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hey engineers

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Bardolph, Apr 23, 2006.


  1. Bardolph

    Bardolph

    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    What kind of engineering are you in and what do you do? I've been out of high school for a year, at first not really knowing what I wanted to do, and have since decided on going to school for mechanical engineering and I'm very excited about it. Just curious to see who here is an engineer or an engineering student and what you have to say about what you do.
     
  2. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I'm interested in this as well, so... bump.
     
  3. I can't say much as I'm very far from being an engineer, but my big sister is a civil engineer and her husband is a mechanical engineer.

    Get this.

    He works for a company that designs/builds parts for racing boats. One time, for WORK, he sailed to the Bahamas for two weeks. For WORK. And his company has sent him many times to France to work with their office there... but there's plenty of time to just go sight-seeing.

    Granted he works his butt off, but those perks ain't too shabby :D
     
  4. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I was studying to be a engineer, but came to think that most of engineering falls into category "nice but not that essential", and that I don't want to be doing something I find only momentarily rewarding for the rest of my life.

    Since that thought, I've changed my studies towards natural sciences, hoping to make some actual discoveries somewhere along the road.
     
  5. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I'm currently studying Chemical Engineering.

    I find that there are nothing but prospects for engineers to find a career in North America. You will never find yourself out of demand in your lifetime, and that's a comforting thought.

    Personally, I have interest in persuing higher studies and a career in the Biotech industry, and I feel that my engineeering training will best prepare me for the path I wish to take.

    I wish you the best of luck in your studies.
     
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    While I am in the natural sciences myself, I have ask you to clarify "nice but not that essential". Do you mean that engineering itself is not essential or that the course work was not essential to being an engineer? Certainly engineering does research and makes discoveries. Obviously the area of this research/development is going to be in slightly different areas than natural sciences (but not always).

    In some cases I'd argue that some of the natural sciences are "nice but not that essential". For instance one of my friends is doing his PhD thesis on some obscure facet of string theory. When talking with him about it he's the first to admit that he can't see any possible application for what he's doing. My buddy doing a Master's in Engineering Physics has a large application for the plasma ion implantation technique he's researching in silicon photonics.
     
  7. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I agree that scientists are men of science, not of application, and there's the need for people who take the latest inventions and turn them into practical machines.

    However, I do claim that "most" engineers do mundane work with everyday stuff - for example telecom, computers, electricity, civil, transportation.. The group of engineers working hand in hand with scientists, pushing the edges, for example in cold fusion, is a whole different breed.

    I personally chose to dabble with sciences because even if you do want to build some fantastic machine, you need to know your science. I have to admit, though, what first got me into engineering was the thing that I do love to work on practical things, so I yet might step into the world of R&D at some point. However, I tend to be a bit of an idealist at times, so first I want to be sure my life is spent on a field that possibly benefits the whole mankind, and I feel that studying sciences helps in that.
     
  8. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I am not an engineer, but I plan on going into electrical engineering. Mechanical sounds cool from that earlier post.
     
  9. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I would argue that most scientists that aren't holding PhDs are also doing the same mundane work.

    The ones pushing the edges in "cold" fusion are probably cooks like the scientists that they're working with ;).

    IME, most engineering programs demand a lot of science from their students. In our Physics and Engineering Physics department we have students from several of the engineering departments taking required physics courses. This highly depends on the type of engineering though.

    I'll admit that engineering is much more application oriented. Applied science is what I would call it.
     
  10. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    As a former engineering student, I do know that a good foundation in sciences is required :)

    The point is, what kind of use are you going to put the education - I think that if you pick something like electrical engineering, telecom or machinery, you are quite likely going to be using your time with quite traditional commercial projects, having a slim chance of seeing anything "radical". Of course, with something like Engineering Physics, it's a bit different.

    I brought this up just because I think it's good to think what you do with your education. Sailing around the Caribbean to try out some boat parts sounds like a nice job, but not very visionary. Or, perhaps it does, depending on the vision :cool:
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You made a great decision to go into engineering. Stick with it. Once you graduate, you'll never be without a job. And after you've been at it for a few years, you'll be able to afford a gear list like Tom Bowlus's.

    I'm licensed as a civil engineer and geotechnical engineer (a discipline within civil, like structural, only dealing with dirt as a construction material). I also have licenses in geology and engineering geology.

