Which type of engineering should I go for?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ravenvii, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #1
    I'm looking at either civil engineering or electrical engineering. I'm mainly taking this to get qualified for sitting for the patent bar (that'll allow me to do intellectual property as an attorney). But I'm also looking at architecture as a possible future career.

    Which one of those would benefit me the most? I know electrical engineering is more beneficial to a lawyer, since it's a highly desirable qualification to have. But would civil engineering be better if you want to go into architecture one day?

    Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #2
    i vote for civil engineering. my dad and uncle (his brother) both have a civil engineering degree. my uncle is a certified land surveyor, and also does tons of engineering projects (closer to architect related, compared to surveying)
     
  3. adroit macrumors 6502

    adroit

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  4. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

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    #4
    Well, I'm an Electrical/Computer Engineering Major so I'm a bit biased, but I say Electrical. I find it much more interesting than most other fields and, as a general observation (that is, not neccessarily my opinion, just what I've seen and heard), one of the most respected engineering fields. But really what you should look at is what you are more likely to do with your degree. If you figure that they're about equally as likely, do what you enjoy more. You'll take a lot of classes in general engineering before you have to decide which specific field, so you've got some wiggle room.
     
  5. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #5
    Go for mechanical, moving things are way more interesting than buildings.
     
  6. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

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    #6
    Civil, way cool outdoor-like projects. But its your 5 years, not mine.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    Electrical engineering with respect to architectural practice is much less interesting than you are imagining. Think lighting layouts, power distribution systems, details for mounting transformers, fire alarm system voltage calculations... stuff like that.

    I heartily disagree with you there! But then again, I'm an architect. :)
     
  8. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #8
    Civil engineering is basically for 'tards who couldn't get into structural engineering, I would do electrical myself.
     
  9. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #9
    right. so what would that make you?
     
  10. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #10
    If your plan is law school, then my understanding is that the best degree is the one where you can pad your GPA the most. This is at least what some of my friends, who have been highly successful in the law school admissions process (Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, etc.) seem to suggest.
     
  11. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

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    #11
    I wasn't talking about with respect to architectural practices. I was talking about the general EE classes you'd have to take; pretty facinating stuff.

    Awesome, Electrical Engineering is also know as Awesome Engineering where I work.:D
     
  12. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #12
    Just to clarify, I am already in law school. Finishing up my first year.

    I have two useless BA's that gave me a 3.9 GPA. But useless they still are. So I'm going to add a BS to my array of Bachelor's, both to allow me to sit for the patent bar, and to give me the mathematical background that I need to get into a M.Arch program.

    And it doesn't hurt that an engineering degree is useful in itself in the job market.

    Electrical engineering is the most competitive engineering degree paired with a JD, (that or a PhD in the sciences (biology/biomedical/biotechnology mainly). No way am I gonna go after a PhD, and it doesn't help at all with architecture, so that's that). It also seems to be one of the more competitive ones by itself compared with the other engineering specialization's.

    I'm mainly wondering which one would be most useful in the eyes of an architect.

    (Yes, I'd love to do architectural engineering, but it's not on the list of qualifying degrees for taking the patent bar, according to the US Patent Office site.)
     
  13. stevento macrumors 6502

    stevento

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    #13
    i'm a computer engineer (-ing student)
    the best part is as soon as you walk at graduatation you trip over a myriad of 55k/yr job offers
    and that goes for any engineering
    i had also thought about doing civil as well though
    you can get into architecture

    edit
    also i'd like to add engineering is NOT FOR weak/lazy/bad at math
    when you get into ENGR-101 (or whatever they call it at your school) that course will surely weed out the wimps
     
  14. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #14
    Hammered

    I got rather drunk last night :eek:

    (I used to do a combined degree in Physics and Electrical engineering but am in the process of switching to computer systems and software engineering on account of me not actually liking physics.)
     
  15. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #15
    Genetic Engineering or Mad Scientological Engineering. I either want to be a genetic superman, or to teach that dang ol' moon whose boss.
     
  16. LiveForever macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I'm a design engineer and have a Mechanical Engineering degree.

    To me Civil Engineering is quite restrictive and electrical engineering is definetly not for me.

    I design on CAD with mostly plastic injection mouldings for mass market products and its such fun, I ALWAYS wanted to be a design engineer and I love my job with a passion. Its what I would do as a hobby. The thing is you don't sound like you have a passion so why are you doing it? Find something to do which interests you is my advice.

    Also at the moment it is very very well paid and there is a worldwide shortage of design engineers -look at the all the companies developing all these gadgets and they need engineers to design the cases, the internal mechanisms, and for example to package all that stuff into such confined packages. There is even more of a shortage of software engineers though...
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #17
    Up front, I am a Electrical / Computer type so I am a bit biased.

    In HS, I was strongly considering the architecture route, but decided on EE/CS.

    All engineering has math. I would say that electrical is one of the harder ones as you progress. Not for the faint hearted regarding math.

    Since you want to be an intellectual property type attorney, then I say go for the EE degree. Mechanical and Civil Engineering are neat areas as well. However, IMHO, EE would be better because of what you would get to see when doing your job.
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #18
    you really know nothing about civil engineering if that is what you think. It is very insulting to CE who work there but off to get there degree. CE is a very VERY broad degree and Structural is really just a small part of it.

    Transportation, Structural, Hydrology, Environmental engineering, and a lot more all fall under a CE degree.

    Civil is the broadest engineering degree. Civil Engineering is also the mother of engineering. ME is the other very broad engineering degree.

