Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:04 pm

Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

This is a sequel to this discussion
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=171074

For a student getting into college this fall, which engineering discipline will you suggest.
Student may not be a mere staff engineering, more analytical hence will become a research engineer.
Understand that the student has to find for them self what to do ? But some pointers will help them appreciate what is out there.

So if you have some insights please share.

investingdad
Posts: 1577
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by investingdad » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:08 pm

I'm a chemical engineer.

I'd recommend computer engineering, electrical, or mechanical.

I'd also consider something that leads to computer forensics.

As for engineering being to easy...I suggest a double major in electrical and computer engineering. Have him get back me after a few years of that course load. On the flip side, he'll probably never be unemployed.
Last edited by investingdad on Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
Posts: 66363
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by livesoft » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:11 pm

The person who invents a cell phone that detects explosive materials within 20 meters along with a change in the magnetic lines of force indicting presence of ball bearings and nails in close proximity will do quite well. A phone case that is high velocity impact-proof and a line of clothes with breast pockets that can hold such phones over one's vital organs needs work, too.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:19 pm

Electrical is the biggest in size, especially considering that many place computer engineering partly with electrical.

So is a very broad range of activities. BUT it is very likely that we will see stagnation in microelectronics, which will mean not much increase in available computing power, which means fewer exciting new things to do with both hardware and software.

For the near future, I would look for things on the periphery of EE, such as the ME/EE boundary (robotics, mechatronics) or EE/Bio, etc. Fields that are being leveraged by the availability of computing power.

Civil might be strong too with infrastructure needs and maybe carbon dioxide mitigation.

This could all be unduly pessimistic if someone develops a CMOS-successor technology. But many of us in the field are not seeing this coming, and new technology takes a decade or more to move from research to application. By the way, Intel has just announced a slowdown in the rate of implementation of new technology nodes.

User avatar
ray.james
Posts: 1097
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:08 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by ray.james » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:29 pm

Just my thoughts as GenXer
Engineering - Computers(esp Graphics, AI, Data Patterns, general software will lead in master degree specializations for 10 years),
Mechanical(robotics, autonomous, ergo, design, sensors, etc., ),
Bio_fusion areas - Biomedical/Bio-engineering. (gene based work, vaccines, next medicines, bio terror, environment)

I do think electrical will slow down in its core form and will be a broad cross areas that will continue to lead the way.
If there is interest in Math - statistics/Accounting/risk analysis will continue to lead.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

KlangFool
Posts: 12710
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:34 pm

OP,

It is very simple. Stick with the major Engineering areas and you will be fine. Avoid any new and fancy engineering sub area.

So, pick any one of those 4:

1) Electrical Engineering

2) Mechanical Engineering

3) Chemical Engineering

4) Civil Engineering

If you want to specialize, do it at the master degree level.

KlangFool

StoneyCWI
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:46 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by StoneyCWI » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:40 pm

I have worked for a Structural Engineering firm for the past 10 years...Structural Engineers will always be needed as new materials and techniques are developed every year.

Do you want to be the guy who was "seconded" because his skill was reengineered or the guy who will always be in demand?

We hired 6 young engineers from Columbia/Cooper Union in the past 12 months...in 5 years they will be the go to people at our firm...

Do the math...

FullYellowJacket
Posts: 324
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:21 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by FullYellowJacket » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:41 pm

There is plenty of work to be done in the materials engineering world. Additive manufacturing has given some life to the corpse that is metallurgical engineering. Organic semiconductors (think OLEDs) are all the rage. Graphene and carbon nanotubes are still getting a lot of funding, even if they are still only theoretically useful.

Even then I may still recommend mechanical engineering as a solid basis for a bachelor's degree. Save Materials science for the masters. It is what I wish I could have done.

ParkersPaPa
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:16 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by ParkersPaPa » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:42 pm

livesoft wrote:The person who invents a cell phone that detects explosive materials within 20 meters along with a change in the magnetic lines of force indicting presence of ball bearings and nails in close proximity will do quite well. ...
Already exists - for quite a while. But not widely implemented: the damage is worse when people "hit the floor". If no one knows that a bomb is going to detonate, the shrapnel kills/maims less because the closest take the majority of the hit.

Sorry - not trying to hijack the thread.

GoFish
Posts: 143
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:48 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by GoFish » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:46 pm

Strongly suggest that your son choose the discipline based on his interests. He will have the opportunity to be employed and well paid in any engineering discipline. Civil, my discipline, pays the worst! But I loved what I did in my career and am not poor by a long shot as I enter retirement.

