Seeking Advice from Engineers (Preferably in Industry)

<p>I really can't believe I am making this thread, but I really can't do this on my own anymore. Basically, I really just want advice on what I should do considering my major in engineering and I have found some really helpful hints just by browsing around (and occasionally posting my own advice). </p>

<p>I've been pretty confused for a long time. I went to a magnet high school specializing in engineering since I had always enjoyed building things. I started out wanting to be a civil engineer, and then changed around to computer engineering, finding that each wasn’t a good fit for me. Several engineering classes and rigorous class loads I really struggled with understanding some of my engineering courses that I nearly gave up on engineering.</p>

<p>In college, I decided to try give engineering another try (I can’t really see myself doing anything else) and chose to go into biomedical engineering as my major, since I really felt that I enjoyed looking at biology and that I was good at it and could use it with my already developed engineering skills. After reading around, I don’t really think that the major is a good fit for me anymore. I don’t really know what I would do with a BS degree in BME. I know that you pretty much need a graduate level degree to work and even that would most likely be in research, where I would really like to work in industry.</p>

<p>Right now I am thinking of switching into either mechanical or electrical engineering. Knowing my weaknesses and problems I experienced in high school, neither option will be easy. I think I am weaker in mechanical engineering due to my prior experience, but electrical engineering is notoriously difficult as well. I know my brother really hated it. My college isn’t really well known in either (though I think its still top 50ish), though I picked my college since I felt it would help me mature as a person the best and not because it was a reputable engineering school.</p>

<p>At this point I’m not sure what I should do. I really want to do something I love and a job that I can be proud of and excited to start (if a job like that even exists). I realize that an engineering degree can have many prospects outside of engineering, so obtaining one would be a benefit anyways for an employer looking for a person with a quantitative background. But as of my major now, I really don’t know what to do… My father is pushing me into electrical engineering as he did my older brother, who had no interest and ended up doing poorly in school. </p>

<p>I want to obtain a graduate degree anyways from a better known engineering school, then after a while in industry maybe try for my MBA. I have used this summer to reorganize my thoughts and see if I can decide what the best move for me to make, but nothing seems to be working and my parents want me to go back to school and change majors right away. I've been doing this for five years and I just want to know what to do to reach for my dreams... Any help is appreciated.</p>

<p>i'm a first year at a cc top university, and i have similar worries as you. i don't see a future in bme, mech e or comp e. however, i was somewhat of a star at chemistry in high school and enjoyed math so i've decided to go into chem e. do you like chemistry? you should consider this field. environmental and industrial engineering are also very marketable degrees.</p>

<p>@charlieharper</p>

<p>no diss, he didnt ask first years. Plus his situation isnt that simple</p>

<p>@TheMan77</p>

<p>Yeah I know you didnt ask me since im not in the industry (plus I think that im going to be in this situation very soon), but I would pose a question: Which engineering can you see yourself getting through with little pain as possible? Though you may hate it, you said it yourself that at least having an engineering degree opens you up to more opportunities. I would say just go with the one you can at least get through or you have a little "passion" for.</p>

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i'm a first year at a cc top university, and i have similar worries as you. i don't see a future in bme, mech e or comp e. however, i was somewhat of a star at chemistry in high school and enjoyed math so i've decided to go into chem e. do you like chemistry? you should consider this field. environmental and industrial engineering are also very marketable degrees.

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<p>Unfortunately, those options are out of my consideration as my school does not offer Chemical, Environmental, and Industrial Engineering, which is one reason that I may transfer. I personally wouldn't do Chemical Engineering because I am not really great at chemistry. I considered industrial engineering, but my father just views that degree as a useless degree - I heavily disagree, but it is my parents who are funding my undergraduate degree, I will have to compromise as much as possible. That and the fact that my school doesn't offer it... If I did, then my situation would become far more complex with transferring schools.</p>

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[QUOTE]
Yeah I know you didnt ask me since im not in the industry (plus I think that im going to be in this situation very soon), but I would pose a question: Which engineering can you see yourself getting through with little pain as possible? Though you may hate it, you said it yourself that at least having an engineering degree opens you up to more opportunities. I would say just go with the one you can at least get through or you have a little "passion" for.

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<p>No by far I don't hate engineering. I really like the idea of doing it. Since I was a kid, building things has been something I really loved, its the only reason I am doing this. If you simply asked me to be a physicist or a biologist I wouldn't consider it. But using those skills to make something incredible? I'm all over it. I like the idea that all of the numbers and all of the concepts are actually applied to something. </p>

<p>But what really confuses me is what I should be doing. It has become such a delicate situation, unlike high school, that I am using thousands of my parents hard earned money to fund an education that I don't even know what the end result will be...</p>

<p>I wouldn't base your decision on your HS experiences. You'll be two or three years more mature by the time you're taking classes particular to your major. Getting through the first two years was toughest for me. Once I got into my major classes I saw a lot more relevance, spent more time with the same kids, got to know the profs; all-in-all a much better experience.</p>

<p>Of course, that was 30+ years ago. so it could just be less able memory... :)</p>

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<p>charlieharper, what exactly does it matter if you go to a "CC Top University"? That doesn't change the fact that you are not the target audience of this question. He clearly wants someone who has lots of experience, not a first year student regardless of where they are from.</p>

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<p>The tools we use may have changed, but nothing else has in the past 30+ years. The first few years are still the toughest for most people.</p>

<p>Wow. Thanks osdad and boneh3ad. </p>

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If after doing that, you honestly don't know but still know you want engineering, do one of the main branches of engineering like mechanical or electrical. I didn't exactly know what I wanted to do besides just engineering when I was first in college, so I did mechanical, knowing that it was marketable in many industries and could be tailored specifically towards many different industries and job functions. The same is true of EE. With any luck, you will take classes and then start figuring out what you do and don't like, and that will make it easier. I know for myself, I still wasn't sure where I wanted to aim myself until late sophomore year, early junior year. It started with me just being extra-interested in fluid mechanics, and ended with me deciding to head the aerospace route and go on to grad school doing aerodynamics, but it took my a while to reach that conclusion. Not everyone is born knowing exactly what they want to do, so don't worry, you aren't alone.

