Milwaukee — More than half of the engineers polled in a recent ASQ survey said the amount of studying needed to succeed and maintaining high grades in science and math were the primary challenges they faced while pursuing an engineering degree.

The electronic survey ran through Jan. 30 – Feb. 8 and polled 509 engineers who are members of ASQ. The survey, like a Harris Interactive survey recently conducted for ASQ, was fielded in advance of National Engineers Week, Feb. 19-25.

While engineers said the amount of time needed to study was a challenge, 43 percent said the amount of time spent studying played the biggest role in their success as an engineer, a career with which they’re satisfied, according to the survey. Twenty-seven percent said instruction from high school teachers and college professors played the biggest role in their success.

In the Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of ASQ, 67 percent of youth said they are concerned about the obstacles they would face while pursuing a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, career. 25 percent of those youth felt pursuing a STEM career involves too much work and studying compared to other career paths, and 25 percent were concerned their grades in math and science aren’t good enough.

Parents polled by Harris also are concerned their children’s grades aren’t adequate for a STEM career path and are concerned it takes too much time to earn a STEM-related degree.

According to the latest ASQ survey of engineers, 44 percent of engineers said the amount of work and study needed to succeed was the primary challenge faced while pursuing an engineering degree, while 14 percent said maintaining high grades in related subjects, like math and science, was their main challenge. Other challenges provided by engineers include:

  • Lack of mentorship.
  • Poor quality of teachers.
  • Selection of available engineering degrees at nearby university.
  • Lack of prep courses in high school.

Despite the challenges faced by engineers in college, most engineers polled are satisfied with their career — only 3 percent said they are dissatisfied with their career choice.

  • 49 percent are most satisfied with the challenging and interesting nature of the career.
  • 35 percent are most satisfied with their contributions to projects and products.

Engineers polled offered different reasons for wanting an engineering degree. According to the survey results, 33 percent of the respondents chose to study engineering because they had a natural ability. Other reasons provided include:

  • The desire for a challenging career.
  • The availability of jobs after graduation.
  • Lifelong interest.

When asked in an open-ended question what advice they’d give to youth, engineers offered advice like “pay attention to details,” “learn both technical and people skills — both are needed to be successful,” and “study hard and don’t give up.”

“While pursuing an engineering degree has its challenges, it’s a worthwhile cause and one that can lead to a lifetime of satisfaction,” said Jim Rooney, ASQ chair and quality engineer with ABSG Consulting in Knoxville, Tenn. “Students considering pursuing a degree in a STEM-related field should be passionate about it and be prepared to work hard to be successful.”

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