Types of Engineers and What they Do [Explained]

Types of Engineers and What they Do [Explained]
Types of Engineers and What they Do [Explained]

There are many different types of engineers, each with their own area of expertise. But what does an engineer actually do and what do they study?

So in this article, Engineering Passion has compiled a list of popular types of engineers and explained what they do; to help you make an informed choice for your future career.

What does an engineer do?

Engineers are the people who design and create things that make our lives easier by applying the principles of science and mathematics to real-world problems.

Engineers have been involved in virtually every modern product or service, whether directly or indirectly. This also includes addressing current challenges and developing future solutions in health care, energy, transportation, world hunger, space exploration, climate change, and other areas.

There are many different types of engineers, some of the common disciplines include civil, electrical, mechanical, etc. but all of them share a common goal and each engineer brings their own unique perspective and set of skills to the table.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular types of engineers:

1. Mechanical Engineers

Disciplines Within Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineers working in a factory, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Mechanical engineering (ME) is the application of physical principles and engineering design to create machines and systems. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. It involves the design and production of everything from tiny components to complicated, large-scale systems.

Mechanical engineers have a major influence on our daily lives. That’s because mechanical engineering jobs are all about producing solutions to human demands. They deal with anything that moves, from components to machines to the human body.

Mechanical engineering is one of the most popular engineering disciplines in the US, with 50,000 undergraduate degrees awarded annually. The average salary for mechanical engineering majors in the United States is $83,787 per year. [1]

What does a mechanical engineer do?

Mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture engines, power plants, aircraft, missiles, medical devices, transport systems, and other equipment.

Mechanical engineers specialize in the design, development, and manufacture of machines and mechanical systems. They typically work to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of machines and mechanical systems. They make these processes and products more efficient by applying their knowledge of physics and engineering.

Mechanical engineers typically work in offices, but they may also visit worksites to observe equipment or conduct tests. They may work for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and energy.

Read More: All You Should Know About Mechanical Engineering

2. Electrical Engineers

Electrical/Electronic Engineering
Electrical engineer testing power equipment, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Electrical engineering (EE) is the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It covers a wide range of technologies from electrical power generation and distribution to electronic devices and systems.

In contrast to other engineering fields like civil and mechanical engineering, electrical engineering is rather a new field. It’s the second most popular engineering discipline in the US, with over 31,000 undergraduate degrees awarded annually. The average salary for electrical engineering majors in the United States is $86,984 per year. [2]

The job outlook for electrical engineers is good. Electrical engineers are projected to increase their employment by 7% from 2020 to 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. [3]

What does an electrical engineer do?

Electrical engineering is a very diverse discipline of engineering. Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, broadcast and communications systems, power generation equipment, and electrical distribution systems.

Also Read: Is Electrical Engineering Hard? Here’s What You Need to Know

They also work on the development of new technologies in areas such as renewable energy sources, energy storage, and energy conservation. Electrical engineers also work to make electronics and electrical devices more energy efficient.

Electrical engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Some electrical engineers also have a master’s degree or doctorate, particularly those who are involved in research and development or academic areas.

3. Civil Engineers

Civil engineers on site.
Civil engineers on site. https://pixabay.com/photos/engineer-engineering-4925128/

Civil engineering (CE) is one of the oldest and most important disciplines of engineering. It’s responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of essential infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, tunnels, canals, dams, and buildings. Without civil engineers, our world would be a very different place indeed.

Civil engineering is the third most popular engineering discipline in the US, with over 21,000 undergraduate degrees awarded annually. The average salary for civil engineering majors in the United States is $82,284 per year. [4]

Civil engineering professionals will be in high demand as the world’s population expands since more and more infrastructure must be developed. Employment of civil engineers is anticipated to rise by 8% from 2020 to 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. [5]

What does a civil engineer do?

Civil engineers design and oversee the construction of infrastructure projects such as skyscrapers, bridges, roads, dams, airports, and water and sewer systems. They also work on environmental projects such as cleaning up polluted areas, developing plans to manage solid waste, and researching ways to prevent flooding.

Also Read: Civil Engineering: The Hardest Engineering Degree?

