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What are your options with an engineering degree? Explore these engineering careers

What are your options with an engineering degree? Explore these engineering careers

Artwork by: Olga Aleksandrova

  • What are the main roles of an engineer?
  • Research and Testing 
  • Design
  • Development
  • The 7 main fields of engineering
  • 1. Civil Engineering 
  • 2. Chemical Engineering 
  • 3. Industrial Engineering 
  • 4. Electrical Engineering 
  • 5. Mechanical Engineering 
  • 6. Software Engineering 
  • 7. Aerospace Engineering 
  • 10 In-demand and high-paying engineering careers!
  • 1. Chemical engineer 
  • 2. Civil engineer
  • 3. Materials engineer
  • 4. Marine engineer
  • 5. Computer hardware engineer 
  • 6. Biomedical engineer
  • 7. Mechanical engineer
  • 8. Nuclear engineer
  • 9. Petroleum engineer
  • 10. Environmental engineer 
  • Is it hard to find a job in engineering?
  • Key takeaways

From civil engineers to IT engineers, the world of engineering is forever evolving and changing. If you are interested in starting an engineering career, this blog will let you know what your options are when it comes to your degree and what careers you can choose from.

Since engineers are responsible for innovating, creating, and designing complex systems, they are instrumental in many industries. There is also a wide range of engineering careers available to those with a degree. In this blog, we will take a look at some of the options you have for an engineering career as well as some of the other things you will want to know when beginning a career in this field.

Here are some of the things we will be looking at:

  • The three top roles of an engineer

  • The seven main fields of engineering

  • What are ten in-demand and high-paying engineering careers?

  • What engineering jobs are in most demand?

  • Is it hard to find a job in engineering?

What are the main roles of an engineer?

The main goal of an engineer is to solve problems. To accomplish this, they gather information and data and examine scientific studies to determine ways to apply them to systems, structures, and machines in practical ways.

Regardless of the engineering career you pursue, there are a few main roles you can expect to take on within a company. Here’s a look at the three main roles you will play as an engineer: research and testing, design, and development.

Research and Testing 

Information is one of the most important tools in an engineer's toolbelt. Before you even begin a project, you will spend time researching discoveries, technology, processes, and many other items that may play a role in how your product or design will function. You will also spend a great amount of time testing theories and results from the processes you are designing.


Design can encompass many areas of an engineer’s world. From designing aircraft to building bridges and computer-based systems, an engineer is instrumental in planning any major project. Depending on the industry you are part of, you may find yourself working with computer programmers, architects, other engineers, or even construction managers while completing the design phase of your project.


An engineer is also expected to develop new processes and systems that can help improve projects they’ve worked on in the past. The world is ever-changing and that means an engineer’s job is to make sure the machinery, systems, and infrastructure keep up with the needs of the world around it. This means engineers need to develop new designs and improvements on an ongoing basis.

The 7 main fields of engineering

Since engineering careers are so important in many different industries, there are lots of fields you can study when you are seeking out a degree. Here is a look at seven of the most in-demand fields in the engineering industry and what to expect if you choose that path.

1. Civil Engineering 

Civil engineering is possibly one of the most well-known engineering careers because it is so applicable to everyday life. These are the engineers who design roads, buildings, and other types of infrastructures that are critical to the people in a community daily.

2. Chemical Engineering 

If you pursue a degree in engineering with an emphasis in chemical engineering, your education will be centered around designing and manufacturing products related to chemical processes. You will study biology, physics, math, and chemistry in this field.  

3. Industrial Engineering 

Industrial engineering works a little differently than the other types of engineering fields. In this role, engineers look for ways to improve and optimize areas of a business and may develop systems related to finance, management, and even production.

4. Electrical Engineering 

An electrical engineer works on everything from small computer devices to large industrial machines. For those interested in large-scale electrical engineering, it is possible to specialize in power engineering, which could mean you are working on ensuring entire communities receive electricity from the local power plant.

