# Engineers?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Squilly, Apr 17, 2013.

1. ### Squilly macrumors 68020

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#1
Do you use a lot of complex math (not necessarily complex numbers) like high levels of calculus or logic? All the stuff that's taught in college, some of which I hear is used by some professions, others - just a waste of time, effort, and \$. My math skills aren't the sharpest and I still have no idea what I want to do yet, but I'd like to do some form of engineering. I haven't touched calculus yet nor am I really on track for it. Anything is appreciated.

### Staff Member

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#2
For me: Absolutely yes to complex math. Yes to complex numbers. Sometimes, but rarely to calculus. Yes to symbolic logic.

It all depends on the specific field. I know many engineers and scientists who do use calculus daily.

B

3. ### eric/ Guest

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#3
Depends on what you do. The thing with calculus and stuff is that you need to understand the principles, so you understand how everything you do is functioning. You won't be sitting around doing equations all day, computers do that, but you need to understand it.

Same with physics, chemistry, etc....

Generally people don't struggle to understand the concepts. They struggle at taking tests, without reference material, with 0 help, etc....

4. ### Menel macrumors 603

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#4
laplace and fourier transforms occasionally.

Usually just basic maths and log().

It's going to depend on type of engineering. 4-6 year degree, basic engineering off of other people's work. Forumlas you'll use are pretty well set and you can get by with basic maths.

If you go into research/development of new fields, you'll use more and have to derive more yourself.

### Staff Member

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#5
The math I use involves multi-million dollar budgets, radio wave propagation and prediction, signal to noise ratios, coverage phasing predictions and also balancing my checkbook.

So I would say math is an important area of study to have a worthwhile career.

### Staff Member

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#6
This. In real life, engineers and scientists rely heavily on reference material for anything they don't do daily and many if not most design projects are social. If you run into a problem you can't solve other members of the team can be there to support you.

Even if all you are doing is developing business cases, understanding risk factors via statistics and probability can be important.

B

7. ### eric/ Guest

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#7
Yeah. I really think understanding stats and probability is the most challenging for most students. Again, it's not all about doing the equations, it's about really, truly, understanding the material.

I struggled in a biology and chemistry class mostly because they were just based on tests (though chemistry wasn't, and naturally I got a 100% on the lab ) which were complete rote memorization, which is stupid and uninteresting.

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#8

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### Staff Member

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#10
No I don't.

11. ### Squilly thread starter macrumors 68020

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#11
I don't use public transportation, therefore I don't use those 'maths' of yours.

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Oh, thought from the checks and balances comment, you did.

### Staff Member

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#12
You don't have to own a business to be responsible for budgets and funding.

13. ### mobilehaathi macrumors 604

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#13
So here is a question...

Why?

14. ### Squilly thread starter macrumors 68020

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#14
It pays well, it's challenging, and it's competitive.

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CFO then?

15. ### eric/ Guest

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#15
You should rethink why you want to be an engineer. None of those are unique to the engineering profession, which may be part of the problem you're having with figuring out what to do.

### Staff Member

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#16
LOL. Most senior working stiff engineers (and most junior ones too) will have to deal with budgets and project plans etc... even if they don't have a "C" title.

B

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#17

18. ### eric/ Guest

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#18
Sure. But that's still not something unique to engineering.

19. ### Squilly thread starter macrumors 68020

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#19
Then what is?

### Staff Member

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#20
My recommendation to you is go to school, look, listen and learn. Don't do too much talking, but do more listening and see about getting an internship in a field that you're truly serious about. That way you can get a very good idea of what it takes to be whatever it is you want to be. You need to be able to comprehend and apply the things you've observed through looking, listening and learning.

There are plenty of people who, as mentioned already, don't have a 'C' title who carry big responsibilities at companies, organizations and governments.

We all have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we talk is what my father always told me and it's been good advice for me.

21. ### Squilly thread starter macrumors 68020

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#21
I like that expression.

22. ### cambookpro macrumors 603

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United Kingdom
#22
That's kind of the question you shouldn't be asking if you want to become an engineer, surely?

Anyway, onto your original topic, we did an engineering 'day' last month and we did get onto maths, and complex maths at that.

I'm a fairly good mathematician (if I do say so myself ) and I don't really know how it's related to engineering as I'm don't know much about the field, but I quite enjoyed the mathematical things about linear programming and the Simplex algorithm.

Again, I don't know how that's quite related and we may have gone way off topic during that part, but it was fun anyhoo. Fun but very tricky.

23. Apr 18, 2013
Last edited: Apr 18, 2013

### eric/ Guest

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#23
Well, you can't study mechanical engineering in a social studies program.

Let me give you a better idea.

I never wanted to do anything related to engineering. Ever. Had no interest. Just thought all engineers did was work on machines, covered in grease, etc....

Then, one day, I'm in a car trying to pick my major and I said to my friend (corny I know) I just want a job where all you do is go around and figure out how to make things better.

And now, here I am, studying to be an industrial and systems engineer.

Is all of that stuff a little broad? Sure. But I didn't wake up and say man I want to do something that's really competitive, or man I want to make a lot of money. I chose my major because of that one exchange or words.

24. ### Tomorrow macrumors 604

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#24
I'm a mechanical engineer. I don't use calculus in my job, but I use dozens of equations that were derived by using higher-level math like calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, etc. Knowing how these equations were derived helps you understand what's going on in the problem you're solving. Without understanding, you're not really an engineer; more of a test-taker.

If calculus and complex algebra are eating your lunch, you should know that in your engineering studies those are like learning your ABC's - the real "meat" of the math you'll learn goes well beyond those classes.

The essence of being an engineer, in my experience, is (1) identifying the problem, which in and of itself is usually half or more of the battle, and (2) coming up with the best solution to the problem.

How is engineering "competitive?" I've been doing it for years, I'm really good at it, and I've never won any trophies or medals.

25. ### eric/ Guest

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#25
I did. You're just doing it wrong.