Chemical or Electrical Engineer?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by undies1993, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I am currently trying to decide if I should major in chemical or electrical engineering. Or both?
    Right now my major is ChE, but I am working in an EE research lab. Also, I haven't started any major classes that would be different in the two so changing wouldn't hurt me.
    What are the job/pay potentials? Are either of the fields approaching their limit?

    I bring this question to here, well because I think some of you probably think like me and could be of assistance.

    Thanks
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    leftywamumonkey

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    #2
    Since you mentioned job and salary outlook, this might help. It's a nice resource to use.
     
  3. macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #3
    Most EE's I know ended up as programmers who don't seem to compete quite as well as those with CS degrees.

    do you think your interest in EE will hold such that this won't happen to you? If not I'd go with chemical engineering.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Thank you for the source.

    If I go for EE, my school does offer a minor in CS.

    Ideally, I think I would enjoy doing research more than anything else. I think my interest in research will keep that form happening to me, but who knows?
     
  5. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #5

    If you're wanting to do research and you're solely concerned about pay, you're already barking up the wrong tree.
     
  6. Guest

    eric/

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    #6
    Don't worry about pay. Worry about what you're going to enjoy doing.
     
  7. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #7
    This can not be stressed enough.

    Either can be a lucrative and rewarding career or one you grow to loathe. (I took the EE route, post-graduate).
     
  8. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #8
    Precisely.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I wasn't worried about pay, but it is always something to consider.

    I never said I was solely concerned about pay.

    ----------

    Are you happy with your choice? What have you done? What are you doing now?
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    danpass

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    #10
    with EE the focus potential will be in software / CS

    with chemical the focus potential will be in pharmaceutical / material science (think aerospace)
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Plutonius

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    #11
    Major in one or the other and pick the one that you enjoy most.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Those are the major focuses, but there are other options. Right?

    How do I know which one I enjoy the most?
     
  13. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #13
    I am going to point out that in terms of Jobs there is a massive and I mean MASSIVE shortage coming for engineering in general. The tail end of the last big wave of engineers are in their 50's right now. It is a big fear in I know the oil companies as their experince is reaching retirement age and they do not have enough people in the pipe line to replace them much less handle ANY growth.

    basically what I am saying is engineering is a very safe field in the long term no matter what type.

    ----------

    god yes. The biggest employers of chemical engineers for example are the oil companies. Chemical engineers are used in pretty much everything we use. EE have their hands in anything with electronics in it.

    The oil companies employee a lot of EE as well.
     
  14. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #14
    TBH, I actually used very little of my EE training. I got sucked into software (the theme seems to be common here) and then into the seedy underworld of high finance where my MASc was the lowest degree in the room! I thoroughly enjoyed my work, however, and managed to retire young(ish) so I can now pursue my EE as a hobby. From what I can tell most of my fellow classmates are all over the spectrum. Some doing EE, some doing software, some in management, some doing things unrelated. Some are happy, some are not.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    As far as oil companies being the biggest employer of ChE, I do not want to work with the oil companies. I rather work against them and find energy alternatives which I think many people are working on.

    As far as long term job security, I am nervous with either field. To but it briefly, there are limits to how many ways a chemical can be mixed and a limit to electronics as well.

    I know pretty much manufacturer has a ChE for efficiency.

    ----------

    I do not see myself in software and I think I would be unhappy their. Pursuing what I do as a hobby is good because it shows that I do enjoy it. I think EE has much more potential to be a hobby where you can't really by a hobby ChE.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    danpass

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    #16
    Sure, multitudes, your profs should be able to help point them out.

    Also try to look beyond the obvious; perhaps you love photography, you check out the major players, Canon/Nikon/Sony and see that they need chemical engineers to develop lighter, stronger camera housings (for example).
     
  17. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #17
    Does not change the fact that they are needed and new stuff is always being designed.

    Also I am going to point out some of the biggest investors in alternative energy in the US is again the Oil companies. Hell BP for example was a game change in Wind Power by itself. It changed the rules to the game where instead of trying to find OK wind spots near transmission lines, it was changed to find the best spots for wind and we will build the lines to them.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I love :apple:. :D

    Ehh I understand and can see it both ways.
     
  19. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #19
    I think you are confusing the different between a scientist and an engineer.

    Also you are over thinking your problem. If you are tying to decide based on job outlook and future employment you are doing it wrong to begin with. Also your degree really only helps you get your first job out of school and may open a few extra doors after a little time it does not matter as much.

    No matter which degree you choose employment outlook is great. There is a massive shortage coming for engineers in general.

    Choose which field you think you will enjoy more. It does not matter if one pays more money if you hate it because if you hate it you will never do well there.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Right. I'm not so concerned about money but it is important to happiness. Without it life can become chaotic. How do I know which field I like more?
     
  21. macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #21
    I honestly wouldn't worry overmuch about your job security, if you are a good engineer it won't matter what discipline you choose, you'll have a good job no matter what. I am a materials engineer, with an emphasis on the EE side (think semiconductors rather than structural materials) and have had a great career that has taken me places I never envisioned when I started out. By finding something that is broad enough (which you are doing by considering ChemE or EE, rather than something very narrow like geophysical eng, for example) you'll be able to diversify your experiences via different internships, employers, projects, etc.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I think you're confusing Chemical Engineering with Material Science. Sure Chemical Engineers can help with those fields but the Chem Eng skill set is much more heavily into fluids (i.e. liquids or gases and no dirty minds please ;)). To start with think heat exchange, fluid dynamics, phase change, separations, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), fluid flow and then you've got the chemical reactions to look at...

    Traditionally the oil and petrochemical industry was the no. 1 destination for a ChemE nowadays there's also alternative fuels (bio, fuel cell and other renewables), the nuclear industry, pharmaceutical, water treatment, food, other heavy engineering, fermentation (including brewing....) and thousands of other applications. I'm sure I've not pulled everything out but I hope it sets the scene.

    I've as masters degree in ChemE and have been in the industry for 15 years. There's a lot of jobs out there for any engineer I hope you chose what's best for you.

    thebiggm
     
  23. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #23
    Go to your colleges career center. Most career centers have some really good test you can take to really help you out.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I'd sit down with ne of your professors about your options. My husband was also an EE (BS/MS) but has never worked as an engineer. He also got sucked into a job typical of a CS type. I studied CS and but I never did any software development, I went towards the networking and network security side.

    Anyway, what you study in school may be useful for your future career but it may not all directly apply.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #25
    One of my professors was lamenting to me one day about how we don't train generalists anymore in college. We've thrown the big picture out in favor of tiny niches and specialities that become really hard to move in and out of. So here's what I would do. Pick one - it doesn't matter which. Then take classes from the other. Protect your electives. If you don't have a reason to be excited about taking a class, then don't take it if you don't have to! Take classes that push yourself. Take that ecology class. Take a Nuke Eng class or Environmental Law (the one class I wish I hadn't dropped). How about Advanced Debating or Philosophy of Science? Learn how all the pieces fit together. If you are avoiding a class because it might hurt your GPA, your doing it wrong. I'm not saying your GPA isn't important, but the difference between a 3.5 and a 3.6 really isn't important in the bigger picuture.

    Suck the marrow out of your education. And above everything, learn how to learn. That will take you further in life than anything they will show you in Math 161.
     

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