Working with your hands

<p>Which engineering field involves alot of working with your hands? Like assembly, taking things apart, constructing? Trying to narrow down my field here...</p>

<p>I'd have to say Mechanical Engineering and perhaps Civil Engineering.</p>

<p>I'm not too sure I have ever seen a Chemical Engineer take a wrench or hammer to a molecule...</p>

<p>Yeah, have to be mechanical engineering and civil engineering. A lot of ground work will be involved.</p>

<p>cool, I originally declared Mechanical Engineering and just wanted to make sure</p>

<p>Don't be discouraged at first though. You generally have to take many basic classes before you get to design anything "fun". Perhaps the latter part of your 2nd yr or first part of your 3rd yr. Although many engineering programs are trying to raise their retention rate (people quick early because they don't think it's fun) by incorporating fun hands-on projects early on, so your mileage may vary.</p>

<p>Wait, engineers build stuff? News to me.</p>

<p>Definitely mechanical and civil. In my junior year as a civil engineering major, we built 6 ft long steel bridges for our structural analysis course.</p>

<p>I have a photo of me shoveling gravel my sophomore year as a civ.</p>

<p>I definitely have done my share of building things so far in my engineering career. At school, I've built more things in EE than I have civil. But out in the field, I've definitely built more things related to civil engineering than I have electrical engineering, although I do hope to build more things related to EE later on once I get this senior design project I start Tuesday to help me out. It depends on the subfield you get into within a discipline. For example, in EE, if you get into electronics, there would be a lot more of working with your hands than if you dealt with power systems, for example. In civil engineering, engineers typically don't build the designs they come up with; at least, where I come from, they don't. But the owners of the company I worked for insisted that I do some hands-on construction, so I did, and became familiar with other things not taught in a classroom.</p>

<p>Check out the disciplines and pick out which one you like best, that's all I can say.</p>

<p>In civil, if you're a structural, you don't do a whole lot of hands-on, so much as eyes-on. In my line of work, which is primarily failure analysis, design of remedial measures, and some design of new construction, I have to keep an orange traffic vest and hard hat in my backseat. Because of legal issues and culpability issues, I obviously don't do a lot of the welding or tying of rebar or shotcreting, but I have to know how it's properly done, and when it's being done, I have reason to go out to the field a lot and "observe" (I'm not QC... that's the GC's job, not mine, and in observing, I neither condone nor condemn any of the contractor's practices or actions...), which is fun, and so long as I get to wear jeans and boots to work and get to go outside on a fairly regular basis (but still have a lovely office with A/C, an expansive drafting table, and a great view of the foothills), I'm happy as a clam.</p>

<p>It's a good life. I certainly enjoy it.</p>

<p>Right. There's less hands on work in civil after college than during college. The most you'd probably do is to perform various tests to ascertain the quality of the construction, and that's really only if you work for the government (state DOT's for example) or general contractors (GC). If you're part of the design team, there's really not much to do in the field as aibarr said. I used to work for the New York State DOT and we were responsible for conducting slump tests and air content tests for concrete pours for example. I have a friend who works for a construction manager and he does pretty much the same things. </p>

<p>If you want to personally take things apart and build things, I'm guessing mechanical would be best. Prototypes would probably be built by the engineer, no? If you want to just be around construction, like I do, civil is the way to go if you concentrate in construction.</p>

<p>Yeah, this is one of the allures of engineering the idea that you get to work with your hands and build stuff and create stuff but it seems like the most building you'll get to do is in college. I guess most engineers, myself included, got into the field thinking we'd get to play with legos for the rest of our lives. This is not true, you may get to play with legos for a little bit but most of you work will be concerned with how to put those legos most effectively together, how to do it in the shortest and most efficient time or how to put those legos together in a novel way -- but on paper. I mean, even EEs use autocad and rarely if ever at all touch a soldiering iron. </p>

<p>Engineering is not only as math and brain intensive as any science but often even more so (we, unlike lucky physics majors, live in a real world, with friction and imperfect shapes and stuff ;) </p>

<p>I guess we can always play with our legos on the weekends and be happy.</p>