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Your Guide to Becoming an Engineer

Engineering vector illustration

Engineering plays a role in almost every aspect of life. From constructing buildings to creating programs to help people adapt to the digital age, engineering has many fields to pursue.

Engineers have been called the architects of the world, and have achieved that by avoiding the stereotypes that often follow of not being able to socialize or spending their days stuck behind a computer.

With favorable salaries, seemingly plenty of job security, this field is a great way to apply your knowledge to improve the planet.

But with so many options, you might not be too sure which one is the best to invest in. In this article, we’ll be covering the different paths you can take as an engineer and everything you need to be the best in the sector.

Proper Education

Each individual sector comes with their own unique requirements. To give you an example, people who aim to be a civil engineer need a BA in civil engineering technology. Meanwhile, software developers need to complete a BA in computer science or another type of STEM program, and that’s only for the entry-level positions. You’ll probably need a professional college admissions consultant to get into a qualified STEM or computer science program, as acceptance rates are low at some schools.

To qualify for more advanced positions, you’ll need to obtain your master’s degree or Ph.D. Either way, paying for college, especially when it involves a higher level of education, can be difficult to finance on your own.

Fortunately, you do have other methods of financing to choose from. You can look into applying for a scholarship, which allows you to complete your program without having to spend a dime on it. Contrary to what some might tell you, you don’t need to be a star pupil to receive a scholarship. You can easily apply for one online and see if you’re eligible.

Additionally, there are federal financial aid programs like Pell grants, which can provide significant assistance to eligible students based on their financial need. These grants are often awarded to undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree and can be a valuable source of funding for your college education.

Another method involves taking out a student loan. Student loans are obtained through a designated lender. You’ll have to apply for it, similar to a scholarship.

But compared to the latter, student loans are quicker and easier to obtain. Paying back the debt doesn’t have to be difficult either. The only reason why student loans can be tough to pay back is because of the interest rates attached to them. Thankfully, you can choose to pay your student loans off any time before the deadline. It’s also possible for you to pay more than the minimum payment, so your debt goes away faster.

Setting up auto-pay is a great hands-off way to ensure your debt is paid, and might even have a discount as well. Be sure to contact your lender and see what they can do for you.

Appropriate Skills

Even though the fields are different, most of the skill requirements to vary. There are many essential skills every engineer must have before going into the job. Below is every general skill engineers need to learn and master:

  • Problem-Solving: While this one may seem pretty obvious, but knowing how to solve problems is one of the most essential skills you need to hone. Engineers of any kind must know how to properly assess situations, find out what the lingering issues are and come up with ways to solve them. This can include finding and getting rid of bugs in a new piece of software or finding a flaw in the blueprints for the design of a new building. Employers need to see that you’re up to the task regardless of what problems you face.
  • Good Communication: Being a good communicator is another key skill every engineer needs. Although you’re going to be working at your desk and computer half of the time, the other half will be spent talking to team leaders and co-workers about the project at hand. Knowing what to say and how to say it is how you’ll synergize with your team, and in turn, boost productivity and execution.
  • A Keen Eye: By having a keen eye, we mean being able to pay attention to details. In engineering, there should be no room for error, and this goes for even the smallest of flaws. Whether it’s something that was overlooked or a small miscalculation, it can have a potential domino effect. To make sure your project is a success, you must work out any possible problems and disasters.
  • Charisma: Being charismatic is one of the trademark skills of a leader. It’s how you encourage and motivate your team to keep working and doing their best. In some engineering positions, the authority is divided into levels. The higher your level, the more responsibility you’re given. Level 1 engineers have next to no authority and are mostly composed of general duties. Level 2 engineers are given a bit more to do while being able to assist the level 1’s. Level 3 engineers are the true leaders of a team and have the most responsibility out of everyone, which involves being an inspirational leader.

The skills listed here should give you an idea of what it’s like working in this sector. There are many other skills you’ll learn during your education program and training.

Types of Engineering Careers

There are many different engineering fields to choose from. Each one is different from the last. But one thing they all have in common is that they’re some of the best paying careers to date. Below is a quick list of what type of engineer you can be:

  • Civil
  • Computer
  • Biomedical
  • Aerospace
  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Nuclear

Before choosing, it’s recommended that you research what each of these fields have to offer and what you can expect in them. Knowing how each one operates can help you narrow down your search.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

If there’s one thing most engineers are wary of, it’s change. Whether we like it or not, things will change over time. It can be a small change, like what development program you use, or a big one, which can be a complete change in management. Having a fear of the unknown is normal, but don’t let it deter you. You should let it excite and motivate you instead as you’re constantly learning something new every day.

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