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<p>Yes, I really feel that after spending so much time thinking about it, I am unsure of exactly what it is in engineering that I would prefer being in. My reasons for picking Electrical or Mechanical Engineering are exactly you reasons; both are broad degrees in engineering that could be used in combination with a graduate degree of a more specific engineering, which I am sure I want to pursue. But even at that level I am not sure which one to pick. </p>

<p>I used to think that Mechanical Engineers were very hands on (something I thought I would prefer) - but I asked a few of my brother's friends are in industry and they mostly do computer simulations, which I totally didn't expect. </p>

<p>I am not sure what Electrical Engineers exactly do, but my father is strongly pushing me towards this degree as he did my brother (as I mentioned before). He himself is an Operations Engineer with a background in Computer Engineering, so I ask him a lot of questions too, but I really needed a different perspective, so I came here. </p>

<p>I read a lot of threads on this sub-forum. I really thought that the first two years were supposed to be the easiest two years, where junior and senior years would deflate your grades. I really enjoy small class sizes. I always visit office hours often, but it is difficult to do in large lectures. This summer, I am taking summer courses (Differential Equations and Physics II) and with the completion of both (I have already finished Diff. Eq.) I will be pretty much complete with my general education in engineering - placing me into the smaller more major-related classes.</p>

<p>My plan was to use my two summer classes to see if I was interested in Electrical Engineering - as my father told me that they were related to what I should expect. I did well in Differential Equations and I understand E&M alright, though I do have some difficulty. At this point I might be leaning towards EE, but still I have my doubts...</p>

<p>When I go back, my BME curriculum asks that I start taking some mechanical engineering classes. I will be taking Thermodynamics (though biomedical engineering based) and Engineering Mechanics - both mechanical engineering courses. Would it be advisable for me to wait until I finish next semester to decide for sure after experiencing major related courses? I also have the opportunity to take Electric Circuit Theory and Nanotechnology - two Electrical Engineering related courses. I am currently only taking Nanotech... So that might give me some idea about EE?</p>

<p>In addition, if I wait, I can apply to the BS/MS program in BME at my school (which has a big name in the BME industry). I have my doubts whether or not I would be accepted (or if I could even apply at that point due to my GPA being below their application standard). Would this be a reasonable plan to wait another semester then – to get a feel for those two fields at the same time and give me an additional option in BME? My only worry is that I am wasting my own time and my parents money...</p>

<p>The first two years are the hardest in that you are taking classes you may not enjoy and you are still finding your way around and doing a lot of exploring. The last two years, while technically more difficult, are usually filled with more enjoyable classes, so while they may be tough, most people don't mind them as much. They already have their "sea legs" and can work through the difficult classes because they enjoy them. That is why the first two years are generally the toughest and the point where most people drop out.</p>

<p>There are lots of mechanical engineers who do work hands-on, you just have to find them. The fact is that many times the engineers do the designing and modeling and analysis and let the technicians do the hands-on work. That isn't always the case, but it is the most usual situation these days, and that goes for just about every engineering field. Of course, you could get plenty hands on doing research because it is, by definition, hands-on for many fields, but that requires graduate degrees. You may be better off just doing the undergrad stuff and specifically searching for a more hands-on position.</p>

<p>As for the thermodynamics and nanotech courses, I am not sure how much that will help you decide. For me, thermodynamics is really what started to push me towards where I am now. Nanotech, however, is very interdisciplinary, so I don't know how well it will give you a taste of EE.</p>

<p>I am not sure what else to say right now, and I am working so I can't keep going.</p>

<p>Hah, alright boneh3ad. I've thought about it for a little and I think I am just going to talk to my advisor at school (I am going two weeks early to get this stuff settled out). Though traditionally, I feel that the advisors at my school are way too politically correct and would rather offer sentimental BS and offer no real personal advice to what I am personally looking for, I might as well give it a shot and see if she has a list of professors who have industry experience that I could talk to about my situation... </p>

<p>My biggest worry right now is that the name of my college in the industry (or lack thereof) will play a factor in my employment when I graduate. I plan on trying for as many internships as I can (hopefully at GE) to make up for that, before I graduate. In the end, I really hope I can end up in industry at an entry level position and work my way up to a management position at a job that I really love (idealistic, I know, since almost every engineer has that in mind). I always enjoyed project management in high school, so maybe I should follow that...</p>

<p>Anyways, thanks for the advice for anyone who helped. I might not have a clear idea right now, but at least im not alone. Guess all I can do is try my best, prepare for the worst, and hope that everything works out.</p>

<p>Go for either the mechanical degree or the electrical degree. In my opinion it's better to stick with the traditional degrees...many different industries hire engineers. Choose the discipline you're most comfortable with. I hated electrical engineering because I found I couldn't visualize the concepts as easily. And don't worry about the school name. Engineers are in demand and it will not matter after your first job. Good luck! Yes, engineering is tough, but you're rewarded for the hard work.</p>