Is Engineering A Good Career: Job Outlook, Benefits & Downsides

Most people know what engineering entails, but is it a good career as many insist?

Engineers are professionals who apply the principles of science and technology to solve technical problems.

Because of their value, engineering careers are more rewarding than many other fields. The diverse sectors available in the engineering field and its high growing demand also add to why it is a good career.

Although becoming an engineer can be challenging and demanding, the perks that come along with it compensate for that.

If you are considering becoming an engineer, you are on the right path. This article explains the field’s pros, cons, and job outlook.

Pros of an engineering career

If you love math and science and enjoy solving technical problems, you may want to consider studying engineering.

But before you take a plunge, you want to be sure that what you’re getting into benefits you.

Here are some of the benefits associated with the engineering career:

1. Job satisfaction

When considering what career path to follow, one of the first questions is, “Will this career bring me fulfillment?”

For someone who is creative and enjoys taking on new challenges, the engineering profession is one where you often face different problems that require a high level of creativity.

Additionally, engineers use mathematical and scientific techniques to find the best solutions to problems if you find math and science interesting.

Taking on a career in engineering can also afford you the opportunity to work with other great minds to invent products that tackle real-life problems and change the world.

SEE: Job for Someone Who Doesn’t Know What to Do

2. Good pay

The engineering field requires a high-level set of skills. Little wonder it is one of the most rewarding careers in the world.

It’s no surprise that the median salary for engineers is $94,600, which is way higher than $38,640, the average median salary for all occupations in the US as of 2018.

Even the least of them, agricultural engineers, earn as much as $77,110 annually. This shows that you can be sure of a good salary as an engineer.

SEE: Is Information Systems A Good Major

3. Wide variety of job opportunities

Engineering itself is extensive, with a vast number of disciplines. From electrical to civil, mechanical, chemical, agricultural, computer, environmental engineering, and so on.

These different disciplines also involve several subfields. In fact, it won’t be easy to cover the whole engineering field. Moreover, new job descriptions are rising with the advent of new technologies.

Additionally, studying engineering gives you skills to apply to less technical fields such as project management, product management, operations management, and the like.

SEE: Differences And Similarities Between Industrial Engineer And Mechanical Engineers

4. Intellectual development

Studying engineering makes you intelligent. You will learn to understand the world around you and the science and engineering behind machines.

You could even invent your tech products and grow a multimillion-dollar business. Additionally, the skills of solving problems, critical thinking, and innovativeness, among other skills you gain while studying engineering, are useful throughout life.

SEE: Soft Skills Required In Workplace

5. Benefit to the society

As an engineer, your work adds value to society in many ways. Most technology available today is the product of the best engineering and technical minds.

For instance, prosthetic aids for disabled persons, transport systems, the Internet, solar energy systems, etc. are inventions of brilliant engineers. Their inventions have improved lives and brought about a transformation in ways unimaginable.

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6. The world will always need engineers

Technology permeates every industry, business, education, and even agriculture. While some tech devices require high technical skills, many other inventions need those with the technical know-how to manage and maintain these devices.

Engineers understand how to operate and manage complex machines. Also, the world will continue to advance technically. As such, engineers will always be needed to help manage these technologies.

SEE: Benefits of STEM Education

Cons of the engineering career?

Despite the good sides of engineering as a career, there are also downsides that you will encounter while studying to become an engineer in college or even while practicing as one.

Knowing these cons will help you prepare your mind for what’s ahead or decide to opt-out of pursuing a career in engineering.

Some of the cons include:

1. Difficult coursework

Engineering involves a lot of math and sciences especially pure sciences like physics and chemistry. For most students, these are some of the toughest courses offered in high school.

If you don’t have the aptitude for these subjects, you might not be able to get through them. Instead, you can apply for other non-technical majors like communication majors, business administration majors, psychology majors, and the like.

SEE: What Is Stem Education?

2. Work could be really demanding

According to the Bureau of Labor Studies, more than one-third of mechanical engineers work over 40 hours a week.

What this means is that it could be hard to maintain a good work-life balance in the initial phase of an engineering career because of the number of hours that you need to work.

Additionally, work may involve some degree of risk, especially when the equipment or structure has the potential to affect human life.

SEE: Is 15 Hours A Week Part-time?

3. Rigorous learning process

Engineering courses are one of the toughest majors in college or university. For instance, you need to do a lot of hard work studying to understand complex concepts in your coursework.

Also, the workload could be unpredictable and at times very high. And even after graduation, you will need to keep learning to stay current and relevant in your field.

4. Demand for extra care

Most engineering projects need to be compliant with safety and quality standards. In some situations, an engineer could be held responsible for failure to meet these standards.

Engineers must pay high attention to details and always adhere to federal and state laws since their work may affect public safety.

5. It requires high skills

The global industry requires highly skilled and trained engineers to meet its rapidly expanding needs. Engineers with years of experience and high technical skills are preferred.

Although it is not difficult to get entry-level engineering jobs as a new graduate, it will take years to achieve the high level of proficiency needed in the business environment.

SEE: Types Of Technical Skills You Need

What is the future of engineering jobs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering professions are projected to rise by 5%, 2% in the engineering technology industry, and 13% in computing professions from 2018 to 2028.

Additionally, the average annual salary for all engineering in 2018 was $94,600. Aerospace engineers had a median salary of $115,220, petroleum engineers had $137,170, while engineering managers earned the most with a $140,760 average salary annually.

Agricultural engineers earn the least with $77,110, civil engineers earn $86,640, and industrial engineers earn $87,040 annually.

Even at that, the average salaries for all engineering professions are way higher than the median annual salary ($38,640) for all occupations in the US in 2018.

Furthermore, with the continuous improvement in computer programming and new technologies, the number of science and engineering jobs will continue to rise yearly.

SEE: Are Electrical Engineers in Demand?

FAQs

Which engineering has the highest salary?

Engineering managers are the highest paid, with a $140,760 average salary annually; petroleum engineers come in second with $137,170, and aerospace engineers are third with a median salary of $115,220.

Is it hard to study engineering?

Yes. The engineering major can be difficult because it involves high-level math and science. You’d have to solve hypothetical real-life problems using mathematical and technological models and techniques.

Is engineering stressful?

Yes. Most engineering jobs involve at least 40 hours of work per week.

Is engineering really worth it?

Considering the high pay and various job opportunities available for engineers, becoming an engineer is worth it.

Engineering is one of the most diverse fields you can think of. You can choose to become a mechanical engineer, civil engineer, petroleum engineer, computer engineer, chemical engineer, aeronautic engineer, and lots more.

Although engineering has its downsides, the pros outweigh its cons. Since you need to be proficient in math, this article on how to improve your math will help you.

Lastly, people also ask if they can become an engineer without a degree. Read the article on if you can become an engineer without a degree to find answers.

I hope this article helped.

Thanks for reading.