Skip to main content
11 answers
12
Updated 177 views Translate

What types Engineering will be the best for me I do not like sitting on a desk and doing computer work please help me

I love Solving problems and I love algebra but I hate computer work and I want to be in the engineering field I want to do stuff with my hand not on the computer

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

12

11 answers


2
Updated Translate

David’s Answer

I am (well was) a Civil Engineer. There are opportunities for field engineers. That is what I was when I started. I worked for a geotechnical engineering company as a field engineer. I did site inspections, managed earthworks projects, foundations, pile driving, etc. You had to know what you were looking at, and there was of course some math, but you were not doing design work, or heavy calculations. You were making sure field conditions were built as designed, or your were collecting information (soil sampling, geological information, etc) so the engineers in the office could make proper designs.

However, there are two drawbacks.

1) Working in the field is not all it is cracked up to be - you may have long travel distance, long hours (if a project is working OT to get it done, the hourly workers are happy, you as a salaried engineer don't like those unpaid weekends so much), and the weather is not always so nice.

2) People doing the actual design work (with computers) tend to make more money than those who are just checking the work of the designers.
2
2
Updated Translate

Joseph’s Answer

First, to manage expectations, most modern engineering does require a significant amount of computer work, whether it's CAD and simulations or just documenting and presenting your work. If you really wanted to avoid computer work, you'd probably need to move away from the more academically oriented engineering and move towards more practical mechanic or technician roles - however, given your interest in the mathematical aspects of engineering, that doesn't really sound like the route you're looking for.

There are, however, plenty of engineering roles where you can find a balance of practical and computer work. I used to be part of a small instrumentation company where we had mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, project engineers, and even myself as a physicist all split roughly 50:50 between computer-based design and documentation work and practically-based workshop assembly and testing activities. I guess that sort of C&I engineering is perhaps a reasonably good area in that regard, getting you into hands-on testing, especially if you've got a bit of electronics engineering background, although there's still a fair bit of computer work interfacing sensors, PLCs etc to computers, so perhaps not ideal.

As Rebecca suggests, possibly a more mechanical or civil engineering role might have more opportunities to get you away from a computer; although they both have aspects that will require computer work, I imagine mech-eng has a lot more practical things needing doing that some other fields, and with civils I guess there's a load of surveying and measuring and then overseeing work crews, so that sounds like a possibility to get away from an office.

I think overall though, a lot of engineering fields will have some areas where you can balance practical and computer work, I think it's more dependent on the specific role you take. I'd look out for certain things in the job ads - a role described as a "test engineer" is likely to have much more practical opportunities than one described as a "design engineer", and that sort of thing probably applies across many engineering subfields.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Also have a look at: https://www.careervillage.org/questions/539484/what-engineering-job-would-be-good-for-me-if-i-want-to-work-with-my-hands
2
2
Updated Translate

Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you are interested in engineering.
There are many disciplines in engineering, eg Electrical & Electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, manufacturing engineering, computer engineering, etc.
If you prefer not to use computer all the day, you can exclude computer engineering from your list.
Would you interest on mechanical engineering or civil engineering?
I suggest you can explore more on these 2 engineering streams and determine whether you have interest on it.
Having said that, the jobs responsibilities may vary among different Employers.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
2
1
Updated Translate

Sonny’s Answer

Hi Emma, I felt the same way going into college. I was strong in math and was a hands-on learner, but I did not want a computer job. Here's my thoughts as a mechanical engineer.

The cool thing about mechanical engineering is that it's a broad discipline that's always in need. Every physical engineering company will need a mechE. You can work on biomedical devices, automotive, automation, aerospace, etc. without having to specialize in that specific field. This gives you flexibility in the case you find out that biomedical is not the path for you. I personally had roles in biomedical, manufacturing, and wearable technology. Vastly different company products, but the same core responsibilities.

Like Joseph, I don't think it's possible to fully avoid computers unless you want to be a mechanic or technician. The two roles mentioned are solely hands-on work but you have zero input on the design. You'll be doing assembly or repairs of something someone else designed instead of building something you made. Based on your previous posts, it seems like you're more interested in building something you designed. I think design is the fun part.

