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Kappa89 (Mechanical) (OP)
17 Apr 13 11:48
Hi everyone,

I am 24 years old and currently on my first semester towards my Finance degree. I took couple years ago 2-3 classes of Engineering ("Calculus I" and "Graphics for Engineers", "C++").

I estimated that it will take me about 2.5-3 years to take my Finance degree but I realized that I was made for Science & Engineering and thats why I was thinking on continuing my Eng. degree immediately after I get my Finance. By then I will be 27 years-old, which means that I will be around 31-32 years-old once I get my BS in Mechanical Engineering.

According to your experience, do you think that 32 years old is kinda "old" to start a career as an engineer? (I am willing to take as much co-op experience as possible). Have you noticed any "ageism" in that field?

Thank you.
1gibson (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 12:04
So why are you finishing the finance degree?
zdas04 (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 12:10
I was 28 when I graduated, didn't seem to hurt. What I have to wonder is why the heck are you finishing your Finance degree? If you were "made for Science & Engineering" an undergraduate Finance degree has a similar value to working a summer at WalMart to an Engineering career.

A sequence of BSME -> 5 years work as an Engineer -> MBA (Finance) can be useful and rewarding.

Typically the Engineering profession sees BA Finance -> BSME as identical to High School -> drinking for 4 years -> College for 4 years -> graduation as a Mechanical Engineer. The "drinking for 4 years" step is not generally seen as useful. You'd be better off with high school -> college for 6 years -> graduation as a Mechanical Engineer.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

Kappa89 (Mechanical) (OP)
17 Apr 13 12:20
@1gibson

The reason was purely economic. Considering also that by the age I chose Finance, I was "immature". I was looking for a degree that will finish earlier and get a job as fast as possible, even though I never liked Finance. Once again it proves the old saying "If you do it for the MONEY...then don't do it at all!"

However, since I am already in the middle of my Finance degree, it seems odd to not finish it.
1gibson (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 12:30
Didn't ask why you started, I asked why you were going to finish it. Whatever the reason "was" is no longer relevant.

First semester is "in the middle" of it?

It would be pretty difficult to tone this down so I'm just going to blurt it out: you may need to work on critical thinking and estimating skills before you consider changing course.
Kappa89 (Mechanical) (OP)
17 Apr 13 12:37
@1gibson

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I am in my 1st semester in the 4-year institution, working on my Upper Division courses. I already finished the first 2 years in Lower Division courses from a community college, which means I am left with 2 more years before getting the degree.
KENAT (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 12:47
Still not clear why you're finishing your finance degree.

Older folk than you have asked the 'am I too old to start engineering' question on this site - I suggest you use the search function to try and find some of those threads.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

MintJulep (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 13:39
So to rephrase:

You took some "engineering classes" (although calculus I, graphics and C++ don't really count as engineering) some years ago. But then apparently decided to drop the engineering curriculum for finance.

Now you realize that you don't like finance, but are apparently going to commit to almost two more years of it anyway, then go back to the engineering course that you already abandoned once.

Is that about it?
Kappa89 (Mechanical) (OP)
17 Apr 13 13:54
@MintJulep

Well these 3 classes I took counted for the 4-year engineering curriculum.

I know it sounds weird but as I said, my decision on moving to finance was mostly economic. I always loved science and engineering since high school. Reading all these idiotic stories over the web (which eventually influenced me) about "engineering being a difficult field with high unemployment rate"..."difficulty to get a job unless being on 'Top Schools'...blah blah blah", eventually scared me and I didn't want to end up unemployed with my Engineering degree just hanging on the wall....So I went into Finance.

The reason of continuing on my Finance degree is to have an additional or "back-up degree" if you may, since it will take me only about 2.5-3 years to get it. However, unable to give up my passion on engineering, I came into this plan on getting also my Bachelor in Engineering.

The main issue is about how age discrimination affects this field (advice should be given by experienced and only...no anecdotes!)
MintJulep (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 14:00
Deciding to wait for two years when you could start immediately does not sound like "passion" to me.
monkeydog (Aerospace)
17 Apr 13 15:07
Kappa99 - you have not take any Engineering classes.

You took 9 hours of pre-requisite for a 100 hour degree program (assume an additional 20 hours of liberal arts and fluff).

If you were driving from Miami to San Francisco, and when you reached Denver you decided you really don't want to go to San Francisco but instead want to go to Boston, does is make sense to finish your trip to San Francisco and then go to Boston?
PEDARRIN2 (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 15:56
The "love of science and engineering" is not enough to pursue an engineering degree. You have to have the ability to think analytically, and do the math and science to finish an engineering degree.

But if you don't try, you will never know and it will nag you the rest of your life.

So, I would say to finish your finance degree, as you say, so you have a degree in your hands. Pursue the engineering degree and see if you have what it takes. If you do, then you will know and can go forward. If you do not, then you will know and you will have the finance degree to fall back on.

As for the age descrimination, you would be competing against younger students just out of college so there shouldn't be an issue. You could likely be more mature than a 22 year old who, IMHO, is still a kid.
zdas04 (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 16:33
Kappa89
The statement

Quote (Kappa89)

The main issue is about how age discrimination affects this field (advice should be given by experienced and only...no anecdotes!)

REALLY struck me wrong. I will respond or not with what I want to say--I'm here as a volunteer and you can't fire me. If I want to relate a sea story about some old guy I will relate it and happily ignore your prohibition. More likely I will think that you are an ungrateful jerk who is throwing the advice of people with a combined experience of over a hundred years (maybe 200 years) back in our faces because we chose to focus on what we felt was the important issue not the pissant issue you find important. I think you are quite welcome to stew in your own juices.

