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You’ve always enjoyed understanding how things work, and when you read down the list of top-earning degrees, one predominated — engineering. You declared your major and called it good. 

Now, a few years later, you need to narrow your field and find the perfect fit. Perhaps you took the first position that opened, but now you want a change. What are your options? What different careers can you pursue with an engineering degree and as a Professional Engineer

Here are 11 exciting fields and their future outlooks. 

  1. Civil Engineer 
  2. Chemical Engineer
  3. Biomedical Engineer 
  4. Aerospace Engineer 
  5. Mechanical Engineer 
  6. Environmental Engineer 
  7. Agricultural Engineer 
  8. Computer Network and Software Engineer 
  9. Electronics and Robotics Engineer
  10. Mining Engineer 
  11. Health and Safety Engineer
  12. Manufacturing Engineer

  13. Process Engineer

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 1. Civil Engineer 

Did you ever sit back and marvel, wondering how people built Japan’s Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge or London’s HS2 rail project? These ambitious undertakings were the dreamchild of civil engineers, a branch of engineering devoted to public works, like maintaining the nation’s infrastructure or adding to it in dramatic ways. 

Civil engineering encompasses many diverse disciplines, from aerial surveying with crewless aircraft to plan new roads, railways and bridges to sitting down with heads of state and leaders of major corporations to finance and implement citywide projects. Civil Engineering is a diverse field with many disciplines, including geotechnical engineering and structural engineering. As such, it can be one of the most stressful career paths, but it’s perfect for go-getter types who feel comfortable hobnobbing with the wealthy and powerful — or who don’t intimidate easily. 

However, this job also offers security, considering it generally falls under the heading of government work. Say hello to a generous benefits package and paid holidays with the family — at least when London Bridge isn’t falling down.

Civil engineering is shifting the industry’s focus onto sustainability and cleaner, safer materials. The 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report indicates this field will grow by 6% through 2029, with a median salary of $90,960 in 2019. ESG-friendly engineering will likely continue to surge in popularity, as it promises cleaner, cheaper and safer ways of producing public works projects. 

Civil engineers are also heavily involved the process of drilling and blasting operations. With the increasing demand of energy, there has been an exponential rise in opportunities for civil engineers to take part in such projects as they are essential for drilling and blasting operations to be successful.

2. Chemical Engineer 

Was your childhood science kit your favorite plaything? If so, put on your Walter White impersonation costume and explore the exciting world of chemical engineering. 

However, you won’t have to manufacture illicit substances like a hapless high-school teacher crushed by the American health care system. You can put your skills to the test at industrial plants, refineries, food manufacturing and processing facilities, and pharmaceutical companies. You might help design a new type of highly biodegradable plastic or declare a household cleaner safe or unsafe for everyday use.

3. Biomedical Engineer 

Closely related to chemical engineering is the biomedical field. You’ll concentrate your specialty on medical applications and how various things affect the human body. 

Don’t assume you’ll spend your days dealing with blood and gore. Some biomedical engineers may get involved with experimentation, but not all. Others design products like mobility devices that help those with disabilities live rich and meaningful lives. 

4. Aerospace Engineer 

Were you born to fly? If you could see yourself in the tales of Orville and Wilbur Wright, let the sky be your limit with a career in aerospace engineering. 

Wouldn’t it be a trip to tell your grandkids that you helped build one of the space shuttles? Your work may not involve astronauts. Those with more terrestrial leanings can find a healthy career designing and maintaining commercial and private aircraft. You could even help stop excess emissions by developing one of the first hydrogen crafts to make a transcontinental flight. 

5. Mechanical Engineer 

Mechanical engineers are related to aerospace engineers in that they both make things go, but many of the former prefer to stay earthbound. These individuals design various tools, engines and mechanical devices to make human life easier. 

For example, you might spend your day designing a high-speed elevator that rockets people to the top floor of a skyscraper with a sweeping city vista. Alternatively, you might be on the front line of inventing tomorrow’s leaner, greener alternative-fuel vehicles. 

6. Environmental Engineer 

Traditionally, many folks with engineering degrees stayed away from this field because the pay is more competitive elsewhere. All that is changing as the world races to reach net-zero emissions, a lofty goal requiring considerably more investment in green technologies than nations formerly allocated. 

For example, you might become a green-building certified engineer, helping to design new carbon-neutral structures. Are you more interested in fieldwork than laboring under fluorescent lights? You could evaluate building locations and advise what protections construction crews must implement to safeguard treasures like endangered species. 

