“Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs. Many engineers develop new products. During the process, they consider several factors. For example, in developing an industrial robot, engineers specify the functional requirements precisions; design and test the robot’s components; integrate the components to produce the final design; and evaluate the design’s overall effectiveness, cost, reliability and safety.
This applies to the development of many different products, such as chemicals, computers, power plants, helicopters, and toys….. Many engineers work in testing, production, or maintenance. These engineers supervise production in factories, determine the causes of a component’s failure, and test manufactured products to maintain quality.” (Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 Edition)
Most engineers specialize. Some of the areas in which Dual Degree students may specialize include the following (excerpted from Job Occupation Handbook, 2010-2011):
Biomedical – Biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems by combining their knowledge of biology and medicine with engineering principles and practices. Many do research, along with medical scientists, to develop and evaluate systems and products such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, and health management and care delivery systems. Biomedical engineers are expected to have employment growth of 72 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging of the population and a growing focus on health issues will drive demand for better medical devices and equipment designed by biomedical engineers.
Chemical – Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals and other products. They design equipment and processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production. Some specialize in a particular field, such nanomaterials.
Electrical – Electrical engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment, including electric motors, machines controls, lighting, radar and navigation systems, and power generation and transmission devices. They also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.
Mechanical – Mechanical engineers research, design, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. This is one of the broadest engineering disciplines.
Computer Engineering – Computer engineers research, design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture and installation of hardware, including computer chips, circuit boards, computer systems, and related equipment.
Overall Job Outlook
Overall job opportunities in engineering are expected to be good, and, indeed, prospects will be excellent in certain specialties. Biomedical engineers should experience the fastest growth.
As a group engineers earn some of the highest average starting salaries among those holding bachelor’s degrees. Average starting salary for graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in engineering, according to a July 2009 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, showed the following:
|Electrical/Electronics and Communications||$60,125|
|Bioengineering and biomedical||$54,158|