Why Change Career to Engineering (5 Captivating Reasons)

Engineering is a constantly growing field with so many opportunities for advancement. In fact, in 2020 labour statistics reported that job opportunities for engineers were expected to grow a whopping 18 percent between 2020 and 2030. With an increasing demand for engineering graduates and the future of engineering looking this bright, it’s no wonder a growing number of people are looking to switch to a career in engineering. 

But, you might be wondering why exactly to make that switch? Engineering careers are appealing because they have higher salaries and great job security. Furthermore, there are many opportunities for growth and career advancement. Although challenging, engineering can be a rewarding career depending on which engineering path you pick.

When it comes to making the decision to leave your current career for a new one, it’s important to make sure to do a lot of research into the field to assess if it will be worth it as a career change requires plenty of commitment and resources. This article further examines the main reasons to change your career to one in engineering.

1. Higher Salaries

Engineering is such a broad and diverse field, which means that asking “how much do engineers earn?” isn’t really the right way to about this; the only reply you’re likely to get is “What type of engineer?”  Different fields of engineering earn different salaries. Some engineers earn upwards of $130,000 per year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010.

Historically engineering has always been one of the highest paying careers that a person can choose to pursue. Because of how diverse it is, a lot of the world’s highest-paying careers can actually be found in different sectors of engineering.

It’s even reported that out of any discipline, graduates of engineering earn some of the highest salaries when compared to graduates of many other disciplines.

Engineering graduates earn more than the average national salary– a good 20% higher than the average fresh graduates’ income, with the potential to earn even higher further down in their careers. An experienced engineer is expected to earn more than a hundred thousand dollars per year, which is still a lot more than mid-level professionals of other disciplines.

You might be wondering why engineers have such high earning potential. It’s mostly because working as an engineer in any field requires a range of rare and extremely useful skill sets and abilities; this means employers are obligated to pay them very well so as not to lose their talent to competitors.

Let’s take a look at some median salaries of the highest-earning engineering careers;

Nuclear Engineers

  • Mid-level salary: $116,900
  • Experienced: $179,000

Petroleum Engineers

  • Mid-level salary: $79,270-$137,000
  • Experienced: $193,430

Electrical Electronics Engineer

  •  Mid-level salary: $98,530
  • Experienced: $155,880

Aerospace Engineers

  • Mid-level salary: $116,500
  • Experienced: $193,000

Chemical Engineers

  • Mid-level salary: $94,000
  • Experienced: $108,700

Computer Hardware Engineers

  • Median salary: $117,220
  • Experienced: $ 

Computer and Information Systems Manager

  • Median salary: $146,300
  • Experienced: $146,360

Marine Engineers

  • Median salary: $92,400
  • Experienced: $ 122,840

2. Job Security

The economy is always fluctuating and the job market is never stable, just look at how many people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that job security is something so many people desire. Think of it this way, with job security comes peace of mind and a sense of stability.

Engineering is one of the most secure professions in the world today because engineers are needed almost everywhere. Did you know engineering job openings are even reportedly some of the hardest roles for employers to fill?

Why do engineers have high job security? Why are engineering roles hard to fill?

Well, firstly a lot of investment in the form of time, energy, and money goes into becoming an engineer; meaning becoming an engineer is not an easy task to accomplish.

Not everyone gets into engineering school and even out of those that do get in, not everyone passes successfully and can graduate with a degree. This leaves a lot of niche roles that require skilled and knowledgeable engineers to fill.

It’s very easy to feel a sense of job security when you know that not a lot of people out there have the skills to replace you.

Another reason is that engineers are always going to be needed. A lot of industries, services, and equipment rely on engineers for their operation and maintenance. The fact that engineers are needed in so many different fields from mining, healthcare, research, technology to even nutrition means that there are always going to be opportunities available for you to pursue.

Remember, job security comes with a lot of other advantages:

With job security comes income stability. Without the stress of having to worry about money, you can focus more on your efficiency and productivity at work eventually leading to career advancement in your field.

3. Ever Challenging Work

Engineering is generally a very creative and hands-on profession. Regardless of your particular field of expertise, being an engineer means that you’re going to handle various projects that help people all around the world during the course of your career.

By becoming an engineer, you’re basically going to get paid to be creative and resourceful day after day. Pursuing a career in a field like this that requires a combination of your technical skills with creativity means no day is going to be exactly the same as the next. Your career will be hallmarked with so many moments where you have to “think outside the box” to solve a problem.

