The Career Center at Saddleback College hosted a workshop for science, math and engineering students on Wednesday, April 16, featuring Saddleback Math Professor Frank Gonzalez.
Most of the attendees were aspiring engineers from Mission Viejo High School, so most of Gonzalez’s advice centered around that subject.
“The sooner you know what kind of engineering you want to do, the better, because you can start taking the specific courses you need,” Gonzalez said. “The four main branches of engineering are civil, electrical, chemical and mechanical.”
Gonzalez went on to explain that although there are other types of engineering, they’re subdisciplines of those four branches.
“Chemical engineering is in very high demand,” Gonzalez said. “Many chemical engineers have jobs lined up even before they graduate and get paid very well.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for chemical engineers in 2013 was $103,340.
“The demand for environmental engineers is also rising,” Gonzalez said. “Joining OC Bridge 2 Engineering at Saddleback is a great way to start working towards an engineering degree.”
Orange County Bridge 2 Engineering is a program that receives federal grants from the Department of Labor to help students become engineers.
Gonzalez also gave to students ways to brush up on their computer programming skills.
“Computer programming skills are important no matter what type of engineer you want to be,” Gonzalez said. “Here at Saddleback, we have a variety of computer science classes.”
Gonzalez mentioned Saddleback’s close ties with the computer science department at University of California Irvine.
“The head of our computer science department is from UCI,” Gonzalez said. “Our computer science department has great relations with the one at UCI.”
To provide an outlet for engineering students, Saddleback has just begun a robotics club this semester. Robotics is a branch of technology that involves applying, constructing, designing and operating robots, and is directly related to engineering and computer science.
However, mathematics is a profitable alternative career.
“Math majors always rank in the top 5 most satisfying careers,” Gonzalez said. “Many of them get jobs as actuaries and make great salaries.”
Actuaries are business professionals that calculate the financial impacts of taking risks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for actuaries in 2012 was $93,680.
“The number one employer of mathematicians is the NSA,” Gonzalez said. “The agency that spies on Americans and everyone else.”
Everyone in the room burst into laughter.
MVHS senior Nicholas Francke attended the workshop and said he wants to pursue a degree in computer science.
“Programming really appeals to me and that’s what I want to do in the future,” Francke said.
Seena Taravati, another MVHS senior, said he wants to obtain a computer engineering degree and help change the world.
“I like the creativity side of computer engineering,” Taravati said. “It’s also a great chance to help progress humanity.”