The Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies is an award-winning STEM specialty center that supports hands-on engineering education.
12 Reasons to Pursue Engineering as a Career
Not everyone has the talent and perseverance to become an engineer. But you are rock solid at advanced math and science. Solving complex problems makes your clock tick. You're a leader among your peers, communicating well with others. (Okay, so maybe you don't spell all that well, but that's what spellcheck is for.)
Challenge? Bring it! Engineering yeah!
If you've put engineering on your shortlist of career options, then here are a dozen reasons to pursue engineering further.
Love the Career You Choose
Reason #1: Love the Work That You Do
Engineering is consistently given the nod for high job satisfaction. Depending on the type of engineering you pursue, you can select a work environment that suits your needs—from manufacturing plants to office settings to the great outdoors. Potential types of employers include:
- Fortune 500 organizations
- small and medium-sized businesses
- government agencies
- the military
- engineering, consulting, and design firms
- hospitals and universities.
Find the right work environment, surrounded yourself with meaningful, challenging projects, and it will seem less like work and more like nourishment for your brain. And that's important. Considering that you may be working for almost 50 years, you need to love what you do!
Thumbs Up! Everybody Loves An Engineer
Reason #2: Make a Difference By Changing the World for Good
When legendary Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs recruited John Scully from Pepsi and wooed him to Apple, Jobs asked him if he wanted to “sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”
With engineering and other STEM careers, that's your challenge. You can make a tangible difference in the world.
Engineers are the good guys (and gals). They add value, build new technology, create lasting change that matters in people's lives—whether it's a bridge, a prosthetic limb, or a wind turbine. Don't you want to be a part of that?
Wow! Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century
6. Radio & Television
16. Health Techologies (e.g., medical devices)
7. Agricultural Mechanization
17. Petroleum & Petrochemical Technologies
18. Laser & Fiber Optics
4. Water Supply & Distribution
19. Nuclear Technologies
10. Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
15. Household Appliance
20. High Performance Materials (e.g., steel)
Batman: He's Energized About Engineers
Reason #3: Solve Important Problems
As an engineer, your time is well spent on issues that are mission-critical to economic success as well as health and human safety. You can help solve problems such as: preserving the environment, developing life-saving medical equipment, or pioneering low-cost building materials useful in fighting global poverty.
All of this requires engineering—powerful, diligent, mind-blowing engineering! It takes being a math and science ninja, a warrior of logic and creativity. Are you game?
In very real and concrete ways, engineers save lives, prevent disease, and protect our planet. Are you up for those types of challenges?
Engineers Make the Impossible Possible
Scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been.
— Albert Einstein
Reason #4: Stretch Your Imagination and Creativity
Artists, writers, and photographers aren't the only creative professions. If you've ever seen the Eiffel Tower or marveled at drones or rockets, you can appreciate that engineers combine science with creative ideas that no one once thought were possible.
Engineers and their ideas help push the bounds of technology forward. What was once un-freaking-imaginable can become a reality because engineers dare to ponder it and set about to make it true. For example:
- fuel cell vehicles (zero-emission vehicles that run on hydrogen)
- neuromorphic technology (computer chips that imitate the human brain)
- the digital genome (your genetic code on a USB)
- autonomous vehicles.
Engineers are behind the cars we drive, the pills we pop and the way we power our homes.
— James Dyson
The Eiffel Tower: An Engineering Gem
Reason #5: Travel the Country or the World
While many engineers opt to work in manufacturing facilities or lab environments, others enjoy a travel component with their work. Civil engineers must venture to project work sites to deliver their expertise. Field service engineers travel to customer locations to help solve problems.
There is also demand for engineers in technical consulting firms and corporate technical sales. Your education as an engineer means you don't have to be tied to one location if that's not what you want.
Reason #6: Earn a Competitive Salary
Thank goodness you excel in math, because you're going to need it to keep track of that money you'll be making as an engineer. Right out of college, engineering majors are consistently the highest-paying college majors at the bachelor's degree level.
As a group, engineers are surpassed later in their careers by doctors and lawyers. However, consider all the additional years of education and massive debt that those professions typically amass. In comparison, engineering looks like a very good investment!
Others Can Be Bored With Their Career Choices, But Not You!
Reason #7: Job Variety
Because of the problem-solving nature of their work, engineers often face lower repetitiveness in day-to-day operations than many other occupations. When jobs are less routine and more complex, employees typically find the work more engaging and satisfying.
Depending on the type of engineer you are, you could be doing mental gymnastics to solve a problem, performing hands-on work with tools, making a presentation, creating a CAD diagram, and visiting a customer work site—perhaps all in one day! That's a lot of variety for one job. Who could get bored with that?
