Engineering involves problem solving and using expertise in science and math to do a job. There are various fields in engineering including Aerospace, Agricultural, Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer Hardware, Electrical and Electronics, Environmental, Industrial, Materials, Mechanical, Mining and Geological, Nuclear, and Petroleum. The jobs that fall under this sector are very particular and requires people who are studying to obtain or already possess a Bachelors’ degree or higher level of education.
Engineering is part and parcel of everyday life and those who have the ability to think innovatively will always be in high demand.
A career in engineering is bound to be interesting as it involves a huge variety of fields and activities. Recent stats have revealed that South Africa is struggling to fill the shortage of engineers. These shortages are not just in the mechanical engineering field but also design, chemical, industrial, civil and electrical engineering fields.
The job of a mechanical engineer is to design, install and evaluate machinery, processes and products. Most of the moving objects that you see around you, as well as those in factories and mines, are the work of mechanical engineers. These engineers are involved in almost every other aspect of engineering. They also focus on research and manufacturing because new types of machinery are continually in high demand.
Your mechanical engineering degree will give you one of the most diverse educations. As a result, your skills are in demand across a range of engineering industries, such as aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceutical and energy. Your skills and knowledge gained from a mechanical engineering degree will set you up for a successful career.
These types of engineers are typically involved in the research, improvement, design and implementation of integrated systems comprising the enhancement of capital, plant, manpower and raw materials.
Since industrial engineering is not restricted to any specific type of business there are many job opportunities available for these engineers. They can find employment in practically any field, such as mining, agriculture, hospitals, banks and other services.
Many industrial engineers will eventually find themselves in the position of project manager. As project managers, industrial engineers are in charge of coordinating a team to accomplish a set of objectives.
Civil engineers are responsible for the world’s most inspiring buildings, bridges and roads, as well as some of the less thrilling buildings, bridges and roads. The scope of the profession is the design and maintenance of public works such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems as well as public facilities like railways and airports.
These engineers are involved with the projects at every step, from the beginning designs to the construction to the oversight when the project is complete.
Civil engineers also perform experiments, whether that’s testing soils to determine the strength of a project’s foundation or assessing building materials to determine whether, for instance, concrete or asphalt would work best for a certain project.
Electrical engineering students find their first job relatively easy as most employers in the electrical field search for fresh minded young people who they can mould for their own specific needs and make experts out of them.
This particular field opens up ones job opportunity both nationally and internationally due to the demand for engineers.
The fact that there are so many varieties and sources of electrical power means that there are also numerous areas of specialisation in the field of electrical engineering.
Specialisation may also include the design of electrical transmission systems, electric motors and generators, high voltage engineering and power electronics, to name but a few.
These engineers can be involved in research projects, complicated designs in the manufacturing field and the testing of equipment and of installed machines.
The world constantly requires people, who can devise, build and create cutting-edge products, and design engineers do just that.
A strong background in math and science is a must for any design engineer; in addition, experience in computers is also a requirement for any job in the field.
Design engineers must also be comfortable speaking before large groups and writing memos,both of which are routine industry tasks.
Chemical engineers play a key role in the conservation and protection of the environment. Due to the worldwide shortage of chemical engineers, salaries offered for this profession have increased dramatically.
Job opportunities include:
- Oil, coal and gas
- Plastics and fibres
- Food processing
- Effluent treatment
- Water treatment
- Power generation
- Fertiliser manufacturing
- Cement making
- Research and consulting
Within these industries, chemical engineers rely on their knowledge of mathematics and science, particularly chemistry, to overcome technical problems safely and economically.
Specifically, chemical engineers improve food processing techniques, and methods of producing fertilisers, to increase the quantity and quality of available food.
They also construct the synthetic fibres that make our clothes more comfortable and water resistant; they develop methods to mass-produce drugs, making them more affordable; and they create safer, more efficient methods of refining petroleum products, making energy and chemical sources more productive and cost effective.
Chemical engineers also develop solutions to environmental problems, such as pollution control and remediation.
What makes a great engineer and are there personal attributes?
- These include having an analytical aptitude and being inquisitive by nature. A great engineer pays meticulous attention to detail, since the slightest error can cause an entire structure to fail, so every detail must be reviewed thoroughly during the course of completing a project.
- Having excellent communication skills is a must for any engineer.
- Great engineers have sharp problem solving skills. They are frequently called upon solely to address problems, and they must be able to figure out where the problem stems from and quickly develop a solution.
- Engineers understand that they are part of a larger team working together to make one project come together successfully, and therefore, must work well as part of that team.
- We live in a time were developments in technology happen very rapidly. All great and successful engineers keep up-to-date with new research happening in the industry.