    All a structural engineer is a CE. Hell it is VERY VERY rare that some one who calls them selves a structural engineer is NOT CE. On top of that "structural engineering" falls directly under CE and if they want to become a PE they have to guess what do it under Civil. I have to add one more thing. Structural engineering is the SIMPLEST part of Civil engineering. It is very repetitive work mostly follow codes. There is really not many new things for structural engineering.

    After work today I will post more on the topic of the original poster. Just some one POSTING something very insulting and full of ignorance like the guy I quoted I could not just sit by not saying anything.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    Yes, I recognize that. But the OP is looking for advice specifically as it relates to the architectural profession. He won't be doing any of the fascinating stuff you mention in that capacity. If he is going to consider EE, he needs to recognize this.

    Note, this is not meant to demean or degrade EE as a major, or as a field of work. I am specifically limiting my comments to a subject I know a considerable amount about -- the use of an EE degree in the field of architectural practice.
     
  20. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #20
    just a little biased there :rolleyes:

    based on that, it seems civil is the way to go.

    now that makes more sense ;)

    and yes, you are biased (and so am i)
     
  21. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #21
    I will say if you are asking this question EE is not the one to go into. Civil would be the one.

    Engineerings in general are just special. We think differently than most people. EE are even spiecial among the engineers.

    To be a EE you have to truly love math and really enjoy the upper level stuff because they use it much more heavily then the other fields. Hell if I ever needed help on my math work was go find a EE.

    I am saying this as some one who degree is from the college of Engineering. I did CE for 2.5 years and then change my major over to construction engineering.


    I might warn you while it might seem like archtecture and Civil would go well together VERY few people can do both and even few are good at both. Reason is because they use oppisides of the brain. The CE side is heavy left brain and the Archtecture side is heavy right brain. Very few people are strong with both 1/2 of the brain. The people I knew who dual normal struggled at one or the other and most of them ended up dropping one of the majors.

    Arch/CE is one of the hardest double majors do to. EE/CS on the other hand is one of the easiest. Hell EE/CS/Math major is a hell of a lot easier than Arch/CE major.
     
  22. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #22
    I don't plan to major in architecture. I plan to go for a M.Arch.

    And actually, if I get a career in architecture, I would leave the engineering up to someone else. I want to design buildings, not engineer them. :)

    So why engineering? Primarily to enable me to sit for the patent bar. And secondarily to give me a strong mathematical background to make myself attractive to admissions to M.Arch programs.

    What I'm really asking is which one would be most useful to me, both before and during being a architect. Not to practically use, but as a useful thing to know.

    Why did I narrow it down to just civil or electrical?

    Civil simply because I heard it was the easiest one. And I know some people who are civil engineers, and they are living the easy life, with decent pay.

    Electrical, because it's the most prestigious, both by itself, and paired with a JD. The pay reflects this.

    My gut is now telling me to go for civil, since the posts here makes electrical sound a little too nuts for me. (I'm decent at math, but I'm not a big fan, and the last time I did any serious number crunching was... 5 years ago.)
     
  23. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #23
    You just answered your own question. The EE one is COMPLETELY the wrong reason to go for it and you would not be happy. Plus I do not think it is the most prestigious nor does it pay the most. I believe that honor goes to Chem E for prestigious and Petroleum for money

    You CE reason is not any better. I would not call it easy. I can also think of an easier engineering. IE from the course work I have seen is by far the easiest. But Engineering is not easy. It is a difficult major no matter what one you choose. There is a reason the college of engineering has less than a 40% graduation rate (University average is around 60-66%). most of those people transfer to other majors. But still over 60% of the students that start in the college of engineering will never finish it.

    Also do not choose engineering for money, prestige or any of those reason. Choose it because it is something you enjoy doing.

    I can not get over the fact how many people want engineering because it good money. They never make it though. Normally gone by the 2nd year.
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    I'm not a CE, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

    And I have been burned by enough CEs that I tend to do the bulk of my grading myself rather then let it slip out of my control. No, I didn't major in CE, but I do it as a part of my right-brain job.

    Although, in the interest of full disclosure, when that spinning woman image was posted that was supposed to tell you which side of the brain you use, I could see it going one way sometimes and the opposite way other times.

    OP- If your ultimate goal it to be designing buildings, don't worry about what engineering type you select. Frankly, for an M.Arch degree, most colleges won't care what your engineering background is. You'll be heading for endless studio time, where the laws of physics are suspended, and hot melt glue is considered a moment-resisting connection.

    And don't think you'll be designing buildings anytime soon after graduation. You'll likely be designing toilet room layouts for a while. It's hard to be a good designer without an intimate knowledge of materials and construction methods -- and that knowledge only comes through time.

    Having said that, it should come as no surprise that I find the work of Louis I. Kahn to be some of the most interesting, thoughtful architecture around. To paraphrase Kahn, "I asked the brick what it wanted to be, and it said 'an arch'". Understanding of materials is key.
     
  25. Fuzzy14 macrumors 65816

    Fuzzy14

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    #25
    Right ho brother!
    Actually I'd always fancied civil, but they seem to spend most of their lives in holes in the ground!:p
    As a mechie I've painted cars with robots, I'm currently building oil refineries in Belgium, next I'll be working on the UK's next generation carriers, so you get to work on more diverse projects. Also as a design engineer, I can influence the way things look so there is a degree of artistry to it.

    -Stewart AMIMechE
     

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