CHOOSING A CAREER / FEB. 25, 2015
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7 Considerations for Your Engineering Degree in 2015

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You sailed right through the tough, grinding college math classes. You probably pulled countless all-nighters to get the work done, but loved it every step of the way. Now you have your degree, and while looking through the job postings, you’re probably asking yourself, “Now what?”

Engineering degrees are the key to careers of the future – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay in engineering jobs to change the world. Your unique skills can be applied to a multitude of fields, some closely related to engineering and some that might surprise you.

If you have well-rounded interests, here’s your chance to put them to use alongside your advanced technical abilities. Below you’ll find a few examples of non-engineering careers that welcome the minds of engineers everywhere and every day.

1. Finance Engineering

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A finance engineer studies financial and economic theory, mathematical tools and programming. Typical settings for financial engineers include commercial and investment banks, insurance firms, and regulatory agencies. They address current financial problems and develop innovative financial products.

Somewhat of a subgroup of the larger field of IT research, financial engineers make about $102K annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At a rate of 15%, the expected rate of growth for this job market is also faster than average.

2. Architectural/Construction Engineering

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Architectural engineering shouldn’t be confused with the actual practice of architecture. While architects are the designers of buildings, architectural engineers design the systems within buildings. They plan, construct and operate systems that people normally take for granted.

With a career as an architectural engineer, you’ll find yourself working with anything from heating and ventilating a building to developing fire protection or plumbing.

Architectural engineers make, on average, $124K a year, according to the BLS. However, the job market growth in this line of engineering is slow, growing at a rate of only 7%.

3. Environmental Engineering

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An environmental engineer solves problems in the environment. They have a vast knowledge of biology, chemistry and soil science. They, for example, could do the following:

Environmental engineers recommend strategies for improving environmental performance. They also review environmental regulations (like air permits) and create systems to agree with those permits. They can also play an important role in disaster recovery.

The BLS states that environmental engineers make $80K per year on average, and the job outlook for this field is growing quickly at a faster-than-average rate of 15%.

4. Consulting/Sales Engineering

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There are many organizations that have trouble solving problems – and engineering consultants can help.

These engineers focus on strengthening the profitability of a company through data analysis and modeling. They present data to their clients, which involves the heavy use of analytical and communication skills. If your focus is on sales, you’ll be presenting ideas that will win business for a company.

The average sales engineer makes about $91K a year, according to the BLS. The job market for this kind of engineering is steady, with jobs growing as fast as the average of all U.S. jobs.

5. Public Sector & Defense Engineering

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Public sector work is done by government organizations, instead of businesses (the private sector). Engineers who work within the public sector are usually hired directly by government organizations where the most common task is to continually develop and repair equipment.

When you work in the public sector, you can be assigned a task for any branch of government activities, including work in government offices, road networks, defense projects, and even teaching.

The BLS says engineers working in the public sector make an average of $80K a year. However, the outlook for this field’s job market growth is slower than average, meaning that not as many jobs in this specific industry are readily available.

6. Human Resource/Industrial Engineering

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Do you have technical expertise and exceptional communication skills? Human resource engineers train workforces on important topics related to the functions of a workplace. These can include company-specific standards, and equipment/health and safety processes.

You’ll analyze the training needs of a workforce and develop training suitable for people who learn on all levels. Strong presentation skills are necessary, because your end goal is to effectively communicate information to everyone involved.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that industrial engineers make about $78K a year. However, this career is in less demand than some other engineering fields, with a job growth rate of only 5% (slower than average).

7. Logistics Engineering

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Put simply, logistics is moving materials. It’s transferring and distributing raw materials to manufacturing facilities and customers. Detailed planning of financial transactions using cost-benefit analysis is also involved. Logistics firms aim for the lowest cost to move materials.

As a logistics engineer, you’ll take care of tracking orders and product availability while forecasting economic changes. Most logistics engineers make around $72K annually, according to the BLS, and the job outlook for such careers is great, with this job market growing much faster than the average job.

An engineering degree doesn’t have to equal a job in regular engineering. In fact, if you breezed through those college classes but didn’t like the completely technical aspects, these careers might be a good fit for you.

Many applications of engineering offer intense and focused communication with others, as well as advanced business practices. No matter your interests, an engineering degree can propel your career forward.

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