What is an engineer?
Engineers are problem-solvers. They use math and science along with skills in communications, critical thinking, creativity, and management to find practical solutions that will benefit people or society. They design, create, build, improve, and invent everything from airplane engines and cellphones to skyscrapers and space suits.
Are you a future engineer?
Engineering is about being creative and solving problems. It involves judgment, taking risks, working in teams, and facing exciting challenges.
What can I do as an engineer?
If you study engineering, you'll have lots of options of what to do, and where to do it. Engineers work all over the world, in big and small cities, rural communities, even on the polar caps. Some work in offices or classrooms, others in factories or research labs; some work outdoors and a few work in outer space! Some engineers go into medicine, law, business management, or policy.
Engineers are involved in making the wonders of the future a reality. Engineers are the first to develop or try out new technologies, like a flying car or an undersea house. As an engineer, you could design and build real or virtual reality amusement parks, or discover a new material that can mend broken bones or a medicine to cure cancer.
Engineering is a well-paid career, and there is ample opportunity for advancement. In the spring of 2000, the average starting salary for an engineer with a bachelor's (4-5 year) degree ranged from $36,000 to $50,000. This is much higher than salaries for graduates with bachelor's degrees in many other fields.
Engineers work with other talented people. As an engineer you may be working on projects with experts in many different fields and people from different backgrounds. In solving a problem, every member of the team brings in expertise, whether practical, technical, or creative. As an engineer, you might be working on a team to:
- Develop the equipment for a heart transplant with surgeons, nurses, and hospital managers
- Launch a new car with accountants, market researchers, salespeople, public relations experts, manufacturers, and suppliers
- Build a bridge in a foreign country with shipping agents, customs officers, local transport company representatives, and government inspectors
- Prepare specifications for a new microwave ovenwith cooks, catering specialists, Health and Safety officers, and homeowners
- Design a satellite for weather forecasting with scientists, meteorologists, space experts, and reliability analysts
What kind of education will I need to be an engineer?
Becoming an engineer requires a college degree. To prepare yourself, you'll need a well-rounded education that includes lots of math and science, along with communications, history, literature, and the arts. Taking these kinds of classes in high school will open the doors to a college education and great opportunities in the future.