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Discussion Starter #1
Let's talk engineering. Hopefully there will being a sufficient amount of engineering students and grads to make this thread fruitful.

Students/Graduates:
  • What field of engineering?
  • Why did you go into it?
  • In what ways did it and didn't it meet your expectations?
  • Do you find the math interesting?
  • How difficult is it? (Dependent on your answer to the previous question, presumably.)
  • Do you find that you see the world in a new light, with such extensive knowledge of physics? I'd think that being able to calculate the numbers behind mechanical systems and structural integrity would be rather enlightening, if only for the satisfaction of being able to do it.

Graduates:
  • Coming out of it, what are your feelings towards it?
  • Is the work gratifying?
  • Does the work pay well? Good job market?
  • What bothers you most about the work?
  • What would you have done differently?
  • All of the above said, being interested in it at a physics level, do you think that minoring in physics along with a different major would be a potentially better option? Or do you feel that your career in engineering is the place to be?

Thanks in advance, everyone.
 

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I’m just a measly Comp Sci, I can haz post ?

  • What field of engineering?

    I started off in electrical engineering. High school had left me brain dead. I didn’t follow lessons properly, and the teachers were shit. I was well on my way to failing. I spent a while not even understanding boolean algebra until one dude ran through an example with me, then everything clicked. I’m an idiot.

    A friend decided he would hop over to comp sci, suggested I do the same. I had gotten full marks on a test in programming at the time, so on a complete whim I thought fuck it and I did.

  • Why did you go into it?

    As stated above, I went with the path of least resistance because I didn’t want to/couldn’t work. Complete whim, and if I had to make the decision again it would still be random. Maybe I’d do physics, but one needs brains for that.

  • In what ways did it and didn't it meet your expectations?

    Programming was intuitive, I expected that.

    Overall I didn’t know what to expect in comp sci, I never really researched the topic on my own. Most of the crap I learned at Uni was new to me, I just did what I had to and nothing more.

  • Do you find the math interesting?

    I’ve always found math interesting.

  • How difficult is it? (Dependent on your answer to the previous question, presumably.)

    My relationship with math is one of like and hate, I like it and it hates me.
    Coming to France introduced the problems of French and possibly zombie mode after finishing high school in a language I mostly didn’t understand.

    Generally speaking, I’ve rarely understood math straight away. I suck with symbolic reasoning, and manipulating structurally complex concepts in their entirety at any given moment.

    I suck at reasoning with individual properties, axioms, and I suck at viewing the whole picture. I reason mathematically in a hazy fog, whatever falls out of that is by the grace of jebus.

    There’s still tonnes of shit I should know, but don’t. I suppose some of it stems from never properly studying.

  • Do you find that you see the world in a new light, with such extensive knowledge of physics? I'd think that being able to calculate the numbers behind mechanical systems and structural integrity would be rather enlightening, if only for the satisfaction of being able to do it.

    Err, we did one module of relatively elementary newtonian physics. I did somewhat well in it at the time, it has helped me to some extent. It helped me a lot when I had to program the physics engine for a billiards game. My intuition seems to do well in newtonian physics due to its visual nature.

    In day to day existence, I rarely consciously think about it. I’m rusty when it comes to physics and linear algebra and generally everything.

    With regards to discrete math, the formal systems I’ve encountered have allowed my intuition to make larger leaps than prior to my studies. It’s hard to determine the extent to which it has helped, because the information sinks as opposed to remaining at the surface where I can consciously reason with it.



  • Coming out of it, what are your feelings towards it?

    The teachers in comp sci were far better than those in electrical engineering, hands down.

    The degree isn’t worth much to be honest. We didn’t properly cover things like statistics(never had one module in stats), calculus(again not one module, has its use in simulations and what not), linear algebra(one pathetic module).

    Material wasn’t anywhere as dense as it should have been, and what we did cover was poorly presented(with a few exceptions)

    I don’t have a level of knowledge worthy of the masters title.

  • Is the work gratifying?

    Problem solving is engaging and distracting. Saps energy slowly.
    Work was ok, but a little boring at times.

    Managing your own project + problem solving, bit too much for me to handle. I don’t have a desire to achieve that leads me to manage anything. I’m like a leaf floating down a stream. Phd = bad idea.

  • Does the work pay well? Good job market?

    Not checked up on the state of the market for comp scis, it pays but not fantastically.
    I’m on a 3 year phd grant, it suffices.
    Pay little rent to my parents and save the rest, mostly.

  • What bothers you most about the work?

    If I were in a typical Comp Sci job, the repetition would.

    In my current job, having to pretend I care about any sort of global vision. I just don’t. I’m fine with tackling random shit providing it is truly random and it’s handed to me.

  • What would you have done differently?

    In my studies, I did what I could. I can’t say now that I would have been able to do better, because that’s bs.

    In terms of career choice, physics, basket weaving, iunno. Something that facilitates my vegetative state probably.

