Ask an Engineer

This is the place where you can ask those questions you still have about engineering careers.  You can read profiles of practicing engineers in the I'm An Engineer section and ask them a question directly, or you can submit a question here to have EngineerGirl staff try to find the right person to answer you.

Since other people may have already asked the question on your mind, please take time to search through the questions and answers to see what others have already said about your topic. You may also find the list of FAQs about Engineering helpful.  These answers were not provided directly by engineers in the directory, but they will give you a basic understanding of what you need to know about an engineering career.

If your question is for the EngineerGirl Team please first take time to review the Resource FAQs that cover the basics of what we can provide for you from EngineerGirl.

Also, since we cannot give you actual engineering advice, if you need help designing that booster rocket for your own spacecraft or other project, you may find a resource on this list of other Engineering Q&A sites, and we encourage you to seek the services of a professional engineer for any engineering advice you may require. 

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  • Sarah LeClair asked Zahra Khan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Added Monday, February 6, 2017 at 1:16 PM

    I adore science and research, and I aspire to be a top engineer in astrophysics/aerospace. I am quite worried about the college process though, and I would love to get advice from such a successful engineer! I hope to go to a great university that fits my needs, such as MIT or Brown, to study astrophysics. But if I am not accepted, or cannot afford the tuition, would going to a less well known/non-ivy league college hurt my chances of becoming an engineer? Are students from those colleges more ...
    Answers 1
    Zahra Khan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Answered 4 days AGO
    Hi Sarah,
    My apologies for the late response. I'm just seeing this now. 
    The short answer is you'll be able to get a job as an aerospace engineer with degrees from various schools. So I wouldn't worry too much. Just try to your best to go to a school ...
  • Sabrina

    Added Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 8:19 PM

    I am so grateful to have stumbled across this website as I have just acquired a keen interest in the field of engineering after realizing the medical path was not for me. I will be a junior in high school in two months and I would really find it helpful to get an insight and guide to professions relating to software engineering. I have gathered a compilation of questions: 1) What are the skills and credibilities one needs to practice in this field? 2) What level and how many years of ...
    Answers 1
    Maja Mataric, University of Southern California
    Answered 5 days AGO
    There is an extremely huge and growing need for computer scientists/programmers/AI/machine learning/robotics/coders/software engineers. To see some amazing statistics, go to Software engineering is a type of programming skill that you can ...
  • chase

    Added Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 2:06 PM

    Answers 1
    Kim Linder, Honeywell FM&T
    Answered Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 5:06 PM
    I like engineering in general because it involves a lot of problem solving.  In the different disciplines you use different tools to solve problems and come up with solutions. I am drawn to the areas of Mechanical Engineering that use more math, as I ...
  • Belen

    Added Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 8:43 PM

    Hi! I would like to know if you can help me... Im studying industrial engineering. I like it but I also find very interesting programming languages. I have been thinking about a career change. Maybe I can be a Software Engineer but I'm not sure if i want to leave behind industrial engineer ( I'm in my third year!)... Can I be an industrial engineer and, also, work in IT sector? Thanks! (Sorry for my english, I'm from Argentina :) )
    Answers 1
    Jessye Talley, North Carolina A&T State University
    Answered Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 5:47 PM
    Hello Belen,
    You definitely can use programming in Industrial Engineering. We have a specific concentration that focuses specifically on that called Operations Research. Operations Research actually uses programming to come up with tools to solve ...
  • Margie Dotian

    Added Friday, June 9, 2017 at 12:35 AM

    Hi! My name is Margie and to be a civil engineer is my life goal. However, the moment I entered college I decided to took Business Add and has a plan to shift in civil after 1 year. I took an exam to shift after a year. I passed but there were no more slots for me. My parents told me to continue my studies as a business add student and just study again after I finished my degree. I really wan to study as a civil engineering student after this course but it seems that my parents need me to work ...
    Answers 1
    Mavis Sika Okyere, Ghana National Gas Company Ltd
    Answered Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 5:56 AM
    Hello Margie,
    Before applying for the programme, inquire about the universities facilities  that come with the working student status.
    If you are a full time undergraduate student, it is better you do not work more than 15 hours per week during ...
  • Added Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 9:51 PM

    Hi, I am a current undergraduate at UM. I have narrowed down my choices to Electrical, Mechanical, and Biomedical Engineering (BME). I intend to attend medical school, but I chose engineering mainly because in case in a few years I decide not to apply, I can still get a job in a field I like. I have interest in biology (mostly anatomy and cell bio) and chemistry, therefore considering BME. I took both mechanics and E&M in high school but is to take E&M in college. However, I have a feeling that ...
    Answers 1
    Monique Frize, Carleton University and University of Ottawa
    Answered Friday, June 30, 2017 at 1:06 PM
    Hi Michelle Today, an undergraduate degree in any of the engineering disciplines leads to a less interesting job than with a Master's degree. Some technologists do a 4 year degree and sometimes companies hires them instead of engineers because they cost ...
  • Lexxus, Rockledge, Florida asked Marie P Louis, Colorado Department of Transportation

    Added Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 12:25 PM

    Did you ever encounter any challenges while in college, like did you struggle with math or science?
    Answers 1
    Marie P Louis, Colorado Department of Transportation
    Answered Monday, June 26, 2017 at 1:02 PM
    You asked this question and I apologize for not answering sooner. To answer your question, I have encountered challenges when I was in college. To be precise, I struggled with these courses: Mechanics of Materials and Biology 2 in college and high ...
  • Mary

