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What is a good way to find out as to which engineering pathway I want to go into?

I am a high school student, and I tend to do well in math and science classes. I enjoy them as well, so I am considering going to college for an engineering degree, but there are so many types of engineering! What is a good way to get exposure to many of the different pathways so that I have a better idea of what type of engineering I would want to pursue? #engineering #mechanical-engineering #civil-engineering #computer-engineering #electrical-engineering #software-engineering #chemical-engineering #industrial-engineering


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Haitham’s Answer

Don't listen to what your parents want you to be or follow your friend or take advice from anyone on that.
1 important factor for success that people usually discover late in their career, that you will only be successful when you do the things you like not what your cousin Elsa likes.
So be yourself and take a pick.

This is good advice, students should pursue their own passions NOT those of other people in their lives (parents, friends, etc). It sounds like Allison is very much interested in engineering but doesn't know which area to explore. Any suggestions? Gurpreet Lally

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David’s Answer

Another way to get exposure is to ask for informational interview with folks in the field. If you do not have a network you can consider posting on social media or maybe neighbors via Nextdoor.com. There should be folks that are friends or relatives of folks in your circles. Adults love to share their experiences school kids but the problem for us adults is finding the opportunities to talk to kids that are interested. So ask around you'll be surprised at the response.


As you approach just ask if you could discuss their career for 30 minutes at some time. Keep request short and time limited as to not overwhelm someones schedule. If not local you can always do it via the phone or skype.
Good luck.


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Greg’s Answer

Great resources noted from Ken. I would add to check with the university placement office and also arrange a trip to possibly coordinated with their engineering camps or engineering day (many universities have those for engineering). For me, I also participated in math and science camps through 4-H. This was very helpful and I learned that I had a great interest in electrical engineering (vs. mechanical, civil, or chemical).


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Christine’s Answer

Dear Allison:
You you are like me, that was my confusion in college until they forced me to chose a major.
I used the process of elimination method when chosing my engineering focus.

After taking college level Chemistry 101 & 102, I eliminated Chemical Engineering
My final selection = Mechanical Engineering (the broadest category of Engineering)

However; if you have an interest in Biology and Medical jump into Biomedical Engineering!
Wish back in the 1990's that would have been an option at University of Maryland. Just visited my alum and The Fischell Bioengineering Building is amazing!! Check it out on line :)
2 years ago, I met and had 2 meetings with Dr Robert Fischell himself!

Good luck,
Christine Lear

Christine recommends the following next steps:

Research Biomedical Engineering
Research the famous Dr. Robert Fischell, a physicist, inventor, holder of over 200 patents and donated over $30 million to University of Maryland

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Jonathan’s Answer

This is a question that I also had when I was in high school. What I did was to watch youtube videos on how certain engineering fields work in their day-by-day to start thinking if that was what I wanted for the future. There is a channel called "Engineering Truth" where they interview Engineers from different fields in order to see what they do every day. Also, when you start with the basic engineering classes in community college or beginning of University, you will start taking classes that expose you to different kinds of Engineering such as electrical, programing, etc. From those classes you will know if you like certain things or not.

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Jayavignesh’s Answer

Is there anything in the science classes that gets your attention in particular? Once you take all the basic sciences at the high school level, it can help narrow your choices by what interests you; so take a variety of classes if you have electives to choose.

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Michael’s Answer

Mechanical Engineering is the most versatile engineering field. As a Mechanical engineer myself, I regularly perform hydraulic fluid, heat transfer, airflow, power, electrical, and mechanical 'calculations'. I started in Electrical Engineering, and realized the focus was too narrow for my interests. If you have a particular 'passion' for any of the engineering fields, as other have commented - seek out a mentor and look for a job-shadow opportunity. It is not uncommon to switch engineering degrees in your freshman or sophomore year (I did). - just make sure you are taking your lib-ed credits accordingly.

Michael recommends the following next steps:

When you wake up in the morning, do you see yourself in a suit, a labcoat, traveling, on a customer's jobsite, at a power distribution center, in a programming building, etc...

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Davina’s Answer

Contact a local university and find out if they have an Open Day for Engineering, and attend. Also, subjects you like at High School are an indication of where you may have a passion or interest. If you're interested in chemistry, for example, that may indicate a passion for Chemical Engineering. Also, seeking our adults in the field of engineering is another good option already mentioned.

Davina recommends the following next steps:

Visit Engineering Open Day at local University

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