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Why a career in engineering has endless possibilities

In 2015, the engineering industry contributed to just over 27% of the UK’s GDP and is expected to generate 2.56 million job openings between now and 2022, according to a survey by theengineer.co.uk. The industry is expected to deliver a wealth of opportunities for the UK workforce in the near future, and those of us with specialised skills and training are expected to profit the most.

The poll also found that “more than half of respondents felt that the lack of people entering engineering was due to its perceived low status.” But these misconceptions are about to change.

  • “The average salary in 2014 for engineering technicians was £33,687,” according to the Engineering UK Report. The mean wage for the UK overall is £12,174.
  • Similarly, the “Average starting salary for engineering and technology graduates is £26,536 which compares well with the mean salary of all graduates which is £21,725.”
  • The report also indicates that 66.3% of engineering and technology graduates were in full-time employment 6 months after graduation, compared with the 57.7% of all graduates.

Engineering skills are in huge demand globally and nationally, and employers are struggling to find skilled workers to fill their jobs. Now would be a smart time to start training yourself up in an exciting, secure and fast-paced industry.

So, what type of job could you do?

From helping the environment to designing and implementing innovative products, there are a range of careers on offer that might surprise you. Typically, engineering careers can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Design
  • Research and prototype development
  • Production
  • Installation and maintenance
  • Safety and quality assurance

We’ve also provided a list of some of the most exciting jobs in engineering and what they’re about – it’s time to get inspired.

Aerospace engineering

This can be broken down into two categories; aeronautical engineers, which deal with spacecraft that fly within the earth’s atmosphere, and astronautical engineers which deal with spacecraft that operate outside of the earth’s atmosphere.

Automotive engineering

Anything to do with cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks – automotive engineering combines a number of different skills including mechanical, electrical and software engineering.

Bioengineering & biomedical

This involves creating medical equipment such as X-rays, incubators and radiation treatments that help fight cancer – a hugely rewarding area if you like to know you’re helping people.

Biotechnology

This is where engineering principles are combined with biological science to create various products such as medicines and biofuels – again, a career that can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Civil engineering

This includes the construction of anything that makes up our environment; buildings, highways, railway bridges and water reservoirs. If you want to be able to see a tangible difference to the world you’re living in, this route may be for you.

Chemical engineering

From engaging in research for pharmaceutical companies to figuring out how to extend the shelf life of anti-biotics, or being part of an innovation team at a food company for new products – a chemical engineer uses chemical processes to find innovative and creative ways to produce new goods.

Computer science

As a computer engineer you could be responsible for anything to do with personal computers to computers that control medical equipment such as MRI scanners and X-rays.

Mechanical engineering

Focused on mechanical systems, this is one of the oldest and broadest areas of engineering you can go in to. It can be creating anything from a cool new product to a life-saving piece of machinery.

Industrial engineering

As an industrial engineer, you would be involved in organising the people, equipment, locations and information needed to ensure large-scale machinery can operate safely.

Electrical engineering

If you’ve got a soft spot for sparks, this may be the area you’d like to specialise in. Learning about and dealing with large-scale electrical systems, rather than those within the home, is where an electrical engineer would specialise.

Environmental engineering

If you care about the environment, you could find a hugely rewarding career in environmental engineering. From developing more effective recycling systems to developing air pollution preventative equipment, or figuring out how to get cleaner drinking water, this path provides a number of exciting prospects.

Automation, simulation and robotics

These three are grouped together as they feed into each. Simulation engineering involves building something in a virtual environment so you can test it and anticipate problems. Automation is more about understanding and applying a mixture of hardware and software to produce machinery that limits human work, which leads nicely on to robotics which is all about the design and production of complex robots.

If you want to work in one of the most exciting industries on the planet (or in space), check out our related courses here.

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