Forty years is a long time to spend doing something that he doesn't have a passion for. He can probably safely delay choosing a discipline until late in his sophomore year, or even his junior year. The basics are about the same for each discipline.

Urge him to think about what he really wants to be doing, and not necessarily where he thinks the prestige or big bucks will be. Best of luck.

KlangFool
Posts: 12710
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:49 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industria ... y_programs

Folks,

By the way, 20+ years ago, the hot / fashionable engineering area was Industrial Engineer. So, where is it now? Do not jump into the latest fashionable engineering area for your bachelor degree. You have 20 to 30 years of career ahead of you. Stay with the tried and true. Then, you will be fine. Get your foundation / fundamental right.

KlangFool

KlangFool
Posts: 12710
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:54 pm

Folks,

My son is double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physic. This is about as fundamental as you can.

KlangFool

TomCat96
Posts: 648
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:18 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by TomCat96 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:56 pm

KlangFool wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industria ... y_programs

Folks,

By the way, 20+ years ago, the hot / fashionable engineering area was Industrial Engineer. So, where is it now? Do not jump into the latest fashionable engineering area for your bachelor degree. You have 20 to 30 years of career ahead of you. Stay with the tried and true. Then, you will be fine. Get your foundation / fundamental right.

KlangFool


I would add to this, do what you want to do. Engineering is difficult enough that even those who love it struggle.
So do what you like, but take the time to explore first what it is you like.

I was a computer science major but burned out pretty early on. I started hating computers and coding, which I had been doing since I was 10. I got my degree, but it was a hollow victory. Degrees do not convey 6 figure salaries. The job you take afterwards does. You wont want to be taking those jobs if your work is awful and unpalatable to you. I think that gives me the perspective of someone trying to make it in the field, while hating the field. In the long run, the hot and fashionable, or which engineering gives you the best bang for your buck should not be part of the equation.

The better question is which one do you like the most?

GoFish
Posts: 143
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:48 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by GoFish » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:01 pm

One more thing.

Convince him to become a good communicator, both written and verbal. If he is like many of us tech types, he will resist this.

The most important discriminator between highly-successful and just-successful engineers, technical skills being a given, is communication skill.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3255
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:07 pm

What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?

btenny
Posts: 5029
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by btenny » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:20 pm

Easy IMO but then I am an EE and studied at a giant public school and followed the course below. I did not know anything beyond wanting to be an engineer.

Study Electrical Engineering as a general subject with no specialization for the first 3+ years. Take all the math and physics and general engineering classes. See if you like this stuff. As others have said engineering is hard and if you like it you will know by the end of 3 years what you like and what you do not like. Then decide when he/she is a Senior what electives to take in a specialty area. Then find a job in that specialty.

With this background a EE can specialize in any of about 20 different areas (some shown below) and make a good living for his whole life. Not a great deal of money (like doctors or good lawyers) but a nice living.

EE Sub Specialties.
Power Engineering
Sustainable (solar/wind/etc.) Engineering
Semiconductor Engineering
Computer Engineering
Computer Science/Software
Security Engineering
Communications Engineering
Bioscience Engineering

If you picked wrong and want to do other things you can still switch and go into another specialty area for a masters.
And be aware that most working EE engineers make a living in a blend of the above specializations.

Good Luck.
Last edited by btenny on Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dopey
Posts: 154
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:41 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by Dopey » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:36 pm

quantAndHold wrote:What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?
I dislike this stigma. I think it pushes people away from engineering. While I'm mechanical and handy "enough" I'm far from a creative tinkerer.

I don't even see myself working in engineering forever, but I'm glad I did the degree. It's good schooling, and as a design engineer specifically, you can get involved in almost any part of the business when you're working in product development. One can take these relationships and their background in engineering to make themselves far better logistics, marketers, program managers, etc. than the people who went to school specifically for that profession. The customer is king, and when you intimately understand the customer and the product (which engineers do because they designed it) everything else in the business makes much more sense.

As for the original question, I'd keep it simple and pick a tried and true engineering degree and see where their career takes them. It might not even be engineering.

investingdad
Posts: 1577
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by investingdad » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:43 pm

quantAndHold wrote:What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?
This chemical engineer doesn't like building anything.

I prefer to model stuff on paper.

I now have an MBA, so I get to talk and sound like an engineer while my team does the real work. I just stay out of their way.

bigred77
Posts: 2023
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by bigred77 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:44 pm

The next 20 years?

