When looking for a graduate job there are so many different types of engineering to consider. To help narrow down your options we've put together a guide of what to expect for different engineering careers

Whether using a smartphone, driving a car or accessing hospital equipment, engineers provide day-to-day comfort, safety and enjoyment.

Talented graduate engineers are in high demand to help plug the skills gap so whether you're scientifically minded or excel in a hands-on environment, would like to specialise in a particular area or are more focused on the bigger picture, there's an engineering job for you.

Aerospace engineer

Responsible for the maintenance and development of civilian and military aircraft, missiles, satellites, space vehicles and weapons systems, you'll apply excellent technical knowledge and creative thinking, with the aim of optimising speed, fuel efficiency and flight safety while keeping costs and risks down.

Aerospace engineers are employed by airline operators, the Armed Forces and government research agencies such as the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Discover what the role of an aerospace engineer involves.

Biomedical engineer

You'll be working with medical professionals and researchers to design and oversee the manufacture of medical products and equipment for patients. Activities include using computer software and mathematical models to design, evaluate and refine prototypes, optimising the goods you're producing and performing tests to identify areas for improvement.

Excellent attention to detail, good conceptual ability and excellent commercial awareness are required to ensure the projects you're working on are profitable and beneficial to patients.

Learn more about becoming a biomedical engineer.

Broadcast engineer

It's your job to ensure television, radio and other media programming are broadcast on time and to the highest quality. This involves operating and overseeing systems and performing updates and repairs where needed. You'll need excellent IT skills and a keen eye for detail to spot and solve problems efficiently.

As broadcast engineering is a competitive field, pre-entry work experience is important. Discover what qualifications you need to become a broadcast engineer.

Chemical engineer

You'll transform raw materials into products via chemical processes, such as creating plastic from oil, using the latest technologies and methods. The role includes developing new products, from trial through to commercialisation, and making improvements to product lines and systems as a result of your findings. You could work in food and drink, textiles and pharmaceuticals.

You'll need an aptitude for chemistry and a mathematical mind, as well as a strong grasp of health and safety legislation.

Gain an insight into the role of a chemical engineer.

Civil engineer

Concerned with natural and man-made environments, civil engineers bring together a community through the design, construction and maintenance of its infrastructure. You could specialise in:

  • buildings
  • roads and railways
  • power systems
  • sewerage and waste networks.

As a consulting civil engineer, you'll ensure projects are completed safely and on time by investigating sites, assessing risk and drawing up detailed designs and plans.

These plans are brought to life by contracting civil engineers. Working mainly on site, you'll oversee and partake in construction.

Find out what you can do with the skills and experiences gained from a civil engineering degree, and discover tips for getting into the industry.

Electrical or electronic engineer

It's the job of an electrical engineer to keep the country connected, through the management, maintenance and development of broadcasting, transport and power channels.

Working on a smaller scale, electronics engineers design, develop and test equipment, such as resistors and transistors. Electronic engineers find work in academic and commercial research establishments, non-electrical organisations (e.g. to help implement computer systems) and the public sector.

Engineering geologist

Responsibilities focus on identifying and dealing with geological factors that may affect engineering works. Before embarking on construction projects, you'll assess the integrity of soil, groundwater, rock and other natural conditions to ensure any developments to the site are sustainable in the long term.

The job is stressful as decisions can have major environmental impact, but you'll base these on extensive field investigations and data analysis.

Discover the skills you'll need to become an engineering geologist.

Land-based engineer

While designing, testing and developing agricultural, construction and other off-road vehicles, you'll carry out tasks such as the development of specialist equipment and environmental impact assessments.

There are plenty of opportunities across the UK and further afield, and travel is a big part of the job.

Read more about the role of a land-based engineer.

Manufacturing engineer

As a manufacturing engineer it's your job to bring designs to life on a large scale, efficiently and cost effectively.

You'll design, set up and modify products, typically focused on a particular stage of the process. Responsibilities include operating manufacturing machinery, organising the maintenance of equipment and repairing faults in a timely manner.

You could work in the food and drink, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and fashion industries.

Find out more about becoming a manufacturing engineer.

Marine engineer

Ships, submarines and military vessels are some of the vehicles you'll build, maintain and repair as a marine engineer (also known as a naval architect).

Some aspects of the job, such as on-ship inspections, require working in high-pressured, physically demanding environments. The design and research elements of your work, however, will take place in an office or laboratory.

Opportunities to work overseas and extended periods of absence from home are common.

Mechanical engineer

If you're mathematically minded, able to work with a range of people and can deal with high levels of pressure, a career as a mechanical engineer will suit you.

Mechanical systems are found in almost all products and services; mechanical engineers are sought in a range of industries, from energy and environmental to healthcare and information technology. You could work on the development of smartphones and spacecraft. In more senior positions, your role is likely to involve overseeing the entire manufacturing process.

Learn more about becoming a mechanical engineer and see what you can do with a mechanical engineering degree.

Nuclear engineer

Responsible for the design and development, running and decommissioning of nuclear power stations you'll need knowledge of complex instrumentation, electrical systems and how nuclear systems work. You'll also need to address security and safety concerns of the people, businesses and environment around you.

Within the role there is plenty of opportunity to specialise - find out where a career as a nuclear engineer could take you and read up on nuclear engineering courses.

Structural engineer

As a structural engineer, you'll design structures to withstand stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use. You'll ensure they remain stable and secure throughout their use. You'll also examine existing buildings to test if they are structurally sound.

You’ll need good analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as strong mathematical ability and a grasp of physics to succeed.

Discover what you could earn as a structural engineer.

Technical brewer

Overseeing the process of brewing and packaging beer, you'll ensure a consistently high standard of production. You may also be responsible for developing new recipes and ensuring the safety of the plant and machinery.

You'll need a keen eye for detail, good decision-making skills and stamina to deal with the physical demands of the job.

Find out what it takes to become a technical brewer.

Water engineer

Tackling issues such as global warming and population growth, your priorities are to serve communities by providing clean water, disposing of wastewater and preventing flood damage. This involves developing and repairing pipework or designing sewer improvement schemes.

You can enter this field at technician level with an HND or foundation degree, but having a degree in a related field (such as civil engineering, physical geography or environmental science) will work to your advantage.

Find out more about the responsibilities of a water engineer

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