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    I'm currently in year 11 and im having to choose my a levels and decide what path I would like to take.

    I've started thinking about heading the career path of engineering but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

    I'm extremely interested in the universe and would like to be an astronautical engineer or something like that where I can help with space exploration. I just want to discover new things and travel to new places (i know it sounds cringy).

    I was originally going to go for astronomy/ astrophysics but after talking to a lot of people, it seems like many people who do astrophysics don't actually get to have a career in it. So the next thing along for me would be engineering.

    But the only problem is that I don't know if I'm smart enough / motivated enough. I read about how lots of people in engineering were very good at maths and science while at school. I'm very good at science and pretty good at maths but I don't know if I'm good enough or interested enough in maths to actually pursue a career where I'm going to need a lot of maths.
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    (Original post by randomteenx)
    I'm currently in year 11 and im having to choose my a levels and decide what path I would like to take.

    I've started thinking about heading the career path of engineering but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

    I'm extremely interested in the universe and would like to be an astronautical engineer or something like that where I can help with space exploration. I just want to discover new things and travel to new places (i know it sounds cringy).

    I was originally going to go for astronomy/ astrophysics but after talking to a lot of people, it seems like many people who do astrophysics don't actually get to have a career in it. So the next thing along for me would be engineering.

    But the only problem is that I don't know if I'm smart enough / motivated enough. I read about how lots of people in engineering were very good at maths and science while at school. I'm very good at science and pretty good at maths but I don't know if I'm good enough or interested enough in maths to actually pursue a career where I'm going to need a lot of maths.
    If you were interested in astrophysics, there is a lot more maths in that than in engineering.

    Ideally, to pursue a career in engineering, what you would have is an interest in how things work, how to improve them, and how to make new things. I think the maths component of things is overemphasised - yes, there is maths involved, particularly during the degree (although, again, not as much as in a physics discipline), but it's not the most important thing.

    If you feel that your grades are below par, it's not too late to turn things around. Work hard at your A-levels to achieve the best you can.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    yes, there is maths involved, particularly during the degree (although, again, not as much as in a physics discipline), but it's not the most important thing.
    I can't agree with that. An engineering degree's predominant content is mathematical (and mostly pure maths too). A genuine degree-level engineering job will have a significant level of maths in it, or require significant understanding of hard maths.

    Obviously, physics is predominantly maths too.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    An engineering degree's predominant content is mathematical (and mostly pure maths too).
    A lot of engineering students/graduates go on to find that an engineering career in industry is often quite different to what they expected based on university, and a lot of employers remark about how little degrees seem to prepare applicants for positions in industry. An engineering degree isn't necessarily the best gauge to the student of what they will be be doing in industry.

    A genuine degree-level engineering job will have a significant level of maths in it, or require significant understanding of hard maths.
    What would you define as "hard maths" (e.g. is it anything about simple arithmetic and algebra, or calculus and beyond)?
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    (Original post by Smack)
    What would you define as "hard maths" (e.g. is it anything about simple arithmetic and algebra, or calculus and beyond)?
    Hard maths is, for me, calculus and beyond. Arithmetic is just primary school level maths, leading up to algebra at GCSE level.
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    (Original post by randomteenx)
    I'm currently in year 11 and im having to choose my a levels and decide what path I would like to take.

    I've started thinking about heading the career path of engineering but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

    I'm extremely interested in the universe and would like to be an astronautical engineer or something like that where I can help with space exploration. I just want to discover new things and travel to new places (i know it sounds cringy).

    I was originally going to go for astronomy/ astrophysics but after talking to a lot of people, it seems like many people who do astrophysics don't actually get to have a career in it. So the next thing along for me would be engineering.

    But the only problem is that I don't know if I'm smart enough / motivated enough. I read about how lots of people in engineering were very good at maths and science while at school. I'm very good and pretty good at maths but I don't know if I'm good enough or interested enough in maths to actually pursue a career where I'm going to need a lot of maths.
    I think if u r good in the subjects of engineering field than u should go fr it if not then don't even think about going fr engineering!!
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    We do almost the same level of mathematics as physics students just the application of it is very different! Physics students tend to know the pure theory behind the "why" but not so much knowledge on the application (which is why engineering is superior *cough* ).

    We also cover a lot of the pure maths and statistics that is studied in undergraduate mathematics although it's nowhere near as "deep" since mathematicians tend to delve into first principles/proofs whereas we mostly don't care where the equations come from just have to know how to use them :ahee:

    (Original post by Smack)
    (although, again, not as much as in a physics discipline)
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Hard maths is, for me, calculus and beyond. Arithmetic is just primary school level maths, leading up to algebra at GCSE level.
    Thank you for elaborating on this, and I am afraid I very much disagree then with your previous assertion that a genuine graduate engineering job with involve the use of, or require significant understanding of, this type of maths.

