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Engineering Degree Advice


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#51 bigleagueslider

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 07:45

Ninja2b,

I would not put analysts in the same category as academics. Analysts are those that derive a solution for a problem they are presented with. Academics are those that create a solution in search of a problem.

I certainly don't mean to disparage the intellectual ability of the average career academic or professor. It's just that I don't feel they have as much value in the real world.

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#52 24gerrard

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 17:33

Regazzoni,

Thanks for the comments.

One only needs to look at the most productive and successful designers (note that I did not say engineers) F1 has produced in the past few decades. They were usually not the ones with the most impressive academic credentials. Instead they tend to be the types that are good at surrounding themselves with other people that have complementary capabilities, and then distribute the design tasks to the individuals that are most suited.

The issue of engineering design skills versus analytical skills has been discussed. I would again argue that design skills are not something that engineering students learn in school. Design skills only come with experience, and the best designers are the ones that study and adapt what they see in other designer's work for their own efforts. One can refer to text books for questions of math, or physics, or analysis cases. But where does one go when faced with a design problem?

I personally don't have a high regard for career academics or professors. While they tend to be technically competent, I've never met one that was a capable designer. I suppose that's why they are professors, instead of working in the private sector. Over the years I have worked with dozens of recent engineering college grads. While they were all sharp, I can't recall a single one that had any decent design skills. And this is probably a result of being taught by professors who themselves had no design skills.

Regards,
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#53 Requin

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:16

I must say that I have been following this thread with great interest for several months now. As someone in the same situation, I can empathize with you. Goldenboy, any updates? Have you made a final decision yet?

#54 Wolf

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:53

I personally don't have a high regard for career academics or professors. While they tend to be technically competent, I've never met one that was a capable designer. I suppose that's why they are professors, instead of working in the private sector. Over the years I have worked with dozens of recent engineering college grads. While they were all sharp, I can't recall a single one that had any decent design skills. And this is probably a result of being taught by professors who themselves had no design skills.

Regards,
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One may call me embittered, on account of my experience with my local Uni, and an old luddite to boot, but I will respectfully take exception with the part I've quoted- even at mechanical engineering backwaters like my neck of woods, one can find such designers... Admittedly, it may be a little bit easier in places like Germany, where professors with industry background, but still I've had dealings with some that showed a great deal of mech. eng. 'instinct' coupled with experience in the field*. Such people are delight to learn from, and in my experience are class apart from their 'peers' (among which I may point out a spl. breed which might not possess experience and knowledge, but still do appreciate such intricacies). Having said that, I would reckon that those 'positive examples' I've encountered make more than few percent of population, and are overwhelmed (and often trodden upon) by vast majority of 'career academics'.

* as an aside, I found that such people/teachers have most healthy attitude towards both students and teaching, unburdened by superficialities of their position- they will, most often than not, ask for understanding, rather than letting students get away with 'buffing up'... not in a malicious way, I'd say- but they tend to have their way of acknowledging and encouraging the students they think that have the 'knack'.

P.S. yes, I am embittered and disgusted by academic community here- but I'm speaking up for very few ppl who make all that seem trivial by their knowledge and attitude, which they do manage to get across to few students who are willing to learn (rather than putting up with learning, in order to get a degree)

#55 kikiturbo2

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 17:11

Red Bull is after all, only a fizzy drinks company.


actually, it is a marketing company, and a very good one at that.. .. The drink in question is not even "their" invention..

#56 bigleagueslider

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:50

actually, it is a marketing company, and a very good one at that.. .. The drink in question is not even "their" invention..


kikiturbo2,

That's an excellent and relevant point. Dietrich Mateschitz was a lousy student, but an excellent businessman. He took something like 10 years to finish his university business studies, so he was obviously not a good academic. But once he went to work in the business world, he quickly learned on the job. Since he is now a multi-billionaire, it's obvious he learned more on his own by experience than his "expert" professors were able to teach him in 10 years of study.

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#57 goldenboy

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 05:38

I must say that I have been following this thread with great interest for several months now. As someone in the same situation, I can empathize with you. Goldenboy, any updates? Have you made a final decision yet?

In my third week of a maths bridging course at Queensland University of Technology (tuesday and thurs night classes). Then hopefully 2nd semester will be doing chemistry bridging course. Physics bridging course can be started at any time with around a year to complete at your own pace, and is done mainly online but with plenty of help from tutors etc if needed, so will probably start that right after the maths course.

Am actually thinking would be good to do another more advanced mathematics course before starting a degree though as the maths B bridging course I'm doing now is pretty basic, but needed as a pre req for a mature age student etc. Would personally prefer to start a bit later and have a better maths knowledge than start sooner and struggle or always be behind trying to catch up.

Currently trying pretty hard to get work in the mining industry in Western Australia. Have a few very decent contacts and some qualifications (confined space, working at heights etc) so fingers crossed... (If I do get a job over there may make the bridging courses a little more difficult to do). From what I've heard if you can stick it out for 6 months you don't have much trouble (apparently) being re hired. So the plan is to get any kind of work I can over there (which pays incredibly well even for unskilled work) and then look at engineering apprenticeships within the industry. At the very least it pays enough to be able to take 4 to 6 months off a year to study full time one semester a year without having to work, or at least not have to work too much.

Still a long way to go but at least it's a start.

Edited by goldenboy, 25 February 2012 - 21:14.


#58 TURU

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 18:37

:up: Great stuff. Keep us informed of your progress please. I keep my fingers crossed for your dream. :up:

#59 gruntguru

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:10

Have you made contact with the FSAE team yet?

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#60 bigleagueslider

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:52

goldenboy,

"Mature age student"? :smoking:

It's great to hear that you're going after an engineering degree. I can appreciate just how hard it is to do this, working during the day and going to class at night. I did the same myself for a while.

There were a couple things that I found especially difficult with being a full time worker and part time engineering student. One was the amount of homework that most engineering classes required. For example, my calculus courses required 4 hours per week in class and about 8 to 10 hours per week doing assignments. My chemistry courses required 4 hours per week in class, 3 hours per week in lab, and 6 to 8 hours per week doing assignments.

The other thing I found difficult about being a part time engineering student was the length of time between taking classes. By the time I took my physics classes, I had a hard time recalling my calculus. Definitely a case of use it or lose it.

Good luck.
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#61 goldenboy

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:58

only doing the pre req maths, physics and chem courses while working full time. I'm not too keen to try an attempt an eng degree while working, which is why I'm trying to get into mining, either for an apprenticeship in conjunction with the degree, or to be able to afford to take 4 to 6 months off a year to study a full time semester without working.

Haven't contacted any formula student team as I'm still not sure which uni I will be with (the bridging courses I'm doing now should be fine for any or at least most unis in aus) and besides I've only just started the first month of the first bridging course anyway!