5 exciting careers in engineering

Eleanor Eyre, head of careers at EngineeringUK
August, 2020

Fast-moving, rapidly expanding and more varied and innovative than ever before, the engineering sector is the place to look for an exciting career

Engineering is one of the country's broadest sectors - it employs 5.7 million people and produces most of the UK's exports. The majority of services and products in the world are brought to life through engineering and engineers play a crucial part in:

  • the success of major infrastructure projects
  • developments in nanomedicine
  • ensuring the safety and efficiency of all forms of transport
  • the availability of fast broadband
  • developing sustainable solutions for future food, water, housing and energy needs
  • protecting individuals and organisations from cyber-attacks. 

They shape our future and make a real difference to how we live our lives. If you want to work at the forefront of global development, read up on how to become an engineer and discover some of the exciting areas in which you could be working

Disaster recovery

When disaster strikes, engineers find and rescue people using equipment such as telescopic lenses, drones and radar devices that detect victims' heartbeats and even cockroaches fitted with microphones, which can detect sounds coming from underneath rubble.

They provide immediate shelter and transport networks and get emergency water and sanitation services working to prevent the outbreak of disease. Often critical for providing humanitarian relief, engineers working in this field are responsible for getting electricity and communications up and running again and help people rebuild their lives with medical innovations.

The design, development and improvement of warning and detection systems also helps reduce the impact of future disasters.

4D printing

A progression on 3D printing, 4D printed objects are able to change shape or transform their structure over time, in response to environmental factors such as temperature, light or water.

Engineers in areas as diverse as medical research and fashion can use 4D printing. Strides are already being made in bioprinting and the production of 4D printed clothes.

Another area in which 4D printing is making an impact is metamaterials. Researchers have discovered that the 4D printing process could potentially be used to create protective helmets, neck braces and aeroplane wings.

Bioelectronic medicine

Engineers working in bioelectronic medicine are discovering the potential of the body's nervous system to treat diseases as diverse as asthma and high blood pressure. Bioelectronic medicine involves developing small, implanted devices that attach to peripheral nerves, to modify electrical signals from the brain to the body's organs.

In the future, these devices could be used to treat a range of chronic diseases, with greater precision and fewer side effects than with conventional medicine.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Transforming the relationship between people and technology, artificial intelligence allows machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn. From voice recognition, virtual assistants, self-driving cars and pet-bots, AI is one of the fastest growing emerging technologies.

It will transform jobs across all industries, nowhere more so than in engineering. It is predicted that many low-level engineering tasks will become automated, however engineers needn't worry that AI will take their jobs. Instead, it will open up exciting new industries and jobs that today's engineers haven't even dreamed of.

Low carbon economy

Power, water processing, energy efficiency products and low carbon vehicles are all growing industries that rely on engineers. Engineers are at the forefront of finding solutions to global energy challenges, including working on renewable energies such as wind, tidal, geothermal and solar energy. They also work to reduce the carbon footprint of transport, manufacturing and many aspects of everyday life, including in coffee shops and supermarkets.

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