It’s important to know that there is no single career path when it comes to working in engineering. Of course, your career path in engineering will ultimately depend on your qualification level. Whether you are a graduate or non-graduate will dictate how far you can fly up the career ladder. Employment opportunities are plentiful, with the chance to specialise in a variety of engineering disciplines.
If you are considering enrolling in an undergraduate course in engineering, or you are considering specialising in a specific type of engineering course at university, let’s consider the various career paths you can take as a qualified engineer, from the NHS to multinational corporations like BP.
In your potential role as a clinical engineer, you will work with NHS hospitals as well as private healthcare organizations such as Nuffield to apply technology for everyday healthcare. It will be your responsibility to monitor and maintain the effectiveness of state-of-the-art medical equipment and ensure it continues to meet the needs of physicians and patients. You may also be required to oversee digital medical equipment records, as well as online databases or inventories of medical equipment used within a hospital or organization.
If you prefer the idea of diversifying into a niche, burgeoning sector such as biomedical engineering, look no further than a career as a rehabilitation engineer. In this role, you will be required to investigate new ways of enhancing the quality of life for those with physical impairments.
You will work hands-on with electro-mechanical equipment such as centrifuges that are built and tested by leading brands such as Centrimax, and electronic communicators including speech synthesisers to build bespoke assistive technology. You may also be involved in the quality assurance testing of such devices to ensure their long-lasting and life-changing function.
If you feel that you would relish the challenge of overcoming business challenges, a career in technical consultancy might be right up your street. Whether it’s investigating the impact of developments on the profitability of your employer or analysing the wider net of an industry, you’ll be required to utilise statistical modelling and data analysis to design creative solutions to real business problems.
You’ll need to be a sound communicator in order to present complex data and results to internal colleagues and possibly even external clients.
Supply chain management
A career in supply chain management would be hugely rewarding for those with an eye for detail. If you are obsessive about perfecting processes, employers that have substantial production lines and utilise significant amounts of raw materials rely on supply chain managers to maintain a steady stream of high-quality products for valued customers, whilst optimising overheads.
To obtain all of the necessary data to make informed decisions, supply chain managers require strong interpersonal skills to be able to deal with colleagues in all departments from logistics and technicians to office managers. Those with engineering backgrounds are well-suited to pinpointing technical opportunities and schemes that can increase the profitability of businesses.
Although a career in engineering may seem a lifetime away when you’re at university, with all the modules and exams to go with it, it is never too early to weigh up your options and chart a career path that really motivates and interests you.