Engineering is the field concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and other structures. Engineers frequently use expertise in math and science, along with technical skills, to solve complex problems. There are many industries in which engineers can work, all of which require their own specialized skills.

Engineer is the general term used to describe the many different types of engineers who work in many different industries. Some of the most recognized include electrical, chemical, biomedical, computer, mechanic, and systems.

Skills

Skills needed for a career in engineering

Some of those top qualities include:

  • Strong Analytical Aptitude
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication Skills
  • Desire for Continuing Education
  • Creativity
  • Logical Thinking
  • Mathematically Inclined
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Team Player
  • Technical Knowledge

Degrees and Certifications

Graduate school and licensure information

Education

Most people enter the field of engineering with a bachelor's degree. It is almost guaranteed that you will need a degree in engineering to work as an engineer of any kind. Some employers will make exceptions to this rule and may hire individuals from math or science backgrounds but this is not regular practice. Some engineers who want to work in research may need to earn a master's degree as well.

Graduate School/Certificate Programs

How to Get Started

6 steps to get you started in engineering
  1. Get involved in a student organization based on your interests or in an industry-specific student organization. Obtain a leadership position as well.
  2. Get involved on campus with a club or student chapter of a professional organization. This is a great way to begin networking!
  3. Take a leadership role in class projects. Being able to point to experience as a group Project Manager is always attractive to employers.
  4. Apply to a co-op or internship as early as your sophomore year. Practical experience is consistently rated by employers as one of their top priorities when hiring.
  5. Maintain a strong GPA. Engineering is an in-demand field and the competition for jobs is tough. It is important to excel in the classroom and in the workplace.
  6. Begin looking into the FE or PE exams late in your junior year. Knowing which test is most appropriate for you will help your full-time job search.

Resources

Research, get experience, and get connected to contacts in engineering
Industry Research

Experiential Learning

  • Internships and Experiential Learning
  • Get involved with a student organization such as ASCE, IEEE, BMES, NSBE, or SWE
  • Complete a job shadow, either on your own or through Take A Patriot to Work Day
  • Volunteer with local organizations and ask if there are career-related projects you can help with.

Job Search

Professional Associations

Visit Engineering Associations for more professional associations organized by discipline.

STEM Scholarships
View the many scholarships options available for funding a degree and career in engineering.

Job Functions

Electrical and Electronics Engineer

The work of electrical engineers involves designing, developing, testing, and supervising the production of electrical equipment ranging from electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment.

Civil and Infrastructure Engineer

Civil Engineers design and manage projects that focus on fields including construction, transportation, and the environment, among others. Their projects often involve the design and implementation process of structures including roads, buildings, water supply systems, bridges, and many other essential elements to our society.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers use their knowledge of chemistry to develop products and find solutions to problems in a variety of industries. Chemical Engineers discover and manufacture better plastics, paints, fuels, fibers, medicines, fertilizers, semiconductors, paper, and all other kinds of chemicals. Chemical Engineers also play an important role in protecting the environment, inventing cleaner technologies, calculating environmental impacts, and studying the fate of chemicals in the environment.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers combine their knowledge of biology and medicine with the practices of engineering to develop devices and procedures to solve medical and health problems. Many biomedical engineers do research to evaluate health systems and products.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers combine the principles of biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. As an environmental engineer, you will be directly involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues.

Systems Engineer

Systems engineers are responsible for the design, development, and implementation of integrate systems such as cars, subways, robots, and computer networks. While other professions in engineering concentrate on one aspect of the system, systems engineers focus on the system as a whole.

Computer Engineer

Computer engineers work to design, construct, implement and maintain computers and their equipment. They often are working to research new innovations to further advance technological gains.

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers use the principles of energy, materials, and mechanics to design and manufacture machines and devices of all types. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices.

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Sean McGowan, Engineering Industry Advisor
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