Engineering Careers

Careers with an Engineering Degree

One of the primary benefits of pursuing an engineering degree (other than out of personal or academic interest) is the skill set that's gained as a result.

As an undergraduate, you'll learn how to apply structured critical thought and quantitative analysis to solving practical problems. These skills are transferable to directly relevant careers, as well as careers that may not utilize the direct application of engineering principles whatsoever.

Undergraduate engineering programs are well known for having a strong focus on projects with direct relevance to the industry and offer practical experience through work placements. This work experience makes graduates highly employable immediately upon graduation.

The combination of gaining a thorough grounding in engineering principles and having many “soft” transferable skills such as the ability to solve problems using logic, and being able to communicate effectively, makes a degree in this field one of the most 'employable' degrees a student can earn.
 

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Employable Skills You Can Gain as a Student

Pursuing an engineering degree will teach you core skills that are highly employable across many different industries, and can be applied to many different professions. Because of this, employers are always interested in recruiting graduates of engineering programs, regardless of the industry the employer operates within. These core skills can be applied both to careers in engineering, as well as careers that aren't directly relevant to this degree. Such skills include:

Effective communication:

You'll be taught how to present your ideas in a confident and professional manner. This skill applies not only to communications within your future place of work; it applies to relations within the community as a whole.

Competence in application and practice:

You'll learn how to properly utilize engineering techniques as well as relevant tools.

Interpersonal and teamwork skills:

The ability to effectively function in an individual or group environment is a highly transferable employment skill that you'll have the chance to learn as a student. Through practical coursework, you'll not only learn how to function within a team, you'll learn how to lead a team.

Problem solving skills:

Learning to identify problems and use logic and reasoning to identify solutions will be one of the biggest takeaways from your undergraduate years. You'll also learn how to use objectivity when approaching the implementation of these solutions.

Skills in engineering principles:

One crucial skill that you'll acquire is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge of engineering fundamentals. This is obviously a skill that uniquely taught to engineering students, and is uniquely applicable to careers in the field.

Understanding professional, social and ethical responsibilities:

As a student, you'll gain an understanding of the social, ethical, environmental and professional responsibilities that come along with the work of an engineer. Once you become a Professional Engineer (P.E.), you must maintain a commitment to these responsibilities.

Lifelong learning:

You'll be taught the importance of undertaking lifelong learning, and you must possess the motivation and ability to do so. You'll be taught to recognize the importance of independently acquiring new knowledge and skills for your personal life and your career.

What Careers Are Relevant?

Sorted by major area of study within the field of engineering, we have detailed occupational information on hundreds of careers you can pursue with an education in this field. Some of these careers are directly related to an engineering education, while others are not.
 


Career Guides Sorted By Major

 

What is the Salary Level of Engineering Grads?


It’s no secret that careers in engineering can be highly lucrative. In fact, studies in Canada and the United States found that engineering fields consistently have the highest economic value of all undergraduate university majors, in terms of mean and median salary earned by graduates.

 

Salary Figures in Canada: According to a survey published in 2016 by the Council of Ontario Universities, the average earnings of ‘Engineering’ graduates of the 2013 graduating class (2 years after graduation) was $64,571 per year. Unfortunately, no similar surveys were found for other Canadian provinces.

 

Salary Figures in the United States: In 2015 the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University conducted a study which found that the median salary for graduates of Engineering programs is $88,000 per year (figures varied depending on the area of specialization). 

 

Please Note: Not all of the graduates who responded to the survey were necessarily working in engineering-related professions.  

 


 

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Which Career Path is Right for Me?

Determining and planning your career path is one of the most important projects you will undertake as an undergraduate student, and it begins on the first day. To begin the planning process, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my personal and academic interests?
  • What are my passions?
  • What are my core values?

The next step is to make a list of possible career options suited to your answers, and suited to your major. To do this, speak with your professors, the career resources staff at your school, and any other mentors you can find. They can suggest career fields and professions that will suit your needs, ambitions and personal goals.

If any of the careers that your professors, counselors or mentors suggest to you sound appealing, whether they are directly related to engineering or not, you should then explore them further; try to learn as many details as possible: this will help you clarify your direction and help you narrow your focus.

Exploring what it’s like to work in those fields, as well as what you like and don’t like about those careers, will give you valuable insight into whether or not certain options are worth pursuing. This will really help you narrow your search, and ultimately help you find a career that is not only tailored to your skills and interests, but also to your needs and preferences.

Success Tip: To explore your career options in detail, try to land an internship or volunteer opportunity. Fortunately, engineering degree programs typically have a work-integrated learning field placement opportunity built into their curriculum requirements.
 

Career Planning Timeline

Below we’ve outlined a specific timeline of actions that will help you effectively make the transition from an undergrad to a working professional. Remember, the more proactive you are with your career planning now, the more options you will have when you graduate.




 

First Year

  • Create a resume, and if it seems short don't be concerned, as most first year business students won't have lengthy resumes at this point
  • Introduce yourself to the Career Resource/Service staff at your school
  • Learn about yourself, your interests, and skills by utilizing online and printed resources (ask you Career Resource/Services staff)
  • Choose your business major by identifying those that relate to your interests and abilities
  • Identify and pursue summer work and volunteer experiences that align with your major
  • Ensure to maintain a strong GPA, as many employers will exclude students and recent graduates with low GPA's from internships and job opportunities
  • Purchase a suit or an outfit that you can wear for interviews throughout the duration of your university career

Second Year

  • Update your resume with any business career related experience you've obtained
  • Join an on-campus business organization; this will help you network and develop interpersonal and communication skills
  • Take several online career assessments
  • Attend business-specific and general career exploration workshops, job fairs and other career related events
  • Identify and contact professionals in a field of your interest to conduct an informal interview.They will give you great first hand information regarding what a career in your area of interest can be like.
  • Research any available job shadowing or volunteer opportunities
  • Plan early for summer work opportunities or internships

Third Year

  • Pursue leadership opportunities in business-oriented and other professional student organizations
  • Update your resume to include all relevant work experience you've obtained during your second year and your summer
  • Prepare for internship interviews by attending interview workshops
  • Attend business-specific and general career fairs to research internships and future job opportunities
  • Research graduate degree programs and the schools that offer them
  • Attend graduate business career fairs to make contact with program representatives
  • Finalize summer experience/internship plans

Fourth Year

  • Seek and attend employment skill-building workshops
  • Finalize your resume and cover letters to reflect all of the relevant work experience you have gained, as well as your education
  • Sign up for mock interviews with your Career Resources/Services staff
  • Attend business-specific and general career fairs in the geographic location you plan to live (if possible)
  • Apply to graduate programs, if you plan on attending
  • Research potential employers and job possibilities
  • Pursue any networking contacts through friends, family, clubs, professors, etc.
  • If you have had successful co-op or internship experiences, you may already have one or more full-time job offers from employers with whom you have already worked

 

Engineering Scholarships

Our All Scholarships Sorted by Major page has plenty of scholarships you can apply for that are related to engineering, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study.

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you are even only barely qualified for. Millions of dollars worth of scholarships in Canada and the United States go unused every year as a result of there being too few applicants!

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Success Tip - Visit Career Fairs: Visiting general, or engineering-specific, career fairs is one of the best things you can do to learn about your future employment options. It's also a great way to network with potential employers, as well as gain information on specific opportunities.

Engineering Careers
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