Last Updated: August 09, 2021
Careers in Engineering
To imagine a world without any form of advancement in any field, especially in the area of technology and innovation, will be equivalent to imagining a world without Engineering. It is the pillar of expansion and improvement in various sectors and has a significant role in transforming lives, lifestyles, and the world itself. Society keeps changing, and so do the needs of the people within the society. Engineering is such a domain that adapts itself to these changing trends and needs. It is ever-evolving with exponential growth and is rarely dormant. Considering the perpetual growth in demand for engineers, there is a wide range of career paths and great opportunities for high-achieving engineering graduates to choose from.
Engineering is a scientific discipline that basically involves the study of creating, designing, developing, or fixing with the application of science. It is a field that promotes thinking out of the box, coming up with unique and independent ideas, and putting forth inventive solutions to problems. Engineering undoubtedly benefits society by giving shape to new ideas that help, thereby transforming imagination into reality.
A career in engineering is lucrative, versatile, and rewarding, giving great scope to collaborate with eminent scholars and experts from around the globe and outside the field. The skills learned and obtained through the study of engineering are transferable from one industry to another.
Usage of energy for sustainable development, IT security, large-scale productions, hereditary science, mitigation of illnesses, global warming, are some of the prospects that promise a satisfying career in engineering, making it limitless.
Educational Requirements to Become an Engineer
- Bachelor's Degree: A four-year bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is the basic requirement to be employed as a general engineer, or even lab assistant/technician (entry-level). To be certified as a professional engineer one must enroll in an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology) program. Typical undergraduate classes that are included with engineering include Chemistry, Calculus, Advanced Physics, Computer Programming, Thermodynamics, Digital Logic Design, Circuits, Hybrid Devices and Systems, Magnetics, Mathematics, and so on. These provide the essential foundational groundwork for students, preparing them to have a clear picture of what they would want to pursue hereafter.
- Master's Degree: A master's degree in engineering gives a student an advantage in the employment market, improves the chances of promotion, and qualifies them for jobs like a research scientist, or teaching positions at many universities and colleges. The two-year program gives the chance to choose a specialization under engineering like chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, etc., which also involves completing a senior thesis. A master's degree is often beneficial to strengthen knowledge and skill in a particular area of study.
- Ph.D. Degree: A student of engineering will need a doctoral degree for jobs such as project director, research team leader, college professor, or scientist with higher prospects of extensive and independent research. A doctoral degree emphasizes research and requires approximately four to six additional years. Completing an extensively rigorous Ph.D. program will be beneficial in getting placed under government agencies or private companies, or continuing advanced research in the field.
- Internships and Associate Degree: Most employers tend to select students who have acquired any sort of practical experience or training during their college years. Working or volunteering as an engineering student improves technical abilities and communication skills and teaches the student to work as part of a team. Possible opportunities include part-time work for government agencies or assisting college faculty with research. Some colleges include formal internships in the engineering curriculum or offer class credit for research work. A two-year associate degree program may help a student to get employed immediately in a shorter duration in a technical field but not as a professional engineer.
Popular Career Options for Students with Engineering Degree
The most popular careers for students in the field of engineering are:
Biomedical engineers are required to come up with creative approaches to provide solutions to various problems concerning healthcare. They collaborate with scientists from different fields, doctors, and engineers to understand various issues that exist and design and develop high-quality and effective healthcare methods or products for patients of different ages and needs. Biomedical engineering is the application of these innovative thinking and problem-solving techniques of engineering in biology and medicine. A Biomedical engineer is supposed to be skilled in computer programming and handling various complex lab equipment and software, and have a sound knowledge of technology, medicine, and marketing to produce the best health care methods.
Qualification and Salary
An undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering or a related field is generally sufficient to start a career as a biomedical engineer. However, pursuing a master's degree will further strengthen the qualification for the job along with strengthening the knowledge in this field. The average annual income of a biomedical engineer is approximately $69,000 and may further increase up to $95,000 based on location, experience, and expertise.
