Engineers are responsible for everything we see around us – from bridges and motorways to hospitals and schools to medical diagnosis.
It goes without saying, then, that there are thousands of job opportunities within the engineering sector. Different types of engineering include:
Aeronautical - in the air, including products as diverse as planes, satellites and missiles
Chemical - assessing the impact of a activities, turning raw materials into useable products and conducting research
Civil - the design and creation of physical structures, e.g. bridges, roads and buildings
Electronic - designing, implementing and ensuring the safety of electrical systems in buildings
Manufacturing - designing, planning and monitoring the manufacturing process across various sectors, e.g. vehicle production or food processing
Mechanical - design and implementation of mechanical systems, across all sectors and businesses
Nuclear - concerned with energy, power supply and waste, and medical diagnosis in terms of radiation
Automotive - design and manufacture of vehicles
Clearly the sector is vital to the development and continued functioning of any society and it is this, as well as the satisfaction of seeing a project that you have designed, planned and implemented coming to physical fruition, that makes so many graduates get involved in the engineering sector every year.
The industry is also doing a large amount to attract women into what is a traditionally male-dominated field.
Also sectors of engineering are extremely highly skilled and take a great deal of mathematical and scientific knowledge, so it stands to reason that a high level of education is also needed.
In order to get a job in engineering you will need to firstly have an undergraduate degree in whichever type of engineering you are looking to pursue. If you have a general engineering degree, or if you would like to expand your learning in a specific area, you may want to look into options for postgraduate study in engineering. Many employers in this sector are attracted to graduates with this level of qualification.
Aside from high level academic qualifications and those with a strong grasp of maths and an analytical mindset, however, employers are also looking for people with a wide variety of skills that will allow them to function well in a workplace and with others.
What skills do I need for a career in engineering?TOP ^
The most essential skills for working in engineering are having an analytical mind, being quick thinking and being exceptionally good at mathematics and logical problem solving. Aside from this, though, there are interpersonal skills that are also essential if you are to excel in a business that involves a large amount of teamwork and communication.
Skills possessed by those working in engineering include:
Clearly, there are a number of skills needed by those working in engineering - not simply mathematical and analytical skill. Interpersonal skills are equally as important as your technical know-how. In order to be successful in this sector you will need to posses most of them to some extent.
Engineering is a sector that takes on a very large number of undergraduates, although some employers prefer their employees to have a masters degree in engineering. A masters in your chosen branch of engineering will also be required if you are to receive chartered status in the future.
Many companies run graduate engineering programmes, and you are likely to be able to find an engineering job ion whichever sector of the industry you have a background in. Some of the graduate engineering roles you may come across include:
Manufacturing systems engineer
As the engineering sector is constantly evolving, you will be learning throughout your career. This may involve taking extra qualifications or courses in the future, in order to gain higher roles.
Engineering careers in general command fairly high salaries, although chemical engineering is the most well paid.
In chemical engineering the average starting salary is £28,000, with average wages for those with more experience being around £50,000.
In biomedical engineering, as with most other forms of engineering, salaries are slightly lower - you will probably earn between £28,000 and £38,000, with more experienced and senior biomedical engineers on £45,000.
As with any job sector, salaries vary according to location, size and prestige of company, and whether you are a contracted or consulting engineer - consulting engineers earn more as organisations deliberately seek them out.
Once you become chartered, which will come later in your engineering career after a large amount of experience, you will be able to command higher salaries.