Is it worth it to minor in something you find interest in?
I am doing a Math-Computer Science degree at UCSD. I know most of my courses will consist of difficult math and CS courses but I find engineering very interesting as well. I wanted to minor in engineering for my own personal interest so I could learn more about it. And if I really enjoy it, maybe I could go to grad school for it. But I would not want to minor if it drops my GPA since internships and grad school are both very competitive. Is it worth the risk? If applicable, how was your own personal experience in minoring (in any subject) and why did you do it?
#engineering #college #math #major #minor #computer-science #college-major
I personally had similar struggles as you, and my approach for it is to speak to your academic/major advisor to see the possibility of taking engineering courses without the need to declaring a minor. That way you would have the flexibility of trying out a few courses and assess your interest and ability to get good grades prior to committing and declaring engineering as your minor. In addition, it is also worth trying to directly speaking with the professors of those engineering courses to see if you can listen in during their lectures. That can also be a great way for you to learn new information without having to risk having lower grades.
Hope this helps :)
While I was an undergraduate student many (many) years ago, I pursued a minor to supplement my interest in a foreign language. This was helpful for me as I took a job overseas after graduation. Reflecting back on my curriculum, I could have pursued a double major if I had been more strategic in planning for classes. I hope this helps and good luck with your studies!
Marcey recommends the following next steps:
This one’s the first obvious step—we all want to enjoy and actually like our careers. (Perhaps the biggest sign you’re on the wrong path is you “want to minor in engineering for my own personal interest so I could learn more about it.”) While passion isn’t the only requirement for being content in your career, many would say it’s still essential, if only because passion is what keeps you going even through the tough times.
Maybe you don’t feel that passionate about Computer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering – or in you case love multiple areas and can’t decide on just one. Then it’s time to think about your personality and focus on what excites and energizes you the most.
I think this bring you back to your other questions: Classroom Knowledge vs Internship Experience.
EDUCATION VS EXPERIENCE
A College degree program certainly builds both knowledge and skills, few colleges and universities can fully prepare you for the daily challenges of a career in Computer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. The pressure to make good grades and to complete assignments on time rarely, if ever, matches the demands of on the job knowledge. It is a debate perhaps as old as higher education itself: what matters most when it comes to being in a career you love? Does that higher degree get your foot in the door, or does work experience count? And beyond actually attaining a job, will experience or education serve you best for staying employed, growing in your career?
It is understandable that you may not go for an awesome internship opportunity because it’s unpaid. However, doing so can end up being a mistake as it significantly limits the opportunities available and if an internship in Computer Engineering or Mechanical Engineering is going to help you decide, than thats you goal.
The arguments are varied, but the main ones go something like this:
• Higher education only proves you can succeed in academia, not in a real-world job;
• Success in actual work means more than success in education;
• Work experience does not necessarily provide the skills you need for the next job you will have; or
• A higher degree guarantees a particular skill set – which can be translated into work skills.
The reality of the education vs experience debate is that no single argument can cover all the potential situations of your career success Ashley.
I hope this was also Helpful
My major was Petroleum Engineering when I was an undergrad in UT Austin. I choose that major because I was good at math, physics, and chemistry. However, my real passion was in teaching. I decided to join UTeach program and minor in mathematics. The extra math courses and student-teaching opportunities were fun and refreshing.
Knowing that I always have a backup option in case my first option didn't work out (as it turned out, I had to leave oil-and-gas industry in 2016 due to the market downturn), it really give me this sense of safe and security. If you believe you can manage the workload, college is really the time for you to try all the new things and explore your options.
As you allude to, having a minor can be a clear benefit since it shows you "did more." Computer science is a great degree and I'd focus the minor on what you are interested in. Something like Computer Engineering would complement and extend what you already study in CS, while Mechanical would give you exposure and knowledge in a different area.
Having cross-disciplinary experience enables you to bring more to the first parts of your career. Since more of the world runs on software, what you learn, and how you learn, in a minor allows you to contribute in unique ways. If you have an idea where your "dream job" is, what is the "non-CS" knowledge that would apply. For example, if you want to be in software development at NASA, the minor in Aerospace or Mechanical would allow you to more easily jump in speaking the same language.
While it doesn't sound like it applies to you, another example would be to get something entirely different, like psychology. That sets you up for the whole field of "Human Computer Interaction." This is the one I wish I had thought about before my senior year.
In my career, some of the people that contributed the most brought outside experience and approaches to the team. It was a source of new ideas and if you can bring some to your future teams, you'll be special. Good Luck.
This depends greatly on a few things:
1) Do you need additional credits in order to graduate? If not, you may be taking on additional expense to do this minor in the form of tuition and fees.
2) Do you anticipate using the minor in your career? If so, the additional expense, might be worth it.
3) Will it bring you joy? A wise mentor once told me that you should take at least 1 class a semester in a subject that brings you joy. It never failed me and often ended up being my favorite class of the semester.
Hope this helps!
Perhaps I can shed light on the subject as someone who has a BS in Civil Engineering and a near-minor in CS (pretty much every engineering major is almost a mathematics minor as well, but I did one better by taking a rigorous mathematics course in Linear Algebra).
If you're focusing on math and CS, there are applications that cross over between the two but that are taught very differently to engineers vs. math majors. Physical sciences and engineering are messy in a way that human-made code often isn't.
Odds are when you deal with engineering problems in the real world that efficiency and optimization only take you so far in solving a problem with physical or monetary constraints that plain will not apply in a virtual space. If you're interested in a CS-related discipline like electrical or computer engineering, a minor could really help you add context to a degree. If you're interested in an engineering discipline with less overt relationships to computer engineering (like civil, mechanical, or chemical), many of the basic course prerequisites are things you wouldn't necessarily be required to take at all but could fulfill an additional science requirement without the necessity of declaring a minor.
A minor can help you broaden your college experience, but declaring a minor can put an unnecessary burden on you in tuition and fees if you're already close to graduating and the courses don't necessarily align with the degree requirements of your major. I would only declare a minor if you have the extra resources in terms of money and time. In my experience, a minor has very little or no impact on hiring decisions.
I think minoring in a subject that is interesting to you is a great thing. I was a Health Science major, and I grow very interested in Health Policy Administration after taking a class in the subject. I found it very beneficial because the classes were related to my major and my main field of interest but also gave me some insight into a little bit of a different field. Additionally, I think it made my resume stand out a bit, that I was able to complete a Major and a Minor, performing at a high level.
Hope this helps!
If you are interested in it, take the course that would equate to a minor. If you do well, declare your minor if you don't and you feel it brings down your GPA, you are not obligated to fulfill more of the requirements. I did a double major, I only declared my double major once I knew that the course work I would need for the second major could be satisfied without additional costs to me.
As noted by many others, college is a time to explore. So if you find the classes interesting, take them, if you qualify for a minor, declare it. But enjoy the time to explore your options.
Find out what courses you have to take, and see if any of the courses can be applied to both your major and minor.
For example, I got my major in Computer Science and a Minor in Management Information Systems.
For a few of the classes in my minor, I had already completed them with my major! I'd go for it, be sure to stay organized with all the
coursework. Good luck :)