11 different engineering career paths
If you have an interest and an aptitude in math, science and technology, then engineering may be a good career choice for you
If you have an interest and an aptitude in math, science and technology, then engineering may be a good career choice for you. Engineers use their expertise and technical skills to solve a wide array of problems in a variety of disciplines. In this guide, we explore the role of an engineer, the steps to become one, along with some of the most common engineering career paths.
Who is an engineer?
An engineer is a highly skilled professional who uses math, science and technology to do much of their work. An engineer needs to be a creative and innovative person with a curiosity for how things work and how to make them operate more efficiently. The job duties and responsibilities of an engineer can vary based on their seniority and discipline.
Common responsibilities of an engineer
Here are some of the basic job responsibilities of an engineer:
♥ Design, develop, build, test, modify and implement complex systems and products
♥ Analyze problems, troubleshoot and collaborate with coworkers to find solutions
♥ Conduct research to make engineering decisions
♥ Recommend materials that will suit the design and build
♥ Create a failure analysis to learn from design mistakes
How to become an engineer?
Though there are a variety of engineering paths to choose from, many require you to follow similar steps to become qualified. Follow these steps to get started on your career as an engineer:
Complete the educational requirements
If you want to become an engineer, you need to first earn at least a bachelor's degree. Most engineers have a bachelor's degree in the specific area of engineering they work. For example, if you want to become an electrical engineer, you should major in electrical engineering.
Some engineers even earn additional degrees to increase their job prospects and further their specialization, taking science, math, engineering and technology courses to keep up with emerging trends.
Become a licensed engineer
Certain engineering careers may require you to earn a Professional Engineer (PE) certification. Each state requires different steps to earn this certification, though most of the time you must follow these steps:
1. Graduate from an accredited engineering program.
2. Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
3. Get four years of engineering experience.
4. Pass the Principles and Practices of Engineering exam in your discipline.
5. Complete continuing education requirements.
Engineering is typically a lucrative career as companies want skilled and innovative employees who can help them create better systems and products. Engineering is a great career for people who enjoy solving technical problems and making tangible improvements in their industry.
Here is a list of eleven different types of jobs in the field of engineering. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on each salary link below:
Primary duties: An industrial engineer is responsible for designing facilities, systems and equipment and looking for solutions to ensure they are operating to their full potential. They aim to improve product quality and lower production costs.
Primary duties: A biomedical engineer creates medical devices. They work closely with health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, therapists and researchers to understand what these devices need to be able to do. Medical devices they design include diagnostic imaging technology, implants, prosthetics, monitoring systems and surgical techniques.
Primary duties: An environmental engineer finds solutions to create more sustainable practices. They work to create systems that emit less pollution and are operating within environmental regulations. Much of their research focuses on engineering systems to reduce, prevent or eliminate waste and pollution.
Primary duties: A structural engineer works to design, build and test load-bearing structures such as bridges, buildings, tunnels, towers and dams. They understand each component of a structure including the foundation, beams, columns and floors. They ensure that new structures are safe for use, and they fix existing structures.
Primary duties: A civil engineer is responsible for designing, building and testing large infrastructure projects. These may include highways, bridges, tunnels, railroads and other major public construction projects.
Primary duties: A computer engineer uses their coding and programming skills to design computer software, hardware, systems and networks. They ensure that physical computer hardware and software can work in unison. They may specialize in certain areas such as virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence, operating systems and mobile apps.
Primary duties: A mechanical engineer is responsible for designing, building and testing thermal and mechanical devices. They use computer software to make their designs. They also inspect machinery and equipment and do any necessary maintenance work. Common mechanical devices they work with are vehicles, farm machinery, construction machines and other tools.
Primary duties: A chemical engineer uses math, science and technology to solve problems or create innovations involving chemicals, food, fuel and more. They spend much of their day designing equipment and systems to make safe products.
Primary duties: An electrical engineer designs and tests electrical systems and equipment. Many of their designs are for new products but they also work to improve existing ones. They spend much of their time researching the demand for systems and equipment. They also work to resolve customers' complaints and requests.
Primary duties: A nuclear engineer works to develop instruments and processes that are related to radiation and nuclear energy. They typically work to develop spacecraft or systems for medical use. Their main goal is to find safe ways to use nuclear energy. This is done by ensuring safety standards are met and nuclear power plants are following protocol.
Primary duties: An aerospace engineer specializes in designing, building and testing aircraft and spacecraft such as airplanes, helicopters, drones, satellites, rockets and military missiles. Much of their work includes developing new technologies to use for aircraft and spacecraft.