  • All of the above said, being interested in it at a physics level, do you think that minoring in physics along with a different major would be a potentially better option? Or do you feel that your career in engineering is the place to be?

    Practically speaking, pluridisciplinary studies are always a good idea providing they’re in the right fields. The marriage of biology and comp sci seems to be a flourishing one atm, DNA analysis etc

    From a purely theoretical perspective, I think theoretical physics would have been interesting.
 

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You've never taken calculus, Richard? Weirdness... You would be good at it.
Nothing beyond what we tackled in high school. Basic derivation and integration, formula memorisation and application.
I understand the general principle, but I have no experience in deriving the formulas we had to memorise for deriving functions.
Always superfical and lacking depth.

Like I said, this degree aint worth toilet paper(for the time it took). Probably equivalent to your undergrad stuff, if that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Richard Very informative. The difference in teacher quality is surely unpredictable from school to school. Do you think that you didn't learn much as result of a poor institution, or the degree in general?
 

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@Richard Very informative. The difference in teacher quality is surely unpredictable from school to school. Do you think that you didn't learn much as result of a poor institution, or the degree in general?
I read my response over and it’s not very well written(like most of my posts), sorry about that. I typed it up quickly whilst at work.

The difference in teacher quality varies from teacher to teacher, I’ve only been to one university so I can’t say more than that.
I’m guessing that the quality of the education varies from department to department. There are some quite accomplished comp sci researchers affiliated with the university I attended, it’s just the degree that felt lacking.

I could have made a lot more of the experience if I was passionate about comp sci, generally motivated about studying and chatted with the professors. I just sat passively absorbing what they fed us during class(when I went) and then I typically revised slides the day before an exam. I don’t recommend that tactic.
Forcing myself to get the projects done on time was interesting.

Given the effort I put in and my clarity of thought, the fact that I succeeded is a testament to the value of the degree.
 

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What field of engineering?
Double Degree in Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. I initially only took Physics, but I got a letter asking me if I was interested in a combination experiment, and I figured "sure, why not?" - and that's how I got in to doing two majors at the same time.

Why did you go into it?
After switching interest a couple of times, I realized I wanted to do something rather general, but challenging; so I went for Applied Physics. Read above for how I got into Mathematics.


In what ways did it and didn't it meet your expectations?
In many ways it did meet my expectation; it's like a continuation of the physics and maths in high school, but more, more difficult, and more experimenting. I didn't have many expectations though, especially not of maths.

Do you find the math interesting?
Once I don't fail the class, definitely!
But if I have to put a lot of effort in it, not so much (until I've finally understood it and I think it's awesome).

How difficult is it? (Dependent on your answer to the previous question, presumably.)
Considering the time I spend on homework (little time spend, yet average results even with two majors), not difficult at all.

Do you find that you see the world in a new light, with such extensive knowledge of physics? I'd think that being able to calculate the numbers behind mechanical systems and structural integrity would be rather enlightening, if only for the satisfaction of being able to do it.
Not that much. I've always looked at the world with an analytic mind, so that hasn't changed. And most of my knowledge I only summon when I'm in a state of mind where I want to think physics-like about the world - which doesn't happen often (not to say it only happens sporadically, though).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@Richard

I forgot to ask--what kind of work are you doing now? Surely if it involves 3D printers, it must be glorious.
 

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I’m in the process of failing a PhD in artificial intelligence. I’m trying to help automate the problem modeling process in constraint programming so that the paradigm is rendered more accessible to the layman. Constraint programming is a technology used in tackling computationally expensive problems(car sequencing, configuration, scheduling etc)

I got a 3D printer as a distraction, hoping to have some fun. I’m still not quite sure what I would consider to be fun.
 

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[*]What field of engineering?

I started in mechanical engineering, have since moved to a double degree in chemistry and chemical engineering.

[*]Why did you go into it?

Lasers and robots. Then I discovered there weren't many lasers and robots and switched to chem. I enjoy it more.

[*]In what ways did it and didn't it meet your expectations?

Again, lasers and robots... Although I do love the problem solving.

[*]Do you find the math interesting?

Not really.

[*]How difficult is it? (Dependent on your answer to the previous question, presumably.)

Very.

[*]Do you find that you see the world in a new light, with such extensive knowledge of physics? I'd think that being able to calculate the numbers behind mechanical systems and structural integrity would be rather enlightening, if only for the satisfaction of being able to do it.

Well, not being a civil engineer, I don't see it quite that way. But I am able to picture the work that goes into producing and testing any chemicals. I know the sheer amount of work involved in calculating a yield and making sure everything goes right.
 

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  • What field of engineering?
Currently studying Electrical Engineering.


  • Why did you go into it?
I like magnets and circuits. Also, I want to create technology that will help people one day.


  • In what ways did it and didn't it meet your expectations?
I did not know it was combined with computer engineering. Let's just say programming is not my forte. I did figure it would be circuits though and a lot of math. I was hoping for a bit more science like chem.


