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Ask Slashdot: Best Second Major For a Mechanical Engineer?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the underwater-basketweaving dept.

Education 296

Scarred Intellect writes "After attending DigiPen Institute of Technology and deciding that I liked the idea of programming more than programming itself (I still do enjoy it a bit); after getting my AA at a community college with no direction; after much tinkering with engines growing up; after 4 years of service in the US Marine Corps infantry; I have finally decided what I want to do when I grow up: mechanical engineering. The reason is simple: I believe our automobiles can be a lot better (in terms of engine/propulsion) than they are now. Better technology exists, and there's more technology to develop for them. I've taken an intense interest in biodiesel and other clean, alternative energy methods (fuel cells being one of my favorites — second is solar, with wind being last). I figure mechanical engineering will give me a broad understanding of the more specific engineering disciplines. My uncle, also a mechanical engineer, suggested I get a second major in computer science to complement ME. It sounds like a good idea to me; I could mate mechanical processes with computer controls pretty effectively. It should take me 3 to 4 years to complete. What do you think? Is ME + CS a good option, or would ME work better with something else? I'll almost definitely have a math minor coming out of this."

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English (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297120)

It'll help you effectively communicate with the laity about the benefits of your work without making their eyes glaze over. Nobody's going to accept a proposal that reads like a 5th grade book report.

Chinese or Hindi (0)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297190)

Id say either Chinese or Hindi, seeing as China or India will be where all of our jobs are going to eventually end up anyhow...

Re:Chinese or Hindi (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297342)

Even in India, most of the official communication is in English.

You wont find many good Indian programmers very comfortable with written Hindi

Even spoken Hindi is more of a mixture of Hindi+Indian English

Re:Chinese or Hindi (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297496)

Id say either Chinese or Hindi, seeing as China or India will be where all of our jobs are going to eventually end up anyhow...

Mandarin isn't really needed anymore...

Re:Chinese or Hindi (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297506)

Sorry, dropped the image link [photobucket.com] . I snapped that photo in the HSBC in downtown Bangkok last August.

Parent is correct. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297248)

It'll help you effectively communicate with the laity about the benefits of your work without making their eyes glaze over. Nobody's going to accept a proposal that reads like a 5th grade book report.

I'm not the best writer in the World myself, but good grief! Many CS and engineers (and business people for that matter) can't write for shit.

Double in ME or CS? Nope. You'll get enough CS in your engineering program. Everything beyond data structures will be a waste for an engineer and besides, if you really need it for your job, just buy a book. A CS degree won't do anything for your marketability.

At least 3 semester of accounting would also help: Acct: I & II and Managerial (teaches you how to read and write accounting statements for PHBs).

So here's my program:

Do your absolute best in your ME program. Take tech writing classes and even a touchy feely composition class (it'll help you later on with the chicks and it counts as an elective!), 3 semesters of accounting and anything else the peeks your interest (also counts as electives).

This dual major BS will just distract you and possibly cause you to have a lower GPA with your BSME - your GPA plus internships is going to get you into your first job. And by NOT double majoring, you may actually have time to socialize and further develop your networking and people skills.

Re:Parent is correct. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297438)

This dual major BS will just distract you and possibly cause you to have a lower GPA with your BSME - your GPA plus internships is going to get you into your first job. And by NOT double majoring, you may actually have time to socialize and further develop your networking and people skills.

I briefly was dual majoring in CS and German, but then I already skipped all the prereqs before the upper-division German courses, so all I would have had to do is take one German course every semester in addition to the normal CS program, and I would have had a double major. That easily would have fit into the electives requirements.

I eventually dropped the German major, because I failed my English 101 course, and so I couldn't take any more upper-division German courses, because I had to have a good foundation before taking upper-division courses, otherwise I might fail them. You know, even though I had an A in the upper-division German course that I did take...

Actually, since I started as a German major, I started taking Japanese, and ended up taking the whole series, even though I didn't have to once I was a double major, and then even after I switched to just a single major, I still finished the series. In all, of the four ways to satisfy my foreign language requirement, I did three of them. (Take 4 years in High School, Pass an upper-division foreign language course, and complete the 4-semester series for a foreign language. The only one I didn't do was: demonstrate competency in a foreign language not taught at the school equivalent to the 4-semester series to the foreign language department head. And really, I think by the time I graduated, I could have done that with Swedish...) ... I'm rambling... TL;DR: double majoring isn't always a bad idea, or a social-life-killing choice.

Re:Parent is correct. (1)

tloh (451585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297462)

It'll help you effectively communicate with the laity about the benefits of your work without making their eyes glaze over. Nobody's going to accept a proposal that reads like a 5th grade book report.

I'm not the best writer in the World myself, but good grief! Many CS and engineers (and business people for that matter) can't write for shit.

I'm a little weary of English majors. A few I've met are master sophist who are good at speaking elegantly without saying much. There is a vicious streak of anti-knowledge/anti-intellectualism in liberal arts that still thrive in some enclaves despite the heavily knowledge dependent society we live in. If you should encounter "post-modernism" in any way shape or form, back away slowly and run away. But do pay attention, as often elements of certain styles of expression are a good example of precisely how not to do technical communication. Personally, I would have gravitated toward Journalism to supplement my engineering degree. Being good at telling stories, especially if they are true, is an extremely effective way of getting your point across to others.

Re:Parent is correct. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297502)

A few I've met are master sophist who are good at speaking elegantly without saying much

Exactly what the op will need when he's talking to the suits. He'll fit right in at meetings.

Anything + CS is a Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297130)

The ability to write software for specialized high demand uses is generally a huge asset.

Imaging the high powered killing machines you could design for the military industrial complex.

Re:Anything + CS is a Good Idea (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297160)

Computer science if it's the only option, but if your university offers something like software engineering or electronic engineering that would be more help. Modern cars contain a huge number of microprocessors, and understanding this side of things as well as you understand the mechanical parts of the engine will give you a huge advantage.

Unrealistic but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297136)

Business or economics. Unfortunately the two cores don't make it possible to double major. But an engineer that understands business would be something I would have loved to see.

