Engineer Ideas: How to Put Your Degree Toward a Real Job

So you’ve just graduated from college, and you’re beginning to learn there are a lot more opportunities out there for an engineer than you first thought! More than any other profession, engineers are expected to be generalists, so companies are often more concerned with how fast you can learn new things, than how much you know about a narrow subject area. That’s why you should make your job search as broad as possible, don’t just look in your degree area. If you need a starting point, consider the following engineering jobs.

Industrial Process Control

From iron works, Canada valve works, and oil refineries, large industrial processes need to be maintained by skilled professionals. Process control engineers are responsible for creating and maintaining the software systems that keep factories and chemical plants up and running. If you have an aptitude for information technology, but also want to work in a place that exposes you to industrial problems as well, you might be perfect for process control. Process control also synergizes with several other engineering fields, since many forms of engineering involve some kind of mass production. According to Terminal City Iron Works Ltd, there usually is a process control specialist in every large factory, or specialized process control firms that contract to many companies. Which kind you choose to work at will depend on whether you want to learn one company’s system in depth, or want a variety of different challenges. These jobs are most common in industrial zones, so consider looking in your closest industrial park.

Chemical Engineering

With the new discovery of huge shale deposits in the United States, the petrochemicals industry has never been stronger. If you love chemistry and want to put your aptitude to improving large-scale chemical processes, you were made to be a chemical engineer. You will also need to be comfortable with mathematics, as understanding chemical processes often requires numerical analysis. This job tends to be highly regional, so be sure to keep your job search open to the major chemical strongholds on the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard.

Software Engineering

This one is a black sheep. Software engineering is a relatively new field, and wasn’t even considered an engineering discipline until just the past couple of decades. The reason for this is probably that software engineering is difficult to define. It’s partly project management, but also involves computer programming, and a good domain knowledge of a variety of different fields. If you enjoyed the computer programming classes in your undergraduate curriculum, this field might be for you. Software engineering firms are most plentiful in New York City, Washington State, and the Southern California area.

Civil Engineering

You might dream of building bridges, but unfortunately most civil engineers spend their time on more mundane problems. See that guy setting up the camera next to the stoplight to monitor traffic? He’s a civil engineer. Even simple things like fire hydrants, and light poles need to be managed by a skilled engineer. Don’t disregard this discipline just because it’s mundane though, because civil engineers are in demand everywhere. In fact, civil engineering is probably the most location independent engineering domain of all. So if you’re locally minded, and want to be one of the unsung heroes who make your town livable, consider applying to be a civil engineer.

Hopefully you can see how powerful an engineering degree is. Regardless of what kind of engineering your undergraduate major was, you have an enormous number of opportunities available. Remember that you become a more valuable engineer the more you know, so never stop learning.

image credits: tiverylucky

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