What Type of Engineering You Should Study?
Many students who seek out SAT or ACT prep hope to one day study engineering in college. It’s important to remember, however, that engineering is not a monolithic discipline. There are many different types of engineering degrees you can obtain. Today, we’ll take a brief look at the different branches of engineering that are available for you to study. Should you study mechanical engineering? Petroleum engineering? Biomedical engineering? Electrical and computer engineering? Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have learned a little more about the many different engineering options and degree plans that are available to you. You’ll also get a glimpse at the starting salaries for careers you might one day hold with your degree in engineering! Let’s take a look.
Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
It’s easy to forget that space exists, as busy as we are here on Earth. But the universe is vast, and Earth is comparatively tiny when you begin to contemplate that vastness. Students who are fascinated by space and space technology, and who are eager to create, develop, and implement aerospace technology to better help humans understand our own planet and place in the universe might enjoy aerospace engineering. Just a small selection of topics you might apply aerospace engineering to are weather tracking, climatology, imagining and modeling the earth and earth’s systems, investigating and improving aerospace flight and autonomous aircrafts, environmental impact of space flight, propulsion, and so on. You can learn about aerothermodynamics, fluid mechanics, autonomy and robotics, orbital mechanics, computational mechanics, and solids, structures, and materials. The average starting annual salary for aerospace engineers is about $70,000. Not too shabby!
If you love and are fascinated by science, specifically biology, or if you have an interest in medicine as well as an interest in engineering, biomedical engineering might be a good discipline for you to study. Biomedical engineering students attempt to advance our knowledge of and ability to improve human health worldwide. Whether you’re learning about the development of artificial human organs to help those with organ failure or working on detection devices for various diseases, biomedical engineering is sure to offer you an exciting array of challenges that have real-world applications for people on this earth. As a biomedical engineering student, you’ll draw on the disciplines of engineering, biology, and medicine, and help tackle problems in the medical field. Who wouldn’t want to make a difference in people’s lives, helping them prevent, detect, and treat illnesses and disabilities? The technology you will work on, invent, and refine will make people’s lives longer and happier. Plus, the average starting salary for a biomedical engineer is approximately $62,000. You’ll be doing good, creating and studying cutting-edge biomedical technology, AND earning a living!
One of the engineering disciplines with the broadest range of possible applications, chemical engineering is a popular choice for students looking to enter the engineering field. There are many different concentrations within the field of chemical engineering, such as advanced materials, bioengineering, energy, environmental engineering, microelectronics, modeling and simulation, polymers, process systems and engineering, and separations and surface and interface science. Chemical engineering students typically enjoy chemistry, physics, and math, and frequently draw upon knowledge and skills in those disciplines as they seek to understand, develop, and maintain solutions to questions of chemical production of products and technologies of production. The average starting salary for a chemical engineer is $72,000. Pretty nice!
Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
Humans have long been engaging with the planet earth, building structures to help us live and work together. But as our population grows and as our technologies become more and more sophisticated, questions of sustainability, energy, and water quality and resource management come into play. As such, we need civil, architectural, and environmental engineers to help us contemplate and provide practical solutions for our questions of how to combat climate change and build sustainable technologies. Without a climate, without enegy, and without water, where would we be? Civil, architectural, and environmental engineers do critical work toward helping humankind as a species live and work in a manner that keeps us from destroying the planet or squandering our resources! Whether they’re working on transportational or structural engineering, such as the planning of roads, bridges, and buildings, or geotechnical engineering, which involves issues related to soil and rocks, it’s certain that you’ll be making a positive contribution to society as an engineer. For the hard work that civil, architectural, and environmental engineering requires, you’ll be fairly compensated: the average starting annual salary for civil, architectural, and environmental engineers is about $57,000.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Technology keeps increasing at an exponential rate, and electrical and computer engineers are on the vanguard of advances in computing, networks, infrastructure, and so on. They work to understand, perfect, and pioneer advances in human computing power in terms of both hardware and software. An electrical and computer engineering student could specialize in concentrations such as computer architecture and embedded processors, electromagnetics and acoustics, plasma and quantum electronics and optics, energy systems, software engineering, solid-state electronics, and embedded circuits and systems. Who do we have to thank for our incredible computer technology that has helped us advance to the level of power we have now? Electrical and computer engineers. Without them, I wouldn’t even be typing this article! The average annual starting salary for an electrical and computer engineer is $66,000. The knowledge and skills you learn as a student of electrical and computer engineering will help you meet the growing challenges of the information and technology age. Who can predict what the world will look like hundreds of years from now? One thing’s for sure: electrical and computeer engineers will have a big hand in helping us get there.
Another broad engineering discipline, and one that has been around for longer than many of the others, mechanical engineering is an exciting field of study for a student looking to pursue a degree in engineering. You’ll learn about kinetics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and energy, and you’ll be encouraged to use the knowledge and skills you learn to tackle problems related to acoustics, dynamic systems and control, thermal and fluid systems, operations research and industrial engineering, design and manufacturing, materials engineering, nuclear and radiation engineering, and so on. As a mechanical engineer, you might find yourself designing or perfecting heating and cooling systems, motor vehicles, aircraft, robotics, industrial equipment, or hundreds of other exciting projects. Since the field is so broad, it’s a great choice for someone who wants flexibility in his or her future career. The average annual starting salary for a mechanical engineer is $66,000, making it well worth the hard work it takes to earn your degree in this competitive and fascinating field.
Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
As we’ve mentioned already, energy is an absolutely essential component to life. Without the energy that food provides us, we wouldn’t be able to live, and without the energy that petroleum or alternative energy technologies allows us to harness, many of our daily operations would come crashing to a halt. As such, petroleum and geosystems engineers play a vital role in helping to keep things on the planet running smoothly. Petroleum and geosystems engineers educate themselves on how to strike the appropriate balance between assessing the environmental impact of energy technology and delivering affordable and effective technologies to as many people as possible. They learn about reservoirs for oil and natural gas, drilling systems and activities, developing approaches for harnessing the power of water and conserving our water supply, and restoring sites of contamination and other subsurface issues. If you’re interested in drilling, wells, natural gas, building and maintaining reservoirs, unconventional resources, nanoparticle engineering, fundamental process, and so on, studying petroleum and geosystems engineering just might be the path for you! The average annual starting salary for a petroleum and geosystems engineer is $85,000. That’s pretty good, and better than the other average starting salaries we’ve mentioned today. However, it’s important to remember that petroleum might not be around forever! That’s why you’ll want to investigate alternative energy solutions in addition to focusing on petroleum…but you knew that already!
The bottom line
Engineering is fascinating and challenging, and broad enough to provide you with plenty of lucrative career options after you graduate. Make sure to do your research and learn about the course offerings, degree plan requirements, and possible jobs after college that a degree in any of these engineering fields might require or lead to. Whatever you choose, know that you’ll be helping to make a difference in people’s lives by bettering the technology and systems that help humankind keep advancing!
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