Engineering Fields are related to the application of science and math to solve problems. For this reason, engineers figure out how things work and find practical uses for scientific discoveries. Scientists and inventors often get credit for innovations that advance the human condition. But, it’s engineers who are instrumental in making those innovations.
In his book, “Disturbing the Universe” (Sloan Foundation, 1981), physicist Freeman Dyson wrote, “A good scientist is a person with original ideas. And a good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.” The history of engineering is part and parcel of human civilization.
For instance, the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, the Parthenon, and the Eiffel Tower stand today as monuments to our heritage of engineering. Today’s engineers not only build huge structures, such as the International Space Station (NASA), but they are also building maps of the human genome and better, smaller computer chips.
Why Are The Engineering Fields Important?
Engineering is one of the cornerstones of STEM education, an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to motivate students to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There is often considerable specialties overlap.
For this reason, engineers need to have a general understanding of several areas of engineering besides their specialty. As an example, a civil engineer needs to understand the concepts of structural engineering. While an aerospace engineer needs to apply principles of mechanical engineering.
On the other hand, nuclear engineers need a working knowledge of electrical engineering. Particularly, they require in-depth knowledge of mathematics, physics, and computer applications like simulations and computer-aided design.
What Do The Engineering Fields Offer?
Most college programs include basic engineering courses in a wide range of topics. Especially, before students choose to specialize in a particular area. Engineers design, evaluate, develop, test, modify, install, inspect and maintain a wide variety of products and systems. They also recommend and specify materials and processes.
While at the same time, supervising manufacturing, construction, and conducting failure analysis. As well as, providing consulting services and teaching engineering courses in colleges and universities. The field of engineering is divided into a large number of specialty areas:
Involves design, manufacturing, inspection, and maintenance of machinery, equipment, and components. As well as control systems and instruments for monitoring their status and performance. This includes vehicles, construction and farm machinery, industrial installations, and a wide variety of tools and devices.
Involves designing, testing, manufacturing, construction, control, monitoring, and inspection of electrical and electronic devices, machinery, and systems. These systems vary in scale from microscopic circuits to national power generation and transmission systems.
Involves designing, construction, maintenance, and inspection of large infrastructure projects such as highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, dams, and airports.
Involves designing, manufacturing, and testing of aircraft and spacecraft. As well as parts and components such as airframes, power plants, control and guidance systems. Not forgetting, electrical and electronic systems, as well as communication and navigation systems.
Involves designing, manufacturing, construction, operation, and testing of equipment, systems, and processes involving the production, control, and detection of nuclear radiation. These systems include particle accelerators and nuclear reactors for electric power plants and ships, radioisotope production, and research. Nuclear engineering also includes monitoring and protecting humans from the potentially harmful effects of radiation.
Involves designing, construction, and inspection of load-bearing structures such as large commercial buildings, bridges, and industrial infrastructure.
This is the practice of designing systems, equipment, and devices for use in the practice of medicine. It also involves working closely with medical practitioners, including doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, and researchers. In order to determine, understand, and meet their requirements for systems, equipment, and devices.
This is the practice of designing equipment, systems, and processes for refining raw materials and for mixing, compounding, and processing chemicals to make valuable products.
This is the practice of designing computer hardware components, computer systems, networks, and computer software.
This is the practice of designing and optimizing facilities, equipment, systems, and processes for manufacturing, material processing, and any number of other work environments.
This is the practice of preventing, reducing, and eliminating sources of pollution that affect air, water, and land. It also involves detecting and measuring pollution levels, determining sources of pollution, cleaning up and rehabilitating polluted sites, and ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
Which Are Engineering Jobs & Salaries?
Many employers require engineers to obtain state certification as Professional Engineers. Additionally, many engineers belong to the Society of Professional Engineers and other engineering societies for their areas of specialization.
For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has information on various specialized fields of engineering. Including educational requirements, job descriptions, work environments, and job outlooks.
Another source of information on job descriptions can be found at MyMajors.com. In addition to educational requirements and required skills and knowledge for different areas of engineering.
The Main Engineering Fields Work Settings & Employment Projections
Engineers work in many different settings. Including research laboratories, factories, construction sites, nuclear power plants, offshore oil rigs, and even on the International Space Station. Additionally, many engineers work in businesses related to their areas of specialization.
For example, an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) engineer might own a heating and air conditioning company, and a structural engineer might own a construction company.
Most engineering jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering. State certification as a Professional Engineer, which requires passing a rigorous and comprehensive test, is also required by many employers to work as a consultant. Senior engineering positions and professorships generally require a master’s degree or a doctorate.
The employment of engineers is projected to grow from 4 to 27 percent between now and 2022. Depending on the field of specialization, according to the BLS. According to Salary.com, a newly graduated engineer with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn from $50,817 to $78,487 per year.
Whereas, a mid-level engineer with a master’s degree and five to 10 years of experience can earn $68,628 to $114,426. And lastly, a senior engineer with a master’s degree or doctorate and more than 15 years of experience can earn $91,520 to $156,895. Many experienced engineers are promoted to management positions or start their own consulting businesses.
Whereby, they can earn even more. Additionally, some engineers go on to law school to become patent attorneys. In the end, they can earn an upward of $250,000 per year. Learn more about the Average Mechanical Engineer Salary in Kenya in detail.
Engineering fields have matured and expanded over the centuries along with our knowledge and understanding of science, mathematics, and the laws of physics and their applications.
Today, engineers apply both well-established scientific principles and cutting-edge innovations. In order to design, build, improve, operate and maintain complex devices, structures, systems, and processes.
It was engineering that brought us out of the caves; it was engineering that took us to the moon; and if we ever make it to the stars, it will be engineering that takes us there. As our knowledge continues to advance, engineers will have new opportunities to find practical uses for scientific discoveries.
As the novelist, James A. Michener aptly put it in his novel “Space” (Fawcett, 1983), “Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them.”
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- DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation)
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