2 answers

Do you have to be smart to be an engineer?

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After looking this up online, I have gotten many mixed answers ranging from it being okay to not be at the top of your classes to the discouragement of it because of the difficulty. I admit I am not the smartest but I have an interest in the idea of engineering. I don't know to much about the field/major but would it be okay for those who aren't a genius? #engineer #smart

2 answers

Douglas’s Answer



I had to smile when I read your question. Smart is such a subjective term, but having said that, the short answer is no. The vast majority of people that you will meet, including Engineers are average, few are smart (above average intelligence). Just as in any profession: doctors, lawyers, accountants, not everybody graduates at the very top of their class. That is the same for engineers. A 4-year Engineering program in collage is demanding and everyone that I know who got an engineering degree worked for it. But, when you are working on something that you find interesting, it often doesn't seem like work.

A good indication of how you might do in and engineering program is how well did you do in your high school math and physics classes. You do not have to love math but, you have to be able to do math since math is one of the tools you will use in engineering to figure things out. You do not have to get all As, but you should be able to do it and find it somewhat interesting (geometry, tribometry, algebra, etc.).

If you like to figure out how things work, if you like to solve problems, if you like to create things, you should do well in engineering. I suggest that you go online and Google engineering to get an idea of what they do (Mechanical, Civil, Electrical - and their many offshoots) and see if one of the many types of engineering appeals to you.

Hope this helps,


Thank you so much! This does help!

Jessie’s Answer


Oh my gosh I have to say that doing well in your classes is not equal to smart! I have read some research that actually shows that people who get all high grades in high school and college are actually less likely to do amazing things as they get older. Essentially they are so good at following the rules that the don't bring a sense of creativity and innovation to their later careers.

Plus - when you are in college you will get to focus in on courses that are interesting to you. If you love engineering, then it won't seem like "work" because you are doing something that engages you and naturally feeds your curiosity.

Engineering is a hard field - hard but oh so much fun!! In what other career do you get to create and learn for a living?? Go for it!

(And obviously you are smart - and motivated and amazing for aiming to be the best version of you that you can be!)

Jessie recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out the book "Originals" by Adam Grant
  • Check out the book "Barking Up the Wrong Tree" by Eric Barker
Thank You for the motivation and recommendations!