Women in Engineering: What Classes to Take in High School?

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Code banana (Photo credit: Vackovich)

I recently was on a panel for engineering at my high school’s career day. It was fun to share what engineering is with fairly large groups of students, including a good balance of ladies.  One of the most commonly asked questions was what classes to take in high school.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a high school that offered a variety of science classes, many at honors and advanced placement levels.  As an engineer, all of the science classes I took were very useful, especially my physics classes.  I never was a fan of math in my math classes, but physics took math as a tool to find solutions.  I actually learned a lot of math in my physics classes before it was taught in the math classes (and it was easier to understand because we were using it to solve real problems). I think physics is such an important class because it really teaches you to think about how to use what you know to solve a problem.

While I may be biased as a computer engineer, I also believe computer science classes are important to being an engineer.  Even if you don’t go into software or computer engineering, you’re likely to do programming on systems in order to help you solve problems.  Computer science helps you understand how to solve problems in a way that can be used for any sort of problem.  And having a background in one computer language will make it much easier to use any other that you may come across (including non-programming applications).

What high school classes have you found helpful in your engineering career?

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