If you are deciding between majoring in finance or civil engineering, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
Water resources engineer
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Most finance jobs|
require longer working
hours than most civil
Can qualify for a number
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
A relatively secure field
once you are able to land a
Employable with just a bachelor’s
High-stress work environment
in the early years.
High job satisfaction and fulfillment.
Low predicted job growth
over the next decade.
The work environment can
be more physically active than most
jobs since you’ll need to go to the construction
locations occasionally. However,
there is also a lot of meetings and
design work using computer software.
Source for finance salary and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars. This is similar to the reported average pay of someone with a civil engineering degree which is $71,000.
When compared with most degrees, a finance degree usually comes out on top in terms of pay. A finance degree also has a high ceiling in terms of potential pay for senior-level positions.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. With that being the case, a degree in finance will usually be less difficult than a civil engineering degree which will involve more math-heavy classes.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Micro and macro economics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
Things to consider
If you choose to get a degree in finance, it would help a lot to consider what types of finance jobs you are most interested in so that you can optimize your classes accordingly.
Many people that are able to get a high paying job immediately after graduating with a finance degree, usually will have completed internships during the summer breaks. So, it would help a lot to try to get one or two internships completed while you are in the major during the summers.
It could also help to get a minor in a field that is related to the types of jobs that you are interested in. Often, finance majors find themselves in roles that involve a lot of accounting, so getting a minor in accounting could be very useful.
Details about a degree in civil engineering
Below are some details about the civil engineering major.
According to Payscale, the average pay for a person with a degree in civil engineering is $70,508. This is higher than the average pay for most majors. However, it is a lot lower than alternative engineering majors such as computer engineering ($87,000) and electrical engineering ($92,000).
On one hand, civil engineering could be seen as a safe major because there will always be buildings, dams, highways, stadiums, etc that need to be built. As a result, once you are able to get a job in civil engineering, it is typically seen as a relatively secure job to have.
However, it can be tricky to find a job at the entry-level and the price of the job security is that the pay is slightly lower than alternative majors such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. Also, because you will be building structures that many people will be using and that cost millions of dollars, it can be a very stressful job, especially in the early years. Although, it is also typically a very interesting field to work in, and completing a project successfully can be very fulfilling.
Jobs that you can get with a civil engineering degree include:
- Civil engineer
- Project engineer
- Structural engineer
- Transportation engineer
- Geotechnical engineer
- Water resources engineer
- Construction engineer
Civil engineering has a number of sub-fields and you will need to specialize in one of them before getting a job.
The subfields include:
Construction engineering. This involves managing the project as it is underway and building the temporary structures that are used while constructing the actual structure.
Geotechnical engineering. This involves ensuring that the foundations of the structure are well built.
Structural engineering. This involves designing the structure and ensuring that it will be able to support itself.
Transportation engineering. This involves building and maintaining streets, highways, airports, docks, and harbors.
Water resource engineering. This involves managing water resources by designing new equipment and facilities.
Civil engineering is a difficult degree that will involve a lot of mathematics including calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. It will also involve some physics and the engineering classes themselves can be difficult. There will also be a lot of lab classes that will involve a lot of projects.
Classes that you can expect to take in a civil engineering degree can include:
Introduction to programming
Introduction to civil engineering
Civil engineering materials
Mechanics of structures
Water resources engineering
You can also expect to take more specialized classes related to the specialization that you choose.
Things to consider
Before choosing civil engineering and the university that you want to go to, it would help to research the type of civil engineering you are most interested in. This is so that you know what to specialize in and so that you know what university to choose because some universities will only offer certain specializations.
Reasons to choose a civil engineering major
A civil engineering degree should qualify you for many jobs with just a bachelor’s degree.
Also, civil engineering jobs tend to be very satisfying jobs that are also very interesting and important to society. The jobs can also be more active than finance jobs since there will be some traveling involved in order to go to the construction sites.
However, a civil engineering degree will require a lot of study time. There are some alternative degrees that can also give good job prospects that do not require as much study time such as computer science.
Reasons to choose a finance major
A finance degree can also give good job prospects. If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well. Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior-level positions can pay very well. However, finance jobs can require long working hours and can be highly stressful.