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→ Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fields

Postby CR13579 » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 1:00 am

I'm currently doing a project on the above topic. We're looking for former engineering students in non engineering jobs to help us with our survey:) https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WF523GB
Last edited by CR13579 on Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: → Is an engineering degree useful for a non engineering

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 8:32 am

Mate, I'm not even going to look at your survey... and... an engineering degree is useful in just about any kind of job.

Assuming you're not talking about too many "engineering" degrees in Asia, which are little more than Vo-Tech degrees, an engineering degree, in any discipline, provides the holder with many benefits.

a) You prove you can get through some of the toughest courses to your employer. Real engineers work hard to get a degree.

b) You understand math... lots of it... you can apply that in finance, statistics, program algorithms. Non engineers simply cannot think in the same framework as engineers... and physicists, chemists, etc.

c) You learn about risk/cost analysis... underlying all engineering courses is the risk/cost analysis... you want it safe... you want it cheap... there is much applicability to any job to have the ability to think in these terms.

d) You are projectized... engineers create things... things that have a beginning and an end. The ability to understand a job in terms of project terminology applies to many different activities... unless you are flipping burgers at the local Micky D... and most engineers aren't there.

I have a degree in electrical engineering, and beyond my pet projects, I do nothing around EE. I have managed multi million dollar projects. I have created some fantastic solutions. I'm a much better employee/creator/self made businessman as a result of having an engineering degree... from a damn good school... go Rice!

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby martincymru » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 3:19 pm

Civil Engineering is tough. 6 years to qualify to receive only moderate pay, long hours, stress, uncomfortable working conditions. No wonder when they get to 40 they change career/direction.

Btw: I am a contracts engineer/surveyor. Not quite as cutting edge as a Civil Eng. but profile not too dissimilar.

( conversely, and to be fair, there are some benefits though ! )

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby x9200 » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 6:18 pm

I think you have to have some inclinations to complete any applied technical studies (at least in a good institution). It is not like you can just go there, work hard enough and learn. Sort of like art studies. This something enables people to do many things as long as they require some systematic, logical handling of various things. The studies help with the systematic part.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby bro75 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 8:51 am

I am an electronics engineer in a semiconductor company. I often need to travel to the factory to check production issues and to just borrow equipment for use which become tiresome after a time. I am also a test programmer and a test hardware designer. I feel that what I am doing is not really valued by management but i believe it is now too late to change. During my college days, I had an option of going computer science versus electronics. I should have gone through the computer science route (both are considered engineering by many). Software engineering (cloud,database,big data) seem to be the big thing nowadays and get compensation much better than electronics engineers. My contemporaries in school who took the computer science/engineering route get much better compensation than I do. There are some other paths that also provide a good return such as law and medicine.
That said, my take on this is that studying engineering is worthwhile if you have the passion for it. IF you are an electronic hobbyist then EE (or similar courses) may be appropriate for you. Coding since grade school? Try the CS degree. Love cars, engines, and turbines? Maybe mechanical engineering is an acceptable path.
If you do not have a passion for any type of engineering study, then try to find something else. If you must take engineering for any reason (even if you have no passion), go for the computer science or related degrees. More bang for the buck IMO. For now, at least.
I know I am not really answering the question of the TS. :)

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby Wd40 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 10:05 am

I am also an electronics engineer. I wanted to do computer science engineering but I couldn't get a CSE seat in a good college. Eventually did the EE course, even though I hated it, my favorite subjects were still computer related like C programming, logic design and microprocessors programming :)

When I passed out it was 2001, with the dot com bust and 9/11 just happening. I struggled a bit in the beginning but eventually I got back into programming :)

Now looking back, I wish instead of doing electronics engineering, I had done a finance degree because its only after like 5-6 years after graduating, that I found that I like finance, capital markets etc. I am not talented enough to get into an investment bank in a front office, quant related role I like IT but still I would rather deal with the finance domain instead of like the pharma domain or manufacturing domain etc. Which is why I hate SAP, most SAP jobs deal with the manufacturing domain.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby PNGMK » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 10:36 am

No it's not but like most specialized fields to be a star in it, you really need a love and talent for it.
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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby midlet2013 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 2:10 pm

This mite be the grass is greener on the other side syndrome. There mite be people in finance who mite be thinking - oh i wish i had done some math or something in my education. Unfortunately doing something different would not have changed much.

