Should I switch to engineering?

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Should I switch to engineering?

Postby Oort » Fri May 07, 2010 12:49 am UTC

I'm a college freshman at UC Berkeley. I'm studying math and physics right now, but i'm concerned about the job market, especially if I don't want to get a master's or go into academia. Switching to mech e would be difficult because I'm a semester behind, but possible. Does anyone have any experience in any of these fields, especially in regards to the job market?

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Re: Should I switch to engineering?

Postby modularblues » Fri May 07, 2010 8:21 pm UTC

Hmm, I think just with a Bachelor's, engineering is a better bet. I have a few friends with Bachelors in computer science and they have decent programming jobs (in the financial sector) right now. Other engineering fields seem to need at least a Master's.

Math and physics, hmmm... all my friends in these areas are doing PhD's, and the only one I know of with just a Bachelor's in math (from Princeton) is my high school math teacher, who happens to be awesome.

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Re: Should I switch to engineering?

Postby Durin » Sat May 08, 2010 12:06 am UTC

I was visiting UIUC's Physics department and the guy giving us a tour of a lab said he was having a lot of trouble lining up a job for after he graduates. However, this might turn around by the time you or I graduate. Except my plans include going to grad school, so I suppose my situation isn't as dire. Also, I remember hearing that half of the Physics majors that Illinois starts with usually matriculate to other sciences or an engineering discipline, so your situation is definitely not unheard of. Nonetheless, the problem with switching to MechE is that you will be a little behind and engineering is already a HUGE major in the first place. But I'm not even sure that's an issue because unless you're coming in with AP credit, most first year engineers and physics majors take similar course sequences [Mechanics, E&M, Calculus]. Except I suppose this might be a bit different since the UC's are on the quarter system.

tl;dr: Yeah you might end up a little behind, but you'll probably be okay in the end.

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Re: Should I switch to engineering?

Postby Solt » Thu May 27, 2010 7:49 am UTC

As a recent grad from the ME program at Berkeley, I feel you should know that we were just as badly affected by the economic downturn. My friends who graduated a year ago have only recently started getting jobs. I've ended up in grad school. That's not to say that Berkeley Engineering doesn't carry prestige and open doors, even in the last year. But if for some reason you think engineering has weathered the storm better than math and physics, that's wishful thinking.

My suggestion would be to stick with what you have a passion for. As a math/physics major with only a bachelor's, you'll probably be going after engineering jobs anyway, so the key is to just do well in whatever you choose.
"Welding was faster, cheaper and, in theory,
produced a more reliable product. But sailors do
not float on theory, and the welded tankers had a
most annoying habit of splitting in two."
-J.W. Morris

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Re: Should I switch to engineering?

Postby cv4 » Thu May 27, 2010 11:28 am UTC

As said, engineering has been hit by the economic downturn like all other professions. There seems to be more opportunities for people with undergrad engineering degrees that undergrad physics degrees, which is why it may seem to you that engineering didn't get as hurt.

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