Re:Unrealistic but... (1)

priceslasher (2102064) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297398)

An engineer that understands business or economics whould be someone like we already have that makes every part as unique as a snowflake so no two universally functioning devices (like start motors, braking devices, fluid pumps, chargers) are alike or interchangeable. This way the old machines expire and cannot compete in any way with the newer models. The engineer doesn't get paid perpetually for their designs anyways like their employer does, so they still have to work their shift even if there is nothing to do but re-invent wheels all day. At least that is how it looks from all the stuff I've taken apart.

Busines/Economics/Statistics (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297154)

In that order.

If none of those appeal to you, then take a few classes on technical writing.

Good luck

Re:Busines/Economics/Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297304)

business is useless. Economics may or may not be useful, depending on whether the school in question has an economics department or a propaganda mill. Statistics is useful; it's probably included in most engineering programs, though I guess statistics is probably going to be more in the industrial engineering section. An ME needs math up to Calc 3, which is mostly about geometry of 3-space, and linear algebra, because everyone does. I'm not sure more math is needed, though it would of course be fun. A lot of physics would be more useful: not necessarily relativity or QM, though your basic class on QM will be useful to understand the materials science that will be necessary.

I'd suggest physics as a second major. Einstein, the greatest physicist of all time, also patented a refrigerator.

Full disclosure, I'm in between math undergrad and going for a PhD in math.

Re:Busines/Economics/Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297542)

business is useless. (...) Full disclosure, I'm in between math undergrad and going for a PhD in math.

You've got to be kidding me.

I get the feeling you have no idea how much effort this PhD in math will require, and how poorly it will reward you with respect to getting a dumb business degree.

Physics (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297156)

In my opinion, with where you want to go in terms of nuclear and solar energy, perhaps this would provide as a good alternative to CS.

Re:Physics (1)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297168)

Err...maybe I should more accurately chemical energy.

Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297176)

Clearly, you haven't started your degree. Double degrees are no easy feat when engineering is one of them. Comp sci is a great minor. Good luck! And remember almost every industry employs mechanical engineers, automobile is a small fraction.

Consumer products? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297180)

Best degree (in addition to ME) to work on consumer products would be something involving reading/speaking Chinese.

Re:Consumer products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297746)

And/or Spanish. You never know what the political landscape will be 10 to 20 years from now.

Biology (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297188)

Biology... so you don't show up on the Internet a few years later insisting that your experience and training in engineering equips you to declare evolution false.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_Hypothesis [rationalwiki.org]

Re:Biology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297324)

I'd suggest biology or chemistry myself, though not for the reasons you mention, but because of the interest in the fueling aspect.

Computer science is pointless, whatever you learn will have to be replaced anyway, and will be secondary to what you need to learn.

But chemical processes, now those will last you a long time.

Re:Biology (1)

rocker_wannabe (673157) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297520)

Maybe engineers tend to believe Creationism because they've seen how many things can go wrong even when there is a modicum of intelligence behind the design. A functioning planet like Earth, with its diverse biomes, million-plus species, and resilient ecosystems makes them look really stupid because they can't do better than supposed "random interactions" and survival of the fittest.

Re:Biology (2)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297674)

I don't think engineers "tend to believe Creationism". That statement gives the impression that most engineers believe in creationism, which certainly not true. What the Salem Hypothesis says, as I understand it, is that of those with formal training in scientific disciplines those who believe in creationism are more likely to have training in physical sciences or math (the foundations of most engineering disciplines) than those who have training in the life sciences. If 1% of engineers believe in creationism, and 0.001% (note, statistics out of thin air, made up on the spot, no relation to reality, don't quote me on those, they were only for illustration purposes) of biologists do, while that will show up a a greater number of creationists being engineers than biologists it certainly would not indicate that engineers "tend" to believe in creationism.

This askslashdot is another obvious troll (1)

Marvin_Runyon (513878) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297200)

9/10 for trolling, but it is still obvious.

Look at the data points:
-No description of AA degree
-USMC infantry (aka grunt, if this person had any more useful aptitudes, the USMC would have placed him in a more specialized role)
-automobiles can be better... the big non issue of our times, sure they can be better, if you don't factor in infrastructure changes, and expect them to only operate at room temperature conditions year round
-alternative energy... the new religion of our time... fuel cells are storage, not generation... wind power... for cars? oh yeah, totally not a troll
-CS to compliment an ME degree... that is like studying cosmology to build rockets.

Re:This askslashdot is another obvious troll (1)

NoisySplatter (847631) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297374)

-USMC infantry (aka grunt, if this person had any more useful aptitudes, the USMC would have placed him in a more specialized role)

Actually your job specialization in the military is largely your choice. I was in the USMC infantry as well. I scored in the 98th percentile on the ASVAB, qualifying me to do any job I wanted, but I chose infantry. They tried to encourage me to be a cryptographic linguist, but I turned it down. Coincidentally, I'm also in school to be a mechanical engineer now.

Much easier than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297404)

-Far too well-written to be an engineer's work.

What do you want? (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297204)

It depends upon your goals. For many folks, any kind of business degree would be a good second major, assuming you hope to one day make a better-than-average income (either by starting your own business or climbing the corporate ladder as a manager). A legal degree might be another choice along those lines.
If you wish to remain an engineer (a laudable desire, some might say), then CS is perhaps the best second choice.
If you wish to round out your life, choose a liberal arts degree. The secondary benefits of this are being exposed to a variety of different people and learning how to deal with them (you won't get this as much with a second CS or engineering degree).
There are many paths... choose yours with your ultimate goals in mind.

go for aero/mech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297206)

there arent many industry jobs for MEs anymore and with your marine corps background you could get a TS/SCI very easily. I suggest going defence industry and majoring in mechanical with an aero concentration.

EE (4, Insightful)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297236)

If you want to learn controls, it seems Electrical Engineering would be a better fit than Computer Science. While Mechanical Engineers have to learn a fair degree of controls theory, the EE guys live and breathe controls, so it would make you more proficient in that area, at least on paper.

