Let’s face it, you’re smart. You passed science and math classes with flying colors, and you are the “go-to” when it comes to computer help. You probably took apart a lot of things in your childhood just to see how they worked. Now here you are, ready to literally build the future.
Engineering has a lot of positives. As suspected, student debt won’t be a concern since finding an engineering career with a starting salary less than $55,000 or an average salary less than $85,000 is more difficult than learning the RubixCube pattern. If money isn’t your driving factor, how about the 85% of engineers who are satisfied with their jobs*, despite longer workdays.
It’s the challenges every day that keep engineers and their ticking minds happy. So if you think you can hack it out with the best of them, brush the dust off that TI84 and get ready. It really is rocket science.*Evaluation Enginering, EE-Evaluation Engineering’s 2013 salary survey, http://www.evaluationengineering.com/articles/201308/work-life-balance-key-to-job-satisfaction.php
Engineering undergrads frequently choose a specific area of study—such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, biomedical, civil, industrial, computer, or environmental engineering— and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. Interested in the liberal arts too? Try a program such as the one at Dartmouth College. Within five years, engineering sciences majors there complete requirements for both a Bachelor of Arts degree and the professional Bachelor of Engineering degree.
Students wishing to continue their engineering education frequently pursue a Master of Science degree. Practicing engineers often choose places with a Master of Engineering program to bolster their career advancement in applied engineering or engineering management. Looking to become an entrepreneur? Combine technical knowledge with business acumen through a dual-degree program resulting in both an MS and an MBA.
Sure, you’ll learn the science behind how roller coasters loop and how cruise control operates a car. But also be ready to roll up your sleeves. Hands-on experiences rule in most modern engineering programs. At Harvey Mudd College, for instance, Intro to Engineering Design students take apart a pencil sharpener on day one and write a report on it. And you’ll definitely gain an appreciation of the collaborative process in any 21st-century engineering program. Leadership, teamwork, and communication skills get put to the test when classes divide into groups to work together on real-life challenges, such as saving energy or purifying water. You’ll be encouraged to think outside the box and test (and adjust and retest) your novel ideas. And you’ll likely have some pretty nifty items at your disposal. Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy bring their ideas to life in an electrical engineering lab with state-of-the-art equipment valued at over $10 million dollars. The school also keeps over 1,000 electrical parts in stock so students can spend less time waiting and more time creating.