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Participant

Join Date: Nov 2008
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Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 11:30 AM

Hey guys, i'm in a bit of a dilemma right now. I've finished my first year and i'm about to stream into either mechanical or chemical engineering. Right off the bat, i would like to know the pros and cons in taking either course and how it would affect my prospects. Generally, the direction i'm headed is towards the oil and gas sector. Please advise.

Thanks in advanced.

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Join Date: Oct 2008
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#1

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 11:38 AM

Talk to your student advisor. He, at least know a little bit about you, your habits, etc.

Asking total strangers is a waste of everybody's time.

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#2

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 12:04 PM

What do you like to do in your spare time or as a diversion, and why?

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#3

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 12:12 PM

Excellent question! Many years ago I had the same dilemma. It was the late seventies, disco was hot and the job market not. I had a geographic preference to facilitate pursuit of my hobbies. My decision was a pragmatic one. I chose mechanical engineering for its breadth of application across many industries. Admittedly, at the time, manufacturing was the base of most employment and there were plenty of machines and equipment in need of mechanical maintenance and development. My advise is that if you have a passion for either area, go with it. If not do an employment analysis that includes future trends.

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Participant

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 12:18 PM

Thank you for sharing your input. Based on your experience, have you been in the oil and gas sector ? If so, did chemical engineering have an added advantage to mechanical engineering in any way? Thanks in advanced :D

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#5

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 12:18 PM

And then there's Geological engineering. Mech and Chem E's will most likely work at cracking plant design. My Dad did a stint in the late 40s for Standard Oil in Casper Wyoming, at their refinery, he was ME. But there is also drill design, remote sensing equipment, and that new fangle fracking stuff. After the Gulf spill, better well head equipment that has blow out prevention that works. This is a real wide field (as all are). Depends on your interests.

And as Lyn said, talk to your counselor. Make sure you do several internships early, that will tell you what you don't want to do, and if your lucky you'll see a hole you fit into.

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#6

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 12:30 PM

While your interest in a particular industry is a major plus with regard to your professional endeavors, you are at a point in your life where you should focus on educational experience that you enjoy. Sure, it's possible that a degree in Chemical Engineering will get you a job more quickly with an oil/gas firm and maybe you'll earn a slightly higher salary; maybe, but not necessarily so. And, if that's your motivation, instead of doing work that you enjoy, do well and will continue to grow in competence, you're doomed to misery and/or failure in the long haul.

If you enjoy petrochemical process work, chemical reactions (and organic chemistry) are something you enjoy rather than find to be a drudge of memorization and a host of other things 'ChE-related' that your advisor/mentors can review with you, get that degree in Chemical Engineering. If you prefer mechanical design work, structures and (again, other things you can review with your advisor/mentors), then get a degree in Mechanical Engineering. And, whatever path you choose, maybe you can take a course or two in the other field such that you have more breadth than your peers.

The key, in my skewed opinion as a degreed engineer, is that you are getting an engineering degree and it will serve you well whether you actual practice as an engineer, go to medical school, law school, business school or choose another option. Your analytical training and ability to analyze a situation with rigor, among other things, are certainly in need in the oil/gas industry.

One final thought: Your education does NOT stop once you have your degree. Go to night school, take all the training your company offers. And, above all, read a lot. You want to stay current in your field and bolster your fundamental technical prowess. And, you should also broaden yourself personally by reading classic literature, studying history, learning a foreign language, music, art and traveling.

It never ends. And, never should.

You're in a great place.

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#7

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/17/2013 4:27 PM

I had some of the same questions myself when in college.

Then I took a year of Chemistry as was required for all engineers.

I then realized that chemistry was designed to qualitatively test the insanity of ordinary engineers, and weed out all but the chemical engineers. You see, I believe chemical engineers are in fact insane. There is no fun in chemistry, except for making toxic and explosive pranks, I discovered.

If you are interested in oil and gas, study geology.

If you are interested in making lots of money, having no life or friends, always smelling "different", and being "that weird guy in the corner over there", then chemistry is for you.

IMHO that is.

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#8

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

06/18/2013 2:45 PM

Choose the one that you "feel" the closest to. Go to the library and check out the textbooks for Chem Engg 101 and Mech Engg 101. Read the first few chapters and do a few of the homework problems in each chapter, then gauge your enthusiasm for the topics. At some point you may realize which one you have a more natural capacity to gravitate to, and will enjoy doing for quite awhile.

I always wanted to be an electrical engineer, but after 2 years of engineering core courses I knew one thing, I could never relate to all that p-n junction stuff, my mind just couldn't visualize microamps flowing through crystals. My adviser suggested that I talk to the head of the Electric Power Engineering specialization. Wow, here was something I could get excited about, hand me a piece of 1" square bus bar and I knew what it could do when attached to a generator and a motor, no problem visualizing a 100 amps flowing and I could "see" its result, straight A's from that point forward!

Hopefully you'll get that "Ah-ha moment" as you really start exploring "what you want to be when you grow up". Good luck in your search...

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Active Contributor

Join Date: Jan 2013
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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Mechanical Or Chemical Engineering

07/10/2013 2:34 AM

I will recommend mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineers have a role in almost every Engineering establishment including oil and gas, chemical Engineers are restricted to certain areas. I studied mechanical Engineering and I can tell you I have worked in several careers including oil and gas and in all of them I had a key and vital role, but you must be very good in mechanical design, applied mechanics, diagnostic techniques and mathematics(pure and applied).

This is only an advise, I have friends who studied geography, history, economics, etc who did few courses and ended up working their way innitially as operators and technicians and finally as expert in the oil and gas industry.

So determination and focus is the key to achieving your dream and not just doing a particular course alone.

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