Last updated on April 10th, 2023 at 08:37 pm
There are lots of different engineering disciplines to choose from. Here are some of the most in-demand ones.
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Engineering is an ever-evolving industry designed to keep pace with shifting societal needs. It aims to solve problems across industries using a combination of math and science. While some disciplines can intersect, each is unique with its own focus.
What is Engineering?
Engineering is the application of math and science to solve problems. Engineering programs emphasize physics, mathematics, chemistry, and science to build a solid foundation for other branches of engineering. Engineering overlaps with fields such as aerospace, healthcare, infrastructure, and more.
Engineers develop everything from communication networks to transportation systems. They can develop new medical devices, technology designed to use renewable energy, and artificial intelligence systems. Engineers can combine their love of problem solving with overlapping fields of interest to discover fulfilling career options.
What to Expect from Engineering Programs?
Engineering programs place emphasis on math and science courses such as physics, calculus, and statistics. They typically include hands-on projects which allow students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world situations. They also allow students to collaborate with their peers to complete design projects or conduct experiments.
Engineering programs can be geared towards specific disciplines within engineering such as aerospace, civil, or environmental. Some disciplines, such as biomolecular engineering and chemical engineering, may have intersecting fields of study. However, this doesn’t mean the disciplines are the same.
Engineering students interested in gaining a competitive edge in the job market may consider dual-degree programs like the one at Berry College. Typically, students earn a degree over three years, pursuing a major of their choice (math and physics are popular) while obtaining a liberal arts foundation, which provides a firm grounding in written and verbal communication, analytical abilities, and problem-solving. Then they earn an engineering degree over two years at a partner institution like Georgia Tech or Kennesaw State.
Graduates of dual-degree programs use their liberal arts background to complement technical skills learned in their engineering courses. They complete their education career-ready—prepared to apply a winning combination of creativity, critical thinking, innovation and technical expertise as they communicate with clients, trouble-shoot projects or develop products.
10 In-Demand Engineering Disciplines
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job outlook predictions for 2021-31, engineering professions will increase by 4%. This increase will result in around 91,000 new jobs throughout this timeframe. When choosing which careers may be in-demand, we selected careers with a projected growth of 4% or more.
Chemical engineering involves the design and development of processes to convert raw materials into useful products. These products can include plastics, fertilizers, polymers, dyes, fuel, fibers, surgical supplies, prosthetics, food, and more. As a result, it covers a broad range of knowledge and abilities making this a flexible discipline.
Chemical engineers can work as:
- Process Engineers
- Research and Development Engineers
- New Product Developers
- Project Managers
Industrial engineering focuses on improving efficiency and productivity across industries. They analyze existing systems, designs, and processes to find ways of optimizing each to save companies time and money. Industrial engineers are well-versed in data analysis, logistics, optimization techniques, operations research, statistics, and systems engineering.
Industrial engineers aim to eliminate wastefulness and inefficiencies throughout the production process. They also play a critical role in mitigating risks, developing ways to improve sustainability, and environmental impact.
Industrial engineers can work as:
- Quality Control Inspectors
- Manufacturing Engineers
- Health and Safety Engineers
- Process Engineers
Biomedical engineering applies engineering principles to the design and development of medical devices, equipment, and procedures. They also study the function of biological systems and the disease process. These engineers collaborate with medical professionals and scientists to develop new technology and therapies to improve patient care and health.
Biomedical engineers can create and improve products such as prosthetic limbs, patient monitoring systems, drug delivery systems, and imaging technology. Biomedical engineers strive to improve patient care and the quality of patients’ lives.
Biomedical engineers can work as:
- Manufacturing Engineers
- Quality Engineers
- Research Engineers
- Medical Software Engineers
Bioengineering combines principles from biology, engineering, and medicine to solve problems in healthcare. It develops new technology, tools, and therapies to improve patient health and wellbeing. They can develop artificial organs, prosthetics, medical implants, diagnostic tools, and therapeutic tools for use in clinical settings.
Bioengineers also conduct research to improve their understanding of body systems, the disease process, and its impact on each system. This is useful when creating biocompatible materials and new diagnostic tools to detect diseases such as cancer.
Bioengineers can work as:
- Genetic Engineers
- Medical Device Designers and Manufacturers
- Biomedical Data Analysts
- Biomaterials Engineers
Petroleum engineering explores, extracts, and produces oil and natural gas resources for fuel. Petroleum engineers design and oversee drilling operations, evaluate project feasibility and profitability, as well as ways to increase production. They use their understanding of geology, physics, and math to locate oil and natural gas reservoirs.
Petroleum engineers can work with oil and gas companies, government agencies, or laboratories. They play a crucial role in meeting the world’s ever-changing energy needs.
Petroleum engineers can work as:
- Production Engineers
- Drilling Engineers
- Research and Development Engineers
- Reservoir Engineers
Aerospace engineering focuses on the design, development, testing, and maintenance of aircrafts, space crafts, propulsion systems, avionics, and control systems. Aerospace engineers focus on designing lightweight, highly efficient products which can operate in extreme temperatures and pressures. This requires a strong educational background in aerodynamics, orbital mechanics, and space systems designs.
Aerospace engineers can work as:
- Aeronautical Engineers
- Astronautical Engineers
- Military Aerospace Engineers
- Inspector and Compliance Officers
Civil engineering focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of built infrastructure. Built infrastructure includes airports, bridges, buildings, roads, and water treatment facilities. Civil engineers have a strong understanding of structural design, materials science, hydraulics, and environmental engineering.
Civil engineers can work as:
- Structural Engineers
- Permitting and Licensing Engineers
- City Engineers
- Construction Managers
Materials engineering focuses on the development, design, and production of materials for specific functions. Material engineers understand the properties and processing techniques of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. This understanding of properties allows materials engineers to choose materials best aligned with their desired result.
Material engineers use these materials and techniques to improve existing materials or create new ones. These materials can be used in medical implants, aircrafts, golf clubs, and computers. Materials engineers can work across engineering disciplines such as aerospace, mechanical, civil, electrical, and nuclear.
Materials engineers can work as:
- Ceramic Engineers
- Composite Engineers
- Semiconductor Processing Engineers
- Plastics Engineers
Computer engineering focuses on designing, developing, and maintaining computer systems. It combines computer science and electrical engineering to create hardware and software for computing systems. Computer engineers create microprocessors, device drivers, operating systems, wireless networks, routers, virus protection, artificial intelligence systems, and more.
Computer engineers can work as:
- Network Engineers
- Cybersecurity Engineers
- Hardware Engineers
- Artificial Intelligence Engineers
Environmental engineering aims to develop solutions to address environmental changes. Environmental engineers design water treatment systems as well as ways to manage waste and pollution. This is done to minimize potential negative impacts of human interaction on the environment and protect public health.
Environmental engineering focuses on air quality, waste management, renewable energy sources, and developing sustainable practices for industries, cities, and communities.
Environment engineers can work as:
- Renewable Energy Engineers
- Regulatory Compliance Offers
- Sustainable Development Engineers
- Waste Management Engineers
Engineering is a vast field of study with various career options. It contains several disciplines which can intersect yet each have direct impacts on various aspects of everyday life. From medical devices to renewable resources, engineering can help solve problems using a combination of math and science.
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