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.
How to Get Started
- Get involved in a student organization based on your interests or in an industry-specific student organization. Obtain a leadership position as well.
- Get involved on campus with a club or student chapter of a professional organization. This is a great way to begin networking!
- Take a leadership role in class projects. Being able to point to experience as a group Project Manager is always attractive to employers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Some of those top qualities include:
- Strong Analytical Aptitude
- Attention to Detail
- Communication Skills
- Desire for Continuing Education
- Logical Thinking
- Mathematically Inclined
- Problem Solving Skills
- Team Player
- Technical Knowledge
Degrees and Certifications
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
- Find Tech and Engineering Companies in Northern Virginia
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Sloan Cornerstone Center
- Internships and Experiential Learning
- Get involved with a student organization such as ASCE, IEEE, BMES, NSBE, or SWE
- Volunteer with local organizations and ask if there are career-related projects you can help with.
- Industrial Engineer
- Engineer Jobs
- Environmental Career Center
- USAJOBS: the Federal Government's official one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Biomedical Engineering Society
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Society of Women Engineers
Visit Engineering Associations for more professional associations organized by discipline.
View the many scholarships options available for funding a degree and career in engineering.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.