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Ever Thought of Working as a Coaster/Ride Designer?


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Just curious to see if anyone on here has ever thought of becoming a coaster/ride designer, or working somewhere in the amusement industry?

 

The thought has crossed my mind a few times, however, despite all the cool designs I've come up with in my head, I don't really have the technical know-how to actually break into the market. I've basically given up, but you never know, maybe there's an internship that'll open up somewhere (though I doubt my arts degree in college would be what they're looking for... Unfortunately computers/physics were never really my thing ).

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In high school, I took 4 semesters of engineering courses (basic, entry level courses, mind you) and was planning on designing roller coasters for a living. But somewhere along the way, I had a changed of heart, and I ended up choosing Film Production, and I am currently a couple of semesters away from that BS***

 

***Bachelor of Science. I could have sworn that Film Production was a Bachelor of Arts, but my mistake.

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As kid I was obsessed with Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 and my dream was to manufacture and design rollercoaster for a long time. When I realized how bad at math I was, plans quicky changed.

 

To design rides/rollercoaster, you don't need to know math. You need imagination.

It's the mathematical calculations and the engineer part that requires the math.

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As kid I was obsessed with Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 and my dream was to manufacture and design rollercoaster for a long time. When I realized how bad at math I was, plans quicky changed.

 

To design rides/rollercoaster, you don't need to know math. You need imagination.

It's the mathematical calculations and the engineer part that requires the math.

 

To get hired anywhere as a designer, you definitely need a technical degree that requires math.

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^^Technically, that's correct, because you have to get your degree in engineering before you design anything, because it's the engineers that do the designing, but there's a few technicalities that would make your statement invalid under certain circumstances; you appear to be implying that you must be an engineer and have a job in a different industry before making coasters. While that definitely helps your resume in terms of experience, you can also get incredibly lucky and land your first job at a ride design firm, and you can also do some light work if you get an engineering internship with one of them.

 

As kid I was obsessed with Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 and my dream was to manufacture and design rollercoaster for a long time. When I realized how bad at math I was, plans quicky changed.

 

To design rides/rollercoaster, you don't need to know math. You need imagination.

It's the mathematical calculations and the engineer part that requires the math.

 

But it's the engineers that do the designing. It's practically the definition of an engineer. You need to know the math in order to make the rides safe (which is always the number one priority) but you need the imagination in order to create something that the industry hasn't seen before. You are correct in the sense that anyone with enough imagination can come up with the ideas for rides, but the whole point of the amusement industry is to design and sell rides that work and are safe, which requires an engineering degree.

Edited by Tanks4me05
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As kid I was obsessed with Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 and my dream was to manufacture and design rollercoaster for a long time. When I realized how bad at math I was, plans quicky changed.

 

To design rides/rollercoaster, you don't need to know math. You need imagination.

It's the mathematical calculations and the engineer part that requires the math.

Um, no. As others have said, math is an imperative field when it comes to engineering and design.

 

I'm currently in the highest level math, physics, and engineering courses available for me to take, and one day I hope to have a job somewhere in the Amusement Park engineering field, whether it be for a manufacturer or a specific park. Even if I can't get to that level, I'm shooting to be a mechanical engineer since I just like engineering and design as a whole. I'm applying to Virginia Tech's engineering school this summer, wish me luck!

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^Pro tip: Once you finish all your gen eds, drop it down to 12 credits per semester if you're serious. It's more money, and it takes more time, but what people don't tell you is how much work it really is; I'm in my last semester before I get my BSME, and I've averaged about 7 hours of studying, homework and note-taking for every credit hour of engineering class. Completing an engineering degree in four years is ridiculous, something which nearly all of your PROFESSORS will agree with, because that means (in my experience) literally 120 hours of school work per week. Right now I'm pulling only about 80, which although means I have zero free time, at least I get a decent night of sleep most of the time. The psychological price you'll pay otherwise just isn't worth it.

 

If, however, you end up being one of those people that can somehow manage a four year degree, I envy you, but after what I've gone through I do not recommend taking the chance.

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What Tanks4me05 said.

I skimmed quickly through the first three years in university, but now that I'm doing my master's degree in civil engineering, I dropped several courses from my yearly quota. I found out hat plowing through courses is is a fast way to graduate, but I didn't actually remember most of the stuff discussed during the courses. Now that I'm over halfway to graduating, I though it'd be time to actually try and learn something that I'd also remember later on. Having less courses per year really allows you to focus on the courses you have, but also lets you have other life as well. A man's gotta eat and sleep, right?

 

About this designer vs engineering topic: in my opinion, being an engineer is kinda required, since you should understand how your design is supposed to work. I've heard numerous (stereotypical) examples of architechts who want "levitating glass-pyramids filled with eternal fire". Why would you want to design something that just isn't possible/realistic? You'd have to re-design, which costs time which again costs money. If you have engineering-knowledge, you already know what's possible, what's impossible, and what is difficult but achievable. This is my interpretation of an engineer at work.

 

Back to topic: it has been my dream job since I can remember (earliest I recall I was 6). I wasn't sure what I should do to achieve it, but studying civil engineering and working at an amusement park really were the way to go for me. Studying gives you mathematical understanding of the phenomena happening in structures etc, and working at a park lets you get up and close with rides. If you're lucky, you get to see some of the maintenance's stuff as well (as was with me), and if you're really lucky, you might get a chance at networking inside the industry!

