Engineering degrees are very appealing and promise a great career. But choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life in your late teens or early 20s doesn’t guarantee making the best choice. Assignments are hard and the workload is often immense. You might later realise that this is simply not what you expected and wanted. If this is true and you are still going to graduate but don’t want to follow the conventional route, there is plenty of alternative careers for engineers out there. So, if you need some ideas, keep on reading, because your degree is a very valuable one and can be successfully put to use in various disciplines.
Skills of an engineering graduate
During your time at university, you learn a lot about engineering. Knowledge of many technical details is what most of your exams and assessments are about, but that’s not all you get. University provides you with a very valuable set of transferable skills. Engineers are great at solving problems, managing time and have strong numeracy skills, to name just a few. Student placements and internships are also valuable learning experiences which can help find alternative careers for engineers.
1. Management and logistics
These jobs definitely require problem-solving skills and ability to make critical decisions. Planning and working under pressure are also what you have to deal with on an everyday basis. Numeracy skills are useful in calculating budgets and foreseeing costs and risks. This is where planning and organisation skills play such an important role. Analytical thinking is another skill you need. If you work in supply chain, your technical background might be very helpful to understand how certain equipment works as well as details of the products.
Good communication skills are a must. As a manager you need to have good relations with your employees, as well as be able to clearly communicate and execute what needs to be done.
This job will let you utilise your expertise and presentation skills in order to earn customers and develop business. To succeed you need detailed technical knowledge and understanding of how things work, which is simple with your education. Communication skills are crucial to understand client needs and provide for them accordingly. The same skills are used to efficiently communicate with other members of the team such as designers, developers and researchers.
3. Academic teaching
Another one of alternative careers for engineers is to become a teacher or an academic lecturer. You can help new generations of scientists find passion for engineering and assists them in developing creative thinking and problem-solving skills. It is also a chance to use real-life examples from your own time at university and also experience gained during placements. To succeed in this role you’ll also need some experience in teaching, enthusiasm for the subject and lots of patience!
If back in your college days you most enjoyed writing and turned every formal assignment into a story, this might be the best option for you. If you have a passion for writing and also enjoy engineering, combine these two passions and make a living out of it. Since you’re an expert in the field, your articles or blog posts would be very valuable for the industry and will provide readers with solid and reliable information. What other skills gained during your university time would you use? Organisation, planning and analytical thinking amongst others. You might also find yourself in a challenging situation of explaining highly complicated and technical terms to general public. But isn’t it because of challenges that you wanted to do engineering in the first place?
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Other Alternative Careers for Engineers
To be fairly honest, you can do anything with an engineering degree. There are plenty of people these days who work in industries and do jobs absolutely different from their degrees. If that’s the case for you then you might want to get additional training in the area you like or take some extra course, such as accounting or an MBA.