By the way, I have never once found it necessary to use an exclamation point in Engineering writings. When I see them on eng-tips.com I generally discount the author as childish and unlikely to be worth cultivating. Take it for what it is worth.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

ornerynorsk (Industrial)
17 Apr 13 16:44
Newsflash: 27 is not old.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

cvg (Civil/Environmental)
17 Apr 13 16:50
I know an engineer with a BSCE, PE and masters in finance. He worked for about 15 years in civil engineering and then went to work for a public utility company doing financial analysis. worked quite well for him, I hear he is raking in the big bucks. However, I have never seen this career path attempted by anybody since. Rather than worry about age descrimination, just pick a career path and stick with it. forget about trying to do both. You can always go back and finish a degree later if you really feel you need another one.
Kappa89 (Mechanical) (OP)
17 Apr 13 16:55
I really appreciate everyone's time and trouble to respond.
1gibson (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 17:00
No direct "ageism" to speak of, but an engineer's value grows with experience. Your direct competition (same amount of experience working as an engineer) will be 10 years younger for your entire career.

It will be the most difficult when the entry level salaries are targeted at fresh graduates who are renting apartments and driving 90's model Hondas. After a few of those interviews, you may decide being an engineer doesn't make economic sense.
dvd (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 19:27
It seems like a rather presumptuous question. You do not have either of these two birds in hand and you are worried about how you will be received with both. Well, consider also how the wife/husband you acquire/lose during this period of time fits in, and how the economic cycles will mesh with these plans, and what you are going to wear to the interview. At least when asked during your 2021 interview for an engineering position "where do you see yourself in five years?" you can respond that you aren't that short-sighted. I am not trying to rain on your parade: long-range plans and goals are good, but there is also something to be said for spontaneity. Good luck in your endeavours, the world needs visionaries.
KENAT (Mechanical)
17 Apr 13 20:02
Kappa89 did you search for other related threads as I suggested?

I'm afraid your response to zdas and the original comment he made his post in response to aren't likely to engender positive responses from many on this forum. You accuse us of being non productive but if you had done a search you probably would have found a bunch of previous posts that would probably suggest that no 27 in and of itself is not too old. Why should we bother responding when you appear not to bother doing a thorough search - or even clearly explaining your situation/question?

Remember a lot of the types of folks on this forum are also the types of folks that may be interviewing you for a position at some point in the future. You may not like how some of us play the game but you will probably have to learn to play with folks like us if you want to be successful.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

TomDOT (Materials)
18 Apr 13 11:19
I'm wondering why it takes 5 years (total) to get a Finance degree, then an ADDITIONAL 4-5 years for an Engineering degree, when all the "general ed" requirements are already taken care of.

Take more classes per semester. If you still want to do Finance - dual major and finish up everything in the next 3 (maybe 4) years.
77JQX (Civil/Environmental)
18 Apr 13 16:04
I got my engineering degree at 34. My pay caught up to others my age fairly quickly. Some of the skills that go into your pay grade are a function of maturity, which you either get or don't, regardless of when you graduated.
Hurricanes (Mechanical)
19 Apr 13 21:28
I work with a guy who graduated in his early thirties. He's in his early forties now and is largely similar to others of his age in the company. I think life experience plays a big role in mature graduates climbing the tree faster.
cliff234 (Structural)
25 Apr 13 22:22
Kappa89,

Only you can answer the question about which direction to take. As far as ageism, you are 20 years away from having to worry about that - and if you have a passion for what you are doing, it will never be an issue. I am a structural engineer - and I love what I do. I learn something new every day and I view what I do as a form of play that I get paid for doing. I don't make a lot of money - but there is a joy in waking up every morning and looking forward to going to work. (I am 58.) Many of my friends are retired or are retiring. Good for them. I would be bored. That said, the times are changing. The future is uncertain. The key is to know your craft - and be good at it. The days of punching the clock for a paycheck in engineering are over. The one thing that you have that money can't buy is youth! Keep asking questions and don't squander a single day. That's the only advice I can offer. I wish you all the best!
dbooker630 (Materials)
26 Apr 13 9:09
One of my employees is over 50 and is working on getting his engineering degree. My wife changed careers in her mid-40s and is about to get her master's. In our local area there was a 73-year old who just received her degree. Age is but a number and if you make the most out of your life experiences that will be an advantage to you.
living2learn (Electrical)
11 Jun 13 15:44
I am 29 and graduated at 22 with an Electrical Engineering degree. When I first started out in the engineering field I was so worried about $$, recognition and etc...(immature) I have now realized that everything I was worrying about was wrong. My mentor told me whatever you do learn as much as you can the first three years out of school in the trade and the rest will come. So I did just that and worked my a#$ off and really tried to digest all the information I was learning. I still immaturely focused on $$ a little. After a few years of REALLY learning (after work reading, never quit asking ?'s) I now have a resume to go anywhere in the world. So I moved to San Diego right be the beach.
My advice is find something your passionate about and become the best most knowledgeable person in the world and the rest will fall into place. Now I don't really care about $$, but about having fun and learning.

I really enjoy reading the older engineers responses to people our age. Our generation is so entitled it makes me laugh.
One day we will be just like them, so be respectful because what goes around comes around.

"A Wise Man Learns by the Mistakes of Others, a Fool by His Own"

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