Fun Stuff for Engineers
Reason #8: Employment Stability
Everyone wants career stability, especially in an uncertain economy. Unemployment levels are generally lower for those in science and engineering, compared with those in other fields. In addition, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for specific types of engineers (e.g., civil, petroleum, environmental, biomedical) tends to be particularly bright.
Reason #9: Work With Other Smart, Innovative Individuals
Engineers are logical problem solvers, and in their quest for elegant solutions to vexing problems, they collaborate with other bright "idea" people who are also at the top of their game. Depending on their exact job, engineers may work in small groups of other engineers, directly with customers and suppliers, or with experts in allied disciplines who have a stake in delivering results.
One man's 'magic' is another man's engineering.
— Robert A. Heinlein
Reason #10: Enjoy the Respect of Others
Engineers are consistently among the top occupations garnering public respect. For example, Pew Research studies have found that more than six in ten Americans surveyed view engineers as contributing "a lot" to society's well being.1
Others recognize that it takes skill and diligence to become an engineer. Not only do they admire the engineer's adeptness at solving difficult problems but also the profession's ethical requirements.
Reason #11: Job and Career Flexibility
Jobs that are more flexible provide employees with greater discretion regarding how long, where, and when they work. As salaried professionals, engineers often have the flexibility to take time off to attend to family or personal obligations. This leads to improved work-life balance.
Having a degree in engineering can also lead to solid opportunities in other fields: business, medicine, law, design, government, and entrepreneurial ventures. No matter what way you look at it, engineering can be your springboard to success because it teaches you to creatively solve problems.
Engineering is a fantastic base for any career.
— Chris Liddell
Reason #12: Never Stop Learning
As passionately curious people, engineers must understand that nothing grows in a comfort zone. To develop a lifetime of expertise, engineers must focus on both the scope and detail of their technical competence.
Much of their learning is on-the-job in dealing with more experienced engineers or technical experts. They continually educate themselves on new methods and materials and changing technology, develop rules of thumb based on their extensive practical experience, and learn from failures.
Once you stop learning, you start dying.
— Albert Einstein
Summary of Reasons to Pursue Engineering
1. Love the work that you do.
7. Job variety
2. Make a difference by changing the world for good.
8. Employment stability.
3. Solve important problems.
9. Work with other smart, innovative individuals.
4. Stretch your imagination and creativity.
10. Enjoy the respect and recognition of others.
5. Travel the country or the world.
11. Job flexibility
6. Earn a competitive salary.
12. Never stop learning.
1"Public Esteem for Military Still High." Last modified July 11, 2013. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/07/11/public-esteem-for-military-still-high/.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies
Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies (author) from Virginia on December 16, 2018:
Marie - For people who enjoy math and science, engineering is a terrific option. We certainly need more talented females in engineering. Thanks for sharing your love of engineering.
Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on December 16, 2018:
My first boyfriend was a civil engineer, and my former spouse is an engineer-minded architect. I liked science and physics, but never really thought about becoming an engineer. Maybe I should have.
Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies (author) from Virginia on October 12, 2017:
Mary - Thank you! We agree that we need all need more female STEM students.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 11, 2017:
Great article. We need to encourage more kids especially female to take up this course.
Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies (author) from Virginia on April 15, 2016:
DreamerMeg - It's a shame that naysayers still exist, especially for girls because engineering opens up fantastic career paths. My own 16 year-old daughter is in a high school engineering program that shows students that although engineering is challenging it is also a lot of hands-on fun. Later this month, they are headed to the worldwide FIRST Robotics tournament. I have never seen so much pride and excitement in a group of young people. The academy also has clubs specializing in rocketry and other engineering endeavors. My husband and I started telling my daughter from an early age that math is connected to everything and that math can change the world. I hope your daughter has a change of heart!
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on April 13, 2016:
Great hub, a real cheer leader for engineering. Not everyone who COULD be an engineer is rock solid at maths. Many possibly good maths students are put off maths at an early age by family or friends who tell them how much hard work it is or how difficult it is. My granddaughter, aged 9, wants to be a Lego engineer but thinks she is no good at maths because her mother tells that she was no good at maths so the same will happen to her. It is a real battle to get her to understand that yes, she IS good at maths. I think sometimes schools or colleges maybe need to encourage the fun side of maths as problem solving to help those youngsters in this situation.
Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies (author) from Virginia on April 11, 2016:
Deeda - Thanks! Engineers have terrific options as career problem solvers, whether they stay in engineering or choose other paths like management, law or medicine.
Deeda on April 11, 2016:
Great Hub on Engr'g! Opens up all the options available.