As a profession, engineering is pretty broad. If you want to get technical, UNESCO defines engineering as: “understanding, design, development, invention, innovation, and use of materials, machines, structures, systems, and processes for specific purposes.”
Basically, as an engineer you create things. You might create bridges, product formulations, medical implants, or software, among many other things. Your career is only limited by your interests. Engineering jobs also span across diverse industries, with engineering careers to be found in medicine, manufacturing, farming, construction, urban planning to name just a few. Whatever your field of interest is, there’s a good chance there are relevant engineering job opportunities out there.
Here are 10 engineering jobs you might not have considered a possibility:
Geotechnical engineering is “the science that explains mechanics of soil and rock and its applications to the development of humankind.” Geotechnical engineering is a form of civil engineering that includes the analysis, design and construction of foundations, slopes, retaining structures, embankments, roadways, tunnels, levees, wharves, landfills and other systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock.
Everything around us – from houses to bridges – is supported by rock and soil, which means that geotechnical engineers are vital to the fields of architecture and construction. Geotechnical engineers use geologists’ analyses of the earth to calculate how a structure should be supported. Geotechnical engineering is indispensable to the workings of the world so it could be a field worth considering for those interested in civil engineering. As a geotechnical engineer, you ensure that buildings don’t collapse and that bridges can support the weight of vehicles; which is a pretty hefty responsibility when it comes down to it!
Successful biomedical engineers help people by designing medical products or systems, such as joint replacements or surgical equipment. Many biomedical engineers start their careers with the intent of becoming a doctor but find that their interests lie in the technical side of medicine. As with many engineering jobs, biomedical engineers design, create and test new devices and equipment. In this case, ones that serve a medical purpose. Your creations could help save people’s lives. Biomedical engineers have an extremely rewarding job, knowing that their work is helping people overcome medical challenges and illnesses.
Products can’t be sold without packaging! Everything that’s sold needs to be packaged. In many cases, protective containers need to keep the product inside fresh until they can be consumed. Packaging engineers work out new, effective ways of keeping products safe and fresh. Engineers in this field may focus on research and development, manufacturing, marketing, graphic design and the regulatory aspects of packaging.
As a packaging engineer, you may also devise new ways of packaging things like moisturizers and deodorants which have a dispensing function. Engineers in this field often rely on their experience with materials and industrial design. Since packaging must also look attractive to buyers, packaging engineers need to be creative and come up with new ideas and solutions to get goods onto shelves. The mix of engineering, art design, and marketing allows you a chance to explore your creativity within a technical framework!
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Though the energy industry is moving towards renewable options, traditional power methods are still required. That shows no signs of changing in the near future. Exciting opportunities await engineers who want to design open pit and underground mines, supervise the construction of mine shafts and underground tunnels, and calculate the best way of transporting mined minerals to processing plants and refineries.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in the mining engineering field is expected to grow at 6% from 2014 to 2024. Job prospects for engineers entering this field are favourable because many of people employed in this sector will be reaching retirement age by 2024. According to the 2016 Global Engineering Report, the unemployment rate in the field of mining engineering was just 1.9%.
Engineers with an interest in farming and food production will find career opportunities in agricultural engineering a good fit. Farmers need the support of engineers to produce machines and equipment that help streamline the process of tending to and harvesting crops and livestock. Agricultural engineers develop, design, test and maintain agricultural machinery and equipment. You may also work on machines used in the forestry industry.
Agricultural engineers assess the environmental impact of farming methods and work to design more effective equipment. They also work on engineering vehicles capable of moving on uneven ground in different weather conditions. You may use tools like GPS and computer modelling to advise farmers on the best use of land.
Engineers with a passion for the environment should consider a career that involves improving recycling, waste disposal, and pollution control. As an environmental engineer, your role may include designing systems for cleaning public water or calculating how to reduce the impact of climate change. You may work on projects that reduce human impact on the environment, such as improving systems that convert waste to energy.
Environmental engineers also work on developing renewable energy methods. This may involve collaboration with other engineers, including those in mechanical and agricultural engineering. Due to government focus on reducing environmental impact, the environmental engineering field is expected to grow at a rate of 12% between 2014 and 2024, far faster than the average engineering field.
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Engineers who love boats and water: marine engineering may be your perfect fit. Marine engineers are involved in the design, building, testing and repair of boats, ships, underwater craft, offshore platforms and drilling equipment. Depending on the industry and company you work for, diving work may be required. This makes it a great option for anyone who enjoys being in the water. Marine engineers may also be required to visit offshore drilling sites and regions where ships are being built.
Designing boats and maintaining water-bound vessels are your area of expertise. Physical endurance and stamina are often required, as marine engineers often work in the engine rooms of ships, which can reach a sweltering 50 degrees Celsius! Marine engineers had a low unemployment rate of 1.8% between 2015 and 2016, indicating an in-demand field.
Based primarily in the Middle East and North America, the petroleum sector attracts engineers from around the world. Petroleum engineers analyze petroleum reservoirs and calculate whether they can be profitably extracted. If a petroleum engineer establishes a reservoir is viable, they develop safe and cost-effective drilling and extraction methods. Petroleum engineering is also a rewarding career, financially. The Global Engineering Report 2016 revealed that petroleum engineers earn the highest median hourly wage ($71.92 USD) the highest average of any engineering or architecture profession. The field of petroleum engineering is also predicted to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024.
When something goes wrong with a piece of machinery, a structure breaks down, or materials fail and cause injury or property damage, forensic engineers investigate and establish the cause. Forensic engineers are typically called to investigate product failures, to improve future performance, or to act as expert witnesses in product liability and criminal cases. Forensic engineers often specialize in a specific area, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or civil engineering. Forensic engineering can involve translating complicated engineering terminology into simple language, such as during a court case.
Mechatronic engineers are experts in a variety of engineering fields, from mechanical engineering to electrical engineering to computer engineering. Aside from having a cool job title, mechatronics engineers use their knowledge to create complex machines. As a mechatronic engineer, you work on the design, testing and manufacturing of smart machines in areas like robotics, medical and assistive technology, human-machine interaction, manufacturing and unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. With technology becoming a crucial part of our lives, there will be an increasing number of opportunities in mechatronics engineering in the coming years.