Guide to a career in engineering
By: Daniel Harrison-Pinder 3rd May 2017

A Career in Engineering: What You Need to Know

So you’ve decided you want to embark on a career in engineering, congratulations!

Now all you need to do is choose from the myriad job titles and career paths… But don’t worry, choosing an engineering career needn’t be overwhelming, not when we’ve put together this handy guide to everything you need to know, plus how to choose the right track for you.

Why Choose a Career in Engineering?

Engineering is what we like to call a future-proof career. As science and tech come on in leaps and bounds, engineering roles multiply as we need more and more people to design, test, install, fix, and maintain the various devices, machines, structures, and processes that underpin everyday life.

Engineers are innovators and innovation is a never-ending process!

What Skills Do I Need?

The specific skills required for your role will depend on which branch of engineering you choose, but overall, engineers tend to be extremely multi-talented individuals. You will usually need to be highly skilled in maths and logic, with good practical and technical skills alongside the ability to keep up to date with the latest advances in your field.

Depending on your role, you may also need excellent communication skills, as many engineering jobs require lots of travel and meeting with clients.

What Will My Daily Life Be Like?

Again, this will depend on what you choose to do, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all sums and equations. On any day you could be holding a team meeting, overseeing a budget, analysing data, conducting an on-site visit, or working in a lab or factory or underwater, or outer space!

This varied and travel-friendly routine can often mean long hours, shift work, or weeks away, while other types of role offer a more steady 9-5 routine.

Which Branch of Engineering is Right for Me?

Now for the tricky part! Choosing which branch of engineering to follow comes entirely down to your unique skill set, work preferences, and what sort of change you’d like to bring to the world.

Students who enjoyed biology or chemistry at school might prefer a role in biomedical or chemical engineering, those who love engines and vehicles will fit in in an automotive field, while those who love big builds could go anywhere from civil to aeronautical to drilling engineering.

If you have a passion for all things eco, environmental and energy engineering are also rapidly burgeoning areas as natural resources and climate change become bigger and bigger concerns.

To get an idea of where you’ll fit best, try thinking about what sort of routine you’d like, what you’re most interested in, and how you work best. Try visiting some recruitment fairs or contacting engineers working in the field you’re interested in, to find out what their lives are like.

The good news is that many forms of engineering training will give you the skills you need to work in a whole range of different areas so you can always specialise later.

How Do I Get Started?

Talking of training, this will be crucial to a successful career in engineering. Since the field is so huge and diverse, the ways you can begin your training are many and varied too.

For younger school-leavers with the right GCSEs or BTEC qualifications, there are hundreds of apprenticeships available that will give you a great practical start to your career, while older students can expect to be able to earn a place on a higher apprenticeship once they’ve completed their A Levels.

For the most high-level (and lucrative) roles however, higher education is often a requirement, with a variety of engineering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees available depending on your interests. Graduates will then usually enter into graduate programmes, internships, or work experience to begin with, progressing into higher roles as they build on their experience.

If you’re interested in a career in engineering, please get in touch with our specialist recruitment consultants to discuss our current vacancies, or upload your CV today to register your interest in relevant jobs.