The ratio of computer work to hands-on work varies between industries, companies, roles, and years of experience. It is crucial that we use computer software to design, analyze, and report about the things we create. In college, you'd learn how to mathematically analyze stresses on paper, but in the industry, the products are more complex. A computer could analyze a car model to optimize the drag in minutes, while such complex calculations would take days/weeks for a human. Computer analysis is more accurate and allows you to visualize trouble areas. You also need CAD software to virtually design what you want to make. You can't go right into building without a blueprint.

A simplified day-to-day for a mechanical engineer is: 1) 3D model something in CAD 2) Create a prototype via 3D printing, power tools, milling, etc. (this is the hands-on part) 3) Test the product 4) Analyze the findings 5) Write a report and implement any changes needed 6) Repeat the cycle until the desired outcome is reached. Some engineers have roles specific to the steps listed. It's important to find a role and company that will suit your needs. For example, there are design engineers that specialize #1 and test engineers that specialize #3. You'll find yourself doing more 1-2 in startups and more 3-5 in more established companies. You'll do more 3-5 as an entry engineer and more 1-2 as an experienced engineer. This should give you a general idea.

A very similar discipline would be electrical engineering and robotics engineering. I would check those as well. I hope this helps!
1
0
Updated Translate

Luke’s Answer

Like others here, I recommend civil engineering as a former civil engineer myself. My advice would be to target construction companies and large engineering companies (or small ones that still do inspections) when looking for your first internship. From there, you'll have your foot in the door and experience on construction projects.
0
0
Updated Translate

Patrick’s Answer

Electrical engineering could be a good degree to look toward, especially if you want to look toward products or systems. Industrial Engineering is also a good broad engineering degree that can be used in a lot of different areas from supply chain to process improvement and evolve into business related roles. I am not sure you would be ever completely away from a computer or some desk work. If you college has a general engineering program to start (such as University of Florida) where you get to touch several engineering disciplines so you can determine your path, I would recommend it.
0
0
Updated Translate

Maya’s Answer

Hi Emma, I highly suggest Civil Engineering. That can mean many things to many people. The main branches are structural, geotechnical, water, construction, and transportation. Modeling and calculations and design at a desk, yes, is a path of you get this major. But if you want to be in the field the majority of the time, you can be a field engineer or work for a government agency or consultant that specilizes in inspections. If you are in construction you will mostly be working in outside with your hands. That’s a field as it gets. But again, inspections and regulation will have you out in the field most of the time. The degree is broad and you can change your mind a lot of times and still come out with a good job that you can enjoy. Hope this helps!

Maya recommends the following next steps:

Look at job postings on jobs.gov or your local city or county
Go to the ASCE.org website
Look at agencies like USGS, NOAA, USACE which I know do more field work that consulting and design firms
0
0
Updated Translate

Lanting’s Answer

Civil Engineer/Geologist/Transportation Engineer etc allows you to travel around and you will usually need to be on the project site working with the workers. I also know some mechanical engineers who will need to be in the factory and work in some labs!
0
0
Updated Translate

Jackson’s Answer

Emma: I was a field engineer right out of college. I was fortunate that at the age of 22, I had a company truck, cellphone, pager (that was pre-smartphone days), and thousands of dollars of telecommunications equipment. My responsibilities included field surveys, lab equipment testing, field installation, and sometimes repairs. I spent about half of the time sitting in the office in front of a computer performing simulations, filing applications, and project coordination.
Tailor your college engineering studies that are suited for roles such as field engineer, field installation engineer, or field test engineer. If opportunities exist, take on internship opportunities and shadow field engineers for better understanding.
0
0
Updated Translate

Lanting’s Answer

Civil Engineer/Geologist/Transportation Engineer etc allows you to travel around and you will usually need to be on the project site working with the workers. I also know some mechanical engineers who will need to be in the factory and work in some labs!
0
0
Updated Translate

George’s Answer

Civil Engineering will get you out and about. There is still some office work to be done, but you spend a good amount of time outside reviewing construction being done and ensuring safety precautions are being followed.
0