If you’re thinking about going into an engineering field, you’ve likely started looking at the different options. Or maybe you’re not sure what you want to do when you’re finished with high school, and you’re exploring all your options.
No matter what your plans are, you might also be curious about just what are the most challenging engineering majors. After all, we always hear about how complex engineering is, and it’s no surprise that you might be curious about just why it’s so hard and what that might mean for you if you decide to pursue this field.
So, what should you know about engineering? And not just what are the hardest engineering majors overall, but what are the most difficult engineering courses? Or the hardest engineering schools overall? Well, we’re going to take a look at all of these things.
What Makes Engineering Hard?
You would likely get different answers from different people if you asked them what makes engineering so hard. But, in general, it seems to be the math component that throws off many people. After all, the math can be pretty complicated, and if you’re not so good with math or don’t like math, this can be extremely daunting.
Many people who think they might want to enter into an engineering field are ultimately put off by the extensive math requirements. And if those math requirements don’t get them, then there are other things that might. For example, engineering programs often have a hefty workload.
When working in engineering, you’ll generally find yourself pushed to the limit as far as your workload. An engineering program seeks to prepare you for that. And in the process, it’s going to lead you down with a whole lot of work and new things to learn. For some people, this large workload becomes entirely too much, and they decide that they would instead switch to something else.
Once you start specializing in your engineering courses, you may also find that some extra classes are more difficult than you initially thought. For example, chemical engineering will require chemistry courses that can be highly detailed and definitely difficult. Likewise, mechanical engineering may require courses in drafting and design and will definitely include even more math.
Depending on the type of engineering that you choose, you’re going to need to take many classes, and many of them will require a lot of effort on your part. When you pile that workload all together, it can be too difficult for some people to stick with, or they decide that they don’t want to stick with it.
Of course, even after you finish your degree, you’ll still have a lot of hard work involved because this is not an easy field to work in either. In addition, you’ll need to continue your education because things are constantly changing, and you’ll need to learn some things just by doing them.
What are the Different Types of Engineering?
There are a multitude of different engineering options to choose from, but they are typically grouped into four main categories. These are:
Each of these types of engineering would be able to be broken down even further, however, such as a chemical engineer being in biomedical engineering or nuclear engineering, or an electrical engineer being an architectural engineer. In fact, common areas of engineering within these categories can include:
- Aerospace engineering
- Agricultural engineering
- Alternative energy engineering
- Automation and robotics engineering
- Biomedical engineering
- Computer hardware engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Health and safety engineering
- Industrial engineering
- Marine engineering
- Materials engineering
- Mining and geological engineering
- Nuclear engineering
- Petroleum engineering
- Systems software engineering
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other types of engineering and subclassifications to consider. And more are definitely being created all the time.
Most Difficult Engineering Majors
Now, out of these different engineering majors, you may be wondering just which ones are going to be the most difficult. Well, within the broad categories we’ve mentioned above, the hardest one is generally agreed to be electrical engineering.
When you look at the different majors that we’ve discussed, it may not seem like electrical engineering should be the most difficult; however, there are reasons for this. First, electrical engineering involves electricity, which is extremely hazardous and requires a lot of careful attention and some very complex study in order to really know what you’re doing.
Electrical engineering also uses abstract concepts, advanced math, and physics courses. It’s also an engineering field that will require you to be a little bit creative, which is definitely something you might not expect. Plus, you need to know theory and the actual application for all of the different topics you’re learning.
Suppose you decide to specialize in a specific type of electrical engineering. In that case, this area can get even more complex because it requires you to study even more detailed areas and more advanced concepts.
The second most complex form of engineering is computer engineering, which is another one that has a lot of rigid, abstract components to it. Computer engineers can work on hardware and software, as well as things like supercomputers, quantum computing, and a whole lot more.
These concepts require a great deal of math as well as an understanding of electrical components, computers, and science overall. So you’re going to have a lot of time and effort into studying computer engineering, even if you feel like you’re really good with computers or you build them and design them yourself.
Suppose you decide to specialize in different areas of computer engineering. In that case, you’ll need to have an even more detailed understanding of the various aspects of that type, such as quantum computing or software versus hardware.
Other complex types of engineering include:
- Aerospace engineering,
- Chemical engineering
- Biomedical engineering
Most Easiest Engineering Majors
So, if those are all of the difficult engineering majors, which ones are going to be the easiest options? What if you want to go into engineering, but you’re not so sure about making it as hard as possible on yourself? Well, there are some options out there.
This field is one that is often overlooked, but it’s an essential part of our society. Environmental engineering is all about making sure that machines and structures throughout our world have as little impact on the environment as possible. That may not sound all that easy, and it’s not, but it is easier in many ways.
Environmental engineering has a lot less math and physics associated with it than other types of engineering, which is where it’s going to be at least a little bit easier. You may want to look into environmental engineering for those who aren’t so good with these concepts. Plus, it’s a field that helps improve the environment and the way we interact with it.