An electrical engineer works to design and even invent components for some of the most common aspects of our lives like motors, DVD players, mobile phones, digital cameras, or remote-control toys, as well as the most essential aspects like medical tests or communications systems. This is an area of engineering that embodies the larger areas of need for society like power grids that support electricity and lighting networks, as well as devices smaller than a millimeter like a microchip. As an electrical engineer, one not only develops new products but also maintains and improves existing electrical systems or equipments. One might work on robotics, computer networks, wireless communications, or medical imaging areas that are at the helm of technological improvement.
Qualification and Salary
An undergraduate degree in electrical engineering is required to get into an entry-level position as a technician. To obtain a certificate as a professional engineer in the field, one has to pass two major examinations i.e., the Fundamentals Engineering exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam after an internship. A master's degree can also be pursued to acquire better employment opportunities and pay scale, or if one intends to continue research in the field. The average annual income of an electrical engineer is approximately $70,000 and may further increase up to $115,000 based on location, experience, and expertise.
Mechanical Engineers develop power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. They also work on energy consumption techniques and design tools or products needed by other engineers for their work. Computers assist mechanical engineers by accurately and efficiently performing computations and by aiding the design process by permitting the modeling and simulation of new designs. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are used for designing data processing systems, and for developing alternative designs.
Qualification and Salary
A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is required to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer. Training and internships in this field are essential for the application of theoretical knowledge and a better understanding of the work. The average annual income of a mechanical engineer is approximately $75,000 and may further increase based on location, experience, and expertise.
Aerospace engineers develop new technologies for use in aviation, defense systems, and space exploration, often specializing in areas such as structural design, guidance, navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, or production methods. They often use Computer-aided Design (CAD) tools, robotics, and lasers, and advanced electronic optics. This field can be bifurcated into two disciplines, namely, aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering, based on the specialization. Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration provided almost 15 percent of Aerospace Engineers jobs.
Qualification and Salary
An undergraduate degree in Aerospace engineering is required for jobs on a preliminary level along with sufficient practical experience or internships. To proceed further on a higher level or for a better chance for employment, one may opt for a dual degree program to earn both bachelor's and master's degrees within the span of five years. The average annual income may be around $70,000 to $136,000 depending on the skills, experience, and expertise.
In this age of computers and advanced technology, having sound knowledge in the field of computer programming and software is a great plus point. Software Engineers with the right knowledge of new and emerging technologies are always in demand. Java, C++, python, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, DevOps, big data, mobile development, etc., are in demand. The main job of a software engineer is to develop different software, system designing, and develop games or applications according to the requirements. Other responsibilities include keeping records of new information, taking care of existing operating systems, fixing bugs, designing updates for improvements, and so on. Software engineers also have the scope to work for cybersecurity either individually or with a team under private agencies or the government.
Qualification and Salary
An undergraduate degree or a master's degree in computer science, business management, computer engineering, information systems, or mathematics, with training, is good enough to start a career as a software engineer. Moreover, sharp skills in the field of knowing and applying programming languages and coding are a major requirement. The average annual income may be around $70,000 (entry-level) to $116,000 depending on the skills, experience, and expertise.
Other Popular Careers
Because the area of engineering is vast and versatile, it offers a plethora of other lucrative career options to engineering graduates. Agricultural Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Audio Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Marine Engineering, Geological Engineering, Nanoengineering, Nuclear Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Thermal Engineering, Transport Engineering, are some other options other than the ones mentioned above. Apart from typical engineering career options, one may also choose to work in fields like sports, fashion, management, and law, where they can apply their knowledge of engineering and make a difference in the respective fields.
Engineering graduates may also opt for jobs as teaching faculty either in schools or in colleges and universities. The subjects of teaching may include science, calculus, and mathematics in general, in schools. One can also choose to conduct research and publish papers or articles based on the area of specialization and work as a professor in universities or colleges. A Bachelor's degree along with training is required to teach in schools. Students need to acquire a master's degree in case they wish to start as an assistant professor in any institution, and a doctoral degree is essential to conduct research, publish books, articles, or thesis on the specialized field, as well as educate students as a professor in a university.
Engineering degree from Top Engineering Schools
is worth it. Many graduate students get 6 figure starting salaries!