Professional engineers have access to a huge variety of career paths, including some less obvious, that we take for granted in our lives, such as the leisure industry, social medial engineering, IT engineering, automotive engineering, police technical support and production of world leading pharmaceuticals etc.
In the leisure industry who designs the thrill rides in fun parks such as Disney World?
How do you qualify to become a car designer?
Do you know that R2D2 from Star Wars was developed and built in the
UK by professional engineers working from conceptual design sketches
provided by the film's creative personnel under George Lucas? Many
were built in order to accommodate all of R2's functionality and
involved the participation of professional mechanical and
electronics engineers etc. Two of the principal companies were Peteric
Instrumentation and C&L Developments led by Dr David Watling and
Neil Anderson respectively. Dr Watling, a chartered mechanical
engineer and a doctor of physics, earlier in his career had designed
the light show for a Who, rock band, world tour and had worked on the
servomechanisms for the face of the original movie " Alien" although
this was not utilised in the final film .Dr Watling and Mr Anderson
are regarded by their peers as having made significant contributions
to movie history.
Dr Watling went on to design remote controlled superbug killing "robots" that spray sealed hospital wards etc to battle deadly infections such a s C-difficle and MRSA. Practical devices do come from science fiction!
Who designed the flat screen TV? In fact the first were built in the 1950’s and others were in operation for more than 30 years within the UK research industry before they reached the high street.
A fictitious retina scanner was first seen in a James Bond movie and when the head of the CIA saw it he sanctioned engineering research to make the first. Now they are commonplace.
Scotland is a world leader in computer games engineering with blockbusters such as Grand Theft Auto being designed and developed in Dundee and Edinburgh.
The pre-production virtual reality science behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes –the Fox Studios blockbuster, was developed by Matt Bett a lecturer in Gaming Engineering at Abertay University.
The Rolling Stones employed a structural engineer on their “Bridges to Babylon” world tour to ensure structural safety on each show.
If you review the “Input Youth” site here, it illustrates something of the huge variety of engineering careers that are possible. Click on “Job Guides” on the opening “Input Youth” page and search/ click for specific career data e.g. “Chemical Engineer”
Engineering Council list of Institutions
The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. It sets and maintains internationally recognised standards of professional competence and ethics. These are detailed in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).
The Engineering Council’s website lists 36 institutions that it licences to award engineering qualifications including CEng. Looking at this list on the Engineering Council website gives an indication of the wide scope of careers in engineering. The table below also lists the 36 Institutions and gives links to relevant career information. Further information about careers on the Engineering Council website can be found here in the CEng e-Book
The list does not cover all the opportunities. Further descriptions of engineering careers can be accessed via the table below.
All Institutions on the Engineering Council list
|Information technology||BCS||Careers and skills|
|Building services engineering||CIBSE||About building services|
|Highways and transportation||CIHT||
|Plumbing and heating||CIPHE||
|Water and environmental management||CIWEM||Careers|
|Civil Engineering||ICE||About civil engineering|
|Chemical Engineering||IChemE||Why not Chemical Engineering|
|Cast metals engineering||ICME||Careers information|
|Diesel and gas turbine engineering||IDGTE||
|Electrical, etc.||IET||Becoming an Engineer|
|Measurement and control||INSTMC||
|Material, minerals, mining||IOM3||Why Study Materials? | Materials Careers | Rocks|
|Railway and Signal Engineering||IRSE||Careers|
|Aeronautical Engineering||RAeS||Cool Aeronautics|
|Naval Architecture||RINA||Careers in Naval Architecture|
|CIOB||About Building Services|
|Transport, Plant, Surveying||SOE||
Other engineering career descriptions
|Building and construction||CIOB, ACE||here|
|Software engineer||BCS||here, Link|
|Hardware Engineering||BCS||Input Youth, here|
|Oil and Gas||OPITO||myoilandgascareer.com|
More career information
IESIS has an agreement with Input Youth which allows direct access from this website to their excellent career guide database. For jobs/qualifications/salary data on many more engineering careers search their database here and click on "Jobs Guides" for information on careers such as:
- Broadcast engineer
- Clinical Engineer
- Computer gaming
- and many more....
Want to compare other careers/prospects/salaries with engineering?
The Input Youth database describes almost every job imaginable from Abattoir Operative to Zoologist
Big recording groups such as The 1975 and Travis and singers such as Lewis Capaldi are routinely supported by sound engineers and/or graduate electronics engineers on all their touring and studio sessions.
The sound engineer is using laptop software via wi-fi to balance the sound from within the audience during the performance of Glasgow band Soul-Fi on the Glasgow Winterfest stage in George Square. A state of the art example of what is becoming everyday high technology in the entertainment industry
25 UK Universities offer 46 degree courses in and related to sound engineering/sound technology.
Prominent among them are:
- John Moores University, Liverpool has recently opened the School of Engineering's new Media Centre which offers a B.Sc. in Audio and Music Production. Their Chancellor is none other than Dr Brian May, lead guitarist of rock legends Queen. More information can be found at LJMU Audio and Music Production
- Birmingham City, Coventry, De Montford and Wolverhampton Universities also do degrees. See WhatUni.com and enter 'Sound Engineering' into the search box.
