How do you decide what type of engineering best fits you?
I am a Jr. in high school. I think engineering is pretty cool but there are just SO MANY TYPES.
Unfortunately, even if you have accurate descriptions of the types from us, you really aren't going to "know" until you actually start school.
Luckily, in your first few years of engineering school you are going to be taking a little bit of everything anyway and switching between them usually isn't a big deal until your hitting your junior year, or 2nd semester sophomore year, depending on the curriculum.
But here's a little bit of a breakdown:
If you love chemistry and are far more interested in things you can't really see, then Chemical Engineering or Material Science Engineering.
If you are interested in Finance and Math: Financial Engineering but if you are more interested in Math and Statistics and maybe a little bit of Finance and Manufacturing: Industrial Engineering
Electronics: Electrical but if you also like programming: Computer Engineering or Information and Systems Engineering
Mechanical and Civil/Structural Engineering are generally about big things that you can see and interact with. Some people need to be able to physically build their designs in order to be interested in them. Structural Engineers build big things, skyscrapers and bridges, etc. Stuff designed to be larger than life, and never move. Mechanical on the other hand is smaller scale, but more stuff going on. Engines, and control systems and fuel, etc.
If you are interested in the environment and the planet itself: Civil / Environmental Engineering.
Biology/Medicine: Biomedical Engineering
Many types of Engineering kind of cross paths with eachother as well. For instance, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering have some overlap in the realm of Petroleum and Energy generation. Likewise, Mechanical and Structural overlap when you are talking about linkages and airframes. Mech and Computer Engineering overlap with control systems.
By overlap I don't mean different things in same industry. I mean literally, many of the classes are the same or similar. We had a class called Nuclear Reactor Design that was a Chem. E class taught by a Mech E professor, for instance.
Furthermore, Chemical, Mech. and Civl all overlap in the oil/gas mining industry.
Biomedical and Chemical overlap significantly in pharmaceuticals.
Mechanical and Industrial overlap in manufacturing and in assessing reliability/fatigue (which also overlaps a little with structural)
So the short of it is: Take all the intro classes first (you'll have to anyway) and figure it out later.
It depends on what interest you have. There are so many. Plastics, financial, IT, Technology and the list is extensive. What type of interest do you have and I am sure any field has engineers?
There are many, many types and it can definitely be overwhelming. I think a lot of the advice on this question is already pretty good so I will suggest something slightly different. Check out sites like instructables.com They have a huge variety of projects that you can build yourself -- from radios to programming to mechanical stuff to DIY chemistry.. Maybe try building some of the things there and see what seems fun for you and your friends. That's a pretty good indicator of what you should pursue, it should be something fun that can really grab your interest (:
Arille Jeriza Virrey
Arille Jeriza’s Answer
Another way to figure out if you like a certain engineering field is to just dive right into it. If you're able to find any kind of engineering internship that remotely interests you either in the beginning or latter end of your college career, take it! Even if it doesn't fit exactly in line with what your major is, having 3-6 months real-world experience in a field will definitely tell you if the field is right for you or not.
Also, use your teachers as your resource! A lot of engineering teachers have professional experience in the field and would usually love to share their own personal career experience with you.
Ethan had a great response.
I'd like to discuss one factor of engineering that I wish was explained to me when I was younger. Where do you want to live your life? The type of engineer you are will directly impact thelse possibilities.
I am a chemical engineer and have lived in Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, and now in the middle of no where in the UK. I constantly dream about life in NYC but there are no chemical engineering jobs there. If I wanted to live in Manhattan, I should have chosen civil engineering. San Fran then probably a computer engineer, Houston then a chemical/mechanical.
This may not mean much now but you will certainly face these realities after college.
(Cos) Ofer’s Answer
What do you like about engineering? What about it makes it seem cool to you?
Are there any engineering-like things you've tried or watched or read about a lot or played games based on? What appealed to you?