The Innumerable Doors Opened by a Career in Engineering

In spite of all the remarkable gadgets and life changing advancements pursuits like math, science, and engineering have provided for society, these fields are still having trouble shrugging off the antiquated stigma that they’re somehow “uncool” or “undesirable”. The fact of the matter is, these fields are anything but boring; they allow those who work within them the freedom to exercise their creative side while feeding the innate human need to solve problems.

Though these fields arguably hint at some of the most interesting jobs for those graduating in the not too distant future, for the pragmatist, they also represent job security in an economy that has shown itself to be – for lack of a better term – skittish, of late.

Engineering, in particular, is as broad a field as they come, making it an appealing academic option when enrolling in secondary and post-secondary courses. When most people think of an engineer, they might think (erroneously mind you), of someone spending countless hours poring over schematics and blueprints or tirelessly punching numbers into a calculator. The simple truth is that there are many branches to the engineering tree, each allowing those entering into the field the chance to find a common ground between a subject they’re passionate about, and their engineering skills:

  • Chemical engineering – design industrial chemical products and the processes used during daily operations.
  • Civil engineering – design and oversee repair of critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and dams
  • Computer engineering – develop the next generation computer hardware and software
  • Electrical engineering – design and develop the latest electrical components from the latest microchip to large scale electrical generators
  • Environmental engineering – develop technologies for the betterment of mankind and to preserve the planet by improving such things as reverse osmosis water treatment systems.
  • Industrial engineering – optimize complex processes, creating new efficiencies that reduce waste
  • Manufacturing engineering – develop the equipment that will operate the manufacturing plants of tomorrow
  • Nuclear engineering – Develop more efficient energy technology at the atomic level

Change the World For the Better

While each of the aforementioned branches of engineering and other scientific pursuits can all in some way be linked to making better the world of tomorrow, it’s difficult to select one as a front runner. Having said that, there is a distinction touted proudly among engineers that at least makes the difference between science and engineering crystal clear, “Scientists dream of doing great things; engineers get them done”. This isn’t to make light of the impact scientists have on society, but rather it serves to remind us that conceptualization an idea will only take you so far. In many respects, the concepts envisioned by science rely on the practical skills of engineers to bring them to fruition.

If not for engineers, hospitals and health care professionals would not have access to lifesaving scanning devices like magnetic resonance imaging machines or computerized axial tomography scanners. Diseases would go undiagnosed, and the incidence of death for illnesses that are now highly treatable would be much higher.

Likewise, thanks to civil engineering, water companies now have access to pipeline leak detection technology that would allow them to efficiently perform water main monitoring. While this sort of technology seems like it would have a mild effect on both the environment and municipal spending, the fact is that being able to pinpoint or anticipate an underground pipeline fracture allows crews to proactively make repairs before a rupture, saving money and preventing strain on local environments.

On wider scale, agricultural and biosystems engineers are hard at work designing and building automated, indoor farms that have a much higher yield per acre than traditional farms, can operate year round regardless of the seasons, and remain protected from drought and disease. In a world with an ever-increasing population, the work being done by these engineers is among the most meaningful.

The point is, whether the impact of engineering is big or small, the advancements made available by engineers has a tremendous impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. As the technological sector conditions to grow unabated, so too will increase the opportunities for engineers.