Professionals -- AITP
Post edited by Enginox on
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Replies to: READ BEFORE POSTING! The (Engineering + FAQ) = Thread

  • EnginoxEnginox Posts: 828Registered User Member
    Please point out any errors, mistakes, incorrect information, and other faults posted above. Also, feel free to recommend any improvements, questions, and information necessary to make this thread more comprehensive. Make suggestions and contribute! Thanks!
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Posts: 17,197Super Moderator Senior Member
    Another link, to the Architectural Engineering Institute of ASCE:

    AEI AEI
  • PurdueEEPurdueEE Posts: 705Registered User Member
    Questions about double majoring come up quite often.
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,882Registered User Senior Member
  • EngineerjwEngineerjw Posts: 1,136Registered User Senior Member
    I have a question: How much physics does an industrial/systems engineer use regularly?
  • GLOBALTRAVELERGLOBALTRAVELER Posts: 2,852Registered User Senior Member
    ABET does have a website and there are areas on course requirements of accredited curriculums. This area may help answer those questions about dual/double majors and what is needed to be admitted in a graduate program different from the undergraduate major.

    ABET
  • MagnetoMagneto Posts: 601Registered User Member
    dont forget "Is <Insert Class> relevant to <Insert Engineering>?"
  • GLOBALTRAVELERGLOBALTRAVELER Posts: 2,852Registered User Senior Member
    I have a question: How much physics does an industrial/systems engineer use regularly?

    When is comes to systems engineering, one of the tasks performed is a "needs analysis" which basically details the requirements of the desired product. This may lead to what is called a CONOP or "Concept of Operations". In order to provide good requirements analysis of a new desired product, a systems engineer needs to have some knowledge on science/technology of the product.

    Let's say the new product is an antenna system. Well that area certainly crosses into the certain areas of Physics. The systems engineer needs to know what is feasible and what is not feasible, so having some knowledge of AT LEAST the physics of antenna systems would help greatly.
  • EnginoxEnginox Posts: 828Registered User Member
    Additional FAQs

    Should I double-major in Engineering + <Random Major>?

    Double-majoring means you complete all the requirements for each major separately. If there is significant overlap between majors, you will graduate in less time (e.g. ME + Physics); if there is little or no overlap between majors, you may spend the next 6-8 years in undegrad (e.g. ME + Classical Studies). Double-majoring does not necessarily lead to a higher salary. If you wish to double-major, do it primarily for intellectual purposes, consider double-majoring in two areas with significant overlap, and/or consider dual-majoring to graduate within the normal 4 year undergrad schedule.

    Ok. So I should dual-major, right?

    Not so fast. Dual-majoring means you combine two areas of study within a single degree program. Normally, academic departments will lessen the degree requirements and/or require you to take courses that overlap between majors. A dual-major provides you with breadth of knowledge but the trade-off may be lack of depth in either/both fields (jack of all trades, master of none). Dual-majoring does not necessarily lead to a higher salary, however, in certain specific cases it may give you a boost during the hiring process (e.g. dual-majoring in EE + French may get you hired faster if the company does significant business in French-speaking regions). If you wish to dual-major, do it primarily for intellectual purposes, consider dual-majoring in areas that have a "balanced" level of overlap (e.g. ME + Economics = good; EE + CS = is called CompE, so.. pointless), or consider obtaining a minor.

    Alright! So Engineering + <Random Minor> will get me hired faster, no?

    Not necessarily. When you minor you are just completing a reduced version of a major. You would usually take, on average, 18 credits for a minor (depends on academic institution). A minor gives you basic knowledge within a field without going into much detail. A minor is a good way of acquiring a bit of extra knowledge in another field without compromising the depth of your major. A minor does not necessarily lead to a higher salary but in certain specific instances may provide a boost during the hiring process. If you wish to minor, do it primarily for intellectual purposes and/or consider minoring in a field that strengthens some of your weaknesses (e.g. CE + English, if your verbal skills are weak) or in a field that sharpens some of your strengths (e.g. ChemE + Math, if you wish to have killer math skills).

    What gives man?! How do I make myself more marketable to employers?

    That depends on you and employers. Employers will generally list the specific set of skills they are looking for to fill a position; you will rarely see a job ad asking for an individual with degrees in ME + EE + CE; you will rarely see a job ad looking for an individual with a NucE major and Economics minor. The list of requirements for the position will vary by industry field and by employer; different employers within the same industry may have different requirements for the exact position (e.g. Apple may want its EEs to have thermodynamics knowledge while MicroSoft may not have such requirement).

    On your side, your job is to convince the employer you are the best qualified candidate for the position. This may be having double-majors; perhaps a major + minor will do the trick; maybe having more specialized, in-depth knowledge of your field will work; having a very high GPA might be the key; it's even possible that convincing the employer means having a powerful social connection. You must know, at all times, what skills apply for a particular task and how to apply them; most importantly, if you lack a skill, learn how to obtain it.

    The idea is, if you want a job, you must obtain the knowledge/skills necessary to perform that job better than anyone else and convince the employer you can perform better than anyone else.

    You mentioned GPA. Is GPA important?

