Engineering is a broad and extensive subject, covering a wide spectrum of industries. There are similarities across each of course, any good engineer will: be a good problem solver, be a strong mathematician, have an understanding of physics, be dedicated and be hardworking.
Depending on the sector the engineer decides on, they may also have a good understanding of design technology, chemistry or computer science. If you are unsure of which degree you should pursue, take a look at StudyPunk’s degree search for ideas and advice.
There are five key engineering specialisms:
- Materials and mineral
Most students will focus on one of the above during their degree, though some universities also offer the option to pursue a general engineering degree, with a specialisation during the third year. Some organisations will actively seek employees with a more rounded knowledge of engineering. So do not worry if you are unsure yet of which specialism you should dedicate yourself to.
As the name suggests, this form of engineering concerns the development of raw materials via chemical alteration, such as turning oil into plastic. Chemical engineers will produce materials and substances that are more useful for society than their base chemical or biological elements.
Chemical engineering is a very broad term, which can include the adaptation of a huge variety of materials, including plants, food, oil, pharmaceuticals, fuel and nanotechnology.
Chemical engineering is for those who:
- Are analytical
- Love chemistry
- Are interested in the processes used to develop everyday items
Civil engineers design, plan and build roads, railways, schools, offices, hospitals and more. They work in tandem with planners, architects and construction teams. The scale of a project can vary between just a single road or building to a nationwide transport system or water supply network.
Civil engineering is for those who:
- Love to design and build things
- Are interested in mechanics, hydraulics and material science
- Enjoy figuring out infrastructure problems
In this sector, successful graduates can expect to design, develop and test components, devices or systems that make use of electricity as a source of power. Electrical engineers chiefly focus on large-scale production and supply of electricity, while electronics engineers focus on smaller scale devices, such as those used in computers.
Electronic/Electrical engineering is for those who:
- Are interested in how electronic devices/systems work
- Want to work on technological development
- Have ideas for how to improve computers or electrical systems
Materials and Mineral Engineering
Materials engineering covers a wide study area, and generally looks at how materials are made and can be improved. If, for example, a new product is being developed, it would be your job to find better, cheaper and stronger materials for production.
Mineral engineering is about geology, rock mechanics, engineering design, economics, surveying and management. You might focus on blast analysis, advanced-surface and underground surveying, health and safety, ventilation networks, rock mechanics or mineral processing.
Materials and Mineral Engineering is for those who:
- Want to make products cheaper or safer
- Want to help the environment/ways to recycle
- Often think about how products are made/can be improved
This is what most people think of when they hear the word ‘engineering’. Mechanical engineers can work in lots of disciplines, including aerospace, automotive, construction, manufacturing, railways and more.
The common theme is the developments of products ranging from small components to large machines or vehicles. A mechanical engineer may design a car engine, a power plant, a robot, a weapon, a ship or any number of things.
Mechanical engineering is for those who:
- Like figuring out how mechanical devices are put together and work
- Want to be at the forefront of innovative design
- Like building complicated but fine-tune machines
Of course engineering isn’t limited to just these five categories. There is also Aerospace Engineering, Computer Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Energy Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Design and many others. If you are in the process of looking for an engineering course, or are in need of support, visit NewEngineer.com, who can also help with the funding of international engineering degrees.