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Growth Sectors For Engineers

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If you are an engineer or planning on becoming one, it can be tough to work out what the right career path is. As an engineer you will be highly skilled at solving problems, evaluating data and implementing solutions. These are skills which are highly sought after in all sorts of business areas, even outside of engineering!

As technology advances the opportunities for engineers are growing, almost every growth sector will soon have a need for an engineer.

Civil 

Civil engineers work in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of building projects. They can work in both the public or the private sector, and the scope of their work will vary hugely depending on their level and on the company that they are working for. 

Generally civil engineers work full time and they split their working hours between an office and a site location.

The average yearly salary for a civil engineer is $87,060 which is over double the average salary of other occupations.

Typically you will need to be licensed by your state in order to become a civil engineer. Civil engineering is generally thought to be a very stable field in which to work. Although there isn’t predicted to be a huge rise in the number of civil engineers employed over the next ten years, there will continue to be steady work as long as people continue to build and as long as there are existing infrastructures which require maintenance.

Autonomous Vehicles

Car manufacturers are getting closer and closer to the day that autonomous vehicles become a reality, and we can catch an automated taxi to and from work!

In the meantime, there is still quite a lot of work to be done… engineers working in the autonomous vehicle sector have a big job on their hands. Not only do these vehicles need to be able to take in and understand what’s happening around them, they also need to be able to make decisions based on this information. 

This includes day to day scenarios like learning to stop at a red light, but also more abstract scenarios like what should the car do if a dog were to run out in front of it? Should it swerve and risk hitting a car coming the opposite direction? Or should it hit the dog? Essentially these cars will need to have intelligence nearing that of a human being to enable them to be fully autonomous. Not only this, but the technology will need to be safe from hackers.

However, once these obstacles have been overcome the autonomous vehicle industry looks set to be very lucrative indeed and is therefore a great direction to steer your career in. 

If you’d like more information on engineering and autonomous vehicles you can find it here.

Environmental 

Environmental engineers play a huge role in ensuring that the future is as low carbon as possible. Their role is to be part of the development and implementation of renewable technologies that are as low waste as we can make them, while still being financially viable for the companies that use them.

As an environmental engineer you would work as part of a larger team on a project and be responsible for ensuring that the project was environmentally sound. Some typical tasks that you might carry out would be:

  • Carrying out site assessments
  • Evaluating environmental impact
  • Assessing a site to ensure that it complies with environmental regulations
  • Using modelling techniques to predict future problems, and provide pre-emptive solutions for those problems
  • Keeping up to date with changes to environmental law
  • Identifying potential contaminant sources and how they can be contained
  • Collecting and interpreting data
  • Designing, testing and implementing systems which will help companies to reduce their impact on the environment

Environmental engineers earn more as they gain experience and the average annual salary in 2019 was $92,640.

Software 

Software engineering is a field that is experiencing significant growth. A software engineer is a computer science professional who uses engineering principles to design and develop software solutions.

As most of our world is now online, it’s no surprise that this particular field is hugely important.

The actual work that you do as a software engineer will vary depending on where you are working. As every company requires some kind of software or an online presence, you can pretty much work for anyone! 

Your work will also vary depending on whether you are working in a front end web developer role (that is building websites for customers to use) or whether you are working as an applications developer (pieces of software used to carry out specific functions). 

Software engineering is a field that can be extremely lucrative and that can offer a great deal of flexibility in where and who you work for. There are a huge variety of job roles which would come under the software engineering umbrella, but as an example the median annual salary for applications developers is $103,620.

Electrical

Electrical engineers work with electricity and electronics. As with all types of engineering work, they will often be called upon to design, test and implement solutions from within their specialist area. In general they will carry out a lot of their work within an office environment, but they may also visit site locations to ensure that projects are running as expected and to troubleshoot any problems.

Examples of some of the projects that an electrical engineer might work on are electric motors, radars and navigation systems and communication systems. They may also work on large scale power generation equipment and on the electronic components within cars, boats and aircrafts. They may also work on much smaller scale problems such as a particular component part of a larger project.

With electric cars becoming more commonplace, electrical engineers are finding new industries in which they can use their talents. 

The average annual salary for an electrical engineer in 2019 was $101,250 per year.

Chemical

Chemical engineers combine knowledge from a multitude of scientific disciplines in order to create new raw materials and valuable products. They need to have a good grounding in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

They will take their knowledge of a chemical reaction and then use this knowledge to formulate designs that will help them to solve problems or create products as they are needed.

They can work in a multitude of different industries. For example a chemical engineer might be employed by a pharmaceutical company in order to create a drug that matches the desired chemical composition in order to address a specific symptom. Or they might be employed by a manufacturing firm to create a material with the correct amount of resistance and conductivity to function within a certain product. 

In 2019 the average yearly salary for a chemical engineer was $108,770.

Computer Hardware

If you are a computer hardware engineer your role is to create hardware that can cope with the demands placed on it by the processes it is running. More than this, your role is to create hardware that allows scope for the development of new and innovative pieces of software. As the role is so closely linked with software, you will often need to work closely with software engineers as part of a larger team.

You will be involved in the design, test and manufacture of essential pieces of hardware such as circuit boards, routers, processors and memory devices. 

A large part of your role will be the analysis of existing hardware, and how that hardware can be improved. You will create prototypes for your solutions, which you will then test to see their effectiveness. You will generally need to work within a set budget and timeframe, as with any engineering project. 

The hardware which you are designing won’t just be used in PC’s and laptops. You may also design hardware for the computers which are used in self driving cars, mobile phones or medical devices that have computers in them.

The average salary for a computer hardware engineer is $117,000 and the level of job satisfaction is high.

Mechanical

Mechanical engineering is probably the field that people most commonly associate with engineering. The field of mechanical engineering is the design, test and manufacture of mechanical devices in a number of different fields. 

It’s a job that involves good problem solving ability, as well as good mathematical skills and a passion for coming up with solutions. It’s also important that aspiring mechanical engineers have a good level of creativity, as it takes some out of the box thinking to solve some of the problems you will come up against!

In 2018 mechanical engineers made a median salary of $87,370, with the top earning mechanical engineers taking home as much as $110,520. 

As with all fields of engineering, there is often a great deal of career progression available once you have found your chosen field into project management positions or C-Suite levels jobs. The fact that you are so broadly skilled also means that there is plenty of opportunity for sideways moves into other branches of engineering or even entirely unrelated career paths.

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