What is an Engineering Degree?
Are you looking for a career that allows you to explore your affinity for mathematics and design? Obtaining an engineering degree provides you with the tools to pursue work in a variety of industries. Read on to learn more about everything involved in getting an engineering degree and concentrations you might wish to pursue.
Engineering students learn to study the construction of objects and find ways of rebuilding them or coming up with new constructs that improve on the original. Most engineering students enjoy exploring applications of math and science to structures around them. They enjoy solving problems that have a positive impact on the lives of other people.
Additional skills essential to successful engineers include the ability to communicate their ideas effectively and work well with their peers and those they supervise. These skills will allow for smoother, timelier delivery of projects.
The Salary Outlook for Engineers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average median wage of U.S. engineers to be over $91,000 in 2016. Your actual salary will depend on where you are in your career. Students just graduating from college will not earn the same pay as an engineer who has worked in the industry for years. Obtaining additional education like a master, doctorate, or Ph.D. can also improve your salary prospects.
A high salary is likely not your primary reason for pursuing an engineering degree. Engineers tend to enjoy their work; as a bonus, performance and the willingness to continue learning can also lead you to better opportunities and pay increases.
Career Paths for Engineers
Your options as an engineer will vary based on your degree concentration and your particular areas of interest. The growth of technology has expanded the number of fields in which you could apply your engineering knowledge. The majority require a focus on understanding the concepts and construction of different types of objects.
For example, aerospace engineering focuses on producing viable aircraft and spacecraft, while petroleum engineering emphasizes finding ways to design and create natural gas pipelines, oil drills, and other technology useful to the oil and gas industry. You could turn to environmental engineering to find solutions to common environmental problems, or work with substances that improve the quality of people’s lives in materials engineering.
Standard Engineering Degree Curriculum
Most undergraduate engineering degrees require a heavy focus on mathematics and science. You will likely need to take calculus, chemistry, and physics course as part of your undergraduate studies. Most schools also require you to take electives that expand your knowledge of social sciences, computer studies, and communication.
As you move into upper-level classes, you will likely have the opportunity to participate in research projects that demonstrate how to apply what you are learning to real-world scenarios. Students are also pushed to display competence by modeling constructs to professors and peers.
Mechanical Engineering Degree
Mechanical engineers learn how to invent something new or come up with ways of improving the automatic functionality of existing technology or constructs. They can be found working in automobile factories, government agencies, and utility companies. The average salary for mechanical engineers is around $88,000.
Students who pursue a mechanical engineering degree learn about technical subjects like hydraulics, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. They also learn to understand the various components for everything from power systems to computers. Mechanical engineers must obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license to work once they receive their degree.
Civil Engineering Degree
Civil engineers can be found working on various projects in the public and private sector. They design, build and supervise the construction of buildings, tunnels, water systems, roads, airports, bridges, and other necessary infrastructure.
Most coursework for civil engineering degrees consists of classes covering subjects like advanced mathematics, statistics, fluid dynamics, and engineering systems and mechanics. The exact curriculum will vary depending on your choice of institution and your specific concentration. You will be taught decision-making skills that will prove critical in high-pressure situations. There is also a significant focus on teaching communication, organizational, and leadership skills.
Electrical Engineering Degree
Coursework for those pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering typically consists of subjects like digital design systems, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Electrical engineering programs also usually cover chemistry, physics, and calculus. Additional topics often explored include electronics, power systems, electromagnetics, and communication systems.
Many institutions offer students the option of choosing an electrical engineering specialization. They may provide concentrations in areas like nanotechnology, electronics, and communications. Most core electrical engineering classes go into standard variables and concepts used in system design like Fourier and Z-Transforms, frequency domain, and Nyquist sampling.
Chemical Engineering Degree
Undergraduates looking to obtain a B.S. degree in chemical engineering can expect a course load that consists of subjects like physics, trigonometry, and calculus. They will also explore various aspects of organic, analytical, and physical chemistry. They will spend a lot of time in laboratories learning proper procedures on safely conducting experiments and testing out their ideas.
Upper-level coursework may consist of classes in material science and engineering, along with a more in-depth exploration of chemistry. They may also be asked to take courses in programming and other aspects of technology.
Data Science Degree
While it is not tied directly to engineering, data science is another alternative degree path for students with a keen interest in mathematics and data exploration. Data majors may pursue coursework covering the foundations of math and computational structures. They also explore applications of probability and how to build data models that can help drive the decision-making process within organizations.
Data science, similar to engineering, focuses on the construction of objects. It explores the information gleaned from them to find ways of improving the structure or creating new applications that can perform a function more efficiently.