Re:EE (1)

mrmagos (783752) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297362)

I would agree with this. Although, since you're considering CS, you may want to see if your school offers a Computer Engineering program. CompE is a mesh of EE and CS, and would be well-suited toward developing controllers, monitors, firmware, etc. for advanced (hybrid, etc.) drive systems. Alternatively, since you're interested in alternate forms of energy, ChemE may be a suitable match as well.

Re:EE (3, Interesting)

Outlander Engine (827947) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297382)

Skip CS. You won't be doing any kind of upper level programing for 90% of the engines out there. The controllers in those things are really basic.

For engine management systems, go ME + EE, and fill your choices with control theory classes.

This also gives you a backup plan. If you have to find a job, the EE degree will give you a broader choice of positions. The industrial control systems field is an excellent spot to be looking for work.

Re:EE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297396)

Having a EE background, I second the above. You get all of the benefits of logic and control design without getting too deep into the nuts and bolts of programming. It also gives you the physics needed for the alternative energy. If you were looking directly at fuel cell, some chemical background could help but there is probably a senior or graduate level ME course in Automotive Engineering that covers this. You don't need to be pursuing a Masters to take grad level courses.

At the time, my school also required technical writing and presentational speaking as part of the core requirements for all Engineering degrees. Do not underestimate the advantage these two give.

Agreed, and learn MATLAB ! (1)

giampy (592646) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297482)

You need to learn MATLAB early on, since MATLAB and Simulink are the tools that the automotive industry uses the most for engine modeling and control, and to generate the low-level code that ends up in the ECUs.

Re:Agreed, and learn MATLAB ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297562)

Excuse me sir, but you seem to have misspelled Octave! /Free software crazy

Re:Agreed, and learn MATLAB ! (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297634)

Plus you could also learn that other stone age language called Fortran. But hey, there will be no better number crunching system than Matlab.

Over all it makes sense. Learning C that other slighty more modern language can help too.

Also there is the issue of array indices starting with 1 In both stone age languages despite there beeing an EWD discussing the benefits of starting at 0.

Re:EE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297546)

Witht he disclaimer that I have a computer science degree from an engineering college, I would highly reccomend and EE degree. The ME's had to takea lot of EE anyways, but they would take a class that was three EE classes crammed into one class. They didn't summarize, they went into it at the same depth and you just had to work your ass off. If you go EE, you could take the three EE's first, and then that class will be a breeze (or you might be able to audit it). There's a reason they make the ME's take so much EE; primarily so you know when you need to go to an EE and so you can sanity check what an EE is telling you.

If you're interested into alternative fuels, it seems a chemistry or biochemistry degree might also be useful.

Computer Science is a lot of theoritical stuff, so you might be better off minoring in it rather then spending the time on a major.

I'd also highly reccomend business (though an MBA might make more sense).

Re:EE (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297576)

Yeah - double plus. ME/EE seems way more compelling as a job/career generator than ME/CS..

EE is the way to go (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297608)

Parent has it right. EE isn't just about circuits. It also covers embedded controls and systems engineering (feedback loops, etc.). If your goal is a broad understanding of engineering that allows you to mate different technologies, then you can't go wrong with ME+EE. You can do just about anything with that pair. Certain fields (such as a aerospace on the ME side and IC design on the EE side) require you to focus more on depth of knowledge than breadth, but for most careers being well rounded is more important. They'll teach you the specifics on the job.

Re:EE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297646)

As someone putting the finishing touches on this pair of degrees (Electrical and Computer Engineering with Mechanical Engineering) I would definitely agree. Be warned though that there may not be a lot of overlap between the two programs, so you will either have to hussle, or plan on spending more time in college

A double engineering degree sounds unwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297718)

As a rule, engineering degrees are necessarily harder than they are good, i.e. they're all about the workload and weed out, but not so much about the deep understanding, i.e. he'll take forever finishing and burn himself out. Science degrees are otoh more about teaching something interesting. If he's attending some piss-easy school, fine maybe double engineering works, but avoid the second engineering degree if the school actually fails the appropriate precentages.

I'd recommend a second degree in physics myself. Ten year ago, Georgia Tech's physics degree gave students a full year of technicalish electives, which his engineering courses easily satisfy. A second engineering degree would require like two extra years of coursework that isn't significantly deeper than his mechanical engineering degree. An extra physics degree otoh would require only one extra year of coursework but covers considerably deeper and broader material.

In addition, all those physics classes will give him a major leg up over his ME classmates, yet physics homework's will require less work, assuming he's smart. If he isn't smart enough for the physics degree, he might try a chemistry degree, but that's shit tons of lab work.

My Advice (3, Interesting)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297238)

I work part time as a contract consultant for a giant company. The division I work at requires 2 separate degrees for their second flor elves. One in computer science, the second in either mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. They also require at lest one of those to be a masters or doctorate. They prefer a masters & a doctorate both.

One discipline is no longer enough to get the really, really, good jobs.

The bad new is out of 65 guys and 1 woman in that second floor cave, only 1 guy is caucasian and speaks English as a 1st language.

The VP in charge said it was just sad that American kids didn't want to put in the work and take the time to get the educational requirements of that group.


Re:My Advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297274)

waste of time to spend that long in school and still make less than the average business idiot or lawyer. that's why there are no Caucasians. they're making more while working less somewhere else.

Re:My Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297454)

Along those lines is the $ it takes for these degrees. My brother in law got a masters from U of MI and at the time of graduation had at least $150K in student loans.
My degree is a BSEE and I am in IT. If you are serious about getting into engine design, I would seriously talk to those that are doing it about what it takes to get into that. Since I got my degree from Oakland University in MI, a lot of the engineer students thought that they could get into design right away working for the big 3. They ended up coming back for their masters in quality control or industrial engineering as very few of the engineers get into design.

Re:My Advice (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297392)

Spell check before [Submit]. Spell check before [Submit]. Spell check before [Submit].

Re:My Advice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297534)

Well, considering that Computer Science is often a complete waste of a degree, I'm not surprised. Posting AC to avoid being crucified for the truth.