Today you may be working on biomedical machinery, tomorrow may be construction machinery, and the very next day may be information and communications system! At the heart of engineering is a desire to innovate, improve upon and solve problems in the world.

Sounds fun right? One great thing about engineering is its flexibility. Having a degree or certifications from one field of engineering doesn’t limit you from working on projects in other fields.

Most engineers are very satisfied with their jobs because they find them fun and interesting. Constantly learning new things, improving your skills, and not settling into a boring and monotonous work routine is other reasons to pursue a career in engineering.

Every new project you work on will be an avenue for learning, exploring, and discovering a trove of new things. As an engineer, you have the benefit of being able to learn through both on-the-job and formal training methods. Engineering also involves a lot of teamwork, this means that aside from developing your technical skills you will also have opportunities to develop and fine-tune your soft skills like listening, communication, and maybe even leadership.

4. Constantly Growing FIeld

According to labour statistic reports, engineering is expected to have about a 4% increase in job growth by the year 2027. The projections say that some engineering careers are going to grow as much as 20% and some even more. 

Although this may sound exciting, engineering is a diverse field and some engineers are more in demand than others. This means some engineering fields have better job growth prospects when compared to others. Let’s look at the growth prospects for some engineering careers.

  • Computer software engineering jobs are predicted to grow at 22%, which is much higher than the average growth rate.
  • Aerospace engineering jobs are predicted to grow at about 3%, not as much as the average rate.
  • Material engineering jobs are predicted to grow at about 3%, also less than the average growth rate.
  • Biomedical engineering jobs are predicted to grow at 23%, even higher than computer software engineering jobs!
  • Environmental engineering jobs are predicted to grow at 12%, still higher than the average growth rate.
  • Chemical engineering jobs are predicted to grow at about 4%, just as fast as the average growth rate.
  • Industrial engineering jobs are predicted to grow at about 10%, much faster than the average growth rate.

 Putting aside the growth rate of different engineering fields for a minute, engineering itself as a whole is an ever-growing field. 

Think about it, new technologies that require engineers are being developed every day. Before air travel and space exploration aerospace engineering was not a profession!

Computer and electrical engineering fields have also experienced huge growth with the advent of more and more new technology and information systems. Another example is the demand for more environmental engineers because industries are looking to become more eco-friendly due to climate change and global warming.

5. Many Opportunities for Career Advancement

There are so many opportunities available with a career in engineering.  Let’s look at the career path of a typical engineer;

As a fresh graduate in an engineering field, you will most likely work in an entry-level role where you will receive formal training on how to handle projects handed to you. If you can show that you can handle the work given to you and impress your supervisors, it’s very possible to get a promotion.

After a few years of experience and expertise in the field, being promoted to senior engineer is the next step in this path. Senior engineers have developed their skills and can act as mentors to entry-level engineers.

The next step is becoming a supervisor. By achieving this, your responsibilities will include supervising a team of engineers and technicians alongside your regular job responsibilities.

Supervisors are normally the first pick when it’s time to hire or promote for a management position, meaning if you do a good job managing your team, you stand a chance of becoming a manager.

A promotion to a management position is the obvious next step in a career path like this one. As a manager, you can expect most of your tasks to revolve around managing a larger group of engineers and organizing projects.

In-house career advancement aside, engineering is a profession that has so many transferrable skills across different industries. Engineers deal with a lot of science and math, skills that can be transferred to other related professions like architecture, science technician, physical or life scientists, or even sales! Honestly, the opportunities are endless.

Engineers can even advance their careers and prevent burnout by switching to other engineering professions. For example, a mechanical engineer can decide to take on a new role as a materials engineer as long as he/she has the required skillset.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a fulfilling and rewarding career that pushes you to constantly learn and improve yourself then engineering might just be for you. There really aren’t a lot of careers out there that give such a diverse range of benefits while still allowing you to create, discover, explore and make a difference in the world by improving people’s lives.

Imagine a career where each day is different from the next, where you work as a team to innovate and solve problems while being well-compensated for all your effort. A career in an ever-growing field with so much room for professional advancement.

We’ve covered some of the main reasons to consider a career switch to one in engineering. Now, it’s your choice.

Patrick is passionate about supporting other professionals to find success in their chosen career paths. So far, he has successfully navigated four career transitions and is currently a Product Manager Consultant helping businesses build products their customers love.