Is engineering getting too popular?

<p>Seems like every other poster is considering engineering or asking about engineering programs. Some schools even have separate tours for prospective engineering students. I know various articles rank engineering among the top occupations, so it seems like everyone is "following the money". Is it just me, or is engineering becoming the "trendy" major?</p>

<p>^ It could be the case at the outset of the college journey. Many of the students will drop out of engineering by the end of the second year. That number can be very high at some schools. I don't think we, as a country, produce enough engineers. Look at all those contractors coming from India.</p>

<p>It's not 'too popular'. In many areas of engineering/CS this country isn't producing enough grads. There's a reason the starting pay is higher than many other majors - those employers aren't simply acting philanthropically. Take a look at the number of students majoring in engineering vs the humanities and the likelihood of the grad getting a decent paying job and multiple offers and consider which area might be considered 'too popular' if that phrase even makes sense.</p>

<p>Engineering isn't a 'trendy major, since it's at the core of so much around us. Look around you and almost everything you see, touch, and use was 'engineered'.</p>

<p>Don't assume that all engineering students are simply 'following the money' - there are actually people who find it interesting.</p>

<p>Engineering is a very difficult major. Many students start out as engineering majors but do not stick with it. It's too tough for "trendy!"</p>

<p>It certainly seems like everyone wants to do engineering, but most people don't realize how theoretical it can be and how math intensive it is. There are a lot of transfer programs set up as well. In particular, at my school, we are one of the universities that is offered a 2-2 year program with GaTech, amongst about 10 other schools. There are a LOT of engineering students who want to transfer and get their engineering degrees. However, it was mentioned in one seminar at orientation that about 1/4th of the engineering majors drop out solely because they failed calculus.</p>

<p>I agree with the other posters, it's a bit too difficult to be trendy, but in some way it's trendy like going to medical school is 'trendy'. Everyone WANTS to do it, but how many really end up doing it?</p>

<p>It actually declined as a popular major following the dot com bust and is slowly comming back. I think it's the demographics on this site that make it appear so popular. </p>

<p>While starting salaries are high, there is not big money for most engineers when you look out a decade, certainly the opportunity for entrepreneurs, but a very middle class lifestyle for most in places like Silicon Valley where many of the jobs are concentrated.</p>

<p>"Don't assume that all engineering students are simply 'following the money' - there are actually people who find it interesting."</p>

<p>Actually, based on the people I've met, this is a rather underwhelming portion of engineering students... More often people are just following the money. But maybe the people I've met isn't a great sample. </p>

<p>Trendy implies that people want to do it because it's popular. Following the money is a logical choice.</p>

<p>Our oldest graduated with a degree in engineering and the youngest is a rising sophomore in engineering. Job prospects at graduation were not the primary consideration in making their decisions. At the same time, neither are the stereo-typical engineering types. My father, who worked as an aeronautical engineer, was somebody who lived and breathed design work. I can't see either of my boys being capable of that level of creative problem solving.</p>

<p>Our oldest thought applying to the college of engineering increased his chance of acceptance to his state flagship (and it probably did given his particular stats). He would have majored in business at his safety school. In addition to getting his degree in engineering, he developed proficiency in two foreign languages. He has strong people skills and found a job with an engineering consulting firm overseas. He provides an interface between the technical types at his firm's headquarters and the client, does a lot of writing, and loves his job. It does NOT pay a lot (although the lifestyle is lavish), so he would have been sunk if he had any student loans. </p>

<p>For the youngest, engineering gave him in-state tuition at the out of state public he wanted to attend. A different school choice also would have resulted in a different choice of major. His study habits in high school were not as well developed as those of his brother, but he has stepped it up in college. He loves most of his classes and has given no thought to wanting to change majors out of engineering.</p>

<p>Neither has had the awful experiences described by many engineering majors, probably because neither went/goes to an engineering power house school. Both might have dropped out of engineering at such a school and that would have been a shame. Engineering develops a good work ethic, good quantitative skills, and teaches students to think creatively. For kids with a quantitative interest, it seems like a good major, regardless of job outcome.</p>

