If you are deciding between majoring in engineering or finance, 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:

Payscale reported
average pay
Ease of finding a jobModerate/GoodGood
Types of jobs
you can qualify for

Financial analyst
Data analyst
Investment analyst
Financial advisor
Credit analyst
Software engineer
Mechanical engineer
Civil engineer
Project engineer
Structural engineer
Electrical engineer
Industrial engineer
Chemical engineer
Difficulty of the
Key things to noteMost finance jobs
require longer working
hours than most engineering

Can qualify for a number
of jobs with just a bachelor’s

High potential pay at the
senior levels.
One of the best paying
bachelor’s degrees.

Can give good job
prospects with just
a bachelor’s degree.

Good job satisfaction.

The jobs you will
qualify for will depend
a lot on the specific
type of engineering
degree you choose.
Source for engineering salary and jobs
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.

Average pay

According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars. Whereas, the hourly rate for an engineering major is reported as being $28.40. This is likely to be a reflection of the longer working hours that finance jobs require despite having similar salaries to most engineering jobs.

With that being said, engineering is a particularly well-performing degree. When compared with most other 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
  • Accountant
  • 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 easier than a degree in engineering which will be much more math heavy.


Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:

  • Microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Personal finance concepts
  • Project management
  • Accounting
  • Fundamentals of marketing
  • Principles of business
  • Corporate finance
  • Managerial accounting
  • Other upper-level finance courses as available

Details about a degree in engineering

Below are details about a degree in engineering.

It can pay well

According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in engineering is $85,100. This puts engineering among the highest paying degrees available.

Engineering is also a major that will give you good job prospects with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because engineering degrees tend to be applied to multiple specific job roles meaning that you should be reasonably well prepared for certain jobs without needing too much extra training. It is also common for people with engineering degrees to find work in other mathematical fields such as data analytics and data science.

However, many of the better jobs will require a master’s degree. Getting one will also improve your long-term pay prospects. However, this can also be said for most majors.

Something to consider is that the average salary will vary depending on the specific field that you are intending to enter. You can look here to see what the median and average pay is for each of the different types of engineering degrees.

Also, the job progression and working hours will depend a lot on the specific field you want to enter.

Before choosing an engineering degree, it would help a lot to do lots of research on the specific type of engineering degree that you are interested in and to make sure that it has good job prospects. It would also help to make sure that it is something that you would be interested in doing.

Job prospects are projected to improve

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics it is expected that there will be a total of 139,300 new jobs by 2026 when compared to 2016. You can look here to see how each of the different types of engineering jobs are projected to improve.

Many people with engineering degrees go down the software engineering route. These jobs tend to pay well and be less demanding unless there are deadlines coming up.

With that being the case, picking up a minor in computer science will help to broaden your job prospects significantly. At the very least, it would help to make sure to take computer science algorithms and data structures since that is what gets tested in software engineering interviews.

The types of jobs you can expect to qualify for will depend a lot on the type of engineering degree you choose and the electives you choose.

But you can expect to qualify for jobs such as:

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Civil engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Chemical engineer

If you also take computer science classes you could also qualify for software engineering roles. You might also qualify for roles in data science, machine learning and data analysis if you learn programming (in Python), take computer science electives and also complete projects related to machine learning and data science.

It can be difficult to get a high GPA

Engineering majors are, usually, majors with a high dropout rate. There are many possible reasons for this but one main reason is that an engineering major is more challenging than people would expect.

Engineering makes use of lots of mathematics. In engineering, you will need to learn, single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, discrete math and differential equations as well as some physics. These can be difficult classes that will require a lot of time spent studying. Many students are not willing to put the necessary amount of time into studying for these classes so they end up not doing very well in them.

Another thing to consider is your level of interest in the subject. If you are interested in engineering then you will likely have an easier time motivating yourself to continue studying when you are struggling.

Engineering degrees will often require more credits

Another reason that people have a hard time doing well in engineering is that it will often require more credits to graduate than some of the other majors.

This means that you will likely have to take more classes in each semester as an engineering major and you will have to spend more time studying.

Alternative degrees

There are a number of alternatives if you are thinking of getting an engineering degree.

The alternatives can include:

  • Computer science
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Computer engineering
  • Physics

Things to consider

Since the different engineering degrees will be more applied to specific job roles and can qualify you for a range of jobs, they should give you good job prospects.

However, it can still be difficult when job searching especially right after graduation so it could help a lot to improve your job opportunities by also taking classes from another well-paying discipline such as computer science.

Reasons to choose an engineering degree

Most engineering degrees can qualify you for good jobs with just a bachelor’s degree. The jobs are often engaging, come with high job satisfaction ratings and good pay. Also, an engineering degree can help qualify you for math-heavy jobs such as data science and machine learning if you choose the right classes or even get a computer science minor. Additionally, engineering jobs will typically be less customer-facing when compared to most finance jobs.

An additional way to improve your job prospects would be to minor in another degree that also has good job prospects such as computer science. Doing this could help you to qualify for more programming type roles and could help you when applying to graduate school for things such as machine learning or computer science. This would give you very good job prospects since both computer science and engineering will qualify you for many jobs and you might find that you prefer the CS jobs.

Reasons to choose a finance degree

Like engineering, a finance degree should qualify you for a lot of good-paying jobs. 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. Additionally, if you prefer customer-facing roles, a finance degree could be better for you than an engineering degree since many, but not all, finance jobs are customer-facing.

However, finance jobs tend to require long working hours and the jobs often have low job satisfaction ratings. Before choosing the degree, it would help to consider what sort of working environment would suit you the most and what you would find satisfying personally.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.