What Engineering Discipline Suits You Best?

Engineering is one of the most sought after careers due to its good pay, service to society, and creativity in the STEM field. But how do you know which discipline of engineering, if any, is right for you?

One way to find out is to take an engineering course at Campo, some of which are Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Introduction to Engineering, and Automotive Engineering. There are also many courses outside of Campo that are engineering related. Senior Neha Ravikumar, going into bioengineering, took engineering related classes at the library when she was younger.

Many people discover their interest in engineering from a young age. Ravikumar recalls how she “fell into it randomly when [she] was a kid” when she was finding different ways to engage her younger cousins and “started making little video games using JavaScript,” which got her into coding.

Aspiring engineers, no matter what discipline, should be strong in STEM, especially the math field. Senior Mattie Ceridono is studying chemical engineering next year and took many STEM APs, including both AP calculuses, statistics, physics, and chemistry. Ceridono recommends to “be passionate about chemistry as well as math and sciences…it’s not gonna be an easy path so be ready for difficult classes.”

Senior Owen Lloyd, considering mechanical and civil engineering, advises students with engineering ambitions to “go with your gut. If you really do enjoy tinkering and building with things then engineering is for you, but if you don’t think it’s your calling, stick to something else.”

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers often work in manufacturing, healthcare, food processing, and others. They use their knowledge to develop processes and products that are efficient and cost effective. Because of this, chemical engineers are more likely to be working with equipment and utilities. Chemical engineering is also versatile, so you can apply your knowledge to different fields.


Bioengineering, or biological engineering, is more on the medical side of engineering, focusing more on biology than other types of engineering. Bioengineers help develop new technologies to be used for treating or diagnosing medical problems.

Additionally, Ravikumar did bioengineering research in high school. Doing research for any discipline in high school is a good way to determine if that field is going to be a good career field for you. Ravikumar “worked at a bioengineering lab” where she “[analyzed] data that was coming from human organs,” which was a mix of computer science and biology.

At Campo, she found that AP Biology, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, and AP Chemistry were helpful.

Electrical Engineering

Like the name suggests, electrical engineers are involved in the development of electrical equipment such as electric motors and electronic devices. They are simultaneously inventors, builders, and designers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that new technological leaps in green energy will drive up the demand for electrical engineers, making electrical engineering a possible career choice for people passionate about helping the environment but still want to pursue engineering.

Aspiring electrical engineers would benefit from physics and/or AP Physics 2, which focuses largely on electrical circuits throughout the year.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering deals with the designing and construction of infrastructure projects, both in the public and private sector. They are more the “architectural” type of engineers since they are more focused on something’s structure and appearance.

Civil engineers often work with a city’s government, construction, manufacturing, energy, and transportation companies.

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace, or aeronautical engineers, often develop technology that is used in aircraft and spacecraft. Some even work in national defense.

If you’re the kid who was fascinated by airplanes, or maybe still are, you should consider a career in aerospace engineering. Common companies they work with include NASA, Boeing, and Blue Origin.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering, one of the broadest engineering disciplines, in its broadest sense is the field of engineering that deals with physical machines and forces helping them move. They analyze, design, manufacture, and maintain machines, including elevators, air conditioning, and engines.

Taking AP Physics in high school is a good idea if you are interested in mechanical engineering, which will expose you to most of the subdisciplines you get to study at the undergraduate level.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineers are involved with the building process of computers, supercomputers, and other computational devices. Students who find computer science and electrical engineering interesting should consider a career in computer engineering since the field combines both.

Besides many math classes, aspiring computer engineers should strongly consider taking physics (algebra or calculus based), since they’ll be applying physics when building computational parts.

Software Engineering

While software engineering sounds similar to computer engineering, software engineers deal with software instead of hardware and are more coding focused. Hardware is the physical elements of a computer such as hard drives and keyboards while software includes the programs and apps on your phone.

Software engineers are in high demand at the present and that trend doesn’t look like it’s going to die down anytime soon. In 2022 alone, the California Business Journal found that the demand for software engineers rose nearly 17% across all industries and is projected to grow 22% in the next decade.

However, don’t let these statistics fool you. Despite the high demand, software engineering is an incredibly competitive field along with any form of computer science. High schoolers interested in forms of computer science should seek to gain programming experience while still in high school and continue to pursue internships through college.