How to Get an Engineering Job
Getting an engineering job starts with building your career portfolio, which includes acquiring the necessary skills, qualifications, network, and required education to enter the field.
Working in an internship role will familiarize yourself with the industry and help you start networking with the right people. Joining industry groups and associations through LinkedIn can build your connections. As with most jobs, knowing the right people is the best way to get hired so start networking early.
The engineering industry is vast and it’s important to know the different types of engineering occupations and what’s required for each area.
Different Types of Engineering Occupations
Different types of engineering careers
An engineering career can depend on your discipline (see below), level of education (also see below), and desired career activities (e.g., desk job vs. field job, research vs. practical application of skills). Many companies and disciplines offer different career paths.
How many types of engineering specialties are there?
Engineering is a complex field with many disciplines, facets, and occupations. The ten specialties below are the most common:
- Civil Engineering – design and build infrastructure, including roads and bridges.
- Biomedical Engineering – combine biology and medicine and help make advancements in healthcare.
- Electrical Engineering – design power and energy distribution and sources
- Chemical Engineering – research and create better materials to build and manufacture products.
- Industrial Engineering – design manufacturing processes used by companies all over the world.
- Mechanical Engineering – create, design, and improve products used in consumer goods, manufacturing, and more.
- Automotive Engineering – design automobiles and other mobile devices.
- Petroleum Engineering – improve oil and drilling processes for energy companies.
- Aerospace Engineering – help design planes and other flying objects.
- Software Engineering – write software code for the internet, machines, and desktop.
Best Engineering Careers
Top engineering jobs
US News & World Report created their own methodology to identify the best engineering jobs. Their top 5 engineering jobs were:
- Cartographer (e.g., map designers)
- Civil Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Environmental Engineering Technician
Best paying engineering jobs
According to Monster.com, the top paying engineering jobs were:
- Aerospace engineer – $119,292 annual salary
- Engineering manager – $115,036 annual salary
- Materials engineer – $81,871 annual salary
- Petroleum drilling engineer – $76,747 annual salary
- Chemical engineer – $74,480 annual salary
Most in demand engineering jobs
Engineering jobs are highly sought after for their great salary, benefits, and career opportunities. According to NewEngineer.com, a career site for Engineers, the top 3 most-demand jobs for 2019 are:
- Data Science & Machine Learning (Software Engineer)
- Automation & Robotics Engineer (Electrical, Mechanical, and Software Engineers)
- Petroleum Engineer
Fun engineering jobs
As we talked about in our article Fun Careers, the world has no shortage of fun jobs. Engineering can offer some great opportunities for a fun career. Many jobs involving working hands-on with ideas, bringing them to life, testing them, and improving upon them as they enter the real world. Fun engineering jobs can include:
- Gaming engineering (creating video games)
- Mobile app designer
- Project Manager
- Racecar Engineer
- Construction Engineer
Different Engineering Majors
Types of engineering degrees
Across the ten listed types of engineering – Civil, Biomedical, Electrical, Chemical, Industrial, Mechanical, Automotive, Petroleum, Aerospace, and Software, individuals will most commonly acquire either an Associates, Bachelors or Master’s degree.
- Associates – 2-year degree focusing on concepts, prepares for Bachelors degree and specialized careers.
- Bachelors – 4-year degree; focusing on concepts and real-world experience, can help prepare for licensing (depending on the type)
- Masters – 2-year degree requiring Bachelors; provides more in-depth education and career advancement
Best engineering majors
Identifying the best engineering major is not a simple exercise, and ultimately, the answer lies with the person answering the question. We list three criteria and potential top candidates for each.
- Pay; the most objective criteria, Petroleum Engineers median salary tops six-figures
- Interesting; Biomedical Engineering; integrates biology and medicine. This degree has seen a substantial increase in demand as technology has allowed them to analyze data like never before.
- Career Longevity; Mechanical Engineering; these degrees will always be in demand because as long as people are buying goods, manufacturing will always have a place in our economy.
How to get an internship for engineering
Internship opportunities within engineering can present themselves in a variety of ways. Here is a three-step strategy to use to find the most suitable one.
- Identify the roles that you would like; internships, like full-time jobs, will take on different roles and responsibilities, identify different careers that seem of interest, and find internships that prepare for them.
- Identify the companies that offer internships for that role; the next step is to find companies that offer that internship. Companies can specialize in engineering fields (e.g., mechanical).
- Acquire experience, education; experience to prepare for an internship can come in the form of joining a local club or group, volunteering, academic society, and more. Finding one of these and getting involved will aid in getting an internship.
Can you work as an engineer without a degree?
There are engineering careers available that do not require a degree. Experience, licenses, and other qualifications can help supplement the absence of a degree, some positions favor experience over education credentials.
- Land Surveyor; establish lines and boundaries across public and construction areas. Requirements include a state license.
- Industrial Designers; help design and draft molded parts for companies. Requirements include experience with injection molding and design software such as SolidWorks.
Engineering Resume Examples
Andrew Grill writes about Life, Personal Finance, Technology, and Careers. Check out his work at about.me/andrew.grill.