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8 Reasons to Get an Engineering Degree that Might Surprise You
February 22, 2021
The connection between your interests and future career path isn’t always clear. Maybe you’re into science and math, but does that mean you should get an engineering degree?
It’s worth taking a look, at least!
Many students have a pretty specific idea in their mind of what an engineer does. Big machines might pop into your head. Maybe roads and bridges. But the term is probably much broader than you think.
You also learn a lot more in an engineering degree program than how to make things. Many of the skills you master can be applied in almost any career and facet of life.
What Is an Engineering Degree?
Ask yourself a few basic questions to see if this might be right for you:
- Are you interested in solving important problems?
- Do you want to help people in new, innovative ways?
- Do you have a knack for thinking creatively and coming up with new ideas?
If you answered yes to all three, engineering might be the perfect major for you. That’s because engineering, at its heart, is about identifying problems, creating processes to solve them, and applying your plans to make it happen.
There are countless lessons to learn along the way that translate into highly marketable skills. You have to learn how to set realistic goals, work productively with a team, test your theories and adjust as necessary, communicate your discoveries, and much more.
You get to use advanced technologies along the way. This doesn’t only help you further build your resume. It can also be fun to use these tools and exciting to see how they bring your ideas to life!
8 Reasons to Consider an Engineering Degree
There are many reasons why students choose to study engineering. Here are just a handful of the most common ones, some of which may surprise you.
1. There is far more variety in engineering than you might think.
How many types of engineering do you suppose there are? It’s hard to say exactly because the term can be broadly applied to virtually any career in which workers engineer a solution to a problem.
Here are a few of the major categories:
This area is all about flying machines. Aerospace (or aeronautical) engineers work on everything from designing to building, testing and perfecting aircraft. Astronautical engineers do the same for spacecraft.
Though we often think of chemicals as manmade substances, chemistry is concerned with the interactions between substances found in nature as well as artificial ones. Chemical engineers study these interactions in the development of products and medicines to improve lives.
It’s fairly common for people to think of this branch of engineering when they hear that word. It might be because civil engineers often work on major projects that are vital to a functioning society: buildings, roads, bridges, water supply and sewer systems.
On a smaller scale, this branch of engineering focuses on consumer products from electronics to vehicles. On a larger scale, electrical or mechanical engineers may work on a city’s power grid, manufacturing processes, and more. Robotics would also fall in this category.
“Through Eastern Nazarene College’s Electrical Engineering program, I am capable of one day designing technologies that will positively affect the lives of others. Be it poverty, overpopulation, or sustainability issues, all we need is a team of motivated, virtuous, highly educated individuals to work it out.” – Sebastian Arboleda, Class of 2020
Engineering is not always about working with tangible things. Software engineers apply analytical and creative thinking to the construction of computer code. They develop, build and refine the programs just about everyone in a Web-connected society depends upon.
2. You’ll come out of your program with much more than an engineering degree.
Like many degree programs, in engineering, you’ll hone both “soft” skills (the ones that are important but hard to quantify, like communication and emotional intelligence) and “hard” skills (like programming, math and the scientific method).
But in addition to skills, a good engineering program will give you opportunities to produce work products that will really impress any future employer.
Degree completion requirements vary from school to school. Here at ENC, students pursuing their bachelor’s degree in engineering spend their last three semesters in hands-on product research and development (R&D). They are also required to publish a paper.
It’s one thing to tell an employer about what you learned in undergrad. It’s another to show them the product of what you learned!
3. The internships are incredibly rewarding.
If you like the challenge of solving puzzles, or even creating your own, you’ll love the experience of a good engineering internship.
Engineering interns are vital to the success of real-world projects. They perform a variety of tasks, including these and more:
- Develop procedures
- Organize information
- Record, manage and analyze data
- Assist with computer-aided design
- Perform laboratory tests
- Troubleshoot equipment
- Manage finances
Because the work tends to be heavy on hands-on participation, engineering interns are usually paid. And paid well. In recent years, engineering interns have typically earned around $27 per hour.
4. You can help people in powerful ways.
In addition to the intellectual satisfaction you’ll feel while pursuing your engineering degree, you’ll enjoy knowing that real people may benefit profoundly from your work.
In 2013, ENC engineering students began work on a project to improve earthquake forecasting. They developed a method to assimilate complex seismic activity.
The NASA Ames Research Center adopted the concept and applied it to the development of a data assimilation machine called the CUBE. That system is now being deployed in high-risk areas in the Caribbean and Mexico.
This new technology is being used to more accurately predict severe earthquakes, which will inform evacuation procedures and prevent countless deaths and injuries.
Stories like this demonstrate how powerful of an impact you can make on human lives as an engineer – even before you’ve attained your degree!
5. With an engineering degree, you will be in high demand.
Of course, it helps to know that there will be plenty of career opportunities in engineering for you after you graduate.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be over 139,000 new engineering jobs created by 2026 (compared with 2016).
The most opportunity is likely in civil engineering. There are more civil engineers employed in the U.S. than any other engineering category.
6. Engineering jobs tend to be pretty lucrative.
As of 2016, the median annual wage across all BLS engineering categories was over $91,000. Some were much higher, with engineers working for petroleum companies at the top (over $128,000). Other top jobs include:
- Computer Hardware Engineer – $115,080
- Aerospace Engineer – $109,650
- Nuclear Engineer – $102,220
7. Or, an engineering degree can lead anywhere else you want it to.
Skills you gain with an engineering degree are highly transferable to other fields. With a degree like this, you can tell a future employer:
- “I know how to work with a diverse team to accomplish goals.”
- “I can identify problems and work backward from that to come up with workable solutions.”
- “I have experience with the R&D process, which I can apply to the development of any product or process.”
- “I have helped manage projects in a real-world business setting and can help fit the pieces (people, technology, etc.) together to get things done.”
In a sense, every employer needs engineers – because every employer has problems and needs people to help solve them!
8. Getting an engineering degree can be a deeply faith-based experience.
Some think of faith and science as completely separate things. As though the scientific method – developing a hypothesis, testing it, observing results and making adjustments – is somehow devoid of belief in anything greater than ourselves.
We completely reject that notion here at ENC.
Here, engineering students use math and science to find answers to important questions within a Christian environment. This is a safe space for believers in God who have questions about the world, followers of Christ who are bursting with intellectual curiosity.
This is a place where the relationships you form with your professors are about more than skills development and career planning. It’s about calling. Finding meaning in life. Serving others. And that’s as much a faith-driven journey as any other.
Why Get Your Engineering Degree from Eastern Nazarene College?
Everyone wants to be treated like a human being. A whole person. Someone with not only a set of skills and aptitudes, but beliefs, wants and needs.
You’re not a problem-solving machine just waiting for the programming you need to enter the workforce, right? Your needs don’t stop at acquiring knowledge and skills, building a resume and making a living.
We want to build a relationship with you, mentor and support you in every conceivable way, because we value both your mind and your heart. Your abilities, hopes and dreams.
That’s what you can expect when you pursue your engineering degree at Eastern Nazarene College.
What else will you ENCounter here? Learn more today.