    Added Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 3:52 PM

    Hi, I'm 38 years old mom, and 15 years ago I graduated as an industrial ingineer in my home country, Colombia. I never worked as an engineer, move to the USA and have been working as a personal trainer( it is a complex to explain). I would like to go back to school for biomedical engineering. I'm concern if this is too late for me to start all over again, also the financial aspect and balancing my reponsability as a mother. Is this too late?
    Answers 1
    Corinna Lathan, AnthroTronix, Inc.
    Answered Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 12:08 PM
    Mary, If you have truly determined that going back to school is your best course of action for achieving your goals then of course you should try and make it happen.  It is NEVER too late!  That said, it's hard to answer without knowing your goals. I ...
  • Andrea Armani, University of Southern California
    Answered Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 7:23 PM
    What an action packed question! I’ll try to separate it a little bit. You are really asking a couple different questions: 1) what makes a good electronics (electrical) engineer, 2) how can you go to Cambridge, and 3) how important is math? These are all ...
  • Jamie

    Added Friday, April 28, 2017 at 11:30 PM

    I'm an Electrical Engineering undergrad student and I am interested in the emphasis in Biomedical, but i don't fully understand the difference between someone with an EE and emphasis in Biomedical and someone who is a Biomedical Engineer.
    Answers 1
    Khadijah Latiff, Chicago Transit Partners
    Answered Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 1:52 PM
    I did study EE in my undergrad and I did take courses in Biomedical Instrumentation. My guess is that Biomedical Engineering would require you to understand human physiology more, ergo more classes in biology and human physiology in addition to ...
  • Emily

    Added Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    I love math and physics and can see myself in engineering in the future. I have however not done well in physics 2 twice (I completely blame myself for not trying hard enough and feel like I have ruined my future because of poor choices). My college only allows two attempts for this class so my advisor told me to start looking into new majors. I can't see myself doing anything else. I've been so passionate about engineering ever since I got into it and don't think there's another major that ...
    Answers 1
    Elizabeth Schlegel, KSN Inc.
    Answered Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 12:40 PM
    Not all fields of engineering require electromagnetic physics skills to succeed!  Find out whether you can stay in engineering if you pass this course at a community college.  If not, are you willing to attend a different school?  I did not do well in ...
  • Manuela Monegro asked Ursula Gibson, Dartmouth College

    Added Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:29 PM

    Answers 1
    Ursula Gibson, Dartmouth College
    Answered Monday, June 12, 2017 at 10:57 AM
    There are many approaches to a career in materials sciences and engineering - some undergraduate programs have majors that are directly tailored to this field, but many come to this area with a background in sciences such as chemistry or physics.
  • Rochelle

    Added Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    I'm a junior in high school and I'm planning to major in aerospace engineering. I have a hard time with math though and I was wondering whether I would be able to handle taking so many math and science classes in college. I'm in pre-calculus right now and my difficulty with math could also come from me being homeschooled and "teaching myself math." I'm hoping it will get better in college with people to teach me, but I'm kind of nervous. Do you have any advice?
    Answers 1
    Moyra J. McDill, Carleton University
    Answered Monday, June 12, 2017 at 10:55 AM
    Thank you for your interesting question. University-level math is one step more advanced than high school math but remember, each of us has our own ways of learning and progressing to and through that stage. For now, to help you assess where you stand ...
  • Jammieca Godfrey

    Added Monday, April 24, 2017 at 9:25 AM

    I have been in education for the last 8 years. I am considering completing a master industrial engineer program. I have a B.S. in Business Finance and an M.Ed. in Education Administration.
    Answers 1
    Erin Gately, EPEAT Conformity Assurance Manager
    Answered Friday, June 9, 2017 at 2:31 PM
    While I did not transition from education to industrial engineering, I did transition from industrial engineering to training at one point in my career. In that role I trained sales representatives on the technical specifications of printer products. I ...
  • Seda Serpin

    Added Monday, May 22, 2017 at 4:55 PM

    I am also currently doing my masters in STEM (science technology engineering math) education. I am considering studying engineering at the same time to complete both degrees. But I am unsure which engineering choice best suits me (math major) and how I can go about getting this degree now.
    Answers 1
    Peggy Layne, Virginia Tech
    Answered Friday, June 9, 2017 at 2:28 PM
    I would recommend contacting some engineering schools near where you live. Some schools are more welcoming to part-time students than others. A math degree should be an excellent preparation for engineering, so you should not have to completely start ...
  • Gomolemo Seete

    Added Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2:48 PM

    I do not have a High School Science background. I do not have a engineering background either?
    Answers 1
    Priscilla Bennett, Spire / Laclede Gas Company
    Answered Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 10:53 AM
    Hello!  Most definitely consider an Industrial Engineering degree, if you have an interest in logistics, project management, process management, manufacturing and other related IE fields.  I have my Masters in IE, which has opened up a variety of job ...
  • Tia

    Added Monday, April 10, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    I like the technical parts of my role but took a major pay cut recently when I got laid of last year and took a lower paying job with a lateral move with low pay because of the flexibility they offer. My health has been bad due to severe morning sickness and the solar industry is highly volatile I feel worried that there will be a lay off again. I am stuck and cant leave yet due to the paychecks but in the coming months with a baby due in October a career transition is not possible too. I am ...
    Answers 1
    Nancy Post, John Deere
    Answered Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 10:36 AM
    My children are 18 and 25 now, so I am in a different position than you, but I have had the same concerns throughout my career.  As your child matures, the demands change, but maintaining balance is important.  I would suggest you give serious ...
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