One can do engineering but unless a person has the innate skill for engineering and math, what good is it.
One can do computer science but if one sucks at coding, what good is that. I guess it will be the same for people who study Eco/Finance but dont get the fundas.

Excelling at something is more important than doing what is considered excellent. And one can excel only if one has the talent and the determination.

I have a undergrad in EE which taught me math (prob, statistics, linear algebra). I have grad in CS so i can code n all. But i enjoy both so i kinda taught myself data science etc. I am still not that experienced but I can see opportunities in all areas - tech, finance, manufacturing etc for data related stuff.

Wd40 wrote:I am also an electronics engineer. I wanted to do computer science engineering but I couldn't get a CSE seat in a good college. Eventually did the EE course, even though I hated it, my favorite subjects were still computer related like C programming, logic design and microprocessors programming :)

When I passed out it was 2001, with the dot com bust and 9/11 just happening. I struggled a bit in the beginning but eventually I got back into programming :)

Now looking back, I wish instead of doing electronics engineering, I had done a finance degree because its only after like 5-6 years after graduating, that I found that I like finance, capital markets etc. I am not talented enough to get into an investment bank in a front office, quant related role I like IT but still I would rather deal with the finance domain instead of like the pharma domain or manufacturing domain etc. Which is why I hate SAP, most SAP jobs deal with the manufacturing domain.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 4:21 pm

What we call a Jack of all Trades but a master of none, yeah? :P I've been one of those for over half a century!

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby x9200 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 5:29 pm

midlet2013 wrote:Excelling at something is more important than doing what is considered excellent.

What do you mean but the above?

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby midlet2013 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 5:52 pm

What I mean is it is better to focus and build depth in one area where u can excel since u have the right skills rather than being tempted by luncrative/excellent areas where u dont have the right skills.

I know that lot of people change their focus n interests in life. But to think that a different undergrad degree is the key detriment is wrong. One can always learn n improve.

One of the things i notice in industry generally is that most people do not self-learn.

x9200 wrote:
midlet2013 wrote:Excelling at something is more important than doing what is considered excellent.

What do you mean but the above?

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby bro75 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 6:27 pm

It is true that if you focus on a field where you have the talent and aptitude, you can really excel in that field. Unfortunately, some fields are not that valued by management such as electronics compared to software related fields. Excelling in a field that is not valued will result in relatively lower income compared to your contemporaries who chose something else. If you are excellent in one field but the world undervalues this field, then it is better to be just average in another field that pays better.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby Wd40 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 6:38 pm

Bro75, your electronics job pays quite well in Singapore relative to "non hot" technology IT jobs. I find IT doesn't pay so well in Singapore relative to other fields, like it does in India. If you are an average IT guy in Singapore then salaries are very low and its quite a struggle.On the other hand lawyers, doctors mint money here. IT is an average industry here.

In India though, at least until recently, anybody who can google and search for code and speak English decently enough can make a great career out of IT compared to any other field, taking into account his abilities.

Now I hear that even in India things are getting tougher for IT guys.


So we have been extremely lucky to be a part of the generation that has got uplifted because of IT. :)
Last edited by Wd40 on Sat, 21 Mar 2015 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby x9200 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 7:11 pm

midlet2013 wrote:What I mean is it is better to focus and build depth in one area where u can excel since u have the right skills rather than being tempted by luncrative/excellent areas where u dont have the right skills.

I know that lot of people change their focus n interests in life. But to think that a different undergrad degree is the key detriment is wrong. One can always learn n improve.

One of the things i notice in industry generally is that most people do not self-learn.

x9200 wrote:
midlet2013 wrote:Excelling at something is more important than doing what is considered excellent.

What do you mean but the above?
It is of course not reasonable to go to the area you have not talent for, but if not the case (so you have some talent) I see no reason why not to. It's better to switch than to stay in something that for whatever reason may not have some brighter future.

More-over, even excelling in one area a reasonable person would not avoid taking up challenges in different areas related to the main one. Excelling in one and ignoring the world around would make you fail in your excelling - this is one of the most common mistake I can see in the local unis graduates. It would also make one very vulnerable in the skill based job market.

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Re: → Is studying engineering a waste if u work in other fi

Postby Wd40 » Sat, 21 Mar 2015 7:21 pm

Another point I would like to make about chasing hot technologies, Big data is hot now, but how long is it going to remain hot? If you are in Big Data, make hay while the sun shines, just remember, its not going to be like this forever :)


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