How about psychology? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297240)

Psychology degree. Balance the mechanical engineering with an understanding of people - how they think, what they want, what their motivations are for doing things. If you're going to make machines that people use, understanding people is a really good idea.

Foreign Language Class? (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297242)

Take a foreign language such as Chinese, Hindi, Japanese or German to ensure you can communicate with your co-workers in 3 years.

I'm only half joking.

In 3 years? How about now. (1)

curio_city (1972556) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297302)

At my university many of the engineering faculty are international. I would imagine working at a prestigious multinational corporation or even a small venture focusing on research would have a similar mix.

options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297258)

ME and CS have very little overlap past the calculus and general study classes. Math minor should be nearly a freebie, maybe requiring one or two more advanced math courses. The higher up ME classes are usually demanding enough to be a full load with 5 classes a semester, so expect 4 years on top of having that AA clear out some of the general classes is reasonable to expect. You may discover transferring into a university not quite as simple as they advertise. Look into what classes will count towards your major and how many credits will be lost. Also find out if your school will require 2 capstone projects or not - these are a lot of work. ME compliments most other fields very well, some people like Bio/ME and Chem Eng/ME for those more interested in fuels.

I'd say if you're set on ME, go through a year or so of ME classes, you'll take at least one or two CS, Electrical Eng, and Chem classes as part of the curriculum. If you find something you like go with it.

What about EE? And other thoughts (3, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297310)

Cars have complex electrical and control systems and an Electrical Engineering degree may put you closer to your goal. EE's do a fair amount of programming as well. It would work for Aeronautical and Medical Device Engineering as well. Tough you may have to take some pre-med courses. Also weapons engineering. Since you are a vet, you already have at least a minimal security clearance. That boosts your employ-ability, if you decide weapons are right for you.[1]

Note that you may have to get a Masters degree to do any serious design work for a car company, aircraft company, or a medical devices company. That's what a ME student once told me. You should investigate.

One thing to consider is that ME and EE are easy to offshore. Anyone with solid engineering training can do it anywhere on the globe. For job security I would recommend Civil or Environmental. As one CE I knew once put it "There are always jobs in roads and commodes".

Math minor is OK, but I think you should focus more; either EE and ME or ME and Math.

[1] As an undergrad in CS I had a Math prof once offer to do a letter of introduction to a guy he knew working at the China Lake Naval Weapons Testing Center in CA. I decided that I did not want to pursue that path, so I was under employed for a few years. This was during the 1980s Reagen "prosperity". But I still think it was the right decision for me.

Re:What about EE? And other thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297366)

if you are interested in control systems, then ee is really a better fit. with cs you'll learn all sorts of admittedly interesting things,
but they wont teach you how to write a bldc controller. you wont spend at least a semesters class going over the details
of pid controllers. you wont learn about the infuriating electrical properties of motors

What About Fucking Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297550)

"After attending DigiPen Institute of Technology and deciding that I liked the idea of programming more than programming itself (I still do enjoy it a bit);"


This idiots life doesn't deserved to be on the front page of Slashdot.

It's called Google dipshit. Use it.

Re:What About Fucking Google (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297644)

YOU don't give a shit. Some of us are willing to share our life experience with others. Where would you plan to search for the answer to this question? Since many of us don't have fucking blogs about this type of thing, all you would find is a bunch of people talking about it who aren't engineers nor scientists.

Some Sort Of Material Science? (1)

awrc (12953) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297314)

Well, comp sci wouldn't hurt, but depending on syllabus you may well got more relevant experience for working with embedded systems from having EE as a second major, and the combination of the two engineering disciplines is a strong one. Another couple of possible matches, if you can find somewhere that offers a suitable program, would be systems engineering (that is, the real "big picture" cross-domain, full-product-lifecycle discipline) or material science. The latter may be part of an ME program, depending on where you are, but in the alternate power area developing new materials is going to be central to decreasing the cost and increasing the efficiency of those power sources.

English (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297316)

You can mock all you want, but English or Communications would definitely be helpful for an Engineer. I know someone working on an MA in English, and part of that is teaching a basic writing class for freshmen. A lot of the students who struggle are those from engineering or science programs who just don't know how to write down and communicate their thoughts academically and professionally. You have to at least be able to communicate effectively with other engineers, and being able to organize your thoughts and convey them to non-Engineers is probably as essential if not more so, since your bosses will likely not be engineers themselves.

I hear it often from math, science, engineering, and technology majors that they don't see the point in having to take humanities courses, especially English, and while I agree that detailed study of literature and theory is probably unnecessary for them, one should at least be exposed to those ideas as part of a liberal (meaning broad) education. Studying literature is as much about learning how humans communicate through the written word as it is acquiring the ability to appreciate it as a form of artistic expression.

tl;dr, everyone needs to be able to communicate effectively, NOT everyone has to (or can) be an engineer.

Take a few CS classes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297320)

But don't bother with the full major. There's a lot of theory involved with that that you frankly won't need to know.

If you really want to focus on micro-controllers and embedded systems, Computer Engineering may be another option.

poetry or art history (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297338)

you will never ever meet any girls in engineering school. ever.

Re:poetry or art history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297352)

Bzzzzt. Wrong. You must be out of school 10-15 years already.
There are a ton of geek girl hotties enrolled now. It became chic.

Re:poetry or art history (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297386)

I can confirm this. Every year the Freshman class at my engineering school brings in more and more women. Some of them even look like women!

damn im old (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297388)

old old old

Re:poetry or art history (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297566)

Yeah, but remember that even five or ten percent female enrollment still means there's an order of magnitude more guys looking for girls than there are girls to satisfy the demand. Wake me up when the numbers are 50% or higher. Until then, I'm in complete agreement with the GP's advice.

Other good second majors are music, art, dance, drama, theater, communications, English, and sociology (particularly if they have a women's studies or social services major).

