An engineering degree can open up doors. From good entry-level salaries, the possibility to see the world, and an ever-evolving career, engineering remains a field of possibilities.
Here’s some of the reason you should consider Engineering.
Completing an engineering course means you get to be part of the future leaders who drives change in the world. From technology to sustainability, engineering is deeply entrenched in what is to come according to UNESCO’s latest Engineering For Sustainable Development report.
The report maintains that since engineering is a capacity-building career, it’s not only continuous in terms of learning, but a career in the field works side-by-side with the development of science and technology.
It means engineers can always expect to work with the latest programs and technology available, and we are seldom left behind doing things the ‘old way. According to the reports a key focus now is the promotion of sustainable development and education is also adapted to this methodology.
World Engineering Day is celebrated annually in March, and the United Nations with The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) has highlighted the value of engineers in reaching world sustainability goals by 2030.
Some of the reason’s engineers are so critical for world sustainability goals include:
Engineering students entering the job market for the first time tend to find employment with relative ease. A graduate degree in engineering is seen as one of the most powerful qualifications for first-time job seekers.
The 2020 research paper Job Security in Correlation with Majors and Degrees paints a rosy picture for Mechanical Engineers. The paper compared Economics students and Mechanical Engineers and collected data from the American Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It was found that for first-time job seekers entry-level education for Mechanical Engineers was an undergraduate degree. It also found that respondents with a Mechanical Engineering degree had job security straight out of university, while Economics students would still have to climb the corporate ladder before having the same luxury. In the long run, however, a Master’s degree ensured those with an Economics background eventually caught up.
The paper found that while graduate degrees, in general, were good to ensure relative job security, Engineering was one of the most powerful degrees. Mathematics, Economics, and Biology also ranked high on the list.
Engineers are sometimes contracted to far-flung places, but volunteer engineers in programs like Engineers Without Borders (EWB) get to experience the world while making a difference thanks to their education.
EWB is an international organization for engineering and technology where groups of engineers get to help disadvantaged communities through various means. The organization was started in the 1980s and is now active in more than 65 countries around the world with one aim, benefitting people and of course the planet. Through a focus on education and development, the organization offers skills transfer for up-and-coming engineers by allowing them to make a positive impact.
So, what can you expect when joining Engineers Without Borders?
EWB-Brazil Rio de Janeiro chapter for instance runs a program called “Engineers of the Future” where they use Lego Mindstorm and Arduino CTC 101 in underserviced communities to stimulate STEM education.
In Canada, there’s a global initiative that grows the curriculum for potential engineers active in 40 schools while in Mexico there is a drive to teach and provide basic services in rural communities where water supply, sustainable housing, creating bricks for housing, and renewable energy is taught. Up to 600 potential students are reached.
USAid and a myriad of other global initiatives also ask for engineers as volunteers, and qualified engineers stand a chance to travel to far-flung places and help communities.
In America, Engineering Technology is emerging as a major career path. According to the National Academy of Engineering’s 2017 study Engineering Technology Education in the United States, the total number of degrees and qualifications awarded in engineering technology has grown considerably.
Annually around 20,000 4-year engineering technology degrees are awarded in America and this number means there is a vast number of workers entering the engineering field with valuable skills.
While the National Academy of Engineering believes there’s no widely accepted job description for workers that fall in the Engineering Technician category they do maintain that workers considered Engineering Technicians would involve people with skills that would allow them to implement techniques and procedures to solve very practical problems in a variety of fields.
This would be people with a variety of aptitudes that contribute to development, design product, and machine maintenance and could even include people that form part of sales teams and administration.
In essence, these would be people with theoretical and practical experience that add strength to engineering operations.
The National Academy also agrees that this would include people with 2-year qualifications, which would include recipients of advanced diplomas.
Engineering technologists would be slotted into the Sydney Accord, which means qualifications within respective fields would be found in Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the United States.
If you approach engineering from a pop culture perspective, boy is it a fun job. Some of the world’s best inventions are due to engineers, and we play an important role in spreading joy in the world.
The National Society of Professional Engineers in America compiled a list of inventions attributed to engineers – and the message is clear, engineers get to have fun while conceptualizing some, designing, and finally creating some amazing things.
And engineering education allows fungineers to create things like the snowboard. Engineers are the reason running shoes fit comfortably because it takes weight distribution into account.
The National Society of Professional Engineers lists water slides as a very keen civil engineering feat since the water pumping system needs to feed the right amount of water to the flume.
Without it, the ride would be uncomfortable. It’s also civil engineers that have to design slides that withstand the weight of people and consider how the ride would function in different weather conditions.
On the topic of rides, the first Ferris Wheel is also thanks to an engineer, George W. Ferris that completed the first wheel in 1893. His wheel might seem small compared to the mega structures like Britain’s London Eye but in the late 1800s, the 140-foot steel towers that kept up the wheel was an engineering marvel and created a new kind of thrill ride.
The advent of 3D printing and research in bioengineering also means that engineers are now part of the medical field creating medical technology.
Engineering education often involves a myriad of play that some Indian universities now ask students to design toys using engineering principles. From design to pitching these projects test engineering skills but also develop entrepreneurial skills for students.
World Engineering Day, 2019. The Impetus for the Proposal for World Engineering Day. [online] Available at https://worldengineeringday.net/about-wed/ (Accessed 31 August)
Chambrasi, Tatiana. (2020). Job Security in Correlation with Majors and Degrees.
National Academy of Engineering 2017. Engineering Technology Education in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/23402.
Engineers Without Borders, 2017. Developing Global Engineers. [online] Available at: https://www.ewb-international.org/developing-global-engineers/ (Accessed 31 August)
Hashim, Rahman. (2015). Levels of Job Satisfaction among Engineers in a Malaysian Local Organization. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 195. 175-181. 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.06.430.
National Society of Professional Engineers, 2020. Ten Fun and Exciting Facts about Engineering. [online] Available at: https://www.nspe.org/resources/press-room/resources/ten-fun-and-exciting-facts-about-engineering (Accessed 31 August)
Bakrania, Smitesh. (2021). Toying With Engineering: Teaching Engineers to Be Entrepreneurial by Developing a Toy. Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy. 251512742110290. 10.1177/25151274211029010.
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