Petroleum engineers will still be in high demand. Make sure you can handle the wild swings in the industry.

Financial Engineering is also a growing field. If you help create the next collateralized debt obligation, you will not want for money :mrgreen:

wanderer
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:09 pm
Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by wanderer » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:45 pm

Most schools have an engineering survey course for freshman focusing on issues and expectations for various engineering disiplines. I'm also in the camp for choosing one of the four core and then specializing at the Masters level, if desired. I believe it's unreasonable, and not BH-like, to try to predict the future 20 years out.

Long-term success in engineering, like BH index investing, depends finding and working on problems, or issues that helps make lives better. Financial success (promotions) also depends on communications and other "people" skills.

I'm a retired chemical engineer who was inspired to choose ChE to solve the 1970s "energy crisis". Not the technical outcomes I expected, but I got to do a lot of good work, work with a lot of good people, travel the world, and retire early. Cannot ask for much more!!!

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 9328
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:51 pm

quantAndHold wrote:What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?
This is sometimes an interview question. I was asked this in my last interview with high level people. I got the job and later listened to some of my peers make the same assumption, which I think is incorrect. I am a EE with a graduate degree specializing in power electronics. The amount of electronic work that I do at home is exactly zero. I don't have a lab at home, I don't fix TVs in my spare time. I have built cars from the ground up and built and raced and instructed on the track. My feelings are that to do what I do at work all the time is going to burn me out and I'll go off and become a carpenter (I know someone in my field who did exactly that).

The answer to the original question is that we don't know. I watched my last megacorp lay off seasoned engineers in the US, push out anyone over 50 and dissolve whole groups, only to reconstitute them in China and India using engineers at much lower pay. I see this continuing and it includes software and high level chip design along with system engineering.

Being a EE can lead to a job in sales. There are quite a few tech companies who require a EE to enter their training program and eventually end up in the field selling components. Thinking about a company I worked for who had this requirement, they had sales people with Masters and even PhDs from MIT, Notre Dame, Stanford and Cornell. If the student likes working with people, can present well and think on their feet and likes to travel, that's a possible way to go.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

KlangFool
Posts: 12710
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:09 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?

Being a EE can lead to a job in sales. There are quite a few tech companies who require a EE to enter their training program and eventually end up in the field selling components. Thinking about a company I worked for who had this requirement, they had sales people with Masters and even PhDs from MIT, Notre Dame, Stanford and Cornell. If the student likes working with people, can present well and think on their feet and likes to travel, that's a possible way to go.
Jack FFR1846,

For example, me. I have a BSEE and MSEE. I was a sales manager, product manager and so on. I did sales and marketing for about 10+ years in addition to my technical career.

KlangFool

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:36 pm

investingdad wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:What kind of stuff does he like to build in the basement in his spare time?
This chemical engineer doesn't like building anything.

I prefer to model stuff on paper.

I now have an MBA, so I get to talk and sound like an engineer while my team does the real work. I just stay out of their way.
Appreciate investingdad, you sound like me. I am a computer engineer, now push papers (design approvals), while the team builds software / systems.

Yes, he builds all the science Olympiad stuff. He has built cars in elementary school, structural elements like brides, tower etc to hold the maximum weight at middle school science Olympiad. In high school, pneumatic elements to point and shoot with accuracy and speed. That is why he prefers mechanical engineering.

But at the same time, he has had no opportunities to have his hands on electronics / systems engineering.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:42 pm

wanderer wrote: I'm a retired chemical engineer who was inspired to choose ChE to solve the 1970s "energy crisis". Not the technical outcomes I expected, but I got to do a lot of good work, work with a lot of good people, travel the world, and retire early. Cannot ask for much more!!!
Please can you outline, the chemical engineer job prospectus. Son is / was interested in chemical engineering.
For me the chemical engineer prospectus is petroleum drilling offshore ( Sorry :D )
Last edited by LiveSimple on Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2579
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by beyou » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:43 pm

My S is says he will major in ME and minor in CS.
Starting this fall, we'll see how that goes.
I am a big fan of CS in terms of career options, but he likes ME he thinks.
Can't argue with that.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:46 pm

blevine wrote:My S is says he will major in ME and minor in CS.
Starting this fall, we'll see how that goes.
I am a big fan of CS in terms of career options, but he likes ME he thinks.
Can't argue with that.
Exactly the same here.

Now S only knows about ME, then Chem E.
However, I am thinking he will do much better in the intersection of Electronics, Systems, Computers, Robotics !

