When deciding which career path to pursue, it’s sometimes pretty challenging to determine where your chosen field will take you in the coming years. Will salaries get increased? Will it be difficult to get employed? There’s so much that may seem unknown.
However, with well-known figures like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos stretching the boundaries of technology on what seems like a daily basis, there’s no better time than the present to begin a career in engineering. Not to mention how automation and information technology are the current trends in today’s realm. And since these trends are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, a career in engineering could be one of the safest bets.
Engineering, in essence, is the design, manufacture, and maintenance of the essential systems and components that make up the modern world. It is a scientific field that manipulates various energy sources to support economic and technological development.
The significance of selecting the right engineering program
There exists a plethora of exciting careers in the field of engineering. And each of these careers has a different income potential, job outlook, and range of employment options. Nevertheless, it’s also worth noting that the competition in engineering jobs is rather fierce. Like in any other profession, employers typically prefer candidates with quality education and refined skill set.
So it gives more reasons for individuals to conduct thorough research to find the right engineering college and select the appropriate program. For instance, when looking for colleges with engineering programs, students can capitalize on online resources that offer in-depth, qualitative, intuitive, and statistical information about various programs. This way, individuals can thoroughly examine the factors influencing the program’s success and come to relevant conclusions.
With that said, here are a few sought-after fields in the engineering domain:
- Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical engineers use their problem-solving abilities to design, develop, construct, and test various machinery, equipment, engines, and gadgets in virtually every industry. By applying the concepts of energy, motion, and force in their work, these professionals ensure that their designs operate cost-effectively while also being safe, effective, and reliable.
Some of the typical job responsibilities of mechanical engineers are:
- Develop functional prototypes for the demonstration to clients and beta testing
- Adapt and adjust the design to the needs and calculate the project’s budget and scope.
- Assess mechanical and electromechanical systems by carrying out research initiatives and using concepts of thermodynamics, hydraulics, and heat transmission
These professionals collaborate with other engineers to create a broad range of products. These may include turbines, pumps, space shuttle vehicles, turbine components, control systems, prosthetic devices, semiconductor tools, and more. Some sectors that engage the services of mechanical engineers are robotics, petroleum and refinement, research and development, and aerospace.
According to the data provided by the BLS, mechanical engineers earned a median salary of $95,300 as of 2021.
- Environmental Engineer
Today, with the increasing focus on the green and eco-friendly environment, the role of environmental engineers is more crucial than ever before. These engineers use their extensive knowledge of sciences, such as biology, soil science, chemistry, and engineering, to significantly contribute to improving human and ecological health.
In addition, these individuals put forth a lot of effort to address and resolve recycling, air pollution management, water disposal, and public health concerns. The following are some of the job duties of environmental engineers:
- Conduct site evaluations to identify the influence of commercial activities on the environment
- Analyze data, carry out technical audits, and undertake quality control checks to determine the project’s environmental effect
- Examine the underlying causes of environmental events and provide remedial measures
A broad range of sectors requires the services of environmental engineers. A few of these include industrial processing, manufacturing, energy and utility, and environmental consultancy. Some engineers also work alongside hazardous substances removal workers, city planners, or ecological scientists to perform inspections.
The average median salary of environmental engineers was $96,820 as of 2021, as reported by the BLS.
- Civil Engineer
Civil engineers assist in the construction and upkeep of infrastructures, such as buildings, water supplies, roads, and bridges. Not only this, but these professionals aim to address some of the most pressing concerns in engineering today and to pioneer new design and research approaches.
On a given day, the typical job responsibilities of civil engineers include the following:
- Conduct technical and feasibility research, and create designs that meet technical requirements
- Keep an eye on and improve safety protocols, regulatory compliance, and production methods
- Estimate labor, material, and overhead expenses to determine project costs
Civil engineers can find employment opportunities in various work settings, notably in the construction industry, working on projects such as bridges, buildings, and communications and transportation infrastructure. However, engineers interested in research may choose to work in laboratories.
The professionals in this field earned a national average salary of $88,050 as of 2021. And this engineering specialty is likely to grow by 7% by 2031, translating to many exciting opportunities.
- Software Engineer
These engineers are experts in computer science who incorporate engineering principles and programming language concepts to create software products, design video games, and manage network control systems. Additionally, these professionals assess user requirements and manage software installation.
Software engineers, in essence, conduct research, examine, develop, test, and repeat the procedure until they have a finished product that satisfies predefined goals. The job duties of these engineers include, but are not limited to:
- Evaluate analysis, issue description, and offer solutions to determine operational viability
- Examine data to efficiently manage the deployment of new systems and adaptation of the existing ones
- Develop documentation, charts, layouts, and code comments to show and describe solutions
Some software engineers work in specialist IT companies such as software development, business intelligence organizations, or consultancies. In contrast, others may work in investment banks, corporate institutions, or insurance carriers. Besides, some individuals may choose to work in academia, offering guidance to ambitious students.
According to the data revealed by PayScale, the compensation software and data company, these sought-after professionals earn an average base salary of $77,770 per year.
The engineering industry is broad and offers a variety of intriguing careers with significant income potential, particularly in the IT and power industries.
Students should therefore determine their true interests. For instance, aeronautical or mechanical engineering may interest individuals who enjoy experimenting with machinery. However, those who want to address the energy situation and seek solutions might opt to study electrical or nuclear engineering. And for individuals who wish to break the code of everything, computer system engineering might be an appropriate fit.
Engineers are shaping the future in this increasingly automated and data-driven environment. As such, aspirant students should think about both the large picture—what sort of future they want to create—and the small details—what a typical day would involve. Individuals who choose to specialize in the field they’re enthusiastic about are more likely to thrive and put in the effort it takes to succeed.