All You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Engineering Studies

High pay, low unemployment, near-endless prospects, and the opportunity to work on the cutting edge of of science and technology? Engineering studies offers all of this and more for the world’s future problem solvers. From safety and security to transportation and the environment and so much more, engineers are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to make the world work better. By addressing real world challenges with creative and innovative solutions, engineers promote progress. And while we all want to change the world, many engineers actually end up doing so. If you’re thinking about pursuing studies in engineering (and why wouldn’t you be?), here’s what you need to know to get started on the path toward a fulfilling academic experience and promising career.

Architects and Engineers Planning on a New Project

Architects and Engineers Planning on a New Project

Engineering Studies: Breaking It Down

The word “engineering” derives from the Latin words ingenium and ingeniare, meaning “cleverness” and “to contrive, devise,” respectively. Tinkerers, builders, fixers, problem solvers, and computer geeks alike are drawn to the field of engineering for its diversity of applications, all of which thoroughly embrace the spirit of the origins of the word.

Whether you pursue an undergraduate or advanced degree in engineering or simply take one of thousands of courses that fall under the engineering umbrella, you can look forward to exploring new and exciting ways to solve problems. Read more about Engineering programs.

Deciding to be an engineer is just half of the journey. Next up? Selecting which engineering disciple to pursue. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and it’s best to follow your own personal interests, some of the more popular engineering fields include the following:

aeronautical engineering
civil engineering
electrical engineering
mechanical engineering
chemical engineering
computer science
engineering management
Even if you can’t decide what field to specialize in from the get-go, you can take basic engineering coursework while you make up your mind. On the off chance you don’t end pursuing an engineering course of study, the skills you learn are uniquely transferrable to everything from business to communications.

There are many schools and universities all around the world offering engineering degrees of high quality. Have a look at Purdue NExT, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Villanova University and Wayne State University in the US, the University in Western Australia, GMIT in Ireland, EPITA, the ENIB and INP Toulouse in France, the National University of Science and Technology MISiS, St Petersburg State Polytechnical University, LETI, ITMO, and MPEI in Russia, the Masdar Institute in the United Arab Emirates, Harbin Engineering University in China, RWTH International Academy and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Germany, Lappeenranta University of Technology and Centria University of Applied Sciences in Finland, Politecnico di Milano in Italy, the Institute of Chemical Technology in Czech Republic, KOC University in Turkey, Tallinn University in Estonia, the University de Liège and Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, Umeå University and Linnaeus University in Sweden, the Technical University of Denmark, Graz University of Technology in Austria, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy of the University of Split in Croatia.

The World’s Most In Demand Grads

While it may sound like hyperbole on the side of a coffee mug, the section heading’s title holds up when it comes to engineering degrees. While science may change, the need for engineers remains a constant. Studying engineering is anything but easy, but the end results are profound: marketable knowledge and skills guaranteed to help you stand out from the crowd of job applicants.

That begs the question: exactly how in demand are engineering grads? Research from the National Science Foundation reveals that the 2013 unemployment rate for Ph.D.s in engineering, science and health was a mere 2.1 percent — just one-third of the general rate. So not only are engineers well-positioned to get jobs, they are equally poised to keep them.

As a graduate of an engineering program, you will be eligible to work in a number of different fields. While careers in the technical arena, such as project management, construction management, technical sales and information systems, are more obvious routes, many engineers pursue non-technical careers in fields such as finance, business, public policy, and architecture. Whichever direction you choose, engineering prepares you with lifelong skills, including innovation, problem solving, decision making, team working, project management and communication. Read more about Engineering courses.

Money Talks

As if doing what you love and being loved for what you do isn’t reason enough to pursue engineering studies, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that engineering grads collect the world’s highest salaries — claiming seven of the top 10 spots, to be precise. The top engineering earners? Petroleum engineering, computer engineering, and chemical engineering. Other high paying areas include biomedical engineering, aerospace, mechanical, electrical/electronic, communications and technology, each of which boasts a starting income of well over $60K. Read more about Engineering degres here.

And while engineers and scientists are distinguishable from each other in other ways, here’s a particularly memorable note: the average engineer earns a staggering 65 percent more than the average scientist.

But engineers aren’t just sought after for their entry level potential. They are also primed for premier job — and salary — growth. Not only are starting salaries higher, but engineering salaries skyrocket with time, training and experience.

Perhaps even more noteworthy? The largest percentage — a significant 20 percent — of Fortune 500 CEOs have undergraduate degrees in engineering, beating both business administration and economics. The same attributes which make engineers desirable CEOs also prepare engineering grads for entrepreneurial success. Whether you venture out on your own or claw your way up the ladder, you can do so with the ample safety net of an engineering degree.

Some Like It Hot

While engineers will always be in demand, some sectors are particularly “hot” right now. Engineering studies in these fields offers the unparalleled opportunity to work in cutting edge areas, such as green power, environmental solutions, medical engineering and security. Not only is this work intellectually fulfilling, but it also comes with the rare potential to make a transformative impact on the world around you.

Personal Fulfillment, Global Impact

Ultimately, the same qualities that draw a student to study engineering are used throughout the engineering career. And because the field is always evolving, engineers have the opportunity to evolve along with it, remaining engaged in the quest for solutions in the rapidly changing world of technology. It’s no surprise, then, that engineers report a remarkably high degree of job satisfaction.

While precious few would argue that engineering is an easy course of study, the vast majority would attest to its great worth — both for the individual and society at large. Aspiring engineers should be prepared to work, study and embrace the challenges of coursework in this prestigious field. In return, they’ll reap countless benefits — and give back to society in the process — as highly esteemed members of the workforce.