Civil engineers are also responsible for the maintenance of existing infrastructure. This includes inspecting bridges and dams to ensure they are safe and repairing or replacing infrastructure that is no longer operational.

In order to become a licensed civil engineer, you must have a four years bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an accredited engineering program.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Civil Engineering

4. Computer Engineers

A computing professional working on a project.
A computer engineer working on a project. https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-coding-on-computer-3861958/

Computer engineering is defined as the discipline that embodies the science and technology of design, construction, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment.

This is a relatively new discipline in engineering. In fact, it combines the principles and concepts of computer science with electrical engineering to develop computer hardware and software.

Computer engineering is the fourth most popular engineering discipline in the US, with over 15,000 undergraduate degrees awarded annually. The average salary for computer engineering majors in the United States is $93,782 per year. [6]

What does a computer engineer do?

Computer engineers are responsible for the design and development of computer hardware and software. They work on various components of computing systems, such as processors, memory chips, and circuit boards. They also develop new computer technologies and applications.

Computer engineers make sure that computer hardware works properly with the latest software technologies. They also work on optimizing existing computer systems to make them faster and more efficient.

In order to become a computer engineer, you must have a four years bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering & computer science, or software engineering to be able to work in this field.

5. Energy Engineers

A renewable energy engineer using laptop on a solar power plant
An energy engineer inspecting a solar power plant. https://www.solaralliance.com/solar-for-your-business/data-centers/

Energy engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the generation, distribution, and utilization of energy. The goal of energy engineering is to ensure that our energy systems are reliable, efficient, and sustainable. The key focus area of energy technology engineering is renewable energy & its systems.

Energy engineering is a relatively new field of engineering, and it is growing in popularity as the world becomes more aware of the need for sustainable energy solutions.

With the ever-growing concern for climate change, there is a greater demand for renewable energy sources. The average salary for energy engineering majors in the United States is $86,324 per year. [7]

What does an energy engineer do?

Energy engineers are responsible for developing and implementing sustainable energy solutions. This includes working on projects such as solar and wind farms, hydroelectric dams, and geothermal power plants. They also develop plans to improve the efficiency of existing energy systems, such as power plants and transmission lines.

Energy engineers are responsible for the management and operation of renewable energy projects such as solar photovoltaic power plants or wind energy farms. They also provide technical support to other engineers working on energy projects.

In order to become an energy engineer, you must have a four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering with a focus on electricity, renewable energy, and sustainable development.

Read More: All You Should Know About Energy Engineering

6. Chemical Engineers

Chemical Engineering
A chemical engineer working in the lab, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design and construction of chemical plants and processes. The goal of chemical engineering is to create new materials and products or to improve existing ones.

Chemical engineering is most often encountered in large-scale manufacturing industries, where the objective is to improve production and product quality while lowering costs. Chemical engineering is utilized in a variety of sectors, such as aerospace, automobile, biomedical, electronic, environmental, medical, and military to create and improve technical goods.

Chemical engineering is one of the most popular engineering disciplines in the US, with over 14,000 undergraduate degrees awarded annually. The average salary for chemical engineering majors in the United States is $80,499 per year. [8]

What does a chemical engineer do?

Chemical engineers use their knowledge of chemistry, physics, and math to solve problems in the field of manufacturing, medicine, food processing, and environmental protection. In fact, chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw materials into useful products.

Chemical engineers work in a variety of industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, cosmetics, and energy. They may also work in research and development to create new products or processes.

To work as a chemical engineer, you must have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from an engineering school.

References:

[1] https://www.indeed.com/career/mechanical-engineer/salaries

[2] https://www.indeed.com/career/electrical-engineer/salaries

[3] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm

[4] https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/how-much-do-civil-engineers-make

[5] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm

[6] https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/salary-for-computer-engineer

[7] https://www.indeed.com/career/energy-engineer/salaries

[8] https://www.indeed.com/career/chemical-engineer/salaries

Aimal Khan
Aimal Khan is the founder & CEO of Engineering Passion. He is an engineer and has obtained his bachelor's degree in energy engineering from Kandahar University.