View Full Version : Major decision

12-28-2006, 07:09 PM
Since I've been working a lot between semesters (programming), my boss has been kind of suggesting that I switch my major from Mechanical Engineering to Computer Science and have really been thinking about it but I'm having a tough time making a decision.

I want to stick with my ME major and either get a minor in CS or double major ME + CS.

I've been doing some math and it looks like I can do the minor in the regular four years but would need another year and a half to double major.

So, what do you guys think, would it be better to just get the ME major and CS minor in 4 years or double major ME and CS in 5 1/2?

12-28-2006, 07:58 PM
It really depends on what you expect to get out of your degree.

Now we all (think we) know what an ME does: designs mechanical things.

What does a CS major do? Design computers? Architect new machine structures? Design cases? (nope, that's the ME's job).

The point I want to make is, it matters very little what your degree says - you pursue what interests you the most, and by nature you will excel at it. The purpose of your education is to give you a formal background in whatever it is that you intend to pursue.

Oh, how I wish I had focused more on communications theory when I had the chance. the professor was willing to get into whatever depth i wanted, but I was just a young college student with other distractions. sigh.

If you already know a lot about computer programming, you've proven that you know how to learn that by yourself. Trust me, you can carry that ability to learn to any subject. But having a mentor (professor) explain stuff to you is usually easier than hacking it out yourself.

The bottom line is the same as the top: What is it you expect to get from your degree?


12-28-2006, 08:40 PM
My problem is that I'm really interested in both ME and CS. What I can't decide is whether or not it is worth it to go to school for another year and a half to get a double major.

What I'd like to do when I graduate is get into robotics, would I be better off with ME major, CS major, CS major and ME minor, ME major and CS minor, or double major CS + ME?

What kind of combination of engineering and computers would make someone the most qualified for a robotics profession?

Andrew Blair
12-28-2006, 09:04 PM
As far as I've seen, most openings in the robotics realm are for software people. But I couldn't be in software engineering.

I guess you need to put yourself in either situation- worst case. Would you hate coding all day, or designing cardboard boxes all day more?

Most companies would rather hire underqualified, passionate people, than qualified, ho-hum people.

Mikell Taylor
12-31-2006, 01:37 PM
A few options.

Is there a systems engineering option? That can combine both of those two majors' interests -- and it's a good background for robotics.

Are you going to go to grad school? If you do, I'd take the minor, then figure out in grad school which one you really want to do.

Are you going straight into industry? It can't hurt to double-major, but regardless of what it says on your degree, what's going to matter is which skills you can reliably demonstrate. The name of your degree just gets your foot in the door. What do you *want* to do in industry? Make sure you have a good background in that. If you have something in mind that would definitely combine MechE and CS, go for the double major. If you just want the CS backround to inform your mechanical design, go for the minor. Well-roundedness can never hurt.

Also, I would like to contest the "robotics companies only want software people." I know lots of companies in my area looking for electrical and mechanical engineers both, and offering many cool opportunities for them. In short, find something you really like that will keep you excited. Go with it. The rest will work itself out.