This field requires you to do a lot of design work and study things like the environment and, specifically, ecology. It’s all about the Earth and being quite creative in how you meld advancements and the planet.
Industrial engineering is how businesses operate and how to make them as efficient as possible. Efficiency can definitely be an exciting thing for many people, and that’s where this form of engineering really hits its mark for businesses, communities, and a whole lot more.
You would be responsible for finding wasteful operations within the business and then determining ways to cut down or eliminate the waste. This can be about saving money, or it could be about something else entirely. You’ll need to do some advanced study but in different areas.
Instead of focusing hard on physics, you’re going to study more about businesses and industrial organizations. This allows you to understand what these operations need and improve them.
Other more manageable engineering degrees include:
- Architectural engineering
- Civil engineering
- General engineering
What are the Most in Demand Engineering Majors?
If you’re still not quite sure which form of engineering you want to go into, it’s a good idea to consider just which fields are going to offer you the best chance at a job when you’re finished. So, which areas are the most in-demand?
Automation and Robotics Engineer
An automation and robotics engineer may seem logical as an in-demand option. After all, everything is going to these two things lately. If you can help with the transition to automation and robotics, you’re going to be in demand by companies around the world.
This form of engineering is about the creation and development of ideas for automation and the actual testing and execution of them. It’s a subspecialty overall within the mechanical and electrical engineering fields. If you’re good with math and science and you’ve got a pretty creative mind, this may be a good option for you.
Alternative Energy Engineer
Another area that’s going to become extremely popular is alternative energy. Once again, everyone wants to switch to alternative energy, and if you can be part of that changeover, you’re definitely going to be in high demand. Again, it doesn’t really matter the type of alternative energy you specialize in, but a general ability in the field will be great.
You would be assembling and installing solar panels and wind turbines as well as servicing these types of machines. Plus, you may want to get involved in the creative aspects and design related to installing alternative power options or even creating new methods of harnessing solar, wind, and water to produce energy.
Which Engineering Course is Best for You? 13 Things to Consider
So, once you’ve decided on engineering, which field should you go into? There are a lot of different things about engineering to consider and definitely some things about you as well. Let’s take a closer look.
- Are you willing to put in a lot of hard work? If you are, then you may be able to take on one of the more complex forms of engineering, like electrical or computer engineering.
- Are you good at or willing to study hard at math? Once again, this could prepare you for one of the more challenging forms of engineering, so if you’re willing to put in the effort and you like math (or are eager to learn), you could do good with the more difficult parts.
- Are you good at or willing to study hard at science? This is another area where some of the more challenging forms of engineering are going to require your attention. But other forms of engineering will require more science focus as well, such as the alternative energy or medical forms of engineering.
- Are you good at or willing to study hard at physics? Physics is required in the more challenging forms of engineering, so if you’re ready to work hard at this subject, you may be able to make it in these areas as well.
- Do you like technology? If you like technology, then you may want to look at areas like computer engineering or automation and robotics engineering that will keep you at the forefront of technology.
- Do you like medicine? If you do, then biomedical engineering may be a good fit for you. This field will give you the opportunity to be at the forefront of medical advancements.
- Do you like the environment? You may want to look into environmental engineering or even civil engineering, which will give you the opportunity to create new structures and buildings that work with the environment.
- What does your future look like? What is the overall demand for the specific area of engineering that you would be interested in? Would you be able to find a job? Would you be able to find a career specifically in an area where you would want to live?
- How long will it take to complete your degree? You want to look into the available programs for the specific degree you want and how long it will take to achieve them. This will allow you to plan for your future and also determine whether those jobs will still be in demand when you get to them.
- Are you looking for a career that will push you? Even once you’ve finished your degree, engineering will require a lot of work from you. You’ll need to do a lot of training along the way, and you’re definitely going to need to learn on the job as well because you can’t learn it all from textbooks.
- Do you excel in thinking logically, stretching your mind for new ideas, and solving problems? If so, then engineering may be a good fit for you because you’ll be required to do all of these things. If you’re not too keen on thinking really hard with every job, then this might not be the way to go.
- Are you interested in working in a very professional environment? Maybe one where you have to dress up every day for work. If not, then you may not want to go into engineering or at least not engineering in an office. If you can work out in the field every day or most days, you may do all right, though.
- Are you looking for a career that offers excellent financial security and wages? Well, then you’re probably looking at a good field. Engineering provides both of these things with high salaries quite common and with a good job outlook. After all, engineers are needed in every area.
Wrapping Things Up: What are the Most Difficult Engineering Majors?
When it comes to choosing your career, there are a lot of things to think about. After all, you want to make sure that you’re choosing something you will enjoy doing for several decades. You’re going to be devoting yourself to this career, whatever it may be, for a large share of your life, so make sure you’re making a choice you’ll be happy with.
If you’re looking at the most challenging engineering majors or even looking at engineering in general, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into. It can be an exciting and rewarding field, but it can also be challenging to get into because of the demanding educational requirements. If it’s something you’re interested in, though, don’t let the hard work stop you.