MSc ChemEng at good uni vs MSc Comp Sci conversion elsewhere

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studentgrad1
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#1
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#1
Hello, I recently graduated with a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from a competitive uni in the USA (not an Ivy League), and returned home to London to start a graduate job at an engineering company in London, where I'm not exactly doing Process Engineering since I don't have a Masters yet. For context, I got 9A*s 2As at GCSE, and then A*AAAB (Spanish, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics - did full A-Levels for that American scholarship money). In my bachelor's I got a 3.25/4.00 GPA, which is equivalent to somewhere between a UK 2:2 and 2:1, it really depends what UK uni you look at, either way it's not a first and not a definite 2:1.

Now I'm in a position where I don't know whether to go full steam ahead with getting a masters in Chemical Engineering in order to pursue getting chartered OR do a conversion Computer Science degree to switch into tech. The issue is that I can more easily access a MSc in ChemEng at a better uni (like Imperial/UCL) versus doing a conversion CS MSc at unis like Bath/ Birmingham. I'm motivated by money, but I don't have the knowledge to go into finance immediately, nor the projects I think you need to have in CS to get into a high paying tech job. However, if I stay in ChemEng, while it's easier now, the glass ceiling of earning is probably lower.

Does anyone have any advice? I've also thought about exploring CS more by learning what it entails, so if you have good intro courses on any websites, I'd also appreciate that. It'd help me figure out if CS would even be a good path for me. Likewise, if you have advice about going into finance without having done finance/Econ previously, I'd also appreciate that.

Yes, I am not very clear on what I want at the moment. Kind of what happens when you've just done things because you had the ability rather than stopping to think about what I might enjoy the most. I also am first-gen/neither of my parents went to uni/ don't have professional mentors, so this process is tough, hence why I am deciding to start off somewhere now. So thanks in advance!
Last edited by ayllizle; 1 month ago
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Smack
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(Original post by ayllizle)
Hello, I recently graduated with a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from a competitive uni in the USA (not an Ivy League), and returned home to London to start a graduate job at an engineering company in London, where I'm not exactly doing Process Engineering since I don't have a Masters yet. For context, I got 9A*s 2As at GCSE, and then A*AAAB (Spanish, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics - did full A-Levels for that American scholarship money). In my bachelor's I got a 3.25/4.00 GPA, which is equivalent to somewhere between a UK 2:2 and 2:1, it really depends what UK uni you look at, either way it's not a first and not a definite 2:1.

Now I'm in a position where I don't know whether to go full steam ahead with getting a masters in Chemical Engineering in order to pursue getting chartered OR do a conversion Computer Science degree to switch into tech. The issue is that I can more easily access a MSc in ChemEng at a better uni (like Imperial/UCL) versus doing a conversion CS MSc at unis like Bath/ Birmingham. I'm motivated by money, but I don't have the knowledge to go into finance immediately, nor the projects I think you need to have in CS to get into a high paying tech job. However, if I stay in ChemEng, while it's easier now, the glass ceiling of earning is probably lower.

Does anyone have any advice? I've also thought about exploring CS more by learning what it entails, so if you have good intro courses on any websites, I'd also appreciate that. It'd help me figure out if CS would even be a good path for me. Likewise, if you have advice about going into finance without having done finance/Econ previously, I'd also appreciate that.

Yes, I am not very clear on what I want at the moment. Kind of what happens when you've just done things because you had the ability rather than stopping to think about what I might enjoy the most. I also am first-gen/neither of my parents went to uni/ don't have professional mentors, so this process is tough, hence why I am deciding to start off somewhere now. So thanks in advance!
What are you doing at your current company if not process engineering, and has your company provided you with any assurances that you'd be able to do process engineering if you get a masters? Given a US bachelors, I wouldn't have thought the lack of a masters would have presented an obstacle.

If you are thinking about moving into tech, have you considered learning programming languages on your own first, to see how you like it?
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studentgrad1
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(Original post by Smack)
What are you doing at your current company if not process engineering, and has your company provided you with any assurances that you'd be able to do process engineering if you get a masters? Given a US bachelors, I wouldn't have thought the lack of a masters would have presented an obstacle.

If you are thinking about moving into tech, have you considered learning programming languages on your own first, to see how you like it?
Project Controls, which leads into becoming a chartered Project Engineer (accredited by AcostE as opposed to IChemE for chartered Process Engineers). However, while Project Engineers are involved in engineering projects, Process Engineers design the process/technical part, Project Engineers manage the overall cost/finance, work orders, time planning, and all that involves having a record of the project. But they're not involved in making project decisions which is what Project Managers might do by consulting with Process Engineers.

