Career Opportunities in Engineering

Career Development and Graduate School

One reason to choose to study engineering at college is to have a good assortment of viable career paths. Engineers who graduate with a decent GPA can expect to have the following options available to them shortly after graduation:

Ø employment as a full-time engineer either in private industry or government,

Ø a full financial aid package to continue your engineering education at graduate school (this normally includes all of your tuition and enough money to live frugally in the locality of your chosen institution), or

Ø graduate studies in something other than engineering, such as business or patent law. Engineers are considered "good material" for MBA studies because of their analytical mindset. Also, engineers are needed in the field of patent law.

Your career path will depend on a variety of factors:

· What is God calling you to do? Engineering is generally a well-paid profession, but it would be a mistake to direct your career path based primarily on financial factors. The Scripture warns us: "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." (1 Tim. 6:19, NIV). Why should you work, then? According to the Bible, "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." (Eph. 4:28). As you consider what to do, think about the usefulness of engineering to the consumers of products. As you think about the financial rewards of engineering, think about the ability to give to your Church, to mission work, and to charities that help those in need.

· Where is God calling you to go? If you are a Christian with an engineering degree, you are not just an engineer, you are a witness for Christ. People usually consider engineers to be hard-working, intelligent, and honest, which gives you credibility as a witness. If you know why you are a Christian, can give an able defense of the gospel, and live out your Christian convictions, you will have good opportunities to have an impact for Christ in places where a pastor or missionary might have no opportunities or impact.

· What kind of engineering student were you? If you have been among the better engineering students, you may wish to go on to graduate school. Typically you can get into a graduate program in engineering with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The higher your GPA, the better the programs that will admit you, and the better will be your opportunities to get financial aid. Graduate school is almost essential for a career in research and development, and it is absolutely essential for a career in academia. Engineers with graduate degrees are better equipped for solving more sophisticated engineering problems and command significantly higher salaries than those with only a bachelor′s degree. One drawback, however, is that the more degrees you tack behind your name, the more specialized you become. Specialization is a good thing, but becoming overly specialized may limit the range of jobs from which you can choose.

· What are your financial goals? If you want to make "big bucks" right out of college, pursue a career in industry (either private or government supported). The big bucks could be a temptation, but engineering experience is a real asset on your resume. Five or ten years of engineering experience can be considered as noteworthy as a master′s or doctoral degree by some companies and organizations. Getting a better job can be a way of becoming more useful to others and more able to contribute financially to those in need.

· Do you really want to work as an engineer? As you probably know, engineers are problem solvers. We work out real solutions to real problems. But do you want to do this? Being an engineer is a challenge. Careers in business or patent law, for instance, can be just as stressful as engineering but do have some potential advantages. They are less demanding from a purely technical point of view, can offer a more social environment for typical working conditions, and may offer a more competitive salary than some engineering positions.

In summary, having a bachelor′s degree in engineering is a very valuable asset. It is one of the most highly sought after and promising degrees to hold. But what to do next?

A general piece of advice: if you′re not sure about what to do, get an engineering job. After working a few years, you will know a lot better what to do next, will have made a good income, and will be a few years older with some working experience to boot!

The engineering degree which you hold has given you many valuable options - options that not all college graduates have. Which option you exercise is now up to you!! J