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Why should I choose engineering?

Choose engineering because you will have fun and enjoy your work.  Engineering is very often making reality of yesterday’s science fiction; how else can you be involved in something so exciting? Engineers have an intrinsic understanding of physics, thermodynamics and material properties, which makes it possible to create viable new products.  Engineers are inventors.   Many people dream about inventing something new.  Engineers are able to invent every day, because of their knowledge base.   In some cases, that is completely new machines, edifices, or public works.  In many cases, it is subtle improvements on existing designs.   Engineers shape the future.

Engineers work in every imaginable environment.  That ranges from an office with a desk to the outdoor at a remote construction site.  You decide.  Engineers can choose where in the country or (for that matter) in the world they want to work and live.  They can choose pure mathematical modeling or they can choose to do hands on machining.  Engineers design utilities and infrastructure, buildings, automobiles, trucks, heavy equipment, farm equipment, high performance aircraft, computers, software, spacecraft . . .  If you want to design it, there is a job out there for you, somewhere.

As far as choosing an engineering discipline, the variety is almost as endless as the things that you can be involved in designing.  You can choose the discipline based on what you most want to do in your career or you can choose it based on where you want to live.  Alternatively, you could choose general engineering and specialize after graduation.

Engineers are very much at the top of the job market chain.  The very nature of engineering creates jobs.  Once new technology is created or new infrastructure plans are completed others must perform the work to manufacture and build the engineers’ designs.  Thus, all engineering designs that are put into motion will have a trickledown effect creating new jobs.   Engineers have a strengthening effect on their companies and local economies.

Engineering jobless rates are generally lower than other sectors of the economy.  As an example, this information is from an article on the IEEEi websiteii: “The unemployment rate for engineers jumped from 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2009.” At the same time, the overall unemployment rate was around 6 percent.

The following employment advertisement was sent to us on July 29, 2009 in an e-mail from Yahoo’s Hot Jobs.   Both of the headlines, “Shortage of US Engineers” and “Tech Salary Budgets Increase” are significant.  It is significant because either the rest of the economy is in decline or remaining at recessionary levels, but companies (and the world) are looking for engineers and other technologists.


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