5. Mechanical Engineering 

Mechanical engineering is a very diverse field. You can learn how to work on any number of mechanical devices if you study mechanical engineering, including automobiles, computers, and even robots.

6. Software Engineering 

As a software engineer, you will be working to create, innovate, and improve all the systems that make a computer or piece of software function properly. This is a great field for those who love new technology and are interested in affecting the future of technology in unique ways.

7. Aerospace Engineering 

At first glance, you may think that aerospace engineers will work mostly on airplanes and other domestic flying devices. However, many of these types of engineers help to design, test, and operate missiles, spacecraft, and rockets. If you are interested in branching out into aircraft that fly outside the Earth’s atmosphere, you may want to consider focusing on aeronautical engineering.

10 In-demand and high-paying engineering careers!

One of the great things about engineering careers is that you can find in-demand and high-paying positions in just about every industry. Here is a look at some of the current jobs that will provide you with a great long-term career.

1. Chemical engineer 

Those working as chemical engineers will often find themselves working with companies that produce fuel, drugs, and foods that require chemicals.

2. Civil engineer

Many civil engineers work for cities, states, and companies that build structures, roads, and bridges.

3. Materials engineer

This type of engineer generally works with raw materials, like plastic and metal to design better end products for their industry.

4. Marine engineer

Engineers in the marine industry work primarily on ships and design and enhance all the internal systems that make them function.

5. Computer hardware engineer 

Similarly to software engineers, a computer hardware engineer works on all the components that make a computer function, such as circuits, the CPU, and the motherboard.

6. Biomedical engineer

Biomedical engineers are responsible for creating new equipment and medical devices for the healthcare industry.

7. Mechanical engineer

If you are looking for a bit of variety in your future, this engineering career could have you working on anything from vehicle system designs to mechanical instruments in the technology industry.

8. Nuclear engineer

In this career, engineers work with nuclear power to design systems that can power facilities, plants, and even large vehicles.

9. Petroleum engineer

As a petroleum engineer, you will be looking for ways to better utilize oil and gas and to make it more profitable to gather and use.

10. Environmental engineer 

For those wanting to make a difference in the environment, an environmental engineer is a great option. It’s a career that focuses on protecting water supplies, improving air quality, reducing pollution, and more.

Salary is often a big part of deciding which direction you want to take an engineering degree. Luckily, many of the engineering career options can become quite high-paying, especially if you specialize in a particular area of the industry.

Is it hard to find a job in engineering?

While engineering jobs are always in high demand, it is a competitive industry, which means you will need to be at the top of your game if you want to be successful in this career. To become a successful engineer, you will first need to focus on earning your degree and becoming as knowledgeable in your industry as possible. 

However, there are other things you can do to become even more desirable of a candidate, such as studying the issues in a given industry and developing strategies and ideas on ways you can solve them as an engineer. Being proactive and having a strong grasp on where an industry is headed in the future can help you become the engineer that companies want to hire.

You can also be more successful when you follow this list of dos and don’ts.

  • Continue building your knowledge even after you have earned your engineering degree.
  • Stay flexible with your skills and consider expanding to other specialties as the need arises.
  • Perform testing throughout each phase of your project design.
  • Forget to plan your projects well and check your work as you go and before you submit a complete project.
  • Ignore new developments with your projects or research.
  • Fail to stay up-to-date with the trends and changes in the industry you are part of as well as engineering as a whole.

To get more insight into your career options as an engineer, be sure to check out the ‘Explore & Track Jobs’ tab on our website. 

Key takeaways

  1. Engineering careers are versatile and can be a part of many industries, but research, development, design, and testing are their most important roles.

  2. Engineers are instrumental in the safe development of many of the pieces of technology, machines, and infrastructure that we all use daily.

  3. There are many in-demand engineering jobs and you can improve your salary by specializing in a specific industry.

  4. Engineering is a competitive field, but you can set yourself apart by taking measures to improve your skills and education level after you have earned your degree.

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