Out of those, the ones that will help you most in terms of being able to get a job are probably communications and English because you'll now be qualified for any number of writing positions on the fringes. Folks hiring engineering technical writers (as opposed to end user documentation writers) are always struggling to find good candidates who are willing to take the jobs, so it's an easy way into a company that you want to work for. It's always easier to change to an engineering job later than it is to get a job from the outside.

That said, there are mechanical engineering jobs in those other areas. Somebody has to design new theatrical lighting, oversee the construction of riggings, mathematically model musical instruments to find ways to improve intonation, etc. The variety is somewhat more limited, however.

Re:poetry or art history (2)

tfigment (2425764) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297410)

When I graduated 50% of my Chemical Engineering class was female at that time, all my good friends then were female and one could easily have been a fashion model if she wanted it. Most focused on premed or biochemical.

Re:poetry or art history (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297528)

When I graduated 50% of my Chemical Engineering class was female at that time, all my good friends then were female and one could easily have been a fashion model if she wanted it. Most focused on premed or biochemical.

OK, to correct the original poster: if you are STRAIGHT you'll never meet any girls in engineering school.

Re:poetry or art history (2)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297588)

"you will never ever meet any girls you want to sleep with in engineering school. ever."


Solid Plan (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297346)

Mechanical Engineer working in the automotive industry here. (3 years out of school, about half of that time in automotive.)

You're 100% correct about needing computer science skills. I'm not sure going for a second degree is as beneficial as a minor, or just being skilled with computers. Many schools are shifting their focus for mechanical engineers toward computers anyways. You can expect to learn finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics and a programming language in a ME major. It's a really broad major, and the nice thing is that (in a good program) you will be exposed to all of the fields you mentioned above, and given opportunities to pursue them.

A math minor could be useful if you're going to use it. I know a few people who got one, but it's not useful for most of them. Minors in materials are also common, and much more useful in my opinion.

I think what you do beyond the classroom is more important. Getting involved in competitive engineering teams (FSAE) did much more for me in the automotive industry than minors. (Admittedly, I was a poor student... Internships and extracurricular activities helped me stand out.) More important to focus on the basics before double majoring and minoring in a ton of stuff.

The Basics:
Get into a good program. You will learn more from smart classmates and good professors.
Try to get good grades. (>3.5 = genius, >3.0 = reasonable, 2.5 = not hirable to many employers.)
Work internships. You'll learn how to be professional, and getting a real job will be a lot easier.
Do extracurricular activities. This is where you learn how to apply your schoolwork.

Not Computer Engineering (2)

Ghostworks (991012) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297356)

First, let me say that all colleges and universities have slightly different curricula, so mileage may vary. But...

Computer Engineerin/Science is probably not going to teach you control systems. It will teach you how to understand the problems and trade-offs of software design, and how to employ higher-level patterns to quickly solve common problems optimally. That will probably not be used in controlling a feedback system with a microcontroller, or in controlling a large scale plant. Automatic control generally falls into Electrical Engineering, though it will also be a large part of more specialized degrees if they are offered by your school: chemical engineering (emphasis on plants and processing), petroleum engineering (again, emphasis on plants), process engineering (duh), and automotive engineering.

I would take a healthy dose of engineering economics. The auto industry is motivated by having very good system redundandy under harsh conditions with minimal cost. I know, that's theoretically every engineer's job, but the conditions here really are harsh, the redundancy is mandatary, and the margins are tight. Also, consider your willingness to travel, and what other fields (aeronautics?) your degree could be useful in once complete. Tough market out there.

EE, you fool! Electrical Engineering! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297370)

Never leave giant, un-bridge-able gaps in your knowledge!

Wait until after you start (2)

lurker1997 (2005954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297372)

I was a bit confused by the summary, but my reply assumes that you have not yet started your ME degree and you want to concurrently take ME with something else, maybe CS, so that when you finish your undergrad education, you will have and ME degree and another degree (possibly CS).

Part of my job is advising first year engineering students on their course selection. Your position is very common: people start with some idea about a minor / second degree they would like to take, and want to start taking courses to get them down that path right away. I try to encourage students to focus on their first degree, at least for the first two years. The reasons for this are mainly (1) engineering school is hard for many people, and before you start, you cannot be sure how good you are at it. You may find that a normal ME course load takes all your time and attention, and it would be a shame to immediately spread yourself thin, before you know what kind of a course load and subject range you can reasonably handle. (2) When you start engineering school, you may not have a good sense of what your interests are, even if you think you do. One of the best things about university is the range of degree programs you get exposed to, in a meaningful way that lets you explore your interests. In your first two years of ME, you will end up taking programming courses, physics, math, electrical engineering, chemical eng. / material science, etc. that will let you get a better sense of your interests and strengths. After a year or two, you will be in a much better position to decide what second major / minor you would like to pursue, if any.

In your first year especially, the best thing you can do is use your electives, if available, to try out other subjects that interest you. One bit of advice if you have CS in mind though. Depending on the school, there are usually a number of different intro to programming courses, often one for CS, one for EE, one for the rest of engineering. If you need to take a first year CS course, see if the CS intro course will count for credit against your ME degree, and take that one instead (because the ME course will probably not count for CS) so you are not behind.

Whatever you choose, do it out of interest and not based on your current perception of the job market. Five years from now (at least if you are doing two majors) there is no way to predict what will be popular.

Re:Wait until after you start (1)

lurker1997 (2005954) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297414)

I should add: don't discount specializations within the degree. For example, many schools will have a nuclear engineering option, automotive option, etc, for ME. If you are trying to do a double major in a hurry, you will probably end up using your upper year technical elective courses for your second degree, and end up with two degrees with little specialization in either. You may be better off focusing on the one degree, with a specialty.

avoid women's studies (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297384)

False advertising at it's worst :(

Watch for changing course requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297390)

I tried to do something similar - add a computer engineering BS in addition to my EE. That was a pretty easy combination - lots of EE electives overlapped with CE classes. You won't have that luxury with an ME degree and I suspect it could be a lot harder than you think to fulfill both programs. The other thing I ran into was in my senior year the college decided to change the required classes for the CE degree. Since I could only have one declared major, I wasn't grandfathered into the old course requirements. It turned out to complete the CE degree that instead of an extra semester it would have taken me two extra semesters and probably some summer classes.