My company hasn't provided assurance that I'd be able to do process engineering if I get a masters, I just came to that conclusion because all the graduate process engineers I've started with have a masters. Meanwhile me and another graduate non-process person both just have a bachelor's. But also it makes sense because companies want to invest money in graduates who are ready to start their path to become chartered, as you need a Master's to become chartered within 4-5 years. I've heard it's do-able without one, but with many more years' experience and evidence that you'd have to accumulate (experience which is harder to get if your company doesn't put you on the path to get it). But also, if not at my company, at others I've looked at, they tend to expect graduate process engineers to have a masters. The reason I haven't asked my company for said assurance is because I literally started the job a month ago, and I did sign up for Project Controls, in part because I just wanted/needed a job, because I wasn't exactly sure what it would entail, and because I saw it as a potential stepping stone to either switch within the company, or use it as experience to apply to a masters/apply to another company. I also can't exactly bring it up now because I'm also still technically within my probationary period. It just would sound like "Hey I signed up to Project Controls, but actually I wasn't sure what it meant and would like to do this now, can we do that?", y'know? It just would be very negative for me, so I need to address this more patiently. It's also not like the experience won't be valuable regardless.

I have considered learning programming on my own, and that's why I've done research on the MSc course syllabi of a couple of unis, which seem to use C++ in their modules. So I want to start a course, just not sure what would be a good course, or websites, as so far I've only seen people mention Udemy. So advice on that would be good too.
Last edited by studentgrad1; 1 month ago
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Smack
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#4
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(Original post by studentgrad1)
Project Controls, which leads into becoming a chartered Project Engineer (accredited by AcostE as opposed to IChemE for chartered Process Engineers). However, while Project Engineers are involved in engineering projects, Process Engineers design the process/technical part, Project Engineers manage the overall cost/finance, work orders, time planning, and all that involves having a record of the project. But they're not involved in making project decisions which is what Project Managers might do by consulting with Process Engineers.

My company hasn't provided assurance that I'd be able to do process engineering if I get a masters, I just came to that conclusion because all the graduate process engineers I've started with have a masters. Meanwhile me and another graduate non-process person both just have a bachelor's. But also it makes sense because companies want to invest money in graduates who are ready to start their path to become chartered, as you need a Master's to become chartered within 4-5 years. I've heard it's do-able without one, but with many more years' experience and evidence that you'd have to accumulate (experience which is harder to get if your company doesn't put you on the path to get it). But also, if not at my company, at others I've looked at, they tend to expect graduate process engineers to have a masters. The reason I haven't asked my company for said assurance is because I literally started the job a month ago, and I did sign up for Project Controls, in part because I just wanted/needed a job, because I wasn't exactly sure what it would entail, and because I saw it as a potential stepping stone to either switch within the company, or use it as experience to apply to a masters/apply to another company. I also can't exactly bring it up now because I'm also still technically within my probationary period. It just would sound like "Hey I signed up to Project Controls, but actually I wasn't sure what it meant and would like to do this now, can we do that?", y'know? It just would be very negative for me, so I need to address this more patiently. It's also not like the experience won't be valuable regardless.

I have considered learning programming on my own, and that's why I've done research on the MSc course syllabi of a couple of unis, which seem to use C++ in their modules. So I want to start a course, just not sure what would be a good course, or websites, as so far I've only seen people mention Udemy. So advice on that would be good too.
OK thanks for clarifying. I can definitely understand you not wanting to prod your line manager or the company about whether you can move into engineering (process specifically) from project controls when you're only a month in. I'm assuming you're at an EPC company?

I'm also assuming you aren't looking for your career to progress in the area of project controls? I'm not sure about how a move from project controls to engineering would work later on down the line, outside of an entry-level or graduate position. Do you know if it has been done at your company (or sector)? That said, in some other sectors, a project engineer can take on some more technical tasks; you may be able to move to this at some point.

In terms of software, I can't really advise on that I am afraid, other than that can you learn python (one of the most common languages used in engineering) yourself.
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Callum62
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#5
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I can somewhat relate to this question, as after graduating with my bachelors I wasn't sure to continue with Chemical ENgineering or pursue medicine instead. The thought process and looking back at it will, of course, be different for everyone. I chose to stick with chemical engineering, and even took it a step further to go for a PhD, and looking back I think (for me) it was the best decision. Sticking with what I had known for the past 5 years, plus it was something I enjoyed learning. I suppose if you don't enjoy chemical engineering all that much, a move to CS might be the better option.

However, as I am sure you know the versatility of a chemical engineering degree gives you a wider prospect of jobs, it all of course depends on what you would like to achieve. For me, business and being an entrepreneur was my ultimate goal, whether directly related to chemical engineering or not, and after the PhD, it gave me the tools to make a significant impact on a particular branch of chemical engineering (I won't bore you with the details).

So overall it really comes down to personal preference and whether the idea of a new field seems intriguing and exciting, or you want to explore and develop your existing knowledge. Chartership in chemical engineering is a major thing, especially with the older guys whose egos are often bigger than their house. This would come in time if you are with a good company and shouldn't be a major driving factor in your decision.

I wish you every success in whichever field you decide to pursue!

Kind regards
Dr. Russell
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