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Become an Engineer

August 12, 2005

Filed under: education,life,money — Terry Wohlers @ 07:56

This commentary is written for young people that are considering career options. Let’s assume for a moment that you have an interest in new product design and manufacturing. Opportunities abound for bright and creative individuals in this field. It is true that many manufacturing-related jobs have been lost to offshore outsourcing, but a large number remains, particularly in niche areas where sophisticated or high-priced products are developed. One example is aircraft. Another is medical devices and instrumentation.

More than 900 people responded to a survey conducted by Machine Design magazine earlier this year. Sixty-eight percent said that they would recommend engineering to friends and children. They went on to say that they enjoyed seeing their ideas lead to new products that improved the lives of others. One respondent said that after years as an engineer, doors open to many careers because engineering offers a breadth of experience that you cannot get from other professions.

Engineers are exposed to some of the most exciting technologies available. Consider the newest generation 3D printers that are used for product design review and validation. Consider also additive processes, such as laser sintering, that are being used to manufacturing highly complex products for the aerospace, motor sports, medical, dental, and consumer products industries.

How much money can one expect to earn? The average salary for engineers, according to the survey, rose to $70,600, up from $68,000 last year. Computer and electronic product manufacturing is the highest paying industry, with an average salary of $81,000. Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing followed at $75,000. Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing was next at $72,000.

So if you’re unsure what to do in the future, give product design and manufacturing serious consideration. A high percentage of engineers are challenged and like what they do, and are making a comfortable living doing it.