Pursuing a Career in Engineering: A Guide

One of the puzzles that people are left to begin figuring out from a young age is what they want to be when they grow up. While some are able to quickly figure this out, some wander through life never discovering their dream career. The reality is that there is no precise formula that will tell you how to find your dream career, but you can use your interests as an indicator.

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For those who have always been fascinated with the idea of assembling things together, and also are skilled in areas such as tech, science, and math, then engineering may be a great career path. In case you’d like to learn more about becoming an engineer, read the following guide.

What is Engineering?

For those who aren’t exactly sure what engineering is, it’s when you apply science and math to solve problems. In other words, engineers take scientific discoveries and look for practical ways that they can be used in everyday lives. While scientists and innovators may come up with genius ideas, engineers are the practical people that bring such ideas to life.

Career Options

Now that you understand what engineering is, you might be wondering what career paths are available to trained engineers. There are far too many to include in this guide, but the most popular areas of engineering are listed below. Continue reading to see ones that you could do:

Civil Engineering: One common career path that you could follow within the engineering field is becoming a civil engineer. In terms of what they do, these types of professionals usually work with infrastructural projects and systems within public and private sectors. Their work includes designing, conceiving, operating, constructing, and maintaining such projects.

Electrical Engineer: If you would like to design and develop new electrical systems, solve problems, or test equipment, then perhaps try electrical engineering as a option. You’d need to be good at physics and mathematics as you’d be applying the physics of both to process information as well as transmit energy.

Computer Engineer: Another option within the world of engineering is computer engineering. Your skills would be used working on computer systems and on the software side of things too. If you keep reading below, you’ll find out more about educational requirements of engineers as they’re all relatively similar.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements that you need to become an engineer differ depending on your chosen career path. One of the fundamental things that you’re going to need is a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

It’s imperative that the school is accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). The fundamentals of Engineering examination is another you may need to pass before you can go on to practice professionally too. To further your career and improve your earning potential you could get a masters in electrical and computer engineering online. Finally, if you’re to be offering services directly to the public, then you will need to get a license in all states.


In every career, there are some skills that you need more than others. If you need to know which you’d need as an engineer, here are a couple that you should make a note of.

Computer Modeling: During the course of being trained as an engineer, you’re likely to learn about modeling. This has to do with creating and maintaining computer models which go on to become simulations of complex systems. In more practical terms, as an engineer, you should understand how models work so that you’re aware of the kinds of problems that can be simulated and what implications these simulations have on your projects.

Communication: Seeing as engineering is so technical, concise as well as accurate communication between colleagues and clients is key. Being able to translate special terms into a language that others will understand is a must. To improve your communication skills, you should, therefore work on your emotional intelligence, presentation skills, active listening, motivation, and negotiation skills.

Project Management: As an engineer, you’re going to be managing several projects, so it’s a skill worth mastering. If you want, you can acquire a project management certification which would help you begin to climb up the career ladder too. More specifically, you should aim to master strategic planning, risk management, leadership, critical thinking, and quality control.

Higher Mathematics: To become an engineer, it’s very important that you understand math. Although technology is prevalent and can help with calculations, engineers have to first figure out how to solve numeric problems on their own before telling computers what to do.

Earning Potential

You may be wondering just how much engineers earn, and the reality is that it varies depending on your experience and location. Your area of specialization may also determine how much you end up bringing home every month. Nevertheless, it can certainly be a lucrative career. Starting with one of the highest-earning engineering careers, architectural and engineering managers make an average of $140,760 a year.

Following in close lead, Petroleum Engineers are said to make an average of $137,170.  Such professionals devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction as well as decide whether new or modified tool designs are needed.

The lowest earners who get between $77,110 and $96,640 include agricultural engineers, civil engineers, marine engineers, and environmental engineers.

Career Progression

When you reach a certain point in your career, you may decide you need a new challenge or to push yourself to grow further. For this reason, you should know what career progression options there are in the engineering field. You could begin as a junior engineer and then progress to becoming a senior engineer or principal engineer, and then reach the peak of your career as a director of engineering. As with any career path, the longer you work and the more experience that you earn, the greater your earning potential.

Engineering can be a lucrative and exciting career. You are able to solve problems and bring innovations to life in very practical ways. Hopefully, after reading this you have a better idea of whether engineering is a career you could see yourself in.