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Programming vs engineering

Engineer v / s Doctor - Which one to choose?

I'm in high school right now and I'm about to reach stages where I would need to make decisions. To imagine, I love programming. I started learning to code a year ago and have some experience with ActionScript3 and Java + (the web languages ‚Äč‚Äčlike HTML CSS JavaScript. But I found PHP a bit difficult to understand).

Other subjects that I absolutely love are math, physics, and chemistry. The professions related to these subjects that really interest me are engineering (pipeline engineer, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, etc.).

People tell me that I should choose the profession based on my interests. But I have absolutely no preference over the other. My choice really depends on the future demand for these professions. So my questions are -

  • Will the demand for programming deteriorate in the future due to an excessive number of programmers in the future? Or will it remain a popular profession?

  • Will engineering lose its demand? Almost everyone seems aspiring to become an engineer these days, and it's scary to think about what will happen to the number of engineers in the world.

  • Which profession should remain well paid in the future?

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  • Questions about the future are pure speculation and cannot be answered properly. Payment issues depend heavily on location and specializations.
  • If you're scared of imagining the world full of engineers, try lawyers.
  • @MichaelT I live in Norway but I'm from India. I will probably finish my studies in Europe, not sure after that.
  • @Neil Not really interested in politics and law.
  • Careers counseling is not thematic by topic FAQ
  1. No, the demand for programmers is not going to decrease anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to increase.

  2. No, the demand for engineers is not going to drop anytime soon. If anything, it will continue to increase.

  3. The salaries are comparable and both remain reasonably well paid.


Probably not the answers you have been looking for as they will not help you make a decision.

Both are excellent areas if you enjoy this type of work.

I'll try to make some comparisons between the two fields, but I'm specifically trying to avoid a flame war.

Traditional technical areas (electrics, mechanics, construction, chemistry, etc.) tend to be more structured in the work performed. Your knowledge base does not grow at the speed that the programming sees.

Programming (computer science) and software engineering are areas that are still in their formative state. Your collective body of knowledge is literally growing explosively. A comparison between these two related fields is possible, but makes little sense in this case.

Working in any of these areas can be very fulfilling. Traditional engineering is usually more concrete - you can generally see the results of your work with your own eyes. The programming (CompSci and SE) is more abstract or virtual. It's harder to "see" the results of your work. Don't read too far into this generalization, however.

If you want to choose between computer science and software engineering, consider which universities you would like to attend and evaluate their programs from there. In the long term, I don't think that your professional aspects will be so strongly influenced by the choice of one degree program compared to the other.

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  • I think I should choose math and sceinces as higher subjects in high school. Will it be too late to switch to computer programming after high school? Can I program in college even if I haven't done it in high school?
  • @AnkurSharma - I wouldn't know as I didn't have the pleasure of studying in Norway. not that I mind. The level of detail you are now asking is outside the scope of P.SE. I would imagine there are career counselors in your high school or college or both. In the US, not programming in HS is not a problem for taking programming classes at university.
  • - "The stock of knowledge is literally growing explosively." - I haven't seen a single new idea in computer science since the 1960s.

I would say combine two of your passions. Choose electronics. Also, make sure to broaden your horizons by taking some art and design classes. That takes you from being able to make working devices and software to beautiful devices and software that people will fall in love with.

Remember, the iPod wasn't the first MP3 player to hit the market, but it might as well be the only game in town. Likewise with the iPhone and iPad. And despite the trend in the PC market for low-margin products, MacBook Pros and iMacs sell like hotcakes even though they cost more than the average PC.

All of this is due to the attention to detail and the manufacture of devices that are not only functional but also beautiful.

Here's a big surprise for you. I don't own a single Apple product. But I can still respect the beauty of their work. If you want to enter this field, imitate the best and strive to exceed what they have done.