Engineers are innovative thinkers who apply the principles of mathematics, science and technology to solve real-world problems. You’ll find engineers working in virtually every industry and sector. They design everything from manufacturing machinery to spacecraft, and they work on problems ranging from meeting the world’s need for clean drinking water to safeguarding the environment for future generations. For an engineer, the question, “What can you do with an engineering degree?” can best be answered with another question: “What can’t you do with an engineering degree?”
Aerospace engineers design and develop spacecraft, aircraft, satellites and missiles. They also evaluate malfunctioning components of these machines to identify the cause of problems and figure out how to fix them. Some aerospace engineers may have a subspecialty. For example, some may specialize in navigation and control systems, while others specialize in propulsion and combustion. Aeronautical engineers focus on commercial or military aircraft, while astronautical engineers focus on spacecraft.
It is essential for aerospace engineers to have a firm grasp on the scientific concepts of thermodynamics, aerodynamics and celestial mechanics. They must also have a keen understanding of flight mechanics, acoustics and instrumentation.
Nearly 48 percent of all aerospace engineers work in the manufacturing sector, where they may work on fulfilling commercial or governmental contracts. About 14 percent of aerospace engineers in the U.S. work directly for government agencies.
If you have a passion for helping people overcome obstacles, consider pursuing a career as a rehabilitation engineer. These professionals have an academic background in biomedical engineering, which they use to design the assistive devices that people with disabilities need to do everyday activities. The possibilities in this career are exciting, and include the following types of innovations:
- Brain computer interfaces: Allow severely disabled individuals to manipulate computer cursors or robotic arms just by thinking about it (based on the brain’s electrical impulses)
- Sensory prosthetics: Include cochlear and retinal implants that enhance independence for people with hearing or vision loss
- Physical prosthetics: Replace missing hands, feet and limbs with powered artificial components and exoskeletons
- Virtual rehabilitation systems: Support physical and cognitive rehab through the use of virtual reality simulation devices
- Rehabilitation robotics: Provide robotic therapy aids for mobility training
If you choose an engineering degree program with a specialization in electrical engineering, this is one of the job possibilities you might consider pursuing. A career as an electronics engineer may be ideal for you if you enjoy using electronic equipment ranging from cellphones to portable music players.
Electronics engineers design and improve electronic parts and systems intended for consumer, scientific, industrial or military use. These engineers may work on anything from satellites to communications equipment to radar and sonar systems.
Are you passionate about environmental issues and sustainable practices that help preserve the environment for future generations? A career as an environmental engineer might be the perfect fit for you. These professionals apply the principles of engineering, chemistry, biology and soil science for the purpose of environmental preservation. Some specific job duties of an environmental engineer may include the following:
- Prepare environmental investigation reports
- Design water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems and similar projects to further environmental protection initiatives
- Deliver technical expertise on hazardous waste and other environmental remediation projects
- Ensure that facilities comply with all applicable environmental regulations
Environmental engineers frequently collaborate with professionals from other backgrounds, including legal advocates, corporate executives and government consultants. Strong communication skills and analytic reasoning are essential for this career. To get started as an Environmental Engineer, start by taking class at GCU's Environmental Science program.
Are you interested in computers and software? Does the way that computers and technology function interest you? If so, then GCU’s software engineering program may be a good fit for you. This program teaches students how to use computer science practices and technologies to find solutions to software systems. There are many career options when you obtain this degree, including:
- Software engineer
- Senior engineer
- IT director
- Software development/engineering manager
- Application architect
- Database architect
- Systems analyst
- Systems architect
- IT project manager
- Solutions manager
- Product manager
Software engineers have the ability to work in many different workplaces, including social media companies, large corporations, healthcare providers, financial institutions and more.
Grand Canyon University invites prospective students to explore the possibilities at the College of Science, Engineering and Technology by clicking on Request Info at the top of the screen. Our Christian learning community offers multiple options for STEM majors, including degrees such as the Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Engineering with an Emphasis in Robotics. Degree specializations in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering are also available to STEM-minded students.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.