A couple of years, we will know.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:48 pm

JGG wrote:One more thing.

Convince him to become a good communicator, both written and verbal. If he is like many of us tech types, he will resist this.

The most important discriminator between highly-successful and just-successful engineers, technical skills being a given, is communication skill.
I know, communication is the key, but hard to influence this thinking in him !

BHUser27
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:07 pm
Location: A Midwestern Town

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by BHUser27 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:09 pm

If student really is research and analysis inclined and can stomach the additional school time, Biomedical is something to consider.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:12 pm

jepalan wrote:If student really is research and analysis inclined and can stomach the additional school time, Biomedical is something to consider.
Yes, this is an option. If he goes ME, then he can focus on Biomedical.

Seems like he will take, ME, then go wherever he wants to go.

mkc
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:59 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by mkc » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:18 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
The answer to the original question is that we don't know. I watched my last megacorp lay off seasoned engineers in the US, push out anyone over 50 and dissolve whole groups, only to reconstitute them in China and India using engineers at much lower pay. I see this continuing
This - and just like investing, past performance is no indication of the future ;-)

It's not the discipline but perhaps the industry to look at. Many industries need all disciplines of engineer. As a RIF'd chemical/materials/electrical engineer (following the company focus) from the computer industry, today I would look more towards an industry that isn't easy to offshore

Chemical engineers are needed in multiple industries - petroleum, food, household products, breweries, personal/cosmetic/pharmaceuticals, etc.. Mechanical engineers can be automotive, production equipment, computers, sports equipment, etc., And so on for the others.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:24 pm

> Study Electrical Engineering as a general subject with no specialization for the first 3+ years.

Thing is, the curricula have changed. Maybe more in EE than elsewhere but I see the same thing in the other disciplines to a lesser degree. There is no longer a large broad core that everyone takes. The size of the core has been much reduced and more things are electives. This means that even if a student doesn't specialize early he may become limited early because of the things he doesn't take. You might be amazed at the courses students DON'T have to take now.

By the way-one thing about Civil. It's a lot harder to outsource site-specific design and construction. Think about how easy it is by comparison to outsource programming or chip design.

jda
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:03 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by jda » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:25 pm

KlangFool wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industria ... y_programs

Folks,

By the way, 20+ years ago, the hot / fashionable engineering area was Industrial Engineer. So, where is it now? Do not jump into the latest fashionable engineering area for your bachelor degree. You have 20 to 30 years of career ahead of you. Stay with the tried and true. Then, you will be fine. Get your foundation / fundamental right.

KlangFool
This. When I started study at university, EE was the hottest engineering to get in. By the time I graduate from EE, it was the lowest demand in our engineering school (a year after dot com bust). When I started grad school, chemical engineering was the hottest engineering and look where we are now.

User avatar
mhc
Posts: 3911
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: NoCo

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by mhc » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:28 pm

I'm a EE in IC design. I believe analog IC design still has a longer life than many of the digital design disciplines before it becomes too much of a commodity. It should be good for at least another 20 years. It pays very well especially if you are a top performer.


investingdad
Posts: 1577
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by investingdad » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:57 pm

I selected chemical engineering for two reasons.

One, I really enjoyed chemistry, especially organic chemistry. If you're a chemical engineer, you'll appreciate how funny that is.

Second, it had a reputation for being difficult which led to higher salary numbers.

jridger2011
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:17 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by jridger2011 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:10 pm

My order of preference would probably be:

1. Mech E (specialized and a lot of cool places to work)
2. EE (wide applications and a lot of cool places to work)
3. CS (wide range of focus areas such as databases, artificial intelligence, network security, etc)
4. Civil E (lower pay but hard to outsource)

The student has to like the material to get through it, engineering is not very easy. He/She then needs to work very hard to get promotions and stay motivated, it is difficult to do this if the work is dreadful.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:40 pm

jridger2011 wrote:My order of preference would probably be:

1. Mech E (specialized and a lot of cool places to work)
2. EE (wide applications and a lot of cool places to work)
3. CS (wide range of focus areas such as databases, artificial intelligence, network security, etc)
4. Civil E (lower pay but hard to outsource)

The student has to like the material to get through it, engineering is not very easy. He/She then needs to work very hard to get promotions and stay motivated, it is difficult to do this if the work is dreadful.
Seems like this is the order son will prefer or do

Call_Me_Op
Posts: 7282
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:57 pm
Location: Milky Way

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by Call_Me_Op » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:50 am

LiveSimple wrote:Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!
One that you enjoy.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:01 am

Call_Me_Op wrote:
LiveSimple wrote:Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!
One that you enjoy.
Good to hear, but the opportunities dictate, where we drift towards !!!

