pros and cons of materials engineering

Hi! recently, I have been working on this research project over materials engineering and I was wondering if you would be able to tell me some of the pros and cons of materials engineering?
posted by Jaelyn, Grand Prairie, TX on September 22, 2015

Answer by Jennifer Polivka

Hi Jaelyn! Whenever I think about the best and worst of being in the field of materials engineer, honestly it comes to the same thing: materials engineering is a very diverse, wide, inter-disciplinary field.

The pro side of that is all the amazing things that materials engineering is involved with, from the things people wear (like clothes and shoes or eyeglasses) to the things people use on a daily basis (like windows, cars, books, or seating), to things that just on the cusp of discovery.  Likewise, in materials engineering the people you work with is also very diverse and it's always a continual learning experience. I work with a lot of people who are not materials engineers or even any other type of engineer and I really enjoy it.

The con side of this wide possibilities is that is that because there is this continual learning and discovery in the field of materials, there is no way to ever be an expert in everything. When I graduated from college with my degree, I interviewed with wide range of companies -- aerospace, software, medical devices, technology, etc -- and ultimately ended up in a sportswear field. While they all have the need for material engineering in common, the specifics of the expertise needs is very different.

The other con I've found with materials engineering is that it is not as widely known to the general public. If I say "mechanical engineering" then sometimes people have an idea of what I mean, whether they are right or wrong.  When I say "materials engineering" then I tend to get more followup questions because they are less familiar with what materials engineering entails. That being said, it can be nice to have that opportunity to educate individuals on what the field is about.

I got into materials engineering because it's exciting and interesting, so of course to me the pros far outweigh the cons!