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What are good electives for a high schooler interested in technology and engineering?

For next year's school session I am having trouble selecting my classes and electives. I don't want to pick electives that won't be useful in my career (whatever career that may be), so I'm just puzzled on what to choose. I'm interested in possibly pursuing #technology and #engineering


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Alyssa’s Answer

Hi Shanvi,

Classes that are useful for engineering/technology careers include: physics, statistics, calculus, an intro to design/ computer science class, and any of the sciences that spark your interest. If you are finding classes that you enjoy, find similar ones to challenge yourself & see how it could be involved in technology/engineering. Speaking with an engineer or some in the IT industry could be a great way to see what kinds of projects that they work on daily to see what you think you would enjoy doing.

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Kyle’s Answer

Math would definitely be helpful for any engineering you might go into. Not real exciting to most, but I can't tell you how helpful it was to have a strong math foundation in collage and how painful it was to watch others struggling in engineering classes because they lacked that understanding. I use a lot of algebra and trigonometry in my job. I used a lot of calculus in collage, but not so much in my career. If there is a Microsoft Excel or Microsoft suite class, that would be helpful. Excel is a great engineering tool especially if you can delve into the VBA side. If you want something a little more fun, CAD, robotics, welding/fabrication, wood shop, auto shop, and physics are all good options depending on what type of engineering you're interested in.

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Joshua’s Answer

I can't emphasize enough the importance of computer science in today's market and the usefulness of learning basic coding. Even if you are not interested in being a software engineer, a basic understanding of coding is necessary for much of the sciences. You need this for data analysis, building tools for research, optimizing workflows, running experiments, etc.




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Jessica’s Answer

Hi! I agree with many of the previous answers as far as classes go. There are also many other ways outside of normal school hours that you can gain knowledge and experience relevant to your career interests. Take a look at the groups your school has, I know many high schools have Robotics teams or Computer Science clubs that you might join.

You might also look to see if there are any tech groups or organizations for young people interested in engineering in your area. Girls Who Code has a few after-school clubs (https://girlswhocode.com/programs/clubs-program), TeenTech (https://www.teentech.com/) is another organization that you might be interested in joining. Local technical communities also often have meet-ups or classes that are free to join, do a bit of searching to see what you can find in your local area.

As an additional side note, I do want to mention that it can be a great experience to take electives that don't necessarily directly line up with your future career aspirations. Many universities/colleges like to see that you are open to a variety of experiences and it can be very personally enriching to spend time learning music, art, sports, languages, etc. You never know when you may find a new hobby or passion!

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Paul K’s Answer

Math always very helpful with engineering. I struggled with Mat-- Had to take Geometry twice and then in college had to take Statistics twice. I would think you need to think skills. What skills and talents will i need to support an engineering or technology career. An example is -- I have to know all aspects of Facilities Management (electrical, mechanical, space management, Utilities, budget, managing staff, unions agreements, project management, Communications, Materials) On top and revolving all around these is Procurement. I know Procurement and purchasing and the laws that govern purchasing just about as well as i know Facilities Management. All of local Community colleges offer night classes or day classes in many of these areas. Another great thing you will need is to have Emotional Intelligence. That is concept of understanding when you've been verbally smacked and you absorb it and respond with skill and tact and allow yourself to calm down and provide a cogent, smart and thoughtful- non emotional response. So many people get stuck at one position because they lack Emotional Intelligence. So my advice to you in terms of what classes you can take to support your Engineering or Technology-- think skills, talents and co fields that work closely with your main field. Most employers today want someone who is humble, teachable, has EI, on time, can pass a drug screen, maintain or hold a clearance with a clean Background Investigation and someone who is mature and not making stupid statements on FB-- And believe me before they hire you, they will look at your FB profile to get a peek into the "real" you.

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Nicole’s Answer

Shanvi-
The obvious answers would be Classes in Coding, Math, Cyber security.
But I have found in may career Communication is at the heart of every tech job. Communication comes in so many forms within Technology. You may need to communicate with someone to sell something in technology, or perhaps you are the engineer and need to articulate to someone the project you are working on. The more you practice communication skills the easier it will be to maneuver in the technology industry.
Nicole

Nicole recommends the following next steps:

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Shanvi, these are some courses you should definitely take a look at (if available)
1. AP Comp Sci
2. AP Physics
3. AP Calculus BC
4. AP Chemistry
5. CAD/Drafting course
6. Robotics
7. AP Statistics
8. Linear Algebra
9. Multivariate Calculus
10. Artificial Intelligence
11. Systems programming
12. Cybersecurity

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Sara’s Answer

Agree with most of the answers here already! Here's a quick summary:
- Take as many Math courses as you can (at least 1 course every year, AP if possible)
- Join a Robotics course or club! If that's not available, try to learn online with video or an at-home project
- Any coding and/or CAD classes will also be useful

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Juan’s Answer

From personal experience, IT/technology field has many short programs and certification that would help you gain valuable skills for your career. I have worked in the IT/Telecommunications industry for over 15 years and have taken short programs such as CompTIA certifications, Cisco certifications and ITIL. If you have never taken a network or systems course, you can inquire if any of the elective prepare you for the CompTIA A+ or Network + certifications. These two are good entry level certifications that can you give you a good start in your career.

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Pui Han’s Answer

While as a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering -I agree with the above that math and computer science of course are critical - but I would advise that you also look at more diverse electives.

Typing was part of one of my business electives and I use that skill every day. I also took Home Ec because it was the only class that fit in my schedule and those skills have been invaluable. Never underestimate being able to cook and do laundry.

Good luck!!

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Christina’s Answer

Hi Shanvi,

Taking as many science and math courses will help you pursue engineering post-graduation. In particular, if you have the ability to take calculus and physics that will be very helpful. Computer science is also useful because the logic skills you'll learn and be exposed to will transfer to engineering. If you have the ability to do something in a machine shop or lab, that will help you get some hands-on experience too.

Good luck!

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Nicole’s Answer

Shanvi-
The obvious answers would be Classes in Coding, Math, Cyber security.
But I have found in may career Communication is at the heart of every tech job. Communication comes in so many forms within Technology. You may need to communicate with someone to sell something in technology, or perhaps you are the engineer and need to articulate to someone the project you are working on. The more you practice communication skills the easier it will be to maneuver in the technology industry.
Nicole

Nicole recommends the following next steps:

Extra communication classes
Saved!
Debate Club
Saved!

0