When I was in college my Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section designed and sold T-shirts as a fundraiser. We used the money to pay for hosting activities such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and help pay for trips to the SWE National Conference. I was the Vice President of our SWE section for both my Junior and Senior years of college, so I was very active in the activities and fundraisers.

During my junior year I helped design our “Top 10 Reasons to Become an Engineer” T-shirt. This shirt was a best seller with the engineering students. Many of them bought our T-shirt and proudly wore it around campus. We relied heavily on sarcasm and sense of humor with this list, because let’s face it, you need this to survive engineering school anyway.

This list is going to date me. It is from when I was in college, which was around 15 years ago. Below is the Top 10 Reasons to Become an Engineer T-shirt from my college days:

Some people younger than me may not understand #4 (does anyone still use USB sticks or wear lanyards?), #6 (this was a reference to a popular movie at the time called Napoleon Dynamite), or #8 (is a TI-89 still the top of the line calculator???).

Maybe this list needs some updating…I decided to rewrite this list using my current perspective, as an adult who has survived engineering school and successfully worked as an engineer for more than 10 years.

Now I present to you Engineering Emily’s Top 10 Reasons to Become an Engineer:

I know you’re wondering why these are my top 10 reasons to become an engineer, so here’s my explanations:

  1. $$$$$ – Engineering degrees earn the highest base salary with just a bachelor’s degree of any college major.
  2. Love taking things apart and putting them back together – Analytical thinking is an important skill for engineers. Questioning how and why things work and figuring it out on your own is a good sign that you’d be great at engineering.
  3. Want to design and build real solutions to problems – As an engineer you get to be a part of the solution: from discovering alternative energy sources to making our electronic devices faster with longer battery lives to providing clean drinking water to undeveloped countries around the world to building strong and safe bridges and highways…the list goes on and on.
  4. Can solve any problem in EXCEL – EXCEL skills are a must for engineers these days, it’s amazing what you can accomplish in this seemingly simple computer program.
  5. Wanted to take the most difficult college courses possible – Engineering school is hard, but it’s worth it! You form strong bonds with your fellow students because you’re working with them as a team to help each other pass classes (think teamwork examples for future interviews), you also learn to how to study effectively and self-discipline.
  6. To tell people “I’m an Engineer!” – Because it’s something to be proud of and it will surely impress almost anyone.
  7. All the cool girls are doing it – If you want to read about some very cool girls who are engineers, head over to my Women in Engineering Interview Series page and read the stories of some amazing women engineers.
  8. Want to travel the world for work – As an engineer you have the opportunity to work all over the world. With many companies you can get lucrative ex-pat placements in other countries where you basically get to live for free, while being paid to do a job you love and learn about another culture and lifestyle along the way.
  9. To make my parents proud – There are a lot of careers and majors that would make parents proud, and I like to think that engineering is at the top of that list. With just a bachelor’s degree you are setting yourself up for a long and lucrative career in a respected discipline. I know I made my parents very proud when I became an engineer. 🙂
  10. Science and math are awesome – Engineering requires a strong foundation in science and math. If you like these subjects, are good at them, and/or want to get better at them, then you’re in luck! In engineering school you will get to take many science and math courses to keep your science and math loving brain happy!

What do you think of my two Top 10 Reasons to Become an Engineer lists? Do you agree with either of them? What are your Top 10 Reasons to Become an Engineer?

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