What can I do with an engineering degree?

June 23, 2022

There are many different career paths that an engineering degree can lead to. It's a common assumption that engineering is a very unglamorous role, usually involving muddy building sites and hard hats, but this couldn't be further from the case. 

There are many different career paths available to those with an engineering degree, and now all of them involve site work. If you're not interested in the construction side of engineering, you might be curious to learn more about other career paths available to those with an engineering degree.

In order to help you decide which path might be best for you, here is a look at five of the most popular careers for engineers.

1. Design Engineer

Design engineers are responsible for coming up with new ideas and designs for products, systems, or structures. They use their creativity and technical knowledge to come up with solutions to problems that need to be designed or created. 

This could involve anything from developing a new type of medical device to designing a better way to manufacture car parts. This is a highly creative role that requires original thinking and a desire to solve real-world problems.

Design engineers typically have a strong background in mathematics and can quickly adapt to new computer packages. This is typically an office-based role with very little work on site. This can be ideal if you are looking for a better work/life balance and don't want to be working away from home.

2. Project Engineer

Project engineers manage the technical aspects of projects. This includes overseeing the project team, coordinating with clients, and making sure that the project stays on schedule and within budget. They need to have strong organisational skills and be able to effectively communicate with a variety of different people.

If you thrive on interaction, this could be the perfect career for you. You'll be communicating with stakeholders at all levels of the project, in addition to briefing teams to ensure everyone is on the same page. You will also need to be a natural problem solver, as unexpected issues are bound to arise during any project.

3. Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers are responsible for ensuring that products are manufactured effectively and efficiently. They work closely with designers and production staff to streamline the manufacturing process and improve quality control. This role requires excellent problem-solving skills as well as a strong understanding of how manufacturing works.

If you'd like to explore the possibilities of being a manufacturing engineer, you would be advised to gain experience through internships or work placements in relevant industries. This will help to make sure you have plenty of real-world experience to reference when you are able to secure a job interview.

4. Research and Development Engineer

Research and development engineers are responsible for conducting experiments and researching new technologies. They work in laboratories and use their knowledge of engineering principles to develop new products or processes. 

This role combines creative thinking with technical expertise, and it's perfect for those who are interested in pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

To be an excellent research and development engineer, you will need to be curious and inquisitive, with a desire to learn more about the world around you. This is an incredibly varied role that will allow you to shape your career in any direction that interests you.

5. Engineering Lecturer

If you're interested in working in academia, you could consider becoming an engineering lecturer. This role involves teaching engineering principles to students and conducting research. It's a highly rewarding career that allows you to share your knowledge with the next generation of engineers.

To excel as an engineering lecturer, you'll need to be committed to research and education. So, if you find that you love your time at university and never want it to end, you don't have to get a job as an engineer. Teaching it is also an option. You could also get involved in outreach projects to help encourage more people to study engineering at university, ensuring there will be plenty of graduates to fill skills gaps.

Closing thoughts

These are just a few of the many career paths available to those with an engineering degree. By choosing a specialist engineering degree, you can shape your career in many different directions. However, if you aren’t sure which way you’d like to go, it’s also possible to study a basic engineering degree and specialise later in your career.

It’s not uncommon for engineers to retrain and change course later in their career. So, if you decide you’d like to pursue a different branch of engineering, you will likely find that your existing skills and experience are applicable to other sectors and fields. This is great news for those who haven’t yet found their passion and want to take a flexible approach to their career.

Nolan Recruitment is a Specialist Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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