Disclosure : All my three engineering degrees were in different disciplines.

Nowadays the disciplines merge or a fusion.
Robotics has mechanical, electrical, materials engineering.

tigermilk
Posts: 562
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:32 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by tigermilk » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:47 am

StoneyCWI wrote:I have worked for a Structural Engineering firm for the past 10 years...Structural Engineers will always be needed as new materials and techniques are developed every year.

Do you want to be the guy who was "seconded" because his skill was reengineered or the guy who will always be in demand?

We hired 6 young engineers from Columbia/Cooper Union in the past 12 months...in 5 years they will be the go to people at our firm...

Do the math...
As a fellow structures guy I agree. Unless it's software, nearly everything out there is still a structure. Cell phone? You may think it's all electrical, but the case, the electronic components, etc all are subjected to mechanicaloads, thermal stress, shock, ...

Structures to me is the top of the heap. Every other discipline merely lives in what we design, analyze manufacture, and test.

BHUser27
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:07 pm
Location: A Midwestern Town

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by BHUser27 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:58 am

tigermilk wrote:As a fellow structures guy I agree. Unless it's software, nearly everything out there is still a structure. Cell phone? You may think it's all electrical, but the case, the electronic components, etc all are subjected to mechanicaloads, thermal stress, shock, ...

Structures to me is the top of the heap. Every other discipline merely lives in what we design, analyze manufacture, and test.
tigermilk - you reminded me of this quote from Herbert Hoover. I hope OP doesn't mind me cluttering the thread, but it certainly applies. (FWIW - I am an EE, TAMU class of 85)
HERBERT HOOVER - On Engineering
"It is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer's high privilege.

The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned...

On the other hand, unlike the doctor his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician puts hs name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people's money . . . But the engineer himself looks back at the the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants."

Valuethinker
Posts: 38060
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:19 am

LiveSimple wrote:Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

This is a sequel to this discussion
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=171074

For a student getting into college this fall, which engineering discipline will you suggest.
Student may not be a mere staff engineering, more analytical hence will become a research engineer.
Understand that the student has to find for them self what to do ? But some pointers will help them appreciate what is out there.

So if you have some insights please share.
Some universities have "Engineering Science" type programmes which are (tougher) but also more general in the first 2 years.

in the developed world:

- anything with human biology in it: biomedical etc. We are getting older as a population and dealing with that at a medical and day to day life level is going to be very important. Ditto anything that enhances human performance in that way

- robotics seems to be a hot new field incorporating disciplines from all of the above

- anything connected with low carbon so that's electrical/ mechanical/ chemical - perhaps more appropriate at masters level as the clever stuff is going to be in energy storage, catalysts (chemical), control systems etc. Actual solar panels and wind farms are now commodities.

By contrast a lot of tech hardware manufacture and design seems to have moved offshore (Taiwan etc.) and ditto software engineering.

A *lot* of engineers wind up in management, but those courses can be done at the MBA level. Only if you are shooting for a summer job in consulting or on Wall Street do you need undergrad work in accounting, economics, finance etc (and grades beat coursework hands down for those jobs). That said, everyone should do a couple of accounting courses, but there's no reason to waste valuable and expensive undergrad time on that when it can be done with online courses or at a community college by nightschool etc. I would say all professional jobs (even managing techies) require an understanding of accounting in this day and age. I would add MS Powerpoint and Excel but with the same comment.

So many jobs these days in engineering seem to be basically software jobs, so whatever the background one converges towards that solution.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
Posts: 38060
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:23 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
The answer to the original question is that we don't know. I watched my last megacorp lay off seasoned engineers in the US, push out anyone over 50 and dissolve whole groups, only to reconstitute them in China and India using engineers at much lower pay. I see this continuing and it includes software and high level chip design along with system engineering. .
This is very real. China and India produce fantastic engineers who are cheaper, and the Indian ones also have pretty good English. Even the consulting firms and banks have a lot of their data crunching, analysis and presentation writing done in India these days, then emailed back to the western consultants at their desks the next morning. Website design and coding is often outsourced there, etc. I

Computer hardware the biggest chip makers other than Intel are Far Eastern, and Intel does a lot of R&D out there, too.

I imagine if you are working on military stuff in the US you are protected (to a point).

there are no sure bets, probably not even for 5 years, let alone 25.