    Yes, but GPA is not the definitive factor that will allow you to obtain a job or go to graduate school. Employers will quickly get rid of an employee who had a very high GPA but can't apply said knowledge to the job; graduate schools may accept an individual with a low GPA but incredibly amazing research skills. Whatever the case, strive to maintain respectable numbers in all areas and try to maximize your strongest areas. If you see yourself faltering in one or more areas, seek advice and help immediately!

    Your goal during undergrad is to obtain the best education and preparation possible so you can head out and accomplish what you wish to accomplish. Best education and preparation are highly subjective, so whatever they mean to you, go out and do it.

    Got it! Now, about graduate school...

    Graduate school and industry may not be covered in-depth within this thread since the dynamics of those two are very different than undergrad. Not to mention, the thread is aimed at those pursuing a Bachelor's in Engineering and/or individuals with Bachelor degrees in unrelated fields who wish to initiate an Engineering career. Graduate school and/or industry may be covered elsewhere in the Engineering Subforums.

    What's the job outlook for <insert branch here> Engineering?

    Few people will give you a definitive answer. Job outlook will be affected by the overall economy, market supply/demands, new technologies, etc. Your best bet is to check statistics from government and other authoritative sources. Keep in mind that many of your Engineering skills are transferable to other fields. Simply stay sharp, knowledgeable, flexible, and you should be fine.

    What's it really like to be a <insert branch here> Engineer?

    Follow these links for reports From the Trenches: My Job as a _xxx_ Engineer

    At the moment, we are just building this segment. Please add your own real life job profile at the end of this FAQ thread, and the Moderator will link it here.

    Construction Engineer

    Is <Insert Class> relevant to <Insert Engineering>?

    Honestly, who knows? I'm positive knowing about the Peloponnessian Wars is extremely important for some engineer out there. If you absolutely, positively must take a particular class, someone will most likely let you know. Always ask your advisors/professors In any case, if it sounds interesting, take the class; you might meet your future husband/wife there.

    One last thing, dude. Will I have a social life if I major in Engineering? Will I be able to find my (soul)mate?

    If you mean getting drunk every weekend and waking up next to a goat, probably not. But you will definitely get to hang out with your friends from time to time, nothing too crazy though.

    On the romantic side, the best advice is to approach that lovely gal/great looking guy and say "hello."

    Additional Authoritative Links

    ABET (Thanks GLOBALTRAVELER)

    Additional Engineering Organizations (US)

    Home-The Society of Women Engineers (Thanks Maine Longhorn)
    AEI AEI (Thanks Maine Longhorn)
    NSBE | Home (Thanks Ken285)
    Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Inc. :: Welcome (Thanks Ken285)

    Wikipedia References:

    Engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Mechanical engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Electrical engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Computer engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Civil engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Chemical engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Aerospace engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Biomedical engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Petroleum engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Environmental engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Nuclear engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Software engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Materials science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Architectural engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Industrial engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mining engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Computer science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Marine engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Automotive engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Systems engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Engineering physics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Agricultural engineering - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • MagnetoMagneto Posts: 601Registered User Member
    very personal guide. I wish I had this a freshman.

    I would add this to my suggestion "If im stuggling in <Insert Class> should I still be an Engineer?"

    should also add, "When do I know when to call it quits on engineering?"
  • GlennyGlenny Posts: 300Registered User Junior Member
    The questions of Business, b-schools, med school, law school and other paths that deviate from engineering (post-undergraduate engineering) also come up.

    Eg. What if i want to go into Business after engineering?
  • ken285ken285 Posts: 3,882Registered User Senior Member
    Re: ABET or not

    ABET accredited programs are essentially required for those who wish to pursue professional licensure in engineering (there may be a few exceptions depending on state laws). Professional licensure is typically beneficial for those who work in industries that affect public safety/infrastructure. Examples include structures and buildings design, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing design for buildings. Engineering a car or an MP3 player does not require licensure.
  • BrandoIsCoolBrandoIsCool Posts: 799Registered User Member
    I know many people have probably wondered this, including myself.

    What is considered a good GPA in engineering?

    If you wanna go to grad or professional school afterwards/get a job?

    What would be better? Lab research, or internship at a company?
  • AndaleAndale Posts: 7,304Super Moderator Senior Member
    Additional FAQs
    I know many people have probably wondered this, including myself.

    What is considered a good GPA in engineering?

    If you wanna go to grad or professional school afterwards/get a job?

    There is probably no definitive answer to this. Certainly the common wisdom is that, for many if not all Engineering majors, high GPAs are harder to achieve than in a variety of other majors. At some universities, the GPA required to maintain academic scholarships, or honors standing, or Dean's List, is lower for Engineering than for other majors.

    I think many people believe that a student in a tough Engineering program who can maintain >= 3.0 is doing well, >=3.25 is doing very well, and >=3.5 is stellar.

    From personal (limited) experience, I saw Engineering majors in the 3.4 range receive multiple job offers in the last two years' very tough economic environment.

    What would be better? Lab research, or internship at a company?

    Not clear that either is better. Both are good. If you have the choice, you might consider discussing the options with your advisor based on your own particular career plans. Other valuable resources for discussing your options - an informational interview with someone currently employed in the industry/job function you are targeting. Or an informational interview with a graduate student in your planned field for further study or a professor in that field.
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