Does it add up?
September 1, 2008 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a technical A.A.S. degree and I work in tech manufacturing industry as a technician. I would like to get my bachelors to be able become an engineer but...

the obvious degree choices (Material Science, EE, Physics) pretty much rule out working full time and getting the degree in any reasonable amount of time...the prereqs and co-reqs and labtimes and so forth make scheduling classes an absolute nightmare.

But what about a B.S. in math? The scheduling for math looks a heap-ton easier, lots more options of classes and class times. In fact, there is even a evening/weekend BS in math I could pursue.

But would a technical A.A.S. degree and a B.S. in math be a feasible combo for being an engineer in the tech manufacturing universe? Specifically an engineer working with/around electron microscopy (which is what my AAS degree is in.)

Here is my previous question with a related quandry (viability of a BAS degree)
posted by ian1977 to Education (3 answers total)
Wouldn't it make sense to ask your COO (or equivalent) what they think about a Math degree? They may help with scheduling (assuming you can afford to take time off) and they may even help pay your tuition. But at the end of the day, you have to make sure to find out the opinion of the people you will be marketing your skills to, and a conversation with the ops manager would probably be very helpful. Heck, most employees should try to talk with the big boss at least once a quarter, for networking, and just to touch base and manage an important relationship.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:21 PM on September 1, 2008

I would not go for a degree that ties you down too much to one field -- electron microscopy may suddenly become an area that is offshore-outsourced, or be replaced by a new emerging field of engineering in 5-10 years.
But equally, I would not go for an "abstract" degree subject like Math without understanding what you intend to do with it and how marketable it is. I have done a lot of recruiting in the engineering industry and I would not hire a Math graduate without some other, more specific engineering training, except for a very junior position. Math is one of those subjects that tells the recruiter that you have the potential to think scientifically -- but does not offer any evidence that you are capable of the engineering specifics. As you already have the training, I don't see what a Math degree would buy you.
My own recommendation would be to go for a broader engineering degree. With a degree in Electrical Engineering, I have been able to move about quite a lot in my own career -- starting in hardware design, moving through software engineering, project management, consultancy, and a CIO position. This is what a degree gives you: the basic knowledge to understand what you are letting yourself in for (!). So I would recommend picking a broader-based engineering subject that positions you in a specific set of industries, rather than a narrow field.
posted by Susurration at 4:06 PM on September 2, 2008

Response by poster: susurration - well I already have the electron microscopy degree so too late for that advice! :-P
posted by ian1977 at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2008

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