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Commerce vs. Engineering

without comments

Someone asked,

hi. I am a Grade 12 student. I am deciding whether to choose commerce or engineer as my undergraduate program. More specifically, I will choose finance or ECE. Which program is easier to find a job? Which program is easeier to find a high salary job? Furthermore, which career has more opportunities? I applied for commerce in UofT. If you know some of the students from Uoft commerce undergraduate program,can you tell me how many of them find good jobs and their salary? What kind of jobs do they do?(ie investment banking or something else)
Thank you very much.

So here’s my answer:

Which program is easier to find a job?

In engineering, the biggest demand is for software development (web, mobile or desktop). Almost 90% of my electrical engineering buddies ended up in software development. So if you have an engineering degree, and have 1 year of software development experience (from coop, volunteer or hobbies), then it’s easy for you to find a job. If you don’t have work experience, you will have a hard time finding a job.

According to one of my colleagues in investment banking, he says new grad employment rate is about 50% within the first year of graduation because of the poor economy (things could be different 4 years from now). He graduated in 2004, and back then, the employment rate for commerce grads within first year of graduation was 80%. From his experience, most of his classmates ended up in marketing or accounting.

If you do not have work experience, then getting an engineering job (software) or getting a finance job (accounting or marketing) are equally hard. The more elite disciplines (aerospace engineering, investment banking etc..) are practically impossible. Getting a job depends on your reputation first, your work experience second.

Which program is easier to find high salary job?

The salaries for accounting, marketing and engineering are similar, even when taking years of work experience into consideration. However, if you have what it takes to survive engineering, but you choose to do commerce, then you will be paid more in commerce than in engineering. This is because commerce is generally easier than engineering, so you have a better chance at being top 10 in a commerce program to demand a higher salary than if you were a bottom feeder in an engineering program. If you work as an investment banker (only the elite get here), and you work your butt off and take abuse from employers like a dog, then you’ll be paid more than the average engineer who’s typically in software development or IT. There’s potential for you to make lots of money in engineering only if you start your own business. So again, high pay requires you to have a good sense of business (ie. commerce).

In the end, how much you get paid depends on how well you market yourself and how valuable your skills are. The best way to do this is if you work part time jobs in industry while studying. By exposing yourself to industry, you’ll see first hand which skills are most valuable.

Alright, I think my two answers answered all your other questions.

Written by John Lai

April 23rd, 2009 at 7:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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