Can't choose between civil engineer or architect


So basically my math and science skills are very good and I'm one of the top students in those subjects so I'm pretty confident that I can learn civil engineering with no problem. But I enjoy the artistic part of buildings much better but I'm so-so at art and am not that creative. I've also heard many bad things about learning architecture in college. 

Should I do something I think I will enjoy a lot but will take a lot of work or something I know I can succeed at and be able to enjoy other things in college?

May 27, 20 3:46 pm

just become a civil architect or an artistic engineer.

May 27, 20 4:03 pm  · 
4  · 

Maybe look into structural engineering?  You can be creative with your designs when you're hired by the right architect.  

Civil engineering will be all about grading soil, survey work, and underground utilities.  No creativity to be had unless you like designing storm water systems.  

May 27, 20 6:05 pm  · 
1  · 
Wood Guy

Chad, structural is a subset of civil engineering.

May 28, 20 10:48 am  · 
Non Sequitur

my structural p.engs don't know shit about soils tho...

May 28, 20 10:54 am  · 
Wood Guy

It's all the same in undergrad, until the last year when you start to focus on structures, soils, or water. At least that was my experience.

May 28, 20 11:03 am  · 

You want a steady job?

Be a civil engineer and work for some town or a city.

Want a fancy, fast paced job with no job security and shitty pay?

Become an architect.

May 27, 20 9:49 pm  · 

Shhhhh, don't tell 'em that! We need more slaves, er I mean interns.

May 28, 20 9:36 am  · 

Yeah, you're probably right.

May 28, 20 10:31 am  · 
Wood Guy

Nicolelin, it can be hard to decide what to do with your life when you're still a teenager. It was for me. I ended up choosing a civil engineering degree with a focus in structures and a minor in architectural studies. Most of my classmates either went to work as engineers or went to grad school for architecture. (One became a neurosurgeon but she's unique. And makes a lot more money than my architect and engineer friends.)

Most architects are not well versed in structures so if you choose engineering then get a master's degree and work as an architect you could have a good niche. But architects can also just work with engineers. 

From what I've seen there is a much wider range of skills and abilities needed to be an architect than to be an engineer. Engineering is more tedious, as a rule. But the focus required appeals to some people. Architecture can be tedious but there is often more room for creativity and interacting with people. 

I would not recommend following my path--after earning my BS, I was tired of school and didn't want to work in an office, so I spent ten years as a carpenter, and later switched to design. I am not licensed and can't even say I'm an architect, though I do everything an architect does, only on homes that I am allowed to design. I didn't have mentors to steer me (and probably wouldn't have listened if I had mentors) but if I could start over I probably would have done a BArch and gotten licensed as an architect. Or gone into medicine, or chemical engineering--much more potential for growth and making money. But if you love architecture, be an architect. 

May 28, 20 11:01 am  · 
3  · 

What's the saying? An architect know a little about everything, and engineer knows everything about one thing.

May 28, 20 11:48 am  · 
5  · 
Wood Guy

That sounds about right! I'm glad that I know enough about structures to feel confident designing my own when relatively simple, but even better is being able to ask questions and learn from structural engineers when I need their help. Same goes for MEs and other design pros.

May 28, 20 11:55 am  · 
1  · 

best explanation i've ever come across: 

Engineering is spending your life learning a whole lot about an increasingly focused subject. Architecture is spending your life learning a little bit about everything.

May 28, 20 11:32 am  · 
4  · 

One of my worries is that if I choose the architectural route, in college, I won't be able to do other things like piano, visit family if I go out of state, and other hobbies I enjoy. If I went to architectural grad school, would it be hard for me to catch up as a structural engineer?

May 28, 20 5:55 pm  · 

Spend some time shadowing a couple people in each field if you can. I used to work for a civil engineer. Very similar to arch in some ways and couldn't be more different in others. In my observation, engineering school is hard but practice appears to be relatively simple. Arch school is hard in a different way than engineering school and arch practice is even harder than school. Engineers enjoy a high level of refined focus on a particular area of expertise while architects have to be knowledgeable and capable in a wide number of areas (reiterating what others have said). 

May 29, 20 1:13 pm  · 
atelier nobody

Do you like buildings or do you like dirt?

May 29, 20 1:15 pm  · 

dirt is geotech eng

May 29, 20 1:56 pm  · 

If I was on the fence between architecture and civil engineering, I would go for structural engineering. I come from a long line of C.E.s, Architects and M.E.s and structural engineering is the common thread through all of them and there is better job security and career 

May 29, 20 1:30 pm  · 
1  · 

Choosing between becoming a civil engineer or architect is not an easy thing to decide. Honestly, this is a rather treacherous dilemma. I think that being an engineer is connected with daily work. And if you are a beginner architect, you can wait for a long time until you will receive the first contract. Of course, you will be paid enough, but do you want to wait until someone would think you are good for his order. So, you are welcome to decide. Some of my friends have chosen a fiber engineering and still work there. They are happy people, I must admit.

Dec 1, 20 11:33 am  · 
Flip a coin and commit!
Dec 2, 20 9:18 am  · 

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