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What is the biggest challenge of becoming a chemical engineer?

Alternatively, what are the biggest challenges of being a chemical engineer?

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Shyamsundar’s Answer

First of all, this is a great choice of studies which opens up to a lot of stream. The first most important part I would say would be having a strong interest into this subject chemistry. Apart from interest, One would require a good amount of memorizing capacity. But eventually its your urge and drive that will get you through to become a successful chemical engineer.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Shyamsundar! Evan
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Shyamsundar! Samuel
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Bill’s Answer

Chemical Engineering is a challenging but rewarding field. Having strong chemistry and math skills is very important to being able to succeed in the field. As you progress through the degree, you will find yourself having to use increasingly higher levels of math (differential equations, calculus, etc.) and chemistry (physical chemistry, organic chemistry, etc.), so if you do not enjoy math and chemistry then the course work might be more of a struggle for you. Most Chemical Engineers that I talk with agree that the junior year is usually the most difficult. Typically during your junior year in a program you will take courses such as thermodynamics, heat/mass transfer, fluids, and reactors. Once you make it past the junior year, the senior year tends to be the most fun, because you take the principles that you have been learning and combine them for senior design and begin to work on more "real world" problems. Most engineers will tell you that in order to successfully make it through an engineering program, you will have to have a good work ethic and be devoted to studying. If you enjoy math/chemistry, have a good work ethic and apply yourself, you will find that becoming a Chemical Engineer opens a lot of opportunities for you and will provide you with a spring board to a rewarding career.
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Sarah’s Answer

The first challenge to becoming a chemical engineer will be getting through the college engineering courseload. The courses are difficult, and often have competitive grading curves. My advice for that would be to always attend classes, and also take advantage of professors' office hours and additional TA or study sessions, etc. Meet one on one with your professor, especially if you are struggling with a course or topic.

Chemical engineering jobs can be competitive, most engineering schools have career fairs to help you find internships, co-ops, and full-time jobs. Internships and co-ops are a wonderful way to try out real-world engineering, and decide if it is right for you.

Once employed as a chemical engineer, every day and every job will present new challenges. Chemical engineers are employed for their problem-solving and troubleshooting skills, you will learn to hone those skills and take a systematic approach to problem solving.

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Check out the internship and grad programs offered by Chevron Phillips Chemical https://www.cpchem.com/careers/working-with-us/intern-graduate-programs
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Mario’s Answer

Hello Evan!

Embarking on the path to becoming a Chemical Engineer, I encountered several hurdles. These included mastering the diverse disciplines encompassed by the degree and acquiring the necessary soft skills to excel in my career.

Interestingly, chemical engineering doesn't delve deeply into chemistry itself. Instead, it zeroes in on the physics that govern the behavior of chemicals. Essentially, you're not so much inventing new chemicals as you are comprehending how existing ones behave, both independently and in combinations. Grasping the physics that govern chemicals is vital because it allows us to manipulate and mass-produce chemicals on a large scale. To achieve this, a robust foundation in math, physics, and chemistry is indispensable.

When it comes to soft skills, they're crucial for securing internships and jobs. In my experience, this means you need to comprehend complex subjects and possess the ability to explain them in detail to someone who may not be familiar with the topic, yet can still grasp what you're conveying. Stellar communication skills are an absolute necessity!

In the grand scheme of things, I believe chemical engineers are individuals capable of understanding intricate issues and formulating a straightforward or somewhat straightforward solution. There's certainly a wealth of knowledge to be gained as a chemical engineer. I hope this insight proves helpful!
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