- The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts initiated and sponsored by Sir Paul McCartney also do a Bachelors degree in sound engineering - see: LIPA
Several UK universities offer B.Eng and M.Eng courses in vehicle design and most are accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and some also by the Institution of Engineering and Technology as satisfying academic requirements towards Chartered Engineer (C.Eng) status.
These courses include the study of vehicle design, drivetrain, vehicle body and engineering systems plus the application of industry standard computing systems for analysis and design.
A selection can be found below:
- Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh:-B Eng in Automotive Engineering - 4yrs full time. www.hw.ac.uk
- Birmingham City University www.bcu.ac.uk/courses/automotive/beng-automotive-engineering
- University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. www.herts.ac.uk
- Loughborough University www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/tt/courses.html
- Kingston University, London www.engineering.kingston.ac.uk
The Scottish Police Services Authority have an ongoing need for IT and Computer engineering graduates to help them support Police forces/agencies in their fight against crime. SPSA staff develop bespoke software and support third party software products. There are also staff in key Technical Services and Operations and Support roles. In addition, staff provide support with the investigation of computer related crimes and are involved in the production of 3D graphics for presentation in criminal cases. For more information on careers see web link http://www.scotland.police.uk/recruitment/
Professional engineers build and design the facilities and equipment that are used to manufacture your medicines. The pharmaceutical industry needs Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical Instrument and Control and Computer engineers in order to provide this. The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers provides a body of knowledge and opportunity for engineers to work to a common goal serving the industry, setting standards and providing a post graduate professional certification. (see web site www.ispe.org.)
The career will involve you in the design, validation and commissioning of highly complex facilities for the manufacture of life saving drugs including sterile production of injectable forms of treatment.
Building and Construction Engineering/Management
In addition to the engineering and design effort in the creation of facilities such as buildings, bridges, process plant/refineries, oil and gas terminals, tunnels, pipelines etc, the construction of major multi-million pound projects can be hugely complicated.
The leading major engineering design companies and consultancies routinely consider, from the project outset, just how they will be constructed and how designs will be affected by the needs of the building methods, building logic, safety and the project timetable.
In recent years the Construction /Building Engineer and Manager have emerged as specialists who can advise the engineering team on such issues.
In addition, there are many routes for professional engineers into the management of major construction projects following graduation in a specialty such as civil, structural and mechanical engineering through further training and post graduate courses.
There are degree courses available specifically in construction and building engineering as specialist options should this be where your interest lies.
To find out more it is worth accessing the websites of some of the leading professional bodies which include:
The Chartered Association of Building
For “Chartered Building Eng” qualification.
The Chartered Institute of Building
They accredit courses leading to the “Chartered Builder” qualification.
Degree courses in Scotland that relate to Buildilng and Construction Engineering Managment include:
o BSc Hons Architectural Technology - Edinburgh Napier
o MSc/Bsc Hons Construction Management - Glasgow Caledonian University
o BSc Hons Construction Project Management - Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh
o BSc Hons Sustainable Construction - Inverness College, University of the Highlands
o MSc Construction Project Management - Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Computer Hardware and Software Engineering
What's the difference? And what kind of careers paths are available to students who are considering the study of computing?
The first issue to keep in mind is that a lot of the study for qualifications in the computing sector are strongly influenced by the USA (e.g. including many of the main computer languages) as that country has been a major driving force behind modern developments, via companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and IBM. This influences the curricula of the various university degrees across the world including in Britain.
You can qualify to Chartered Engineer status in both computer hardware and software engineering
Engineers in both of these areas find employment in a wide range of fields including engineering, scientific research, manufacturing, medicine, big business, banking, etc.
Computer Hardware Engineering
This can be regarded as “the intersection of electrical engineering and computer architecture” where engineers have to apply their learning about electronic and electrical engineering, computer systems and programming to design and build computer hardware.
The work can be in the design of a wider range of hardware items such as: central processing units, keyboards, manual control interface equipment, printers, memory storage equipment, system servers, Wi-Fi equipment, complex operating plant and entertainment equipment, computer systems including those for industrial manufacturing machinery, cars and aircraft, Xboxes etc, etc.
Obviously hardware engineers find themselves working closely with software engineers.
For more information about a career in hardware engineering see here
Computer Software Engineering
Software engineers work with and develop computer software programs that tell computers what to do by using coded instructions. They need knowledge of mathematical analysis, engineering and computer science.
Mostly, software engineering career routes tend to be in either computer applications engineering or computer systems engineering:
- Applications engineering is concerned with developing programmes that enable say, a factory machine to execute a task, using a variety of programming languages. This applies also to systems software.
- Computer systems software engineers develop software to operate computer systems. e.g. to match and perform a client's business system needs. As a simple example, this might involve processing stock control data and providing comparisons with sales data and/or company cost information related to market prices etc. where they are required to design, configure and implement a computer system as a business aid to meet the clients needs.