 

Studying languages is also a plus since manufacturers can be located in a different country than the one you're living in, AND the products will get sold all over the world and being able to communicate really makes things easier. It's also noteworthy how the computers have revolutionized this industry as well, so learning your ways with CAD and BIM should also be in your to-do-list.

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What Tanks4me05 said.

I skimmed quickly through the first three years in university, but now that I'm doing my master's degree in civil engineering, I dropped several courses from my yearly quota. I found out hat plowing through courses is is a fast way to graduate, but I didn't actually remember most of the stuff discussed during the courses. Now that I'm over halfway to graduating, I though it'd be time to actually try and learn something that I'd also remember later on. Having less courses per year really allows you to focus on the courses you have, but also lets you have other life as well. A man's gotta eat and sleep, right?

 

About this designer vs engineering topic: in my opinion, being an engineer is kinda required, since you should understand how your design is supposed to work. I've heard numerous (stereotypical) examples of architechts who want "levitating glass-pyramids filled with eternal fire". Why would you want to design something that just isn't possible/realistic? You'd have to re-design, which costs time which again costs money. If you have engineering-knowledge, you already know what's possible, what's impossible, and what is difficult but achievable. This is my interpretation of an engineer at work.

 

Back to topic: it has been my dream job since I can remember (earliest I recall I was 6). I wasn't sure what I should do to achieve it, but studying civil engineering and working at an amusement park really were the way to go for me. Studying gives you mathematical understanding of the phenomena happening in structures etc, and working at a park lets you get up and close with rides. If you're lucky, you get to see some of the maintenance's stuff as well (as was with me), and if you're really lucky, you might get a chance at networking inside the industry!

 

Studying languages is also a plus since manufacturers can be located in a different country than the one you're living in, AND the products will get sold all over the world and being able to communicate really makes things easier. It's also noteworthy how the computers have revolutionized this industry as well, so learning your ways with CAD and BIM should also be in your to-do-list.

Very good points.

 

The only way I could see someone getting around the math is to get a job at a park, and work their way through the ranks (Likely WAY easier said than done). From there, they could submit designs to manufacturers that they believe would be innovative and feasible (again, likely WAY easier said than done).

 

I guess it truly takes a team (the park owner/architect providing the general idea/experience of the ride, and the engineers who have to figure out how to build/run the ride safely)... Sort of a left brain vs right brain/IQ vs EQ thing (this podcast sums it up nicely http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/16/scorpion/).

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Maybe theoretically you don't need to know math to doodle a real nice napkin design, but good luck trying to maneuver into a math-free designer's role through any kind of practical process. These dream "designer jobs" are few and far between. You can hope to work for a manufacturer or an engineering firm like Ingenieurbero Stengel, or be in the inner circle of a park's management group, but there's no way to penetrate any of those on a platform of self-proclaimed imaginative ability. Since no one can regulate who's creative or imaginative, the words have been self-ascribed so redundantly that they're a hollow professional argument for employment.

 

The world is competitive enough when you try and call your own obscure job as a personal goal, made worse if you further insist that you don't need to know all that you can to give yourself a realistic shot at making that goal real. It's a fantasy to think that you can enjoy your burger, work in the slaughterhouse, and somehow stay away from dead cows.

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Maybe theoretically you don't need to know math to doodle a real nice napkin design, but good luck trying to maneuver into a math-free designer's role through any kind of practical process. These dream "designer jobs" are few and far between. You can hope to work for a manufacturer or an engineering firm like Ingenieurbero Stengel, or be in the inner circle of a park's management group, but there's no way to penetrate any of those on a platform of self-proclaimed imaginative ability. Since no one can regulate who's creative or imaginative, the words have been self-ascribed so redundantly that they're a hollow professional argument for employment.

 

The world is competitive enough when you try and call your own obscure job as a personal goal, made worse if you further insist that you don't need to know all that you can to give yourself a realistic shot at making that goal real. It's a fantasy to think that you can enjoy your burger, work in the slaughterhouse, and somehow stay away from dead cows.

 

Thumbs up to this.

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Speaking of design, I have seriously considered pursuing being in the marketing division for a park company. Sure, I'd love to design coasters, but I'll leave that up to the people who know what they are doing while I handle the graphics component.

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^I'm fairly certain AJ is the closest anyone on TPR has gotten to becoming an engineer in the industry, keep it up, your projects look awesome! I'm just curious, have you ever applied for an internship of some kind in the engineering area of some park related business?

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^I'm fairly certain AJ is the closest anyone on TPR has gotten to becoming an engineer in the industry, keep it up, your projects look awesome! I'm just curious, have you ever applied for an internship of some kind in the engineering area of some park related business?

 

There are members/readers that are active designers in the industry. They just don't have time to post because they are busy working...

 

You can most definitely be involved with some aspects of roller coaster design with just technical knowledge...but you are also most certainly not designing any piece of the structure without the proper engineering credentials.

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Yeah actually, I really have. I've wanted to be an engineer for over 5 years now, and have narrowed it down to mechanical engineer in the last 2. Will I probably end up designing roller coasters, probably not, but I can at least try and I'm not limiting myself with other degrees where I have a much smaller chance of living off it. If I can support a family, and go to parks often, thats good enough for me

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