You’re good with details, like solving problems, and want an exciting career where you can think big. Turn your talents into cutting-edge skills by studying a specialised engineering course.
Engineers play a vital role in how society operates and progresses. Grounded in innovative scientific thinking and creative approaches to problem-solving, engineering courses equip students with the theoretical knowledge and essential practical skills required to solve some of society’s most pressing problems and propel us successfully into an exciting future.
As an engineer, you’ll work with calculations and numbers, raw materials, and sophisticated design software to engineer the tools, instruments and product solutions required to support our way of life. From designing roads, bridges and water systems as a civil engineer, to developing new materials, substances and pharmaceutical products as a chemical engineer, or developing and maintaining mechanical and automotive systems as a mechanical engineer, engineers play a critical role in how society works and adapts – and studying an engineering course will give you the essential tools to play a leading part.
You must study engineering as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and will choose one of a range of engineering specialities to pursue. After completing your qualification, you’ll be eligible to seek employment as an engineer, and may also work in engineering or project management.
If you enjoy challenging yourself and want to play a practical and critical role in helping to solve some of society’s most pressing problems, studying an engineering course is for you.
What do engineers do?
Engineers work in an area of specialisation, designing relevant tools and materials that help the way we live and work. In an engineering course, you can choose to specialise in an area like:
- Aerospace engineering
- Aviation engineering
- Biomedical engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Computer engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Environmental and sustainable engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Mechatronics and manufacturing system engineering
- Surveying and geospatial engineering
- Telecommunications engineering
Is engineering right for you?
You’ll thrive working as an engineer if you:
- Love problem-solving
- Enjoy focused work
- Are highly proactive and disciplined
- Can work well independently
- Have excellent time management and organisational skills
- Have big ideas
- Are a creative thinker
- Can work well with a team
- Can work responsively
- Can communicate clearly and succinctly
- Work well under pressure
- Enjoy dynamic work
The day-to-day tasks you perform will depend on your specialisation and the projects you work on. Generally, you can expect to perform work like creating plans and designing construction methods, designing and directing plan specifications, organising labour and construction materials, obtaining and testing samples, managing changes to designs and budgets, assessing and analysing structures, and assessing past and future plans and patterns to predict the degradation of your design.
You’ll likely also take on project management tasks, and be responsible for managing the delivery of your project, design or plan to a specified deadline and budget.
While job opportunities in the engineering sector have contracted slightly over the last few years, the industry’s peak body, Engineering Australia, reported in 2017 that opportunities were again expanding at nearly twice the rate of the sector’s lowest growth period. In April 2016, only 101 job vacancies were recorded across Australia in the sector, but by April 2017, 188 vacancies were reported.
Engineering Australia reports that the largest field within the engineering industry is the civil engineering sector. The Australian Government’s Job Outlook reports that approximately 43,000 people are currently employed as civil engineers in Australia, and reports that employment opportunities in the profession will expand by the end of the decade. Job Outlook predicts that approximately 47,200 people will be employed as civil engineers in Australia by 2020.
Engineers Australia notes that engineering is a profession uniquely influenced by market trends and resource prices, and notes that fluctuations in employment growth have tended in line with global financial states. Peaking in 2008, employment opportunities in the engineering sector have contracted slightly in the last decade, but are generally expected to rise over the next decade.
PayScale offers average salary predictions for a range of difference engineering specialisations. Generally, graduates of bachelor’s degrees in engineering can expect to earn an average salary between $50,000 and $139,000 per year.
On average, engineers can expect to earn the following annual salaries:
- Structural engineer: $69,000
- Civil engineer: $70,000
- Mechanical engineer: $70,000
- Software engineer: $71,000
- Electrical engineer: $72,000
- Project engineer: $80,000
- Project manager: $92,000
Engineers across most specialisations report to PayScale that experience in project management, people management and supervision has a positive effect on earning capacity.