An engineering degree equips you with the skills of creation. Upon graduation, you have a broad range of practical abilities which can be utilized across a wide range of industries and sectors. Examples of these are numeracy, logical thinking and problem-solving. While an engineering degree sharpens your quantitative and analytical skills, there are many disciplines within the field of engineering, with potentially very different career paths. Some of the most common specialties include chemical, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. But irrespective of major, the study of engineering should equip you for a successful career in business more broadly.
Here are a few ways in which an engineering degree can be useful in the world of business:
• Enterprise creation
In the world of business, the main objective is usually to create a product or service that adds value to the society so that customers are willing to pay for it. Creativity is vital in the business world as you are trying to find new products, ways to deliver a product or service more efficiently than competitors or bundling existing products differently to generate a profit. You are looking for something that is not already being done or finding a way to do it better. That often requires careful analysis and then a spark of creativity. An engineering degree teaches you theoretical and practical skills to help with this process. Imagine a company trying to create a new faster, more stable app for a smart phone. Creating the app could involve an electrical engineer tweaking the processors of the phone, a software engineer developing code to make use of that hardware or both.
After graduating or when you are close to doing so, you may wish to take a licensing exam to become a professionally licensed engineer. It is important for an engineering student to prepare for this examination as it can be quite a challenging assessment. You can do so by completing the prep for fundamentals of engineering exam online. This preparation is performed by completing a series of quick courses and improves your chances of succeeding in the main examination.
• An understanding of your product
Engineers are trained to build products which fulfill the requirements and demands of their customers. An automotive engineer might be designing a part that will last a million miles in a car whether being driven across the desert in blazing heat or a frigid winter landscape. Across the world, another engineer is trying to shrink an espresso maker to fit into a student’s small dorm room. By meeting consumer needs, firms gain a loyal customer base and grow into successful firms. Executives with an engineering background are more likely to market the product effectively when they understand the inner workings of their products.
During the education steps to become an engineer, you learn how to observe current problems and visualize potential ones. Engineers are also taught how to handle any issues which arise in a systematic, analytical way. For example, mechanical engineers often are taught to look at past system failures to understand what are the potential weak points in a product that are prone to failure. These same characteristics can be applied in the world of business in the form of strategic insight. Engineers have stronger insights than regular business people. With the training from this degree, you can anticipate business problems and solve them much more quickly.
• Calculated risk taking
Risk is a major part of day to day business. By managing risk, a businessperson can maximize their returns. Engineers are taught how to calculate structural risk using statistics. They have the fundamental formulas to understand probabilities and understand risk and weigh what steps are worth taking to mitigate them. These statistical skills have obvious application to a wide variety of business fields, especially in finance. Essentially, a degree in engineering can help you to identify, calculate and manage risk in a more efficient, effective way.
Jobs in the business arena where an engineering degree can be applicable
Corporate investment banker
This is a job where you need to have excellent math skills, an ability to analyze data and also have a broad financial perspective. As a corporate investment banker, your objective is to manage opportunities that have to do with strategy, finance and corporate activities of your clients. You are expected to handle lending, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), mergers, acquisition and capital management. Being a corporate banker calls for a lot of analysis. You need to carefully analyze different financial products and understand their costs and benefits for a client. For example, should a client borrow at a fixed or a flexible interest rate? Should they offer 5 or 10 year bonds to raise money?
A patent attorney
Many business people file patents for the purpose of protecting their intellectual property. As a patent attorney, your main responsibility is to make sure that the invention brought to you is innovative enough to warrant a patent. In addition to understanding the law, you need to understand the technical differences among products to argue whether a particular invention is new and thus warrants a patent. You might need to demonstrate that a new device is infringing on an existing patent of one of your clients.
An engineering degree is very useful in a surprising number of careers. It provides you with a wide range of skills that are applicable to almost any industry or position. This article provided just the briefest overview of some of the ways people leverage an engineering background in their careers. In the real world, there are millions of engineers working across the U.S. every day applying them in their careers. If you are pursuing a degree in engineering now, you can be sure it will prove very useful to you!