Has an Engineering degree caught your eye? Are you considering a career in engineering? With so many different types of engineers, you might be wondering what the right career path for you is!
You’ve come to the right place! In this article we’ll be unpacking the different types of engineers out there so that you can consider all your options when thinking about careers.
Let’s get started!
Aerospace | Agricultural | Biomedical
Building/Architecture | Chemical | Civil | Computer | Electrical | Environmental
Geotechnical | Industrial | Materials | Mechanical | Mechatronic | Software
What is engineering?
Engineering is a super broad career covering a range of different fields. Regardless of their field, engineers use science, technology and maths to solve problems and make our lives safer and easier.
Some common fields engineers work in include mechanics, transport, construction, health care, electronics, telecommunications, and more! We’ll be looking at some of these different types and fields so keep reading to find out more.
Aerospace Engineers are involved in the research, design and construction of aircraft and work to keep planes and other aircrafts safe. They’re responsible for the maintenance of aircrafts and ensure that these aircrafts are safe for flight.
As an Aerospace Engineer, you may be involved in testing existing vehicles and designing better aircrafts with improved flight control, fuel systems, or air-conditioning. There are also opportunities for Aerospace Engineers to work in research and development exploring how products are made and design new manufacturing techniques.
This field is very technical and you’ll most likely require a solid understanding of various relevant disciplines including aerodynamics, machine function, computing, and more.
This means you’ll need an undergraduate degree with an Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering major. You might also need further training or a postgraduate degree. Here are some degrees you might want to consider:
- Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Aerospace) at UNSW
- Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Aeronautical) at USYD
Agricultural Engineers are responsible for conserving natural resources such as soil, rivers and land. They work to develop sustainable agriculture production and help improve methods of farming by developing better machinery and products.
If you’re passionate about the environment and want to help create sustainable solutions, this might be a field for you!
To work as an Agricultural Engineer, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree with a major in agricultural engineering and further postgraduate studies might be helpful.
Biomedical Engineers work in a very interdisciplinary environment alongside doctors and medical scientists to explore ways to improve health care systems and medical services. They work to develop new technologies and products that are super helpful when it comes to medical research and diagnosing health problems.
Beyond medical research, Biomedical Engineers are also involved in designing a range of therapeutic medical equipment such as pacemakers, catheters and kidney machines. They also design technologies to improve the quality of living of people with disabilities such as artificial joints and limbs.
Since Biomedical Engineers work very closely with medicine and health fields, they usually need a strong knowledge of a broad range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering and more. If you’re thinking that this type of engineering might be a potential career for you, a Bachelor’s degree with a Biomedical Engineering major is a great place to start!
Some degrees to consider include:
Building Engineers, also known as Architecture Engineers, focus on the planning, design and construction of buildings. Building Engineers are responsible for the operation of buildings and a range of systems including heating, plumbing, electrical power and lighting, fire safety and more.
If Building Engineering has caught your eye, definitely consider a Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Civil Engineering or relevant field! You might also need some training in Architecture or a postgraduate qualification in Architectural Engineering.
Chemical Engineers use science and technology to design solutions related to industrial and commercial processes. They mostly work with raw materials, natural resources and the manufacturing of chemicals to develop products such as petrol, plastics, food, ceramics, metals and more.
These processes usually take place at commercial-scale plants and Chemical Engineers are also responsible for the construction and operation of these plants. There are also plenty of opportunities for Chemical Engineers to focus on environmental issues and solutions such as renewable energy sectors.
To become a Chemical Engineer, a Bachelor of Engineering with a major in Chemical Engineering is a great degree option! Here are some that might be of interest to you:
- Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) at Monash
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Chemical) at UNSW
Civil Engineers are one of the most common types of engineers and probably one of the first jobs that spring to mind when thinking about engineering. Like Building/Architecture Engineers, Civil Engineers focus on the planning and construction of systems and structures.
They design and oversee the construction of built environments such as roads, bridges, dams, buildings and more. As a Civil Engineer, you’ll focus on both the functionality and aesthetic quality of structures.
This means that Civil Engineers are required to have a broad skill set including a good eye for visuals and aesthetics, a range of administration and management skills, a strong maths foundation and engineering of course!
If you want to become a Civil Engineer, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. You’ll want to check out these degrees:
- Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) at Monash
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil) at UNSW
- Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) (Honours) at RMIT
- Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) at USYD
- Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) at UTS
Unlike a lot of the other types of engineers we’ve been looking at so far, Computer Engineers don’t look at big systems and structures. Instead, they’re all about the smaller systems involved in computers and digital technologies.
Computer Engineers work with hardware and are responsible for designing and developing all those different factors that make sure your computer runs smoothly. They’re also involved in the development of software systems but unlike software engineers, their main focus is on integrating software and hardware elements as part of the bigger picture.
You’ll love working as a Computer Engineer if you’re looking to study Electrical or Computer Engineering and if you’ve ever enjoyed taking apart a laptop/computer and exploring all its elements!