Art + Internship and study overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297406)

While CS would do well, you can pick up most of what you need from the basics (intro programming, structures, os). EE would help with knowing how to deal with the electronics in general - take what you can so you have good exposure. Computer Engineering served me well as it combined CS/EE without getting too deep into esoterics of either.
The suggestion to study English above is good - being a decent writer is a very good skill, but a full major in it? nah read a lot of fiction (broadly) and practice writing in your reports for other classes.

I have not seen a suggestion to study Art - specifically communication arts. Perhaps something like the ITP program. That combines a lot of ME, CS, EE with knowing how to design something that is a) useful b) looks good c) works well in real world and d) people will want to use. I've been a promoter of extending the term STEM (Science Tech Engr Math) to STEAM - explicitly including Art. All great engineers and inventors were also artists and having a good appreciation and ability will help any engineer make better products.... A side effect is you will meet more interesting people (women).

Next, get into an internship program. Change schools if you need to. These are by the best part of an engineers education. Working with a group of experienced engineers on real world projects before you graduate is a great help in knowing what will be important, and how it is really applied. It will also help you understand if you really want to be an engineer in that sort of company (knowing small vs large companies can be VERY different).

And to help with that foreign language/communication skill, try getting a semester or more abroad.

By the time you get all that done, you will have the equiv of a MS or PhD.... and skip the PhD. Go get some real work experience in a lot of areas. IMHO PhD is heavily overrated.

Now - Shut Up and Make Something!

If you can get

Class concentrations, not a major. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297412)

If you don't like programming, why in the world would you take a bunch of classes that have programming as a large part of it?

Even if you did like programming, a computer science degree is going to be a huge waste of time and money if you all you want to do is combine computer controls with engine design. Computer science is very broad. A database class, graphics class will give you zero knowledge to help you better design engines. Learning about TCP/IP and networking concepts will be of almost zero help. A class on real time systems could be quite a bit of value. So concentrate on specific classes that will give you knowledge about what you want to do, not a broad based major.

Stick to ME, decide to double major later (5, Interesting)

Narmacil (1189367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297416)

If you would like to work on automobiles I recommend sticking with ME, and just doing that for now. Mechanical engineering is quite an undertaking on its own and if you double major, plan to spend at least 6 or 7 years in college to get a good understanding of both subjects. If you try to double major with mechanical engineering as one of the majors in the standard 4 years, you will either not gain a satisfactory understanding of the fundamentals and theory or you won't have any time to participate in the practical non-classroom experiences that make a mechanical engineering degree worthwile. I would recommend joining the Baja or formula SAE team at your university or college to get a better understanding of what goes into real world vehicle design, also project oriented teams look great on the resume. You will pick up a little CS and EE in Mechanical engineering if your school is doing it right. You might want to get a green minor if you're interested in biodeisel and low carbon emmisions vehicles, but make sure your university offers this first. Getting the math minor is easy, but probably won't do alot for you in the long run (most mech e's have one by default).

And Controls theory is definately a mech E subject, you can get very in depth in mechatronics and controls courses offered through a mechanical engineering department, and you'll get alot more real world hands on examples than you would in an EE course (EE's tend not to care about mechanisms, and are more interested in the electric theory) I would say if you're interested in cars, go the ME route and stick to it.

(This advice is coming from a practicing Mechanical Engineer who got his BSME in 4 years (at Virginia Tech)) I focused on robotics (CHARLI and RAPHaEL were my pet projects) but had alot of friends who loved cars). I work at SpaceX on rocket stuff now.

Also, you should probably know, the job you get might not be exactly what you planned for or learned the most about in school, but engineering, like life, is an adventure, so stick it out and you'll be sure to have fun.

Stick to ME, get a masters afterwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297594)

I second this.

Any engineering discipline is a substantial undertaking (EE here, working on my MSEE). I think that you will find that you barely have time to complete your work in mechanical engineering, let alone also complete a second major. Most engineering degrees will take 5 years to complete if you do an internship or co-op (side note: make sure you do this!!!! The experience is invaluable), many students take 6 years to complete the degree if they are not able to do schooling full time, or if you need to retake any classes. Focus on your ME degree first, if towards the end of your degree you find that you have time to take a few classes, work on a minor in mathematics or statistics.

Now, once you finish your degree and if you have not had enough punishment, there would be a huge benefit in working on a masters degree. You could get a MS in ME, or even EE. In fact, given the option of taking an extra year to double major for a BS or taking 2 years and getting a MS, definitely go for the MS as you will be able to learn more and have better/more interesting job prospects in the long run. If you are really into doing some cutting-edge development, you will need the MS. A BS will most likely not get you into the type of job you are really looking for.

Someone that actually did it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297420)

I'd always wanted to be an Aerospace Engineering major, so that's what I did. But I did a double-major in Computer Engineering as well.

I have no regrets about taking this course, and would recommend it to anyone like-minded. Another suggestion on this thread that I liked was to get an English degree. The stereotype about Engineers being poor communicators is true far too often. Every time I critically review the written output of other engineers, I'm really reminded of this. To most people, poor communications are indistinguishable from those that are high-quality. However, if you can impress decision-makers with not only the inherent quality of your arguments, but also the way in which you convey them, you have a much better chance of being listened to. Such opportunities are usually not frequent, but they can make a big difference in your life if you're prepared to make the most of them.

I'd have a much harder time standing behind a business degree recommendation. Once you've studied a rigorous field with some applications, like a standard Engineering major, you'll find it pretty straightforward to read books to gain any necessary understanding of the "technical" side of business, like accounting or finance. And as for the "soft" skills, like anything involving groups, or "management", the "theory" that business schools provide is weak at best (the opposite of rigorous), and you're far better off with a combination of real-world experience and reading from actual practitioners, like Bennis.

