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Career in Engineering

How to become an engineer, engineering degrees, how to choose which degree to study and what makes a good engineer.

I have worked as an engineer for almost a decade. In this blog I'm going to cover main engineering courses/degrees, how to choose the most appropriate degree, tips for finding a job and what makes a good engineer. I will also highlight my personal views based on my own experiences.

Choosing a Career Path

There are three main paths students can purse to becoming an engineer. Students could either complete an apprenticeship, study a diploma, or go to university to study a degree. I recommend reading my previous blog post where I covered these routes in much more depth. Once you have identified which career path you would like to follow, the next step is to find which type of engineering course/degree you would like to study.


Main Engineering Degrees and Courses

Educational institutions offer a vast selection of engineering courses. Before we discuss how to select the right course for you, let's discuss some of these briefly.

How to Choose the Right Engineering Degree/Course

How do you choose which engineering discipline to study from the above? My recommendation is this:

One thing to note is that universities are flexible when it comes to switching courses in the first year. When I went to university most of the modules I studied in the first year for Aerospace Engineering were similar to that of Biomedical and other engineering degrees. The chances are you will be able to change course in the first year if you are unhappy. Moreover, most engineering courses will allow you to specialise in a certain topic during the final year projects. I became specialised in stress analysis during my final two years. When you reach the end of the first or second year, you should have a better understanding of which modules from your engineering course you would like to study further.

I would also recommend that you consider doing a master's in engineering. The extra year you spend at university will greatly increase your chances of getting a better job.


Finding a Job

Finding a job that you will truly enjoy in the real world will be a challenge. I worked as a stress engineer for major corporations before I went on to work in the education sector (which is now my passion). When you study your selected course think about which modules you enjoy the most. Consider gaining some work experience during a gap year or a summer if possible. Moreover, don't limit yourself to applying for graduate jobs. If you have some relevant knowledge to offer to a particular job, go for it! As an engineer, more hands-on and creative your job is, more likely you will enjoy it. Don't settle until you are happy. Explore many industries as you can while you are young.

What Makes a Good Engineer

Finally, here are my top tips for becoming a good engineer when you enter work life:

The views and recommendations represented in this blog are based on the personal opinions of the author. We will not accept liability for any loss, damage or inconvenience arising as a consequence of any use of or the inability to use any information on this blog.
Vidura Fonseka

Vidura Fonseka

Engineer and Dancer

A qualified engineer with experience at Rolls-Royce. Professionally trained dancer in Popping, Bboying (Break-Dancing and Zouk).