Over the last half decade, many industries have taken a massive hit due to the downturn in the global economy. While this has affected millions of highly educated professionals worldwide, it appears that the engineering industry has mostly been spared from these harsh realities. For this reason the importance of earning an engineering degree is highlighted more than ever, and not surprisingly, universities in every state, including the District of Colombia now offer engineering programs. The infographic shows the path to becoming an engineer and lists out some handy metrics along the way.
While engineering has always been one of the most sought after degrees, more universities are offering doctorate-level degree programs than ever, and unsurprisingly several of the biggest names in education are leading that initiative. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is leading the way with the most engineering programs being offered. Universities such as Stanford, USC Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech, University of Illinois, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor fill in the gap. The number 10 spot goes to Purdue University which offers several doctorate-level engineering programs to its students.
Much like the education space, the jobs market for engineers has never been better. In the US, almost every region of the country has a high demand for engineers with the north east hosting five of the spots on element14’s list of the “Top 10 states hiring the most engineers.” Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia make up the largest engineering demand on the east coast with Georgia showing a significant demand for engineers as well. Michigan and Illinois also see some of the highest hiring rates for engineering positions in the US with Texas and California rounding out the top 10. In reality, engineering positions are available almost everywhere, and as new technologies develop, the need for trained engineers will only increase.
With dozens of base degrees that encompass hundreds of specializations, engineering-based careers are also some of the best paying positions in today’s economy. Out of the top 10 highest paying careers, 1/3rd of them are based in engineering, with two of them being listed in the top three. In today’s market space, Petroleum Engineers are the highest paid, earning well over $200,000 annually on average, with Architectural and Engineering Managers falling in a close third with just over $200,000 annually on average. The eighth highest paying career in the US consist of Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers which still earn over $200,000 on average annually. It is worth noting that the list comprised by element14 does not include any careers in the medical fields, including pharmaceuticals.
With Engineering becoming the dominate career path, many resources have sprung up to help ensure that trained engineers make the most out of their profession, as well as linking them with other persons in their field for support, collaboration, and networking. On the Education side of things, the American Society for Engineering Education, or ASEE, is the major presence that steers the direction of engineering education. The ASEE serves to further the advancement of education in engineering as well as serving as a common agency of stimulation, and to guide engineering educators.
On the career side of things, the governing body is the National Society of Professional Engineers, an organization that is tasked with addressing the professional concerns of licensed PEs across all disciplines. SPE was formed back in 1934 by a group of professional engineers in New York City when the need arose for an organization body that could handle the non-technical concerns of the engineering community. Joining the SPE is something that most engineers take great pride in, and a membership here will definitely weigh heavily when applying for an engineering position.
With both the educational and professional side of things covered, there is still a need for a community where engineers of all types can come together and discuss projects, career paths, and just communicate in general. This is where element14 comes into the picture. With tens of thousands of active members, thousands of topics on every aspect of engineering are posted every month.
So what does all of this lead up to? Those in the engineering field or looking to the engineering fields have a bright future ahead of them. At the moment, seven out of the top ten Fortune 500 companies are run by engineers, with 14 engineering majors running 14 of the companies in the Fortune 50. Companies like Walmart, Exxon Mobile, Apple, GM, Ford, AT&T, IBM, and Amazon all being ran by engineers. When you combine this data with the demand for engineers across the US, you cannot lose by choosing to become an engineer.
A little over a decade ago there was a big push to send every student to business school because that was the hottest job marketplace at the time, but no one realized the consequences of doing so. I was one of those students who followed ill-fated advice and since graduating with a degree in Business Administration in 2007, I have yet to hold a position where I fully utilize that degree. Instead, I have decided to become a journalist as writing for tech media is something I do well. In my spare time I have began taking online classes to become an electrical engineer as I see the future growth in the industry, and know that engineers will always have a job.