    To elaborate on why I disagree, actually performing a calculation is not always a major part of the role of an engineer (in fact, many engineering roles don't involve performing much, if any, calculations at all). When a calculation is performed, it would generally be quite unusual for it to involve something as advanced as calculus. This is because a) such advanced maths simply isn't needed a lot of the time, and b) a lot of problems can not be solved using such maths anyway. They don't take the form that would lend themselves to being solved that way. Often, things get messy, empirical, use lots of rules of thumb and conservatisms, but remain mathematically relatively quite simple. Calculus is good at helping illustrate science principles in textbook problems, but such problems aren't necessarily all that similar to ones that a practising engineer will encounter.

    That is why I made the point that the maths isn't the most important thing. It isn't what engineering is about, and I worry that the overemphasis on it might drive away otherwise good candidates, or present a somewhat false image of what engineering really is.
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    (Original post by a10)
    We do almost the same level of mathematics as physics students just the application of it is very different! Physics students tend to know the pure theory behind the "why" but not so much knowledge on the application (which is why engineering is superior *cough* ).

    We also cover a lot of the pure maths and statistics that is studied in undergraduate mathematics although it's nowhere near as "deep" since mathematicians tend to delve into first principles/proofs whereas we mostly don't care where the equations come from just have to know how to use them
    Are you sure you are not (greatly) underestimating the amount of maths involved in a physics degree - and especially in a maths degree?
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Are you sure you are not (greatly) underestimating the amount of maths involved in a physics degree - and especially in a maths degree?
    You may have misunderstood my post! Mathematics & Physics undergrads definitely study a lot more maths than engineers there's no question but what I was saying is we cover a lot of the core principles learned in mathematics degrees just not to the same depth (in particular "pure" maths and statistics).

    Also the gap in mathematics knowledge between physics and engineering degrees is not that big at all (just it's different in some aspects) compared to say mathematics undergrad and engineering where the gap is huge.
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    (Original post by randomteenx)
    I'm currently in year 11 and im having to choose my a levels and decide what path I would like to take.

    I've started thinking about heading the career path of engineering but I'm not sure if it's right for me.

    I'm extremely interested in the universe and would like to be an astronautical engineer or something like that where I can help with space exploration. I just want to discover new things and travel to new places (i know it sounds cringy).

    I was originally going to go for astronomy/ astrophysics but after talking to a lot of people, it seems like many people who do astrophysics don't actually get to have a career in it. So the next thing along for me would be engineering.

    But the only problem is that I don't know if I'm smart enough / motivated enough. I read about how lots of people in engineering were very good at maths and science while at school. I'm very good at science and pretty good at maths but I don't know if I'm good enough or interested enough in maths to actually pursue a career where I'm going to need a lot of maths.
    If you wanted to do Astrophysics you have to be better at maths for that then Engineering. Think about it carefully if you will actually enjoy the job. However, if your already set on doing A-Level Maths and Physics then you can think about future career later.
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    (Original post by a10)
    You may have misunderstood my post! Mathematics & Physics undergrads definitely study a lot more maths than engineers there's no question but what I was saying is we cover a lot of the core principles learned in mathematics degrees just not to the same depth (in particular "pure" maths and statistics).

    Also the gap in mathematics knowledge between physics and engineering degrees is not that big at all (just it's different in some aspects) compared to say mathematics undergrad and engineering where the gap is huge.
    What kind of Engineer are you?
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    (Original post by Illimitable)
    What kind of Engineer are you?
    mechanical
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    (Original post by a10)
    mechanical
    Ah, I was thinking about Mechanical Engineering. What university are you currently studying in?
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    (Original post by Illimitable)
    Ah, I was thinking about Mechanical Engineering. What university are you currently studying in?
    Uni of Sussex.

    3rd year MEng.
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    (Original post by a10)
    Uni of Sussex.

    3rd year MEng.
    Ah that's pretty cool. How is it in terms of content wise? Is it interesting to study?
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    (Original post by Illimitable)
    Ah that's pretty cool. How is it in terms of content wise? Is it interesting to study?
    Engineering is a pain to study I'll tell you that :lol:

    I am really enjoying third year content more than I did the other two years...a lot more interesting probably because I understand most of the basics and it's cool to apply it to real life problems.
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    (Original post by a10)
    Engineering is a pain to study I'll tell you that

    I am really enjoying third year content more than I did the other two years...a lot more interesting probably because I understand most of the basics and it's cool to apply it to real life problems.
    Ah that must be interesting! Did you study A-Level Further Maths?
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    (Original post by Illimitable)
    Ah that must be interesting! Did you study A-Level Further Maths?
    Nope I did AS further, A-level Maths, Computing and Physics.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    That is why I made the point that the maths isn't the most important thing. It isn't what engineering is about, and I worry that the overemphasis on it might drive away otherwise good candidates, or present a somewhat false image of what engineering really is.
    Having an understanding of why the rules of thumb you mention are useful and, most importantly, when they should be abandoned, is vital and can only come from a full understanding of the maths involved.

    You cannot model the behaviour of a structure under stress without either using or understanding the complex maths involved.
 
 
 
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