Engineering Careers: Analysis and Creativity Come Together
Are you creative and mathematically gifted? Design a bright future for yourself with a degree in engineering.
Our world is imperfect. Roads could be safer. Medicines could be more effective. The environment could be cleaner. Nearly all facets of life, in fact, from health and safety to entertainment technology, leave room for improvement. Fatalists have resigned themselves to these flaws, believing that, for better or worse, humans are largely powerless to affect change.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, lies a more optimistic breed. These people believe that the world as we know it does not live up to its potential. They are highly inquisitive, and dare to challenge the status quo. If you count yourself among this league of imaginative dreamers--and possess the mathematical and scientific training necessary to execute your visions--the field of engineering could prove a highly rewarding career path. Engineers not only enjoy the satisfaction of making the world a better place, but may also boast some of the highest starting salaries of all college graduates.
Engineering: A Basic Job Description
Engineers act as liaisons between the world of pure research and its commercial applications. Drawing on their formal education and their fluency in modern technology, engineers design, test, and evaluate new products. They rely heavily on computers for both product development and procedural monitoring. An engineer's career choices are incredibly varied, ranging from biotechnology to electronics development, and nearly everything in between. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recognizes 17 major engineering specialties.
Educational Requirements for Engineers
Most engineers may enter the field with a bachelor's degree. Students may find the engineering program of study to be refreshingly well rounded, covering the expected subjects of mathematics and physical & life sciences, but also including courses in design, the social sciences, and humanities. Because most engineers specialize, undergraduate engineering students typically concentrate on a specific area of study. The BLS notes, moreover, that prospective students should carefully investigate a school's curriculum before graduating. A program's content can vary widely from one institution to the next, and aspiring engineers may want to ensure that their education aligns with their future career path.
Other Engineering Requirements
In addition to a bachelor's degree, successful engineers boast excellent communication and analytical skills. Creativity is also a must in this field of ever-expanding horizons.
An engineer's education is essentially never-ending. Once hired, engineers need to keep themselves abreast of new technological developments in order to remain valuable to their employers.
Job & Salary Outlook
Job openings for engineers should be plentiful in the coming decade, with faster-than-average growth projected for environmental and industrial engineering specialties.
Earnings vary considerably based on specialty and level of education. As of 2007, the average starting salary for an engineer with a bachelor's degree ranged from $47,960 (environmental engineers) to $60,718 (petroleum engineers).
Typical engineering programs take 4-5 years to complete, so don't hesitate to begin your college search and start pursuing this exciting career.