Engineering vs Architecture

Civil engineering vs architecture so you can decide the best major for you.

What’s up everyone this is Jake Voorhees, and you are watching episode 020 of The 1% Engineer Show.

Make sure you guys subscribe to this channel so you don’t miss out on future episodes about how you can be the best engineer you can be. This is a question that I’ve been getting a lot lately.

I answered it on Quora, and I did a blog post about this. It’s a common thing that people are confused between architecture and engineering
or in this regard civil engineering because that’s the one form of engineering that’s most related to architecture, so that’s really what this video is about architecture vs civil engineering so when I say engineering it means civil. I’m a civil engineer so I can directly speak to this.

As a global summary, although architects and engineers perform parallel functions in design, implementation of infrastructure, buildings and things like this, they’re very different.

There’s a significant delineation between the two. This video is going to tell you more about that, so you know which one to choose so you know which career path to go down so you make sure that you are following your dreams and you can be a 1% engineer, or in this regard 1% architect.

But engineering’s probably the way to go.

So this video’s going to give you four differences between the two, so you can pick the right major for you.

  1. Character Traits.

Architects and Engineers often approach problems and situations from different foundations. Architects tend to think more
outside the box are connected to the aesthetics of things, whereas Engineers tend to be more quantitative, more numbers-driven rationale driven instead of how they feel, instead of how it looks.

Engineers want to know how’s the thing going to stand up, how’s it going to be done, how much is it going to cost – its all numbers
driven by an engineer.

There’s the right type of person for each one.

If you tend to like to draw be very creative and have a colourful type of personality and way of thinking, then architecture’s
probably for you.

Contrary to popular belief there are tons of Engineers out there who are very numbers-driven, but they can’t draw at all.

They can do stick figures and free body diagrams for their classes but in terms of thinking outside the box and being creative and actually
being artsy, a lot of times engineer struggle.

And that way you know engineering is for you

  • if you fall into this mould.

2, Design.

Engineers rely on equations, formulas, and scientific principles to solve problems, develop solutions, and conclusions to whatever they’re
working on in their field.

Whereas architects tend to consider the spatial functionality, the connection to its surroundings, how things integrate
into aesthetics and overall connectivity to neighbouring entities whether they be buildings or roadway facilities or functionality of a park or something like this.

The approach that overall design thinking is different between the two.

  1. Workflow.

This is where architects have a significant advantage.

Because it comes down to feeling and energy and aesthetics and creativity and how it looks, architects typically are the starter for the

They are the ones that create the blueprints, they are the ones who have the vision for what we’re going to build, and then the engineers take that vision and say, okay, how we were going to do this, what’s the most cost-effective approach for this the right materials for this type of design, so again if you want to be in the creative camp if you want to be architecting these types of concepts, then you should probably go for architecture.

Whereas if you want to calculate and crunch the numbers in a data-driven fashion behind what’s going on than engineering is probably for you.

This is one of the reasons why I became a transportation engineer and not a structural engineer.

It’s because I knew if I went into bridges or buildings, it becomes quite a cookie-cutter most of the time.

We already know how bridges stand, we already know how structures are going to maintain themselves in terms of their integrity, so
when it comes to being free, and the ability to do something a little bit different, we don’t always need that in engineering, but
an architecture you’re always trying to come up with some sort of different approach and be more creative, so that’s one thing that
engineering does lack.

In this regard, if you want to be trying to do things differently and trying to deviate from the curve for whatever is going on in your city your region in terms of building trends and status quo than the architects have a big leg up here.

They typically are the visionaries behind what’s going on, but they may not know how this thing is going to be built.

That’s where the engineer’s come into play.

So there’s a big difference in the workflow in terms of planning.
It starts with the architects and engineers execute this vision that they have.

  1. Curriculum.

And again we’re hitting on the same core principle, where an architecture curriculum in university is typically going to be a little bit artsier, it’s going to be a little bit more theoretical, it’s a little bit more about history.

Because I was a civil engineer and I know that curriculum in and out. Still, I reviewed some architecture programs, and it does have things like, the history of society, and history of architecture, and design drawing, and these types of things that engineers don’t take.

We barely had any breadth requirements.

At The University of Delaware, I could not take many courses beyond math, physics and engineering courses that involved heavy, heavy, heavy mathematics.

If you don’t like math, then you definitely shouldn’t be an engineer, because I think I took something like 3 calculus’s, three engineering maths, engineering statistics, and that’s just the math courses.

There was statics, structural analysis, structural design, concrete and steel design, geotechnical engineering, fluid mechanics…

Some engineers have to take there dynamics, which will destroy you, material science, which is math driven, so math, if you don’t like math, if you don’t like physics, if you can’t tolerate a few chemistry courses, then you’re not going to survive to engineer.

So maybe if math is a struggle for you, but you still want to be connected to designing buildings and infrastructure, and you have an architectural brain, then go for architecture.

But help people say this all the time questions on YouTube questions on Quora “Can I still be an engineer if I don’t like math?” Well, it’s like, sure maybe, but you’re going to struggle.

I like math a lot, and I struggled myself.


So there’s some differences in the curriculum.

Architect still has to take some math but nowhere near as much as engineering courses.

So those are the four core differences between architecture and engineering guys.

Character traits, design, workflow, and curriculum.

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