I am a structural engineer in oil & gas company and I do know a little bit about the work scope of chem eng in my industry.
In Singapore, chemical engineer tops all engineering disciplines, as the prospect for chem engineer is one the best here, in terms of salary.
For our industry, you can either be hired by the oil companies for jobs like quality checking/sampling, products RnD etc, which are more of lab based. But these kind of positions are rare.
Now if you work for process flow design consultant, that will be very different. You will be called process engineer, and from its name, you will know that you will be dealing with the process flow either at upstream (meaning those offshore production/wellhead platforms) or refineries. It is big business, and in fact, the process engineering department is the core of everything when it comes to oil.
Just to give you an example, for upstream, you will deal with designing of mud system for drilling, mud separation system for freshly extracted crude oil, even down to the flaring system, to burn off unwanted gas, is process engineer's job. Recently there is an increasing trend for zero discharged oil platform, so even the draining system, process engineers are involved. After this stage of process, the crude oil will be offloaded by pipelines or vessels to to the onshore facilities.
When the oil reaches the onshore refinery facilities, it will then be separated/distilled, just like what you have studies in your chemistry. Process engineer come into play again, designing the plants according to oil company specifications.
for natural gas, it will be another total different process =) so it is a very interesting profession.
There are plenty of such companies even in Malaysia.
Process engineers are mainly office based, but it is never boring. Attending meetings, discussions, racing with time for completions, entertaining difficult clients, all these are part and parcel of office based engineer jobs. I have been working for 5 years and each day is like a new experience for me =)
An advice for you, loving physics doesn't mean you will do well in pure physics studies in university.
A junior of mine in NTU, suffered from depression after changing course from Environmental Engineering to Pure Physics studies. At the end of the day, she went back to msia because she can't cope with her studies, wasted her time and wasted parent's money. Engineering is practical but pure physics is mainly theoretical.
You also mentioned you like quantum physics right? in bachelor degree, you will study everything and quantum physics may just be part of your studies. Take a look at NTU programme, to get a feel what you will be expecting and judge if you can endure the entire course
you wont be able to do only quantum physics in your bachelor degree, it is only during post graduate studies, then you can choose your topic of research.
Be responsible for your own future =) if finding a job is your main concern upon graduation, I think engineering should be the path to go as jobs can be easily found.
Research job basically requires master degree and above. ask yourself if you can sit down in the lab, doing the same experiment 10 overtimes or perhaps a few hundred times just to calibrate your results. Sometimes even after spending weeks and months, you make no progress. That's the life of researcher. Unless you climb all your way to become a professor, then you use those students under you to perform experiments. Haha, then you can relax in your office, and read off the experiment data that those poor students have obtained.
all the best to you
Originally Posted by charlotta
I really need some advice on my study
I am actually at a cross road to choose my course for my undergraduate study. But , I can't seems to make up my mind .
I love mathematics and physics , but would prefer to do more calculations than physics question, love chemistry too. However, being a mathematicians is not that prospect in my Malaysia.
So I am going for pure physics or engineering course. But I can't differentiate the different between these two. I think I am only interest in chemical/environmental engineering.
I am a person that always want changes, so I don't want my future job to be always doing the same old thing again and again, I also don't like to work in an office, it is very boring. How is the working environment for chemical/environmental engineer ? and what is the job prospect for it ?
The chapter I love the most in physics is the quantum mechanics(especially about quarks, photon, radioactive and so on.. ) So, if take physics course how can I branch into this ?
I also like nanotechnology but my Malaysia don't have this course, so by taking physics can I branch into that ? I like to do research , but not sure about teaching.
My mum suggest me to do geology/geohysics(can't differentiate this both) . I never touch geology subject before, not sure if I love it or not . It just that my mum said it got a very good job prospect in the future. What does geology/geohysics study ? and what kind of research can I go into ? what is the working environment like ?
Thank you very much .