7. Agricultural Engineer 

Agricultural engineering is another great career field for those who prefer working in the fresh air. Here’s the job for you if you don’t mind digging in the mud. You might spend your day in the dirt, evaluating its physical and chemical properties to determine why corn won’t grow. 

This is another way to have a positive impact on the planet. For example, industrial farming of livestock creates considerable toxic runoff and emissions, causing untold nightmares when increasing storms spill swine ponds into surrounding water bodies. You could help prevent catastrophes with improved waste facilities or design better cow fodder to reduce methane in the atmosphere. 

8. Computer Network and Software Engineer 

Do you want one of those jobs where you work from home and still clear over six figures annually? You could achieve the dream as a computer network or software engineer, fixing bugs in programs from your remote location in your PJs. 

This field is one of the highest paid because of increasing demand. You might have to put in your time on-site to prove yourself, but this career offers one of your best opportunities for remote work with only the occasional trip to the office.

Data privacy and data security are two essential concepts that have become increasingly important in today's world as organizations collect and store more data than ever before . As a network or software engineer, you will be tasked with developing and maintaining secure systems that protect confidential data from being accessed by unauthorized personnel. Additionally, you will play an integral role in building the networks and software solutions that enable organizations to run more efficiently and effectively.  

9. Electronics and Robotics Engineer

Perhaps you dream of a home straight out of “The Jetsons.” Push a button and your selected dinner entree comes down the chute and right onto your plate. You could make your vision a reality as an electronics, automation, and robotics engineer. 

Some of these professionals spend their days in factories, designing and maintaining automated machines needed for production. Others develop new products for business and direct consumer use in the laboratory. 

With the development of the Factory of the Future and Industry 4.0, these engineers are becoming more in demand than ever. We’re talking about robots that can think for themselves and serve as a retail assistant or even an autonomous taxi driver. 

In addition, in integrating automation for automated traceability , robotics engineers have an important role to play in the production of goods that are increasingly traceable and secure.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a metric that has become increasingly important in the development of factories and electronics production. Robotics engineers are responsible for knowing how to measure, analyze, and improve OEE metrics by developing robots that optimize efficiency and productivity.

10. Mining Engineer 

Getting raw materials out of the earth is a job fraught with danger. Every year, miners perish in accidents while performing the job they love. 

Help keep them safer as a mining engineer. You’ll be responsible for evaluating shaft conditions to ensure they’re free of toxic gases and shoring up supports and beams to keep those below from being crushed by falling objects overhead. 

11. Health and Safety Engineer

If keeping people out of harm’s way is your passion, a career as a health and safety engineer might be your ticket to happiness and fulfillment. This path offers a mix of in-person, field and telecommuting work that presents new challenges regularly. 

For example, you might serve on the front lines of the next pandemic, designing better barriers to keep people working while protecting their health. Alternatively, you might walk construction sites that span acres, inspecting for hazards and advising crew chiefs on how to stay on OSHA’s good side. 

Whether a healthcare organization is implementing new or upgrading existing software, Health Level Seven International (HL7) interfaces will typically be considered. As a Health and Safety Engineer, you will be responsible for designing these interfaces to ensure the secure, compliant exchange of data.

12. Manufacturing Engineer

From cars to computers, virtually everything we use requires manufacturing. Help make this process more efficient as a manufacturing engineer. You’ll be responsible for designing machines used to create products and figuring out how to produce them faster and safer while using fewer resources. 

For example, you might collaborate with suppliers to ensure they bring quality materials on schedule to keep the assembly line moving. You could also help protect treasures like endangered species by implementing necessary protections for construction crews and other personnel on-site.  That way, you can ensure that these unique creatures are safeguarded while critical operations continue. With this career path, you'll have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world.

13. Process Engineer

Process engineers are responsible for improving systems, processes and process equipment. They optimize efficiency, cut costs, and develop better methods to do things. They often work with research scientists, production personnel, quality assurance specialists and other various stakeholders to ensure products meet industry standards while remaining cost-effective.

Process engineers also use their expertise in process analysis and workflows to design new systems or processes that can improve production. They use mathematical models and simulations to determine how changes in process parameters will affect the entire system, so they must be comfortable with complex equations and calculations. By mastering these advanced principles of engineering, you can take your career to the next level as a process engineer. With this job, you'll have the opportunity to be creative and build something from the ground up.

 

Engineering Degree Career Paths 

Engineering is the ideal field if you love knowing how things work. This lucrative career path offers options for every preferred lifestyle. 

Choose from a wide range of potential specialties and determine your future. Do you want to be at home or in the field? Thanks to your degree, you can take your pick by pursuing one of these career paths.

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