  • Do you find the math interesting?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Diffeq is interesting because it basically just guesses and answer. I'm not a big fan of multivariable calculus though.


  • How difficult is it? (Dependent on your answer to the previous question, presumably.)
It is difficult, but manageable as long as you are smart and know the right people.


  • Do you find that you see the world in a new light, with such extensive knowledge of physics? I'd think that being able to calculate the numbers behind mechanical systems and structural integrity would be rather enlightening, if only for the satisfaction of being able to do it.
A bit most of the physics is review or more in depth.
 
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Power Systems Engineering

Good middle class career, makes decent money - not huge, good travel opportunities although you may be asked to go to dangerous areas (with armed escort), good people in it, no retards or assholes, stressful in the beginning, may be asked to work hard to meet deadlines but not all the time, need good sleep pattern to make it work, can be boring while doing looooong software builds, midway between introverted and extraverted, need to learn report procedures, the work is useful and you don't work for evil/asshole/profiteering companies.

All in all, a decent career, I recommend it.
 

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Power Systems Engineering

Good middle class career, makes decent money - not huge, good travel opportunities although you may be asked to go to dangerous areas (with armed escort), good people in it, no retards or assholes, stressful in the beginning, may be asked to work hard to meet deadlines but not all the time, need good sleep pattern to make it work, can be boring while doing looooong software builds, midway between introverted and extraverted, need to learn report procedures, the work is useful and you don't work for evil/asshole/profiteering companies.

All in all, a decent career, I recommend it.
Chuckle...
 

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hey, it matters to me

also, very little math involved, the programmers handle the math

I never learned calculus either hehee
Once on a plane, I met a forensic engineer. He was pretty cool, he had a lot of cool stories. But after hearing a lot about what he does, I was like "do you even use any of the stuff you learned in college" and he was like "well, it's all kinematics, the computer analyzes the data, I just have to go to court and act like an expert about what the computer told me..."
 

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Once on a plane, I met a forensic engineer. He was pretty cool, he had a lot of cool stories. But after hearing a lot about what he does, I was like "do you even use any of the stuff you learned in college" and he was like "well, it's all kinematics, the computer analyzes the data, I just have to go to court and act like an expert about what the computer told me..."
yeah that's true, you only use the most basic notions from school, like WTF a transformer is or what an SVC does etc.

it still takes mucho preparation just to be able to interpret "what the computer tells you" and put it in a business-useful format
 

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I'm a chemE, I've worked in nuclear power, but I'm in water treatment operations now.

Coming out of it, what are your feelings towards it? Very positive. I feel kinda useful.

Does the work pay well? Good job market? Good question. Not sure at the moment, but I've gotten one headhunter call in the past six months, and it's been a while since I've had that, so probably getting better if you're flexible.

What bothers you most about the work? The hours probably. I think most engineers work either long or weird hours. I work the weird ones.

What would you have done differently? Not much. Even getting out of high school with a low GPA was good for me; otherwise I probably wouldn't have gone military.

All of the above said, being interested in it at a physics level, do you think that minoring in physics along with a different major would be a potentially better option? Or do you feel that your career in engineering is the place to be? I don't think the physics would help career-wise, and if I was going to do something else for my own curiosity, then it would probably be in a humanities field, like philosophy.
 

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I'm a chemE, I've worked in nuclear power, but I'm in water treatment operations now.

Coming out of it, what are your feelings towards it? Very positive. I feel kinda useful.

Does the work pay well? Good job market? Good question. Not sure at the moment, but I've gotten one headhunter call in the past six months, and it's been a while since I've had that, so probably getting better if you're flexible.

What bothers you most about the work? The hours probably. I think most engineers work either long or weird hours. I work the weird ones.

What would you have done differently? Not much. Even getting out of high school with a low GPA was good for me; otherwise I probably wouldn't have gone military.

All of the above said, being interested in it at a physics level, do you think that minoring in physics along with a different major would be a potentially better option? Or do you feel that your career in engineering is the place to be? I don't think the physics would help career-wise, and if I was going to do something else for my own curiosity, then it would probably be in a humanities field, like philosophy.
What do you think about water treatment? I might end up in a lab that works on fluorochemicals and stuff like that...
 

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What do you think about water treatment? I might end up in a lab that works on fluorochemicals and stuff like that...
I like it, and I think any job where you get to say "my product does X" is ultimately a good one. Lab work's not my favorite, but I've known people who like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Once on a plane, I met a forensic engineer. He was pretty cool, he had a lot of cool stories. But after hearing a lot about what he does, I was like "do you even use any of the stuff you learned in college" and he was like "well, it's all kinematics, the computer analyzes the data, I just have to go to court and act like an expert about what the computer told me..."
This is what I hear about a lot of engineering--especially civ. There's hardly any math involved. The purpose of the instruction of it is to get you thinking like an engineer, and also so that you understand where the computer is coming from.
 
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