Engineering careers can look dramatically different depending on what position you have and what industry you’re in. The following is general information on what engineers are currently doing on the job.
Agriculture & Farming
Engineers in the agriculture industry work in a range of environments. From designing farming machinery on CAD to creating bio-fuels in a lab, it’s a multidisciplinary industry.
Modern farming involves programmed feeding cycles, data collection, and advanced planting methods. Agricultural engineers work with farmers, seed/food companies, equipment companies, and government entities to solve problems and optimize their output.
Automotive engineers design, develop, and produce vehicles and their constituent parts. Products can range from high-performance motorsports to mass transit vehicles, as well as retail vehicles.
Defense & Security
The safety of people around the world depends on defense & security engineers. The job is of utmost importance, and as a result the industry is often on the very frontier of scientific research and development.
Engineers are already problem solvers, but in consulting, you specialize on client’s problems on a daily basis. Consulting firms manage a variety of projects at once. You may be placed with a specific client or may work on similar projects across clientele.
You might start your own firms with colleagues, join an established firm, or freelance your engineering services. Typically, firms advise clients on a wide span of projects, from designing sustainable parks to solving structural problems with bridges. Clients can be private and public entities.
Engineers in the energy industry have an array of fields they can go into, from oil to nuclear to renewable. As the industry searches for alternatives, engineers are highly sought to find energy solutions.
In recent years, the number of engineers in the world of finance (for example, investment banks, hedge funds, and insurance companies) has increased quite notably. The reason for this is that engineers possess math and problem-solving skills that are very valuable in areas such as risk management and algorithmic trading. This fairly recent methodology is referred to as quantitative analysis, or “quant.”
Engineers in the healthcare industry create solutions that help sustain and improve human health. You’ll apply engineering principles to medical problems. You’ll design machines, work on tissue research, biomechanics, and much more. If you’re drawn to the medical field and want to help people, this could be your fit.
Insurance companies hire engineers from specialized industries. They need engineers who understand their engineering field well so that they can make the best assessments for their clients.
Assessing risk will be a large part of your work. Your experience in research and design will help you in the insurance industry. You’ll also need to be an adept communicator when talking to clients and explaining a client’s situation to the underwriters.
Overall, you would need to understand their customer’s business and assess the risks for their insurance companies.
Simply put, engineers in manufacturing “design, integrate, or improve manufacturing systems or related processes.” In this industry you must have a good understanding of systems and machines, and the ability to see both the big picture and the fine details. Ultimately, your goal is to minimize cost and maximize productivity of the manufacturing process.
Fermilab, a national laboratory in Illinois, houses the famous particle accelerator. National laboratories are research and development hubs around the country that are funded by the government. The goals of the laboratories are to conduct research, explore U.S energy independence, secure U.S defense strategies, and create innovative technology. There are 17 laboratories, each with their own scientific focus.
In a national laboratory, you’ll be working alongside some of the top scientists in the nation. Together, you’ll work on research, design, and innovation.
Sustainability & Environmental
Sustainability engineering has been defined as “engineering designed to meet current needs without making it harder for future generations to do the same.” Sometimes referred to as “green” engineering, sustainable engineering is a principle that has become increasingly relevant to engineers of nearly every discipline (oil and energy, automotive, electrical, etc.)
The environmental engineering industry directly focuses on improving the health and sustainability of the natural environment. This means designing the most efficient systems in waste disposal, water management, air pollution, renewable resources, and other such areas.
Technical sales is a fantastic industry for someone interested in both engineering and the world of business and sales. Like other engineering industries, in technical sales you get to interact with fascinating technology, and it is your job to understand every detail of how and why that technology works. But, technical sales also comes with the excitement of sales: travel, presentations, conferences, etc.
Engineers in this industry draw heavily from their math and programming classes to work on algorithmic trading. Algorithmic trading is a form of technical trading that makes pre-programmed decisions in the stock market. Algorithmic trading is used by large companies that buy and sell often in order to get the best price. The development of complex formulas is needed for companies to succeed in algorithmic trading.