Working As A 21st Century Engineer

The term engineering covers a wide range of possible employment opportunities, with specialties in the traditional fields of mechanical, chemical, civil and electrical engineering, as well as the more recent branches of management and Geo-technical engineering. While the specialisms and their sub-specialties might seem to divide the subject into diverse fields, there is a common thread that underpins all the branches of engineering, and that is using scientific knowledge for the purposes of design and construction.

The separation of the specialties

Engineering has come a long way from the days when engineers were seen as being oily, sooty people working in heavy industries. As technology has developed since the invention of machines, so the various branches of engineering have developed and become entire careers in themselves. The role of the engineer has consequently risen up the employment hierarchy to become far more respected and appreciated. In the process, the branches of engineering have become so diverse that an electronics engineer would struggle with the business of the chemical engineer and so on. At the more traditional end of the spectrum, manufacturing can offer new engineers opportunities to work with mechanics in fields such as AMT pumps. The new fields of management and Geo-technical engineering are crossing boundaries from the mechanical roots of the science into other disciplines, for example, the relationship between Geo-technical engineering and engineering geology, where they cover similar ground, but one is allied to engineering while the other is allied to geology. This blurring of boundaries between subjects could lead to yet more sub-specialties or could complete the circle and bring everything under one umbrella again.


Whichever branch of engineering you are interested in, you will need qualifications to secure a good job. The demand for qualified engineers has never been higher and continues to grow, but employers are not going to risk having anyone without genuine, high-quality degrees from reputable colleges being involved in their projects. Having said that, the variety of openings in engineering also continues to grow, resulting in more opportunity to work towards the relevant qualifications via training schemes and further education.

Finding work

You’re qualified and good to go, so where do you look for a job? As with most jobs, contacts are a great way to get in on the ground floor so exploit your connections if you have them. Some practical experience never goes amiss, so if you can demonstrate that you have had work experience or have been employed on a casual basis by an engineering company, that will be a big help. You can use specialist recruiting agencies, but you might be surprised at the quality jobs that only appear on general employment sites.

Engineering is a cornerstone of modern life, with the infrastructure and technology all around us dependent on the skill and ingenuity of engineers. The development of the branches and sub-specialties will no doubt continue, giving rise to new roles centered on even more tightly focused aspects of the industry.

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