Electrical Engineers work with all things related to electronics and electrical energy. They design and develop systems to generate, use and control electrical energy for telecommunications, computer systems and other activities and processes that are essential parts of modern life in our homes and communities.
Like Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering is a great option if you’re fascinated by electronics, computers and technologies in general. If you want to become an Electrical Engineer, you’ll need an undergraduate degree majoring in Electrical Engineering or a similar field.
Some degrees to look into are:
- Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical) at UNSW
- Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Electrical) at USYD
Environmental Engineers focus on protecting the environment and promote sustainable engineering projects. They assess the long-term environmental impact of projects on air, soil, water and noise levels in the area and design sustainable solutions to minimise these impacts of engineering methods, processes and equipment.
Environmental Engineers are also involved in solving environmental problems caused by previous activities such as cleaning contaminated land.
If you’re passionate about the environment and want to make a difference by designing sustainable solutions, this could be the perfect career option for you! A major in Environmental Engineering is required to work in this field and further postgraduate studies are also a common pathway.
A Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Environmental) at UNSW could be the degree to get you into environmental engineering.
Do you think Environmental Engineering might be a path you should consider? Read more about what an Environmental Engineer does here!
A Geotechnical Engineer works with all things related to soil and rocks. They spend a lot of time conducting field work outdoors, collecting samples and analysing this data to assess the behaviour of rocks and soil beneath a proposed project.
Geotechnical Engineers ensure the area is safe for construction and oversee the work on construction sites.
Geotechnical Engineering is one of the best types of engineering jobs on offer if you enjoy science, especially geology, and want to combine this with engineering!
Industrial Engineering is concerned with ensuring processes and systems work efficiently. This career is, in a sense, a combination of lots of different types of engineers!
Industrial Engineers oversee specific projects and ensure that work is being completed in a cost, energy and time efficient manner while still meeting expectations.
If you choose to work as an Industrial Engineer, you’ll be the one making sure that logistics, production and systems are all running smoothly! Like all the other types of engineers we’ve seen so far, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate Engineering degree with a relevant major.
Material Engineers are involved in diverse fields, especially ones where other types of engineers such as chemical and electrical engineers find work. Materials Engineers test the behaviours of different materials like plastics, metals, ceramics and more to analyse their applications in engineering or other commercial opportunities.
They might test things such as how a specific material responds to heat, high-pressure, or when it’s joined with other materials. They also research and develop new materials and find more sustainable ways to use plastics and paper.
You can become a Materials Engineer through a lot of different undergraduate degrees! Some options to consider include Materials Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Biochemical Engineering.
Mechanical Engineers are about all things machinery-related. They’re responsible for the design, construction and testing of the machinery we use everyday for household, community and industrial purposes.
Whether it’s wind turbines, cars, escalators, or air-conditioning, Mechanical Engineers are involved in the process of designing and manufacturing them. Needless to say, they play a pretty important role!
Working as a Mechanical Engineer is definitely a career to consider if you’re fascinated by machinery. You’ll also want to consider studying one of these degrees:
- Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT
- Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechanical Engineering) at USYD
- Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) at UTS
Mechatronic Engineers use skills and knowledge from various fields to create innovative and smart machines. We come across Mechatronic systems in our everyday lives through Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automations and more.
From ‘smart’ fridges and vacuums to surgical robots in health care, Mechatronic Engineers are involved in designing and developing all of these automated systems.
As a Mechatronic Engineer, you’ll be able to combine skills and knowledge from different disciplines including Mechanical, Electrical and Software Engineering. If you love robotics, AI and want to use these ‘smart’ technologies to make our daily lives easier, definitely consider a career in Mechatronic Engineering!
You can start off by thinking about a degree in Engineering with a major in Mechatronic Engineering.
This type of engineering is similar to Computer Engineering but Software Engineers focus on software design and development. Meanwhile, Computer Engineers are more focussed on hardware and sometimes look at software systems as part of the bigger picture.
With the growing significance of software, the Internet and mobile computing in our everyday lives, Software Engineering is an increasingly important field. Software Engineers are involved in designing, developing and modifying all the complex software systems we need for just about everything we do!
If you’ve found the designing and programming of apps, websites and games fascinating and want to learn more, definitely consider a career as a Software Engineer!
You can become a Software Engineer through an undergraduate qualification in a relevant field such as information technology, computer science and software engineering. You can also become a Software Engineer with a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification.
Some undergrad degrees to consider are:
- Bachelor of Software Engineering (Honours) at Monash
- Bachelor of Software Engineering at RMIT
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Software) at UNSW
- Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Software) at USYD
There you have it!
If you’re thinking about a career in engineering, we’ve now covered a lot of different types of engineers! As you can probably tell by now, an engineering qualification can take you just about anywhere and the options are endless.
If you’re still thinking about pursuing an engineering degree and want to look at some options other than becoming an engineer, you can read about even more career paths here!
Maitreyi Kulkarni is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Public Relations and Social Media) at Macquarie University. She loves writing just about anything from articles to poetry, and has also had one of her articles published with the ABC. When she’s not writing up a storm, she can be found reading, bingeing sitcoms, or playing the guitar.