Developing a Job Profile

I am currently pursuing an engineering degree in electronics and communication; however I was never really interested in mathematics and computers. I have been a bright student throughout and scored good grades irrespective of the subjects. But now the idea of studying something which I might not seek a career in makes me lose interest and is affecting my grades. I am a second year student. I did not know about this vast application of computing and particularly programming languages applied in the field. Before entering college for engineering I studied biology for 2 years and then got diverted to engineering. Also I love to write and read and got an opportunity to showcase my writing and speaking skills on non-technical topics in my college for an English communication skills subject. I am really enthralled by the idea of being an editor to a magazine. I love nature and environment and somehow the idea of creating and bringing virtual worlds into reality through engineering does not appeal to me. My brother feels I can do really good as a management person with my leadership qualities and oration. Please guide me. What sort of job profile or higher studies I could go into through this engineering degree that could engage my interests? Also, can environmental engineering or biomedical engineering be a good option for me?
posted by Swati Dewan , India on June 27, 2012

Answer by Molly Lebowitz

Swati, You are in an excellent position to be wondering the things you are wondering right now. Thanks for writing. Ironically, I was in a very similar position when I was a student - initially studied biology... and then found myself in Engineering, specifically environmental engineering. My 2nd year, I, too, felt very bogged down with all the technical general engineering coursework. Not necessarily because it was too difficult, but because I couldn't picture myself actually using any of that in my real life. It didn't relate to what I was truly interested in or passionate about. Keep in mind that your undergraduate degree is kind of like your starting point. It does not at all dictate what you will do - it simply is a statement about what kind of working mind you have. What is going to differentiate you, and capture all of the ideas and subjects that you are genuiniely interested in, is the extra activities and jobs that you do. My advice is to continue with engineering. You are clearly a natural problem solver, and you can think of your diploma as proof to the world that you are a good problem solver. That's kind of what any degree in engineering represents. What will get you into the field that you are interested in is the extra stuff- spring break internships, writing a column for the paper, working extra hours in a biology lab. Use your extra activities to DIVERSIFY what you're doing and flesh out your college experience into something that better represents YOU. Then, when you get out into the working world, you can point to all of that as the basis for your decision, even if it's a little different than what you studied. Keep in mind that you do not have to simply do what everyone else in your major does. If your school allows you to change what type of engineering you are studying, you might consider that as an option. Talk with other students in the Biological or Environmental Engineering departments and see if it sounds like something you might like to try. Chances are, you're taking all the same first and second year basic classes that they are so you could easily switch. However I don't think continuing with your current trajectory would hurt you in any way. You will have time to work in whatever field you choose and use the skills that you already have and you could learn to apply them in a really unique way! Good luck. Molly Lebowitz