Interested in a career in engineering? If so, engineering offers a very wide variety of types of career across a multitude of sectors, so there is bound to be something of interest.

Engineering as a whole essentially refers to a wide swathe of employment types, all of which require the practical implementation of science and mathematics to solve problems. Engineers could spend a large amount of their day working on computers in an office, in a practical lab, or on a building site – the choice is wide and varied, and skills are often very transferable.

Whilst anyone can call themselves an engineer in the UK, there are some professional titles - Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer IEng), Chartered Engineer (CEng) and ICT Technician (ICTTech) - which may only be used by those who are registered with the Engineering Council. These qualifications are not industry specific; they relate more to the level of experience, and sometimes the education, that employees have within all engineering disciplines, and are acquired through a mixture of work and qualifications.

Multitude of sectors require engineering talent

Many different sectors require the skills of an engineer. Engineers can be employed not only in highly technical roles, but also within manufacturing, sales, production and management; engineering experience can be the doorway to many other careers.

In practical terms, this could mean spending the working day designing, developing and testing engines for use in cars or aeroplanes; it could mean maintaining and improving the systems that run an oil rig and make it a safe working environment, or it could mean working within the construction industry, turning architect and a surveyor’s plans into reality as a civil engineer.

Engineers can enter the industry as unskilled trainees, or as experienced graduates; good maths skills are important though, as well as written and spoken English.

Key skills in common

All engineers will, however, have some skills in common; engineering employers will be looking for evidence of logical thinking combined with practical problem-solving skills, as well the ability to clearly communicate solutions verbally as well as in the form of written reports and presentations.

Prospective engineers will be expected to be able to work easily with a wide cross section of other trades, so candidates need to be able to demonstrate good teamwork, as well as self-motivation and a willingness to take on responsibility.

There are a variety of routes to becoming an engineer, and it’s possible for both graduates and non-graduates to have great success in the sector. For example, those without qualifications can still acquire accreditation as an ICT Technician – an engineer who supports or facilitates the use of ICT equipment by others – through demonstrating sufficient relevant work experience.

School leavers can enter into this type of role, whilst becoming a Chartered Engineer (someone who designs and develops solutions to engineering problems, such as more energy efficient engines) is generally achieved through a combination of an accredited degree and then relevant experience.