There are seven main types of engineers and many ways to combine the various types of engineering for even more specialized careers. Engineers bring things to life.
If you love inventing, designing, and building, then a future as an engineer is perfect for you. Before you look into an undergraduate degree to kickstart your career, however, you need to know what type of engineer you want to at least focus on, to begin with. You can always expand your knowledge later, but you need a great launching point before that.
The good news is that today kids have excellent STEM programs like FIRST, which is an international program that gets kids into STEM-related projects and competitions.
Regardless of how old you are, you can always go back to school and get started in a new engineering pathway.
It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but these tips will help you become an engineer and get started this year:
How to Get the Most Out of Your Engineering Undergraduate
Every engineer, at minimum, needs to hold a bachelor of science. As these tend to focus more on the theoretical aspects of engineering, however, you won’t want to stop there.
Internships are, of course, essential to help prepare you for the working world and to also help you combine your theoretical knowledge with work experience, but that’s just one way forward.
You should also look for any programs or societies on campus. Joining groups and working together on projects (especially if they are later entered into competitions) and also working on your own personal projects are all great ways to practice and build a great portfolio for when you graduate.
Specializing: How to Choose the Right Master’s
You can go all the way and earn a Ph.D. as an engineer, but before you get ahead of yourself, you will first want to understand how you specifically want to use your engineering experience. Don’t feel like you have to rush into your master’s, either. Working first and understanding what type of design and project interests you the most is far more beneficial.
You may get started wanting to work on planes, for example, and then backtrack and realize that the new future of autonomous vehicle design is far more exciting for you. By giving yourself time to work professionally first, you can learn more about what really excites you, especially as there are many big technological innovations currently happening.
Waiting will also help you choose the right program for you. If you want to get into that autonomous vehicle design career path, for example, then this electrical and computer engineering degree online is a perfect choice. As the first of its kind, it offers a unique approach towards your career and helps you learn how to develop advanced mobility applications, integrate electrical and computer systems, and gives you essential primers on robotics that are enhanced by AI.
Engineering degrees typically take between one to two years to complete, but you’ll find many of them are offered 100% online and are designed for working professionals, so you can really integrate your degree into your career goals.
Networking and Career Tips
Always use personal projects and competitions at the start of your career to get those first few internships and that first job. Work experience is almost more important than your degree, but make no mistake: as an engineer, you will be expected to hold a degree and have a good grade to boot.
To really take your career far, you are going to want to do two things. The first is to network and network well. The second is to invest in lifelong learning.
There are new coding languages, new technologies, new theories, new design innovations, and new fields. With so much coming and going, it is irresponsible to avoid learning on an ongoing basis. You won’t need a new degree, but you should invest in learning on your own, completing certificates, going to talks, and so on. The good news is that investing in this extra learning is a great way to expand your network into the greater engineering community.
Stay in touch by using online tools like LinkedIn. This is the best way to really get to know who you meet on a calmer basis. Going on too strong can be daunting, especially if you don’t immediately need their help or advice. By being friendly and helpful in a neutral space, you can grow your relationships and really open some fun and exciting doors.