“I hate mathematics and calculus in particular, yet I want to be an engineer. Can I achieve my goal? Is it a viable path?” Many engineering students and those considering this academic field have to deal with these or similar questions.
Ostensibly, engineering is about taking the raw materials you are given and using technological know-how, machining, and processing to turn them into what you want. It is something purely practical, something that involves real-world processes, not abstract formulas, and mathematical theories. Therefore, many students wonder why they have to spend so much time studying math and calculus to get their engineering degrees. Is it really necessary? Aren’t there better ways to apply their time and effort?
Unfortunately for those who cannot stand calculus, it is not just useful, but absolutely essential if you want to achieve any sort of excellence in engineering, no matter what kind of degree you pursue specifically. In this article, we will cover 7 of the most important reasons why you should start paying a little more attention to your calculus homework if you want to work in this field in the future.
1. An Engineer Should Be Able to Optimize
A true engineer not just transforms raw materials into finished products following known principles – or, at the very least, it is not all he/she does. A true engineer is supposed to be able to optimize the processes he/she uses to achieve the desired results in the most effective and efficient fashion. He/she should be able to change the design of the product to create something that performs the necessary function better than something that existed before. To do so, one not only has to know the equations that come into play in all the relevant processes but also understand how these equations were derived. Only thus can one understand the relations between variables. Only thus can one know for sure how changing one variable will affect the rest of the system. Which is exactly what calculus is responsible for.
2. You Should Know How Your Tools Work
Most of the time you work in engineering, calculus kind of stays under the hood. Earlier generations of mathematicians and physicists used it to create theories that form the foundation of modern engineering. Today, there is no need to solve these problems manually – you will do it with the help of specialized software. However, it is always a good idea to spend some time figuring out how your tools function. You cannot truly call yourself an expert in your field if you use instruments without knowing how they operate.
3. Studying Calculus Exercises Your Brain
It may not sound like a very good reason, but still – engineering is highly complex and complicated. It requires deep mastery of a number of equally complex and complicated disciplines, such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. They all, however, require you to use the same basic set of skills and approaches as calculus. In other words, when you study calculus and solve calculus-related problems, you form new connections between the neurons in your brain, and these connections will come in handy when you work on other, more immediately relevant subjects.
4. You Will Absolutely Need Calculus in Some Engineering Jobs
Not all engineering fields have the same relationship with calculus and math. In some, there is no way around it – you will have to study them and be good at them because you are going to use them extensively in your day-to-day work. For example, it is virtually impossible to work in electronics engineering without using calculus and differential equations. Other fields, like civil and industrial engineering, are much more approachable for those who don’t like math. They are by no means completely free of math, but you will have a much easier time with them. However, you still have to deal with this area of knowledge in your degree program, so you may need some calculus homework help to get through college, possibly from one of many online academic assistance services.
5. It Improves Your Engineering Problem Solving Skills
You may end up in a job that will not require you to use calculus at all. However, studying and understanding calculus is an incredibly useful practice for developing general scientific sense and problem-solving skills no engineer can do without. It will teach you how to apply your logical thinking to reduce even the most insanely complex problems to their interacting components and find solutions.
6. Calculus Is a Prerequisite for Many Other Things
You will need calculus if you want to truly understand your job and the things you are dealing with. What is even more important, you are going to need it for many other courses you are going to take while working for your engineering degree. Again, you may end up not using it much or at all (at least manually, without the help of computer software), but knowing and understanding the principles of calculus is essential for progressing along with your chosen academic and, later on, career path.
7. Without Calculus, You Will Never Be Fully Competent
You can solve most problems you encounter in many engineering jobs without using any of the equations related to it on your own. Special software will do it for you, and you usually can safely use the output of said software in your work. However, if you work in this way, can you ever really say that you know what you are doing? The software you use can make a mistake, and you will not notice it. Without understanding the underlying principles, you will never fully master the behavior of materials, objects, and systems you are dealing with. You will be able to apply the skills you have mechanically, but it will not be possible for you to create anything truly new.
As you can see, the need to study calculus is not a whim on the part of your college or your professors; it is an integral part of engineering, and if you want to pursue a career in this area, you will have to dedicate a lot of time to it, like it or not.