    I spend a lot of time in classrooms encouraging students to pursue careers in engineering. The U.S. will graduate about 59,000 engineers this year. China will graduate 300,000. You do the math on how that's going to affect our economy.
     
  12. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i'm an electronic engineering student. its an absolute ballbreaker of a course, but i think its great. i enjoy the satisfaction i get when the circuits we build in the labs work after much debugging.

    its all a matter of preference, but i will be majoring in telecoms. that will mean that i will hopefully be in demand for the rest of my life, because the world of communications is only getting bigger.
     
  13. Headroom

    Headroom

    Apr 5, 2002

    ...unless you specialize in a disipline with fluctuating demand, such as aerospace or nuclear engineering. A mechanical or civil degree will provide a wider range of opportunities, but of course you must do what you love.
     
  14. fookgub

    fookgub

    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I graduated as a EE. I'm currently working as a research engineer on some experimental sonar stuff. To me, it's very interesting work, but most of what I do is signal processing. That means I spend about 90% of my time programming in either matlab or C++. It's challenging and fulfilling, but my first love was/is circuit design, and I'm really hoping to get a transceiver design gig pretty soon. The place where I work is very project oriented, so it's a definite possibility. In the mean time, I'm returning to school in the fall to get a MSE in acoustics.

    My only advice is this: If you really love engineering, get a master's degree. IMO, it's very difficult to get a design job without one.
     
  15. flatwoundfender

    flatwoundfender

    Feb 24, 2005
    I'm a freshman EE major and I like my EE courses, but I don't care to much for all the math and physics I have to take along side it. While some of it pretains to my major, I noticed when getting help from friends that no one remembers half of their previous calculus class. So you have to take a lot of classes that will have you wondering, why am I doing this, but you also take some cool EE classes.
     
  16. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I'm going to study to be a sound engineer next year? =P

    I also wanted to be a mechanical engineer for a LONG time. I always loved how they can make almost impossible seeming things work.. However, I also realised that 99% of the work (after doing work experience etc) is pretty boring, simple stuff.. And those select few who are doing really exciting things are pretty lucky..

    If you do it, stick to your guns and go 110%.
     
  17. I'm an Engineer of Funk. Er, and software. My degree is Aerospace though.

    - Dave
     
  18. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I think this is the real beauty of an engineering degree. My dad graduated with a Masters in Agricultural Engineering back in the day and has since spent most of his working life with the Africa department of an aid agency. That means he spent a number of years working and teaching in Africa (where both my brother and I were born) and after that around 9 years as an administrator coordinating others working in Africa. He'll be the first to tell you that while he didn't use much of his engineering education straight up, he has used the many and various problem solving skills pretty much every day.

    When it came time for me to make the school decision I went straight into engineering. Instead of focusing on agriculture like my father (who grew up on a farm) I went for Engineering Physics. I'm now working for the Government of Canada with the Geomagnetic Laboratory. That means I get to design, test, and implement bits of technology to solve specific problems or add specific functionality to our geomagnetic observatory network. As a recent grad I certianly don't feel that I'll be doing this for the rest of my life, but I'm very comfortable with the fact that the important things I learned in school (problem solving, how to work with time restraints, etc) will serve me well no matter what I end up doing.

    The big thing to understand while you're in school is that they're not teaching you how to do your job, they're teaching you how to learn to do your job. In the end you can do just about anything you want, and an engineering background will always help out.

    Plus people generally like to hire engineers. They think we're smart, eh?

    -Nate
     
  19. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    I'm currently studying materials engineeting. We get to work a lot with... materials. I just enjoy seeing the differences and varieties of the stuff that's out there.

    I'll have to decide next year what to specialize in. There are 4 or 5 concentrations that are available at my school, there's metallurgy, plastics, solid physics, analysis and design, and biomaterials. I still haven't decide which way to go.

    Also, I think the real good thing about engineering is, other than the salaries, is that there's always more stuff to learn, and it opens up a lot of doors and offers lots of opportunities. A couple of my buddies have been going off on work terms in Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, you name it.
     
  20. Software engineering...but I guess that doesn't count. Ya know what they say "Software engineering is to engineering what plumbing is to fluid dynamics" :)
     

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