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Electrical Engineering Vs Finance (Guide)

Many college students aspire to have careers in finance and engineering partly for the perks and partly for the prestige. 

The fact that both careers have assured demand and pay well above average makes it even harder to choose between the two. 

If you’re in a similar position, this article will give you all the essential information you need about each major so you can make an informed decision.

What Is Better: Finance Or Engineering?

The two majors aren’t in competition with each other and are, in fact, geared to extremely different economic sectors. As such, there is no objective way to tell which of them is better than the other. 

Below, we compare them in various aspects. 

Average Pay$71,700$85,000
Job ProspectsModerateGood
Difficulty of majorModerateHigh (due to the focus on maths and physics)
Probability of working long hoursVery highHigh
Potential JobsFinancial Analyst
Credit Analyst
Investment Manager
Financial Consultant
Civil Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Industrial Engineer
Systems Engineer
Structural Engineer
Aerospace Engineer

From the table above, we can deduce the following: 

  • Both majors present a wide range of job opportunities. The only difference is that a bachelor’s degree in finance is all you need to qualify for most available jobs. But when it comes to engineering, you need a specialized degree to venture into any particular field.
  • Engineering jobs pay more on average and have higher job satisfaction levels. However, senior finance positions have equally high (if not more) perks and prestige. Some companies also pay very high for good finance talent.
  • In general, people in finance jobs are more likely to work long hours than engineers, as most of their jobs involve poring over papers and data. However, this doesn’t mean that engineering jobs are easy. It is quite common for engineers working on large projects to travel a lot and stay awake for nights on end.

Do Electrical Engineers Work In Finance?

There are plenty of electrical engineers working in finance, primarily in quantitative analysis. Their jobs range from designing and managing trading algorithms to providing consultancy services to trading managers.

There are also a lot of data analysts in Wall Street with backgrounds in electrical engineering, although most have done additional courses.

But generally, it is not easy for a regular electrical engineering graduate to start a career in finance.

For one, their lack of knowledge on many financial aspects means any company that employs them has to incur higher training costs than they would if they employed finance professionals.

As such, many of the engineers in finance are either Ph.D. holders, renowned innovators, or entrepreneurs.

Is An Engineering Degree Good For Finance?

Engineering doesn’t necessarily go with finance, and you’re not guaranteed a job just because you have an engineering degree. 

But that notwithstanding, the skills you learn in engineering school, such as maths, statistics, programming, and data analysis, can boost your chances of getting certain finance jobs. 

Among the finance jobs that are easy for engineers to get include financial analysis, trading, software engineering, and quantitative analysis.

Why Do So Many Engineers Go Into Finance?

Despite engineering having more prospects and higher pay, an increasing number of engineers are switching over to finance, often at the peak of their careers. 

Naturally, highly experienced engineers are primarily attracted by the potentially huge pay rises they get by switching careers. However, for most engineers, the main motivations are:

  • Burn Out – Most engineering jobs are very demanding, both mentally and physically, and it is not uncommon for younger engineers to get burned out a few years into their careers. For some of them, getting into finance is simply a chance to do something new.
  • Relocation – If someone moves to a new state or region where few engineering jobs are available, finance naturally becomes the best alternative.
  •  Change in Interests – Some engineers lose their interest in their jobs and choose to seek new paths in the finance industry. 
  • Personality – Many finance positions involve face-to-face interactions with clients and attending countless meetings and seminars. 

Engineers with more outgoing personalities may thus find them more satisfactory than engineering jobs, where a majority of interactions are with machines and papers.

Can Electrical Engineers Work In Banks?

Absolutely. The advent of digital banking means that banks use more digital technologies than ever before. As such, most banks hire electrical engineers to ensure their systems run smoothly. 

Can You Do Finance After Engineering?

As mentioned before, practicing engineers can get into finance, either in engineering roles or by changing career paths. 

The most common route is by doing an MBA or CFA. Some engineers also start working in engineering roles and climb up the ladder to occupy senior corporate positions. However, this is not a common occurrence as it may take a lot of time to accomplish.

Is Engineering Finance A Discipline?

Financial engineering is a relatively new major that is quickly becoming a mainstream business course.

But despite the name, it is not regarded as a real engineering field, as it applies very few maths, physics, and scientific concepts. 

For the most part, the tools used in financial engineering are mostly based on computer science, statistics, financial theory, and applied mathematics.

Simply put, financial engineering is a real course offered in many universities. However, it has very little in common with other engineering courses, and it usually goes by other names such as financial mathematics and computational finance.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the two careers offer plenty of job prospects and opportunities for personal development. 

However, you should not base your choice on the potential perks and instead pick a discipline that appeals to your strengths and interests. As the saying goes, follow your heart and the money will come.