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...
Authoritative Links (US):
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