Engineering is a term that comprises a wide range of applied science and technology branches such as chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.
To become an engineer, a bachelor’s degree in engineering is a prerequisite.
Many jobs in engineering also require advanced degrees, and the engineer to become professionally registered with the Board of Engineers or Engineering Council.
There are many reasons why people are motivated to be an engineer. Take chemical engineering for example – the reasons are summarised below:
1. The knowledge to benefit others, or ‘save the world’
Chemical engineers are able to make life easier and better for others. Most items used in our everyday life are produced by the processes designed and developed by chemical engineers.
These processes include the making of foods, pharmaceuticals, fuels, plastics, vehicles, cloth, construction materials, waste treatment, and many more. Engineers can help to end starvation, disease and poverty.
They can also develop technologies to combat climate change and pollution, along with preserving clean water and energy sources.
2. Intellectual development and a variety of skills
The work of chemical engineers is usually challenging and intellectually stimulating. A chemical engineering degree course usually equips a student with many transferable skills.
Hence an engineering graduate is generally able to think logically, creatively and in an innovative way, as well as communicate well with others to solve problems. These are the skills that will be valuable throughout life.
3. Highly employable and decent pay
Chemical engineers translate chemical reactions developed in the lab into practical applications for the commercial production of products.
They can improve those processes by lowering costs and time, thus making profits for various industries.
Therefore, they are among the most well-paid engineers (the average annual income in the US was US$112,430 or RM457,477 in 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics).
Chemical engineering is also one of the most employable subjects in the world.
4. A variety of career opportunities
On top of technical knowledge of chemistry, engineering, material science, mathematics and Information Technology, chemical engineers also need to know about economics, management and the environment which can be applied to a wide variety of sectors.
Therefore, they may advance to management positions or move into other fields, such as technical sales, finance, consultancy or even scientific journalism.
5. Potential risks or opportunities
Chemical engineers are sometimes exposed to dangerous workplace conditions when they are working in manufacturing plants and research laboratories.
Therefore, workplace health, safety, and environmental regulations are usually included in a chemical engineering degree course curriculum.
In other words, chemical engineers are familiar with safety management and control, in addition to safety analysis methods and techniques.
They can incorporate safety features in their design and planning for optimising the performance of production processes. They can also become safety consultants for various industries.
To conclude, the demand for engineers is expected to continue globally. Travelling overseas, collaborating with others in multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural teams to solve complex problems is increasingly common for engineers.
Earning a degree in engineering is like getting a “ticket” to global opportunities.
Engineering may not be the easiest course to master, yet for those who are willing to take up challenges, like to solve problems, and have the perseverance to realise their imagination, engineering is one of the best career options.
This article was contributed by Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, Tel: 03- 8800 6800 Website: http://www.xmu.edu.my/
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