With regard to the computer side of things, in my judgment, there were only a few aspects of CS that I lost out on by choosing Computer Engineering. One would be compilers and their associated fields (parsing, grammars, etc.). Another would be advanced data structures and its allied cousin, algorithmic analysis. While I had some exposure to the latter two, they're definitely my weak points. On the other hand, I can often destroy CS majors in terms of my depth of hardware understanding. If I was inherently more capable in the analog world, I might have just chosen a straight Electrical Engineering degree for the double-major instead of Computer Engineering.

One serious recommendation though: pick a top-tier engineering school. If you're even remotely thinking of an online degree for this stuff, you're going in absolutely the wrong way. State schools are absolutely fine -- doesn't have to be the "rockstar" universities like MIT or Stanford. Find any way you can to pay for it, as long as you can dedicate enough time and energy to your actual studies. The differences between top-tier universities and everything below them are substantial.

And lastly, I also took the additional two courses to pick up a math minor. I still suck at anything more advanced than PDEs, but it's a fun feather to have in my cap. You might as well. The CS/CompE side will emphasize discrete math and the mechanical side the continuous. Just know when not to brag about the math minor. In my case, that's usually with good aero/mechanical engineers or math/physics/applied physics folks. They have better inherent capabilities in math than I gained through my coursework. For problems of a given mathematical complexity, they're generally faster and have better intuition for them than I do.

Good luck! By even thinking along the lines you've discussed, you're putting yourself in an exclusive group.

Chemistry (1)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297432)

Since you mentioned biodiesel..

There are many options, which do you want? (2)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297436)

It really depends on what you want to do with yourself. Do you want to manage a group of engineers or an entire plant? Do you want to be a researcher studying cutting edge technology? Do you want to be more on the technical side and spend time actually building things? I spent two years as a dual major in mathematics and computer engineering, before I decided I would rather just do mathematics since you have plenty of opportunities to work in most areas of research as long as you have programming skills.

As a mechanical engineer, you will have plenty of opportunities for material science classes, physics classes, mechanics classes, etc. So, my best recommendation to you to ensure you can get a job is to take programming courses. By this I mean, take enough to be able to program an application or scientific computation software comfortably in Unix. This should be in addition to any second major you would choose. From there its really up to you.

If you plan to be on the plant management side of things, statistics and/or operations research is a major plus. This is achievable through many math programs. If you want to manage a business or people, economics/finance or an MBA is always a plus, though generally engineers and scientists can take courses on these topics geared more towards their discipline. If you plan to be on the more research side, I would recommend either mathematics or physics. If you plan to actually build things, I would recommend sticking to just engineering disciplines and taking as many courses in it as possible rather than waste extra credits on a second major in the sciences. Even mechanical engineers have to specialize in something, and if you don't worry about a second major it leaves more time to work on a second specialization. For example, there are mechanical engineers that specialize in thermodynamics, and some that specialize in material science. You could have time to do both by not taking a second major.

I am a PhD student in computational mathematics. I have my MS in Applied Math, with a specialty in mostly computational topics as well as optimization. I was an engineering student for awhile, but I absolutely love mathematics and typically sacrificed an engineering class for a mathematics class I didn't even need to graduate. Ultimately I got some good advice and just pursued mathematics full time.

EE/CE/CS + Physics minor (1)

Agent Feyd (2453092) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297440)

I'd go with either Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science. Since you're into cars and cars are becoming more and more computer laden (and that is where a LOT of the innovation will be happening for the foreseeable future) I would choose a second major in one of those. Since I don't see any other school mentioned outside of DigiPen, I'll assume you haven't quite chosen a school yet. In that case, choose carefully, as Ghostworks alluded to your milage will vary from school to school for any of these, as well as Mechanical Engineering. The Computer Engineering program at DigiPen is, from my tours through their lab quite impressive, and this is coming from a recent CE grad (though, sadly, not from DigiPen.) The specializations Ghostworks mentions are also quite good ideas to primary major in, if you really know you want to be in the automotive industry. My final recommendation is to, at minimum, minor in Physics (and Math, as that will likely be nearly automatic anyways) as these will round you out a bit and provide a greater foundation of understanding for your future endeavors. Good luck! ^_^

FYI - from experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297456)

I have a masters in ME and for all intent and purposes an undergrad in CS (long story but swapped grad comp vision and comp. graphics for compilers/os) it seems I spend a lot more time coding than ME design. At least most of the coding is embedded and involves dynamics and control, but I miss bending metal a lot. The problem is once you are pegged with software competence you will not be able to hide. Lucky for me I really enjoy the combination of code and hardware. A decent size company needs its specialists and jacks of all trades. The hard part is choosing what role you want.

Some level of coding is priceless, so if you choose not to you might want to supplement the sorry a$$ engineering programming class with some real CS courses.

In the end, I would recommend doing both. A ME || a CS employee is a dime a dozen but a ME && CS will stand out and give you plenty of interesting opportunities, but only do it if you enjoy it. Its a good combination too, about the only better one might be Physics/Math...

Why CS for Controls? (1)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297468)

I don't believe that CS majors typically learn a lot of controls and automation in their core curriculum . . . that's typically something that EE's see more of. And for that matter I ask, why Mechanical Engineering? If you want to design cars, ME might make sense, but in most alternative energy technologies you will likely be part of a multidisciplinary team . . . with material scientists (solar energy, automobiles, fuel cells), chemical engineers (fuel cells, combustion engineering), aerospace engineers (wind turbines), electrical engineers (all of the above). Mechanical engineering, though a key component of many teams, does not typically get to "ride point" on these teams. Mechanical engineers often take the requirements from the aforementioned disciplines and design a real and stable "container" or "device" that mechanically stabilizes and holds the alternative energy technology. If you actually want to design the "alternative energy technology" perhaps one of the more specific disciplines would make sense. . .

Note that I'm not belittling the role of mechanical engineers. ME's are absolutely critical to the development of a myriad of technologies . . . but mechanical engineering isn't the lead discipline that actually develops many of the "core" technologies that make the alternative energy technologies that you describe possible.

