Engineers have long been integral to the growth of diverse civilizations. When we think of the Romans, for example, we often marvel at their engineering feats like aqueducts, bridges, roads, and domes. In fact, if the Romans had not invented hydraulic cement-based concrete, we might still be living in grass huts and wooden bungalows.
Even today, in a completely different type of civilization, engineers are held in high esteem. When it comes to modern careers, the engineering field is high on the list. The work is intellectually stimulating, financially rewarding, and prestigious.
Yet despite a reputation that reaches back in time, and despite meeting engineers in daily life, such as an electrical contractor maintaining the electrical system in an office complex, we only have a vague idea about the field of engineering. Consequently, when you’re thinking of majoring in engineering or going back to school to become an engineer, you’re not quite sure if it’s the right decision.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what engineers do, why you might want to be an engineer if you’re choosing a career, and what type of companies you might want to work at.
What Do Engineers Do?
There are numerous branches of engineering, but they all fall under four broad categories: chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Each of these fields requires numerical literacy, a love for science, and a keen, analytical approach to problem-solving.
Engineers focus on tangible work. They build bridges, construct roads, and design machines. They derive satisfaction from creating observable results that improve the world.
Why You Might Want to Become an Engineer If You’re Choosing a Career
As you can imagine, it’s not easy to become an engineer. It requires tremendous perseverance to pass the various courses. It’s not a profession for free-spirited, right-brained, or imaginative types. Engineers tend to be realistic and methodical in their approach to everything and they often confound more artistic and imaginative types of people with their love for precision and exactitude. This is not to say that engineers don’t experience creative insights, but that their focus is on logic rather than inspiration. They don’t rely on serendipity to solve technical problems.
The most interesting thing about engineering is that it’s never boring. The field itself is not a single industry, nor is there a singular academic path to take, and there are plenty of specializations to choose from. And the work itself, regardless of the field you choose, is always full of challenges. There is always some baffling problem to figure out.
The demand for engineers is always high because the supply is low. Few people, even those who are highly-logical and good students, become engineers because of how long it takes and how much it costs to complete an engineering degree. This is good news if you manage to pass all your exams and earn a degree. Unlike, say, a history major or even a finance major, it is easy to get a high-paying job as soon as you graduate. The job market is always eager to find candidates who are numerically literate, think logically, and like to solve technical problems.
What Type of Companies Do Engineers Work With?
Engineers are always in high-demand in space organizations, aeronautical companies, high-tech companies, electrical firms, entertainment giants, government agencies, and oil corporations.
According to an article in Forbes magazine, The Dream Employers For Engineering Students, engineers considered the following companies and organizations to be the best places to work:
- NASA, Boeing, or Lockheed Martin.
- Google, Apple, or Microsoft.
- General Electric.
- Walt Disney.
- The US Department of Energy
- Exxon Mobile.
The world as we know it has been heavily influenced by the genius of engineers through the ages. Regardless of specialty, engineers apply the principles of mathematics and science for economic purposes. They bridge the gap between math, science, and commerce. In the process, they solve technical problems, develop new products, and help consumers fulfill needs.