Do I Need To Be Good At Math To Be An Engineer?

Whether you want to be a civil engineer, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, aerospace engineer, environmental engineer or software engineer, you will need to be very comfortable with math in order to successfully finish the program. As to the question of whether you need to be good at the subject, the answer is yes, you need to be. From the beginning of your engineering course, calculus will already be a required subject so you need to be good at it if you want to proceed with the higher level courses.

However, calculus isn’t the only math-related course in any engineering program. In fact, everything about engineering has something to do with math. This is because engineers communicate through mathematical expressions. Maxwell’s Equations for Electromagnetics, for example, is a fundamental concept in electrical engineering that you need to understand since it is a vital law of nature that you will encounter repeatedly as you progress in your studies.

Engineers now rely a great deal on computer programs to perform various operations which all have their backbone in math. Understanding how a particular piece of software arrives at a solution is integral especially for validation purposes. There are times when glitches occur in software and engineers have to do their work manually and this requires strong mathematical skills. Having a good foundation and skills in these mathematical concepts will also enable you to work around the limitations of a particular program and capitalize on its strengths.

As an aspiring engineer, you need to be good at math because it reflects the fact that you know how to think logically. The exercises you do and the problems you solve in algebra, linear algebra, calculus and differential equations aren’t just practices done on paper for your professors to grade. They are also meant to make you see the relationships so you can apply them in real actual work. But more importantly, they also serve to promote your intellectual maturity. Yes, there may be formulas given but they are not placed there to encourage rote memorization. Rather, they are meant to make you think and analyze. These skills are very important for engineers since part of their job is to troubleshoot issues if and when they arise.

Engineering is math-intensive. Thus, if you really want to become an engineer, being good at math will help you attain your dream with minimal effort. However, if you really suck at math in high school—and by suck we mean barely having a passing grade in all math exams—you’ll have a very challenging time making it even to second year. But what if you are just an average student where math is concerned? You don’t really have high scores in your test but you don’t also fail. Do you think you’ll still be an engineer? The answer is yes, if you’re willing to work hard enough. You’ll have to attend your classes religiously, get the help of tutors if there are concepts that are really challenging for you to understand and submit all requirements to your professor. If you’re willing to work really hard then you can still achieve your dream of becoming an engineer even if you’re just an average student where math is concerned.

Career Spotlight: Industrial Engineer

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