Engineering has always been one of the most popular and prestigious fields for many reasons. Engineers play such an important role in society and require a very specific set of skills that very few people have. This is what makes the field so exclusive.
If you feel like you have the profile to succeed in engineering, you should consider the idea if you want to work in a vibrant field with tons of opportunities and prospects for the future. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should think about getting an engineering degree, and how you can get started.
Engineering is one of the few fields in STEM where you really get to express your creativity. As an engineer, you will get paid to use your imagination every day and come up with new solutions. Whether you’re in construction, physics, or electric engineering, you will have the opportunity to create your own projects and systems.
A lot of people think engineering is mainly about doing some boring math work, but this isn’t what the job is truly about. Engineering is about learning and integrating different tools and disciplines to create new things. Don’t expect to have to be resigned to a tiny box where you’ll absolutely have to adhere to strict guidelines. This is a field where your input will be respected and used to inform decisions that could change the whole complexion of a project.
Engineering could give you a great opportunity to see the world. There isn’t a place in the world where engineers aren’t needed, and if you have a good engineering degree in your back pocket, you’ll be able to get a job almost anywhere on the planet.
Not only that, but many engineers decide to work for consulting firms, and they will often have foreign contracts. This could allow you to see new places and learn about new problems. Working as an engineering consultant can also be glamorous and get you into rooms with very important and interesting people.
You could decide to move to a different country for the job prospects or because you want to help fill skill gaps in certain sectors. Many countries are trying to build their infrastructure right now, and if you’re a civil or electrical engineer, your skillset will be highly sought and you could get a chance to make a real difference on the ground.
There aren’t many fields where you can make as direct an impact on the world as you can in engineering. Want to help light up parts of the world that don’t have electricity yet? Become an electrical engineer. Want to help curve global pandemics and prevent them from happening in the future? Maybe biomedical engineering is the right choice for you. Or maybe you want to help build cities and countries from the ground up? Then, civil engineering is the way to go.
This is why engineering continues to boast such high satisfaction rates. Being able to see the results of your work in such a concrete way is one of the reasons why engineers enjoy their jobs so much.
Another reason why so many people gravitate towards engineering is because of the great salaries the field has to offer. You will never have to worry about getting paid if you’re a solid engineer in the right field. It’s not uncommon for graduates to earn close to six figures right out of the gate. Some fields are paying much more than others because they’re experiencing shortages.
You will never have to worry about finding a job if you have a good engineering degree either. Not only will you be able to qualify for engineer jobs, but there are all sorts of fields where engineers can be hired. Engineers are highly respected for their skill set, and you might be eligible to fill roles you would never imagine an engineer could.
You can use your skills in one area of engineering and transpose them to another too. Some civil engineers were able to crossover to IT and software engineering, for instance. Being a civil engineer can also give you the chance to work in manufacturing or any field related to construction.
Engineers have the type of mind and formation that can make them great assets in virtually any field. Some engineers get promoted into roles in business. Others end up working as journalists or analysts. This is one of the reasons why engineers enjoy such a long and fruitful career. They can also get specialized qualifications that they can add on top of their engineering degree so they can fill an even larger number of positions.
Engineering is also one of the best STEM fields for people who like to do some real work. You won’t be spending most of your time on research like in many other STEM positions and will spend more time on getting things done.
Your day as an engineer will usually involve switching between desk work and hands-on work. Engineering programs focus a lot on hands-on projects and demonstrations. Students will get the chance to work on independent projects before they graduate and learn some valuable lessons in the process.
Another benefit of being an engineer is that there are plenty of chances for advancement. Not only are there many advancement opportunities, but you could end up moving up the ranks much faster than you imagine. Experience will be a factor, but your skills will as well, and if you have been able to show great competency during the short time you’ve been working, you could end up being a great candidate for a promotion.
You could also move into leadership positions later on. You might decide to get a master’s in engineering leadership and work as a team manager, for instance. This would allow you to have even more of an impact on the projects you work on and imprint your vision on them. Not to mention that you’ll be paid very well to do so.
One of the reasons why engineers are so sought after, even in fields that have nothing to do with engineering, is because of their expert problem-solving skills. A large portion of your studies will involve solving all sorts of problems including some that have occurred in real life.
As an engineering student, you will learn how to look at problems from multiple angles until you find a solution. You’ll also be able to learn from other people’s perspectives when working on team projects. This will allow you to have a more flexible mind and look at other ways that you can solve common problems.
Now that we know some of the benefits of studying for an engineering degree, let’s learn how you can get your career started. The very first thing you will have to do is look at your skills, interests, and aptitudes and see if you truly have what it takes to be an engineer.
One of the most important skills to have as an engineer is being a great communicator. While a lot of the work you’ll be doing will be technical, it also involves a lot of dialogue. All projects begin and end with a team discussion, and you have to be able to process the information that is being exchanged and give your input. But you have to be able to give it in a concise and precise way in a tone that will be respectful of everyone that’s involved in the project.
This is why interpersonal skills are very important in engineering as well. This is one of the reasons you should think twice about becoming an engineer if you tend to be introverted, even if engineering seems to be a field where your type would thrive.
You cannot be part of a productive engineering team if you don’t know how to build rapport. This is essential for good cooperation. Interpersonal skills will also help get your suggestions heard and acted upon.
You have to be a great critical thinker to succeed as an engineer as well. You’ll need to be able to see the big picture and not obsess over details. Great engineers can see which areas should take more time and resources, and which issues are minor.
As well as this, you will need to have great math skills, up-to-date technical knowledge, and be tech-savvy enough to use the whole variety of tools you’ll be using in your line of work.
Once you have identified if you have the skills needed to be an engineer, you will need to look at which type of engineer you want to be. One of the things you could do is take a career quiz and see where you would be a good fit. We also suggest that you start looking at where engineers will be the most needed in the next coming years.
You should do your research and look at more obscure specializations too. There are lesser-known fields like environmental engineering and advanced mobility that have great prospects for the future and have some of the most interesting jobs in engineering. This could be a great opportunity to get a rare skill set that will be in high demand in the next coming years.
No matter what field you choose, it’s important to check what the career outlook and salaries are. Going for your passion is one thing, but you also have to be able to get a job and get a respectable salary. Don’t make the mistake of looking at local prospects only, however. Look at opportunities in other states, cities, and countries as well.
Another thing you should do is speak with a few professionals in the field(s) you are interested in. They’ll be able to tell you what it’s like to work in the specialization you have your eyes on. They will be able to tell you some of the pros and cons of their job, along with things they didn’t expect before they went in.
There are many ways to get your engineering education. You will first need to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can go for either an accredited or non-accredited program, but going for an accredited program will ensure that it meets certain standards and that you’ll be able to get licensed.
You can go for a traditional bachelor’s program, or get your degree online. If you are interested in becoming an advanced mobility engineer or an electrical engineer, for instance, Kettering University has a great online electrical engineering degree you should look at. You’ll have the chance to get your degree when it’s most convenient for you while you keep your current job.
Once you’ve found a program that catches your eye, you might want to look up admission requirements. Most programs will require that you pass standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. But some programs may have requirements that are unique to them.
In some cases, you might be required to have a certain score in one specific section of the SAT like math, for instance. Or you may be required to have followed special classes in high school. It’s important to know these details before you start the application process.
You will also need to get familiar with licensing requirements. Licenses are issued by the relevant state, and you can look up their requirements through resources like CareerOneStop’s licensed occupations tool.