If you are thinking of getting an engineering degree then you might be wondering whether or not it is a good degree to get.
This post will show you whether or not engineering would be a good major for you and some other things to consider.
So, is engineering a good major? Engineering degrees offer good job prospects with good pay and often good work-life balance as well. However, engineering majors can be among the most challenging and many of the jobs will require a master’s degree.
There are actually many things to consider when deciding on whether or not to get an engineering degree and there are many things that you can do to make your time in the major easier.
It can pay well
According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in engineering is $83,000. This puts engineering among the highest paying degrees to obtain.
Engineering is also a major that will give you good job prospects with just a bachelor’s degree.
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 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.
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. Make sure to take computer science algorithms and data structures since that is what gets tested in software engineering interviews.
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 will make use of a lot of mathematics. In engineering, you will need to learn, single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, discrete math and differential equations. 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.
If you have already taken a number of math classes and you have done well in them then you will likely also do well in engineering.
Whereas, if you did not take much math in high school then you will have a harder time in engineering. With that being said, it will still be possible for you to do well in the major but you will have to put more time into studying than you are likely used to.
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.
There are a number of alternatives if you are thinking of getting an engineering degree.
The alternatives can include:
- Computer science
- Computer engineering
Ways to make an engineering degree easier
If you do decide that you want to get an engineering degree then there are a number of things that you can do to make your time in the major easier that I will mention below.
Avoid taking multiple difficult classes at the same time
Where possible, it would help to try to separate the difficult classes. Taking multiple difficult classes, concurrently, will mean that you will have to spend more time studying, you might struggle to keep up in your classes and it might hurt your GPA.
It would help to plan your entire degree out early on so that you can take your classes in an optimal sequence and try to keep the difficulty of each semester roughly the same. You can do this with the help of an academic advisor from the department.
It is normal to have to take multiple difficult classes, at the same time, in your junior and senior years.
Pick the recommended professors
The professor can have a big impact on the difficulty of a class. The professor will determine what gets put on exams, how much homework there is and how the exams are graded. Some will give you a study guide and others will tell you anything from the book goes.
Before selecting your classes it would help to look at what other students have said on ratemyprofessors.com.
Take the homework seriously
While the largest weighting will usually be on the exams, the homework does still usually get a large weighting of around 20%. This is enough to make up for a bad exam result.
Many students don’t take the homework very seriously but they should since doing well on it will help you do better in exams and boost your grade.
You can make sure you do well on the homework by starting it early, using multiple resources and getting help when you get stuck.
Read the textbook
Many students also skip straight to the homework problems without reading the textbook because they want to save time. The issue with doing this is that the questions will be based on what is in the textbook and the professor might have skipped parts of the book.
Prepare for the class before taking it
One way to make your classes much easier would be to prepare for them before taking them. You can do so by watching a series on Youtube before taking the class or reading a highly rated book on the subject. Doing this will help you to follow along with the lectures more easily and help you to do better on the exams.