Dreaming of establishing a career in engineering? Here’s how to choose the right field and specialization
If there’s one occupation that has remained enduring throughout the years, it’s engineering. Engineers are relied on by industries to develop innovations, systems, and products, so they’re always in demand, especially with the advance of the fourth industrial revolution. The collaborative research of the Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies even forecasts that the country will need 1.8 million engineers by 2025.
Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy, Mapúa University’s dean of the School of Civil, Environmental, and Geological Engineering, said that engineers are in demand because they create innovations that are crucial for industries to survive.
“Due to continuing development and change, the engineers’ work will never end, as it is part of humans’ journey to the future,” he said.
Its longevity and financial and professional rewards have made engineering one of the most sought-after college degrees. The question is which engineering field should you choose?
Mapúa president and CEO Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, an engineer himself, emphasized that students should pick an engineering track aligned with their interests and pursuits. This strategy ensures their thirst for knowledge and endurance will help them surmount the challenges during their studies and career.
“If one is interested, he is motivated. He will feel satisfied, fulfilled, and perhaps even happy as he takes the courses in engineering, which are considered very challenging,” explained Dr. Vea.
Of course, the first step towards arriving at a decision would be to acquaint yourself with the different branches of engineering. The most popular are mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, and chemical engineering. Other engineering fields are derivatives or sub-branches of these core specializations or combinations of engineering and non-engineering fields such as biological engineering.
One branch that has a very wide scope is Mechanical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering focuses on all stages of product development, from research to design, to manufacturing and testing. Most mechanical engineers are employed in just about any industry worldwide: energy and power, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), automotive, manufacturing, construction, robotics, nanotechnology, and bio mechanical. Students who take up Mechanical Engineering learn about statics and dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, stress analysis, technical drawing, and mechanical design.
Civil Engineering, on the other hand, is involved in designing and creating infrastructures like buildings, bridges, roads and public transport systems, commercial structures, and other projects. Aspiring civil engineers should have a knack for designing and building things and be interested in mechanics, materials science, hydraulics, and geotechnics.
Budding engineers fascinated with electricity, circuitry, and power generation have potential in Electrical Engineering. Electrical Engineering oversees the production, delivery, and sustainability of energy.
Electronics engineers also play a vital role in industries as their exciting nature of work involves the whole pipeline of developing integrated circuits and systems, telecommunication technologies, and other communication and network systems.
Computer engineering is also a promising degree to pursue for the career opportunities it offers. Computer engineers devise and maintain system hardware such as computer components, create applications for software programs, and all other related technical and creative attributes using machine-level and high-level modern computer systems, equipment, and languages.
Those inclined toward systems and process efficiency will likely thrive in Industrial Engineering. Industrial Engineering deals with production efficiency and systems optimization of enterprises, production floors, financial processes, and management.
Would-be engineers with analytical mindsets and a bent toward chemistry and life sciences should consider Chemical Engineering. Chemical engineers utilize physical, chemical, and biological principles, physics, mathematics, and economics to develop and optimize processes for the production of fuels, chemicals, petrochemicals, food, pharmaceuticals, and other commodities needed in everyday life.
On top of matching their interests and strengths to various engineering fields, incoming students should talk to people in the industry to gain insights if the degree and career they’re eyeing are meant for them.
Dean Uy furthered that “Academic records are a good basis, but they are not everything. I assess students more based on their attitude and motivation. I believe everyone has the capacity to learn but not at the same time and in the same way. As long as a person believes in himself and has great motivation, he can become an engineer. Engineering practice is determined more by a person’s attitude, as much as his academic records.”
Mapúa University is the first school in Southeast Asia to receive accreditation for its engineering programs from the US-based ABET. The ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates (www.abet.org). To date, 11 of its engineering programs are accredited by ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission: Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.