Chemical engineering or civil engineering?

bdouwie

New Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2015
Messages
2
I am in matric this year :) and would like to know which of the two is the best career path to choose? I do fairly well in maths and physics but am still thinking about whether engineering is the way to go...
 

Mila

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
50,888
It's two vastly different fields. You should look into the type of work you like to do. Studying takes only5-7 years. After that you have to do the job for the rest of your life. Nobody can tell you what to do. You need to decide what and who you want to be.
 

desiganp

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
656
I am in matric this year :) and would like to know which of the two is the best career path to choose? I do fairly well in maths and physics but am still thinking about whether engineering is the way to go...
Both disciplines require maths and physics. Both are also interesting. With Civil Engineering you will probably spend your time travelling from site to site e.g. Construction sites etc. With Chemical Engineering you will more likely be office based e.g. In the refinery or chemical plant or even working for a bank as a business analyst etc.

Ultimately, it's what you enjoy personally. Which is better BMW or Merc, Windows or Linux, Petrol or Diesel, summer or winter...and so the same for Chemical vs Civil.

Chemical engineers do have a slight advantage in terms of higher salary potential but this is on average rather than always true.

Both are 4 year degrees if doing a bachelors.

If your marks are good, go for engineering. Engineering graduates earn more fresh out university than any other graduate (usually)
 
Last edited:

DA-LION-619

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
10,984
First find out exactly what you wanna do because you seem undecided to me.

Don't choose something only based on salary or title.
 

Drake2007

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
4,385
There's no more "civil engineering" in this country. If you go that route rather become a cowboy.
 

Arthur

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
23,945
Don't choose a "career". Follow your interest. You're gonna be spending forty five years doing stuff. Might as well be what interests you.
 

krycor

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
14,805
Depends on where you plan to work and live too.

Civil engineering has a lot of potential in SA with water works as it's the next major infrastructure spend 2nd only to energy. Currently the need to engineers in Gauteng is extremely high but if you want to work in the Western Cape then uhm.. good luck.

Similarly with Chemical Engineering, here Sasol I guess would be ideal and the fracking in the future. Unlike Civil eng expect to working on those plants in the middle of nowhere or alternatively if you working for factories etc outlying areas.

Tough choice between the two and depends on personality and interest. If you want to have worked on large structures which you can say you did then civil is great, chemical as part of a team I guess.

They say civil is easier and chemical engineering is one of the top 5 most difficult courses you can do at varsity so if you want a challenge..

But either way try and get a working bursary by 3rd year and start arranging internships from the get go otherwise you will be unemployed post graduation which is hard to break out of in Sa.
 
Last edited:

saturnz

Honorary Master
Joined
May 3, 2005
Messages
11,490
All I can say is that chemical engineering is extremely difficult, and you most likely would have to study much further than with civil engineering.

Mr White had a Phd in Chemical Engineering.
 

krycor

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
14,805
Engineering graduates earn more fresh out university than any other graduate (usually)
Not always true these days, depends heavily on getting lucky with the great job after graduation.. If not you struggle and sometimes more so than any other graduates depending on location. This is because your skill sets are specific and industry doesn't always favor grads without experience. Usual chicken before the egg scenario.

I've seen both chemical and civil eng graduates looking for jobs. I think of you study engineering in SA you have to be prepared to relocate within SA as a requirement.

Lastly the analyst style job is something that's both annoying and great. Again depends on personality.. Civil guys tend to do site visits yes but ultimately do work in offices much like chemical engineers.

Analysts however just are office bound and can be soul crushing of you are an engineer as you won't be doing engineering lol. While they do get paid lots their jobs are a bit dull in comparison.
 

nevadayz

Expert Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
1,608
from working in the Petrochem field for the last 5 years, i can say that, Civil engineers, albeit good civil engineers, are quite sought after.
Chemical engineers are plentiful, civil, not so much. A friend i worked with got poached from our company to go work in the states, California nogal :wtf: soooo, yaaa...

Good luck!

P.S., dont forget, engineering is not for the faint of heart.
 

Mortymoose

Honorary Master
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
11,067
Go Chemical, cos' if you cannot gain employment then you always having options to make milingy dosh!

Breaking-Bad-Season-51.jpg
 

Shaun108

Executive Member
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
8,174
I would recommend you study medicine or Education. Dire shortage of both those skillsets in our country at the moment.
Medicine if you want money.
Education if you want respect.
 

SilverNodashi

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
3,315
There's a lot of good work opportunities for chemical and electrical engineers in the world! Decide which you would like todo for at least 30 years ang go for it! It's worth the time, money and effort you put into it.
 
Top