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Choosing which subjects you are going to study at school can be confusing and daunting. The reality though is that your subject choice can make a big difference to your chances of being accepted, when it comes to applying to universities to study.

This is particularly relevant when it comes to students wanting to study engineering after school. The golden rule is if you want to study engineering at university you are going to need to have included math and science in your grade 12 subjects, and are going to need to have obtained good grades in both subjects. Basic math is also not enough and students need to select a math course that covers if possible algebra, geometry and calculus.

So often when faced with choosing subjects at school, students opt for the easier subjects because there is less work involved, and they feel they may get better grades in certain subjects. Students tend to at times not think long term, nor understand how their subject choice is going to affect their careers and  chances of being able to study post tertiary. If you want to pursue an engineering career, it is imperative that you choose subjects such as science, math, technology and engineering. These subjects can only widen your options later on in life rather than narrow them. Science and math are highly regarded subjects and valued for the majority of careers, not just engineering, so can never be limiting or hold you back.

Engineering is an exciting career. It does take creativity, perseverance and lots of hard work, but the long term rewards are worth the hard work you will have to do to become an engineer. Engineers are responsible for making tools, machines and countless other things that people need to improve their lives. Engineering is hugely diverse, and for this reason wherever your interest lie, there is probably a place for you in engineering. Regardless of whether you are interested in mining, to building roads, to medical science, to computers there is opportunity for you in engineering. Engineers are also in demand, which means that you will be offered job security, plus they often get to travel the world and get to see new places, and explore remote wilderness areas.

Because of the growing skill shortages across many fields of engineering, engineers are paid well, and as a whole earn highly competitive salaries, as demand exceeds supply in many regions. Things at present in mining are tough which has created job insecurity in all areas of mining including engineering but because of they cyclical nature of mining, once the industry takes a turn for the better the demand for engineers will increase again.

With the huge variety of subjects that students at school are able to choose from nowadays, it seems that many are veering away from the math and sciences, and this is creating a situation where the gap is becoming bigger and bigger between what students are studying and what subjects are required in order to become an engineer. For this reason it is essential that more young people take science related subjects at school. It is therefore important for educators to emphasize and encourage the benefits of taking the right subjects at school, for students who have an interest and aptitude for engineering.

You do not have to love math to become an engineer, but you do need to develop competent math skills and have the ability to know how to use math concepts to be able to qualify as an engineer. Without math and science, your chances of being accepted into an engineering program are slim if not impossible. Sadly parents and educators at times discourage school students from pursuing a career in engineering for fear that the student will fail because they do not love the rigor of math.

You do need to have done math, and need to be relatively good at math, but you do not need to be a mathematician, or madly in love with math. It is important to remember that engineering is not only about having the skills in maths and science, but it’s also about problem solving, creativity and having a positive impact on the world. For this reason it is essential for school students to choose wisely when it comes to their subjects if considering a career in engineering.

 

One Response to “Subject choice at school for those wanting to become an Engineer”

  1. Jack

    Susan,
    It is so true that students these days opt for subjects other than Math and Science, just to keep from working a little harder. They come to realize the consequences of their decision only later in life. Math and Science are all about problem solving and approaches, theories and constructs, they’re meant to be understood, not memorized or trumped. They fashion young minds on how to approach issues and resolve them, something that is key to every engineer regardless of the industry. Students need to be informed about the merits of choosing to study Science and Math in their formative years.

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