Few people are aware that engineering is really a science. When most people think about being an engineer, they conjure up images of engines and oil but the reality is very different.
This is a highly skilled industry and without it, the world would grind to a halt as there would be no bridges, no medicine and no cool gadgets like Smartphones that improve our lives.
Science and engineering jobs are for those who want to play a vital part in improving society as a whole. If you are smart, passionate and dedicated, read on to discover more about the exciting world of engineering.
What Will I Be Doing?
Like so many sectors, ‘it depends’ on the branch of engineering you choose.
There are a wide variety of fields to choose from but no matter which role you ultimately take; your job will involve analysing, developing and evaluating large-scale systems. This may mean creating brand new projects or looking for ways to improve/maintain current systems. Possible engineering duties include:
- Researching new developments and innovations in your field.
- Considering the effectiveness, safety and cost of new designs.
- Writing and presenting reports.
- Turning research ideas into technical plans.
- Modifying and testing designs.
- Discussing requirements of a project with clients and other professionals.
- Using computer aided design (CAD) packages to create blueprints.
It is a role that involves multitasking and as well as designing and creating things, you may have to manage projects and visit systems in the field depending on your engineering role.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
No matter which role you end up in, creativity is an essential requirement. Part of your job will be to think of new systems and ways to improve designs. Critical thinking is also a requirement as you need to have the ability to ask the right questions.
In most instances, you will work ‘traditional’ hours on weekdays but certain projects may necessitate longer hours and weekend work. The work environment varies and could be an office, a laboratory, a building site or a processing plant.
What Are The Different Engineer Roles Available?
The available engineering fields are varied and each contains its own unique challenges.
- Civil Engineer: This role involves the planning, designing and management of construction projects. You could be working on small-scale projects or huge national schemes such as the building of a new stadium. Duties include ensuring sites meet legal guidelines and health & safety requirements, assessing the risks and environmental effects of a project and managing & directing progress during each phase of a project. Civil Engineer Job Description | Civil Engineer Jobs
- Design Engineer: If you want to showcase your creative side, this is the job for you. Design engineers work in a host of fields including IT, architecture and the automotive industry. Duties include developing and modelling new ideas, meeting with other departments and research. Design Engineer Job Description | Design Engineer Jobs
- Electrical Engineer: This involves the design, development and maintenance of machinery, equipment and electrical control systems. There are a variety of sectors to choose from including manufacturing, distributing and telecommunications. Duties include ensuring projects meet construction and electrical safety guidelines, estimating the cost of projects and analysing data from tests. Electrical Engineer Job Description | Electrical Engineer Jobs
- IT Engineer: As an IT engineer, your job is to make sure a company’s IT system is in perfect working order. Duties include suggesting IT solutions to business issues, fixing faults with the company network, installing new software & hardware and ensuring company systems have adequate anti-virus protection. IT Engineer Job Description | IT Engineer Jobs
- Mechanical Engineer: This role involves designing, building and installing mechanical machinery, tools and components. You can work in a number of industries including transport, medicine and construction. Duties include improving production processes, turning ideas into working technical plans and assessing new products. Mechanical Engineer Job Description | Mechanical Engineer Jobs
- Production Engineer: As a production engineer, you will work with manufacturers in a number of different sectors and will assist production technicians when it comes to developing, installing and maintaining the equipment used in manufacturing. Duties include analysing data and graphs, providing technical support and training and handing budget & expenditure. Production Engineer Job Description | Production Engineer Jobs
- Site Engineer: This job involves managing part of a construction project while also supervising other members of staff. Typical duties include undertaking surveys, providing technical advice, overseeing building work and preparing site reports, designs and drawings. Site Engineer Job Description | Site Engineer Jobs
Keep reading to discover the salaries earned in different engineering sectors:
- Chemical Engineer: You can expect to earn €38,000 – €50,000 per annum with 3-5 years experience. This rises to €50,000 – €70,000 a year if you have 5+ years experience. Typically, you’ll earn €5,000 a year less if working outside Dublin.
- Production Engineer: This is a well paid job as even those with just 3+ years experience can earn up to €60,000 a year. This increases to €65,000 per annum with 5+ years experience while production engineers in Cork, Limerick and Waterford normally earn €55,000 a year when they have the requisite 5 years experience.
- Electrical Engineer: Entry-level pay is normally in the €33,000 – €40,000 range and this can rise to €62,000 a year after 5 or more years in the role.
- Design Engineer: This is one of the better entry-level roles with salaries of €40,000 – €45,000 available. Once you have 5+ years experience, this can rise to €62,000 a year.
For a more detailed list of salaries and benefits in the engineering sector click here
What Are The Plus Points?
No matter what engineering sector you work in, the opportunities are fantastic. You can find work with a wide variety of organisations including the armed services, the medical industry, construction, manufacturing, research and development and much more. It is also possible to find work overseas with foreign governments or international companies.
There are a number of chances for promotion, you get to showcase your creative side and work on genuinely interesting projects. On top of everything else, the salary, bonuses and benefits are fantastic.
What Are The Downsides?
It is not the right sector for you if a 9-5 office job is what you’re after. While certain engineering roles may offer such a role, you’re more likely to be travelling and meeting clients or working on manufacturing or construction sites. The work can be stressful and exhausting so a passion for what you’re doing is a must or else you’ll get burned out. Additionally, competition for these roles is fierce and most organisations have strict hiring criteria.
What Educations/Qualifications Do I Need?
Hiring companies expect all candidates to have at least a high quality Bachelor’s Degree in an Engineering field and further study is required to meet the criteria for specialist roles. Most companies also ask candidates to have a minimum of two years work experience in the field.
Once you become a graduate engineer, you should look to attain chartered engineer status (CEng). This qualification ensures high standards, employability and professional recognition. To achieve CEng status in Ireland, you must have an accredited level 8 or level 9 degree and also have four years of Initial Professional Development under your belt. Additionally, written work such as a practice report and essays must also be submitted followed by attendance at a professional interview.
Am I A Good Candidate?
In order to become an engineer, you should possess the following qualities:
- Good teamwork skills.
- Excellent commercial awareness.
- The ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
- The capacity to plan effectively and prioritise tasks.
- Superb technical knowledge.
- The desire to learn new things and keep up to date with developments in your field.