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1440
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:42 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
The answer to the original question is that we don't know. I watched my last megacorp lay off seasoned engineers in the US, push out anyone over 50 and dissolve whole groups, only to reconstitute them in China and India using engineers at much lower pay. I see this continuing and it includes software and high level chip design along with system engineering. .
This is very real. China and India produce fantastic engineers who are cheaper, and the Indian ones also have pretty good English. Even the consulting firms and banks have a lot of their data crunching, analysis and presentation writing done in India these days, then emailed back to the western consultants at their desks the next morning. Website design and coding is often outsourced there, etc. I

Computer hardware the biggest chip makers other than Intel are Far Eastern, and Intel does a lot of R&D out there, too.

I imagine if you are working on military stuff in the US you are protected (to a point).

there are no sure bets, probably not even for 5 years, let alone 25.
Very true, you always need a backup plan. I see computer security and forensics in this thread. I'm seeing software automation (just) starting to reduce the need for humans in this field. And that's on top of the current ability to outsource some of these functions to Asia. Who knows how long it will be the hot sector.

A Boglehead lifestyle and backup plan makes me not stress about this too much.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:51 am

I hope OP doesn't mind me cluttering the thread, but it certainly applies. (FWIW - I am an EE, TAMU class of 85)


jepalan I enjoyed your reference, keep coming !!!

The sole purpose of this thread is to gain some insights or remind us where we came from.

To an extend, help others learn / observe from these discussions.

As a parent / son, we kind of know where he will be heading. But some pointers, keep him think, hence all the references here are useful, to get my thoughts together.
Last edited by LiveSimple on Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:54 am

Valuethinker wrote: - anything connected with low carbon so that's electrical/ mechanical/ chemical - perhaps more appropriate at masters level as the clever stuff is going to be in energy storage, catalysts (chemical), control systems etc. Actual solar panels and wind farms are now commodities.
Yes, earlier my son had some passion for chemical engineering, probably let that blossom.

Most probably, he will figure out in the first two years in college.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:58 am

Valuethinker wrote: This is very real. China and India produce fantastic engineers who are cheaper, and the Indian ones also have pretty good English. Even the consulting firms and banks have a lot of their data crunching, analysis and presentation writing done in India these days, then emailed back to the western consultants at their desks the next morning. Website design and coding is often outsourced there, etc. I

Still engineers with good communication, who can work with people and engineers working in capital industry / research will have a job, in the U.S.

User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 474
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by flossy21 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:00 am

I'm a BSME Gen X'er so a little biased perhaps.

Mechanical Engineering is a good solid foundation for roles in leadership of Engineering, Operations, Quality...

I think the next hot thing will be telematics, Internet of Things and Machine to Machine communications. Most likely this would be Electrical and Computer Engineering. Think about the autonomous car for instance. How do they talk to each other and to emergency vehicles, etc? Imagine similar applications in your home. If you can control and get alerts from home on the activities there while you are away or even have it react to things you are doing. Now think about the applications in industry. Imagine a warehouse full of forklifts that all operate autonomously but in concert with one another.

User avatar
Topic Author
LiveSimple
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:12 am

flossy21 wrote:I'm a BSME Gen X'er so a little biased perhaps.

Mechanical Engineering is a good solid foundation for roles in leadership of Engineering, Operations, Quality...

I think the next hot thing will be telematics, Internet of Things and Machine to Machine communications. Most likely this would be Electrical and Computer Engineering. Think about the autonomous car for instance. How do they talk to each other and to emergency vehicles, etc? Imagine similar applications in your home. If you can control and get alerts from home on the activities there while you are away or even have it react to things you are doing. Now think about the applications in industry. Imagine a warehouse full of forklifts that all operate autonomously but in concert with one another.
Agreed. I will be happy, if Son follows this. Let us see.

BHUser27
Posts: 647
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:07 pm
Location: A Midwestern Town

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

Post by BHUser27 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:24 am

Not intending to toot my own horn here, I'm just reinforcing that engineering is a broad field with *many* career paths. In general the best engineers either move into business/management or into deeply technical research or "fellow" positions with narrow expertise in specific areas of science or industry.

I am somewhat of an odd-duck in that I majored in EE, but took all my electives in philosophy and liberal arts. When I entered university in '81 I was really torn between music, engineering, psychology, architecture or graphic design.

Today I am VP of Engineering over 60 engineers in the professional digital video equipment industry. Along the way I have been VP of marketing and VP of product management. I get bored :wink:

Post Reply