And lastly, I don't understand how ". . . mechanical engineering will give me a broad understanding of the more specific engineering disciplines." is true at all. I'm a chemical engineer . . . I don't know many mechanical engineers that know squat about the basics of Chem E. And for that matter I don't know Mechanical Engineering for squat either . . . I never even took a Statics and Dynamics course . . .

Re:Why CS for Controls? (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297596)

Computer engineers get more embedded systems, though they are basically a subset of EE.

EE concentrating in control engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297474)

This has been an extremely effective dual degree for me. Almost every mechanical system has a controller these days, and knowledgeable control engineers are in demand. You do a lot of coding for control engineering but it is not classical computer science. The math is based on differential equations rather than algorithms.

I am in the same boat! (4, Interesting)

the_macman (874383) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297478)

You and I are very similar. I currently have a B.S in Information Technology.

Next Spring, I graduate with an B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I'm also an automotive engineer working for Mercedes at the moment.

I also founded my school's first Society of Automotive Engineers chapter, and we're working on finishing the school's first Formula SAE Car.

I do not recommend a CS degree. That was my first degree before I switched it to IT. IMO CS will give you an unnecessary study into in depth facets of CS that you won't utilize as an ME. If you want to combine technology with engineering then pursue a degree in IT. It will be easier, give you more practical programming experience, teach you about databases, and allow the flexibility of taking several electives (which can be CS related courses).

You will also be subject to programming and controls classes during your ME studies. Your IT experience will give you a leg up against your peers.

You will amaze your ME friends when you can create a programming solution to an engineering problem on the computer.

fun example (1)

Vardamir (266484) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297516)

I am not sure that CS is the best bet for what you're wanting to do. Math might be even better, but physics or EE would be better yet. However, here is one fun example of a guy doing CS/ME:
http://web.mae.cornell.edu/lipson/ [cornell.edu]

Second major is easy, for someone entering college (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297518)

Mixology. At least you'll be the hit of the frat parties - and in a few years you can develop a keg tap that'll pour beer at a 10 meter distance.

EE (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297530)

Given the prevalance of hybrid and electric propulsion technologies these days, I would imagine that Electrical Engineering would be very helpful. Comp Sci. would be helpful for understanding how the microprocessors work in terms of software, but EE would help you understand the flow of current in these new electrical propulsion systems that you mentioned.

Choose a topic rather than disciplines. (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297532)

Don't consider, disciplines, but topics. If you are interested in fuel cells (or solar) go after the curricula that allows you to learn and experience that topic. Choose to work in research group that deal with these topics. Get your hands dirty. I have had environmental science majors in my group here at MIT that work on solar PV to get experience on them. I tend to hire undergrads that shows that they are flexible in thinking rather than focus on "what's the curriculum that is provided". If you follow this track, you will find that all disciplines matter little, what matters is your ability to shape what you want to do and focus your educational effort in seeking the best courses that allow you to do that. In the specifics, as things get smaller (even before going nanoscale), mechanics have to deal with electronics and chemistry. EE courses will give you a boost in ways to optimize mechanical process at the microscale. Besides, given your interest in alternative energy sources, it will provide a way to design the electronics that can control and optimize your fuel cells. Chemical Engineering courses would help too, in this regards. And while you're at it, take classes in communication. As we say: "science (and tech) badly communicated, is science (and tech) not done".

Stick with ME and wait for Grad School (3, Insightful)

xquercus (801916) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297548)

Just stick with ME. Instead of spreading yourself thin with a double major, take advantage of other opportunities to gain experience in your field. Take part in club or engineering competitions. Find a professor who does interesting engineering research and get a position in his or her lab. There is WAY more to school than just classes and most students don't take advantage of all there is to do. These activities outside your class will get you face to face with people who will serve as future career contacts. If you really want more education, wait for grad school.

With programming (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297584)

You can know just enough to do some real damage...

If you want to scratch a precise itch with your mechanical research using a computer, you may be well served by yourself but chances are if you're not a real programmer, you'd be better off letting one do the job for you while you concentrate on your main interest.

you don't need the CS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297612)

Lose the CS. It will get in the way of the ME. More math & physics would be better choices. A language would also help to fill those empty hours.

Materials (2)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297620)

Speaking from 40 years as a Physics/CS/EE, all of the clever things we've learned to do since flint was high tech have been based on having better materials to do them with.

As in, just try to make an airplane or gas turbine engine with 19th century materials. Not happening, steampunk to the contrary.

Same goes for anything else you're going to be doing before you hang up the CAD system for a golf cart.

Petroleum engineering (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297632)

The oil industry requires oil experience even for mechanical engineering jobs. Getting that degree can get you a $100,000 a year job within 5.

MBA (1)

frznchckn (1266000) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297668)

If you spend the time, you can pick up almost anything technical on the job and with some studying on your own time. However, still in many companies, to move up into management or into positions that have more decision making power, they like to see an MBA. The thing is, as you get older, you need to move into management. The only technical people that are still doing the "grunt" level work are the ones that are the absolute best at it. Anyone that's >45 and just good or better than average will get pushed out or replaced by someone younger that can do the same job. This is because that older engineer still doing coding or modeling, etc has a huge salary compared to that fresh out. Simply put, fresh outs don't get management jobs.

Master of Business or similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297696)

For your career, I recommend some kind of management course. People who combine the deeper tech insight with a good commercial/managerial view often make it far.

Nursing... (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297706)

You'll have the opportunity to meet a lot more women in your classes, so statistically the odds of you getting laid and not worrying so much about engines increases exponentially.

3 Options: (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 3 years ago | (#37297708)

* Business - for the obvious reasons. It goes well with everything.
* Sociology - it turns out that people are important in most jobs. You work with them, for them (boss), and for them (customers - whether asking how they would like that or figuring out what they would like. Oh, and the mix of people in that major may present a more interesting mix than in any engineering
* Psych - because that also goes well with everything.

Industrial Design (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37297740)

Which was defined in the late 1970s (when I got my degree in it) as:

The imaginative development of products and product systems that satisfy the physical needs and the psychological desires of people.

This way, you won't forget who you are engineering for.

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