If you enjoy exploring new technology, understanding systems, and are interested in technical or scientific issues, then a degree in engineering can open up a whole world of possibilities.
Just about everything we rely on in our everyday lives was either invented, designed or produced by an engineer. From roads and railways to computers and mobile phones, the energy that powers homes and medical equipment that saves lives. Engineers solve problems and challenges, developing faster, safer or more cost-effective ways of doing things.
If you’re interested in studying engineering, there are many different options for you to consider before making your choice.
Civil engineers design and build the infrastructure that makes our cities and towns work. Bridges, buildings, transport and roads, civil engineers are always looking for new ways to make things safer and stronger, more sustainable, and less expensive. You could be part of any stage, whether it is the design, maintenance or construction of public or private buildings, roads, bridges, and sewage systems, for example. This type of engineering is concerned with natural or physically built environments that are used by the general population.
While civil engineers work on large physical projects like dams, bioengineers spend their days looking through a microscope, working with organisms at a cellular level. They are developing more accurate ways to diagnose diseases, better ways to treat them, and often work as part of a team with other engineers and scientists. They can spend a great deal of time preparing, conducting and reflecting on research projects or trials. As a biomedical engineer, you could be working with artificial organs, surgical robots, advanced prosthetics, or new pharmaceutical drugs. As the work varies greatly, this type of engineering is further subdivided into specific role titles, such as: biomedical electronics, biomaterials, computational biology, medical imaging, bio-nanotechnology, and orthopaedic engineering to name just a few.
Do you enjoy figuring out circuits or building robots? Electrical engineers are in big demand as the pace of technological change escalates. We need more effective ways to connect networks and automate processes. You could work with car circuits or build robotic technologies that automate certain technical tasks. You might work in the field or in the office managing a team involved at community, local or government level or in the private sector. Areas of work could include avionics, medical electronics, automotive systems and electrical power generation.
Did you dream of building a rocket ship as a kid? Aerospace engineers design and build planes, satellites, missiles and spacecraft. If you want to take to the skies, this is the specialisation for you. The design, development, construction, testing and operation of these vehicles are specific to being in outer space and in the earth’s atmosphere. Many specialised teams will focus on one area, such as propulsion systems, when it comes to realising projects. This can mean that an entire flight vehicle demands the implementation and understanding of many engineering disciplines, so you will work alongside many other knowledgeable engineers and scientists.
What makes a wind turbine work, or an air-conditioning unit keep us cool? Mechanical engineers have the answer, and they are constantly looking for new and better ways to design, develop and manufacture transport, pumps, machinery or equipment. As one of the most established engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering includes physics, mathematics, material science principles. All of these areas need to be combined in order to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems. You could be working from nano-level to aircraft size projects, so the work opportunities are numerous.
It can be dirty and dangerous, but mining or geological engineers are instrumental in finding ways to remove minerals and ores from the earth, as well as extracting the value from them efficiently. You might be involved in new ways to process the raw materials and improve mining equipment. Mining engineers can also be responsible for managing the processing operations to separate and refine the raw materials. Overall, mining engineers support the process of extracting, moving and refining coal and metal from underground to above ground where it can be used in the production of or use within equipment.
Chemical engineers are playing a key role in developing alternative fuel sources. Creating fuel from vegetables, developing sustainable nuclear energy, or developing new drugs, plastics, and fabrics – just about any kind of material from other raw materials. Ever thought about how engineers create dehydrated milk or food? Chemical engineers are the professionals to ask. Chemical engineers use the principles of mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and economics when conducting their role. You could be working in a laboratory, chemical plant, factory or travel across multiple work sites.
This is a very popular choice for students, and the field continues to expand. Computer engineers develop grid connections, wireless communications, software and applications, networks, technological devices and much more. The computer sciences can cross over in this area whether you are working with hardware or software. Computer engineers work more with solving the hardware-software interface and the digital hardware, whereas computer sciences focus more on understanding, developing and solving programmes within computing.
Where will your engineering degree lead?
An engineering degree gives you many transferable skills, such as analytical thinking, project management, practical experience and problem solving. These skills can all be applied in a wide range of industries.
To find out more about engineering courses, check out our Engineering Directory, where you will find useful information, estimated study costs, and have the chance to search for your perfect course.
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