<p>It's funny, there were no engineering majors decades ago. My Dad was an engineer and he was a physics major in the 1950's and went back to school in the 1970's for comp sci. When did engineering start as a major?</p>

<p>Engineering programs have been around a long time, 4-yr degree programs began in the late 1800s - just check out the histories and timelines that are available on many college websites - from Purdue:</p>

<p>
[quote]
1874 Engineering's Beginning
University President Shortridge announces in a November 1 report the beginning of four-year courses for civil and mechanical engineering to start in the spring semester of 1875.

[/quote]
</p>

<p><a href="https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/AboutUs/History/%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://engineering.purdue.edu/Engr/AboutUs/History/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>What has changed more recently are ABET accreditation and licensing requirements; in the past, it was probably easier to work as an engineer in many disciplines without actually having a degree.</p>

<p>I'm always amazed that students say they want an engineering major, without being able to specify a discipline. In that sense, engineering can seem like a trendy major, since the majority of hs students probably have no idea what engineering really involves or what type of engineer they think they will be.</p>

<p>No one says they intend to major in "science" in college.</p>

<p>My son has been conducting SAT prep math classes this summer. Some of the students say that they want engineering or medicine. These are students with an SAT math score of 500 or under. It will be a major stretch for those students to meet their academic goals, because many will need to repeat high school math classes in college just to get into the calculus classes that they will need for engineering or medicine.</p>

<p>There is always a shortage of engineers. It is not money, better security, especially if one is able to re-locate. However, good number of engineering majors will fall out because engineering major needs combo of great math backgound / great work habits. Some will not be willing to work that hard, although lack of math could be easily corrected thru tutoring.</p>

<p>My father majored in engineering in the 1920s. </p>

<p>I agree that the math SAT should be at least a 650, and ideally above a 700 as an indication of likely success with engineering classes.</p>

<p>I can see a kid saying "engineering" without a definite preference for a particular discipline. For my kids, engineering meant a major that would include more problem sets than research papers in terms of homework. They would rather do three hours of calculus homework than one hour of reading a history text. While some people have a creative gift for engineering, I don't think those are the only students who can succeeed in engineering. It is a reasonable generic major, in my opinion, for a student with an interest and aptitude for quantitative challenges.</p>

<p>Well like other people I know a lot of people who started out in engineering but dropped out after the first year. Engineering has a high entry salary but not much growth in salary afterwards. I'm not majoring in civil engineering because I want to get a decent salary, I'm majoring in it because I'm interested in it, feel that it's a good way to apply my math and science knowledge without being a research scientist and there's a need for civil engineers in the US since our infrastructure is in bad need of repair. People probably will study engineering for the money but unless you are interested in money and have an interest in the subject, you won't survive in engineering.</p>

<p>As a warning - love for math will not be enough. Fascination with technical things will be a great plus. I always loved math, hated engineering, went to a different field after 11 years of working in engineering, just never liked it. I am very happy with my decision to change. I was lacking in interest how things work technically, I did not care one way or another. Yes, you will have a job, but to be happy with it is another story.</p>

<p>The economy and job outlooks for other fields may well be driving some kids into engineering that did not start out that way. Two of my son's friends switched their majors to engineering from math and physics, in response to the job market.</p>

<p>Engineering jobs have been very cyclical with an oversupply of grads during every cycle. Then enrollment drops off and the cycle repeats.</p>

<p>In my area, many kids who do well in high school math are being told Engineering is the major they should choose (by teachers, counselors). However, that is all they are told. There are so many types of Engineers, but so little information for high school kids to get a comprehensive understanding of the differences. </p>

<p>If anyone knows of a good resource to describe the different types (not just college courses, but actually what the jobs entail), I'd appreciate learning it!</p>

<p>I think that medical schools are way too popular. Would not say the same about engineering.</p>