Nowadays, engineering remains one of the most popular professions yet a bit challenging in terms of responsibilities, so many young people with abilities and talents for technical studies often ponder over a career in engineering but not everyone goes till the end, as the market still experience lack of skilled engineers.
The learning path starts from formal education. In order to become an engineer, it’s required to get a bachelor’s degree in one of the ABET-accredited institutions to be eligible to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, also known as FE. It’s one of two exams required to get a professional license.
Usually, after passing the FE exam, you can get a job in engineering but most of the states require the license to allow you to provide services to the public. This one is possible to get after passing the second exam that is called the Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination, or PE. It becomes available for those with a degree, successful FE certification, and some states require a prior 4-year experience. When it comes to the preparation for the exam, there are various offline and online training programs of different quality, so it becomes harder to choose. Prior to enrolling in one, make sure to research reviews of PE courses to choose the best option, as the exam is not easy to pass.
Another reason for becoming an engineer may be caused by high salaries. The average salary varies depending on the position and starts from $56K for entry positions and reaching $185K for certain fields like Computer engineering according to the data of MTU research.
As the learning path is ongoing, you may start pondering over the long-term goals and your future, so here we go with the list of career options available with an engineering degree:
Engineer of different specification
The most streamlined way after studies is to become an engineer. It’s possible to choose one of the specialties as a university major because depending on the sphere you will need to have deep knowledge about its peculiarities. These fields include but are not limited to Automotive engineering, Aerospace Biomedicine, Environment, Electrical industry, Chemical engineering branch, and Software. One can also become a civil engineer where your responsibilities will be related to on-site experience with the construction and design of buildings, dams, highways, and other infrastructural areas. You may also pick up the industrial engineering career where you will need to focus on optimization of complex processes, and resource management to ensure the effectiveness of the company you are working for.
Some people prefer to deepen their studies and focus on academic prospects that include research and teaching work. Luckily, it’s possible to succeed in the educational sphere by having an engineering degree. This one will be suitable for those who either prefer the theoretical aspect over the practical application or for specialists who already gained some practical experience and now are eager to share this knowledge with college students as professors. You can also focus on pure researching activities, but they would require a Ph.D. degree, which can take from five to seven years of continuous education. Also Read – 5 Exciting Reasons to Study Physics in High School
For those who are ambitious and interested in large-scale projects and less limitation in the available resources, the engineering career in a governmental institution may be a good choice. Working in the government sector may be interesting however, it’s also connected with a lot of bureaucracy. Another drawback may be that possessing the power of resources always means a high level of responsibility. It’s also challenging because of the impact of all the mistakes that will be assessed on the official level. Working in government may not be for everyone, but it’s a great chance to reveal your hidden potential and earn the public respect.
After getting some practical experience, you may want to leave full-time office work for consulting to be able to share your knowledge with different companies and participate in various projects of your interest. Usually, consulting services include support, getting into the details about a company, perform audits of current processes, and monitor the existing flows to be able to share technical expertise and offer the best possible optimization solutions. Companies engage external consultants to solve some specific problems and mostly it means short-term projects however sometimes long-term options are possible. Among the perks of being a consultant are business trips and the opportunity to enrich the portfolio with different cases, as all the companies have their own approaches to technical processes.
The less popular options for those who have a solid technical background but want to try something different are freelance, and technical writing or editing engineering documents.
With the skills gained at the engineering positions like the ability to work in the team, analytical thinking, and organizational abilities, new horizons are opened for those who want some changes but are not ready to try something completely different. These can be project management, technical analytics, working as a sales expert in a development company, and many other adjacent fields.
Often the experience gained from the previous engineering positions may inspire you to launch your own business in consulting, construction, design, or manufacturing, where technical skills are critical to lead engineering-specific business units. What is interesting here, is that more than 25% of CEOs from the Fortune 500 list have engineering education.
Becoming a professional engineer is not an easy task as it requires a thorough approach that includes several stages. After getting a degree in engineering that takes several years, you will need to acquire the license as well as earn experience starting from the positions that may be far from your expectation of engineering work to gain the required qualification. It’s possible to choose the specification right away or try yourself in the different engineering positions to find out the perfect fit. Suggested – Is Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) the Right Career Choice for You?
Regardless of the way you choose, regular workshops, qualification improvement courses, and other learning activities will follow you throughout the career. Nowadays, technological progress is more rapid than ever, and this poses a challenge for engineering as one of the leading industries to correspond to the market requirements that are rapidly changing due to that. In the end, if you decide to pave this professional path, it may be really rewarding both from the financial perspective and self-realization.