Engineering to Industrial Design?

(whew! this is long! but please read the last part at least!)

Hello! I’m a first-year Engineering student studying at the University of Alberta. I’m fairly new to the workings of the industrial design world, so sorry if I sound a bit clueless.

I suppose it is best to say something about my background first. I have always been in love with art, having taken classes since I was 4, and learning to CG 4 years ago in Photoshop. I have also done really well academically in all my classes, whether it was english, math, chem, social, or physics. I was pretty torn when choosing a faculty to go into last year since I am pretty well-rounded, but thinking that learning how things work and deciding that job prospects were much better in engineering, I went in that direction.

Having learned about Industrial Design and doing more research about it in the past few weeks, it seems like it’s a path that can satisfy both my artistic and technical side. The ID program offered by UA has an engineering route that includes courses in mechanical eng and civil eng:

Engineering Route (*120)

Year I (*30)

  1. ART 136 and 137 (*3/3)
  2. DES 138 and 139 (*3/3)
  3. ART 140 (*3)
  4. ART H 102 (*3)
  5. One of ENGL 111, 112, 113, or 114 (*6)
  6. MATH 114 and 115 (*3/*3)
    (Students without Math 31 take 113
    and 115 (*3/*3)

Year 2 (*30)

  1. DES 370 (*6)
  2. DES (300-level) (*6)
  3. ART or DES (300-level) (*6)
  4. ART H 209 (*3)
  5. CIV E 265 (*3)
  6. ENGG 130 (*3)
  7. ENCMP 100 (*3)

Year 3 (*30)

  1. DES 470 (*6)
  2. Two of DES 475, 476, 477, 478 (*6)
  3. DES 483 (*3)
  4. ART H (200-level) (*3)
  5. Arts or Science options (100- or
    200-level) (*3)
  6. MATH 120 or 102 (*3)
  7. CIV E 270 (*3)
  8. MEC E 260 (*3)

Year 4 (*27)

  1. DES 570 (*6)
  2. Two of DES 575, 576, 577 (*6)
  3. ART or DES (300-, 400-, or
    500-level) (*6)
  4. Arts or Science options
    (200-level) (*6)
  5. REHAB 476 (*3)
  6. MEC E 360 (*3)

However, after reading many discussion topics, it seems that obtaining a degree in Engineering will still benefit me if I wish to become an Industrial Designer in the future, albeit i’d have to take design courses after.

So, I was wondering if any people in the ID field could give me their opinion about which path would be most beneficial in today’s world, taking into account what companies are looking for in their employees’ education and experience.

(I know this will probably vary depending on the type of ID work, but any comments will be helpful!)

my artsite if anyone’s interested:

I am personally facing the same dilemma you have as I am torn between engineering and design.

I will tell you what I will be doing myself. Start of by having a firm engineering base, know how stuff are actually made and learn the maths and physics behind things. Most engineering courses will give you good knowledge of material science as well so thats a plus. I am saying this because engineering is harder to pick up than design, not to say that design is easy to pick up. Then do a course in design, learn about packaging and ergonomics and all that.

The most important thing you do is to practice your sketching all the way through this… as this is the single most important skill you will need if you want to be a good designer.

As I said, I am in a similar situation myself, this is just my advice and hopfuly someone more knowledgable and experience will reply.

BTW, nice site… are you 34 for real?

haha! it says half way to 34 so divide that by 2, but now i’m half way to 36 XD

thanks very much for the input! I am debating with myself whether to just stay put and finish my degree, or transfer faculties next year. To stay in engineering will give me a lot opportunities to say the least, but I don’t know if just taking a design course at the end will be good enough if I wanted to make it in ID…