Is Becoming an Engineer Right or You? Here's How to Tell

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Nov 5, 2018

Nov 5, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you know that the median salary for engineers starts at 84,770 dollars? Some people decide to earn a degree based on the salary for that career. Yet, there's more to your career path than your potential salary.

Engineering is one of the most competitive and high-demand industries. Joining those ranks isn't an easy task.

Many people say they want to become an engineer. But, do they have what it takes to earn an engineering degree and work in that industry? How can you know?

Here are some of the things you should do or ask yourself to learn if becoming an engineer is the right call.

1. Learn All There is to Know About Engineering

Before applying to any degree program, you must learn all there is to know about the industry. What majors can you apply for? What everyday problems do engineers fix?

This industry offers a wide range of options. Engineers work in fields from agriculture to technology. What engineering fields do you find interesting?

Maybe you are interested in building things. If so, a degree in construction engineering may be right for you. Yet, that isn't your only option.

Learning about all the different fields in engineering can help you narrow down your preferred majors. It's important to consider engineering jobs with high demand.

2. Apply and Attend Pre-College Engineering Programs

You might be asking yourself how can I know if engineering is for me? A great way to know if you've what it takes is by applying and attending pre-college engineering programs. Colleges such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Illinois offer summer engineering programs.

These programs provide students the opportunity to meet and interact with engineering students and faculty. By attending, you will have the opportunity to work on hands-on engineering projects.

3. Search Undergraduate Engineering Programs

Once you narrow down your preferred engineering fields, you should start searching for the right undergraduate program. Do you want to attend an in-state or out of state university or college? What are the engineering program requirements at those institutions?

These are some of the questions that can help you decide what undergraduate programs to consider. It's important to know the requirements such as GPA, SAT and ACT scores. You must make sure you meet at least the minimum requirements of your favorite undergrad programs.

4. Do You Find Interesting the Courses You Will Take?

You should take a look at the courses you will take to earn your engineering degree. Are you interested in these courses? All engineering degrees require you take many courses in math and science.

Do these subjects come easily to you? You shouldn't shy away from studying engineering if math and science aren't your strongest suit.

You can make it happen as long as you are committed and passionate about studying engineering. Some courses you'll take may teach you from learning to build a prototype for your project using Teflon to how to write the best code for an app. Engineering is an interesting science that offers a world of possibilities.

5. Take or Audit Engineering Related Courses at Your Local Community College

If you can't attend a summer engineering program, you may consider auditing or taking an engineering related course at your local community college. Taking a class is a great way to learn what to expect if you decide to study engineering. Besides learning more about the industry, you will find out if you're cut out for the level of commitment that requires studying this degree.

6. How Would You Use an Engineering Degree?

Earning an engineering degree doesn't guarantee a job in that field. But, why do you want to earn this degree? How would you use your engineering studies?

If you decide to study mechanical engineering, will you use your knowledge to improve manufacturing robotics technology? It's important to picture yourself in that role. What everyday problems do you want to fix?

If you don't know, you could search what engineers in that field are doing. An example is how environmental engineers are researching ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

7. Meet Engineers That Work in Diverse Fields

Today, many schools have their own mentoring programs to help their students. Professionals volunteer to help the next generation make their dreams come true. These programs can help you meet engineers that work in different fields.

You should take advantage of this opportunity. Ask them questions you may have about their career.

What is their typical day to day? Why did they become engineers? What do they like the most about their job?

These are some of the questions you may consider asking. You should write down your own interview questions before meeting them. Don't hesitate in asking them if they're willing to mentor you.

8. Write Your Possible Career Path in Engineering

Earning your engineering degree is one step in a long journey. Before studying your degree, you should make your own career path plan. How do you see yourself five years after earning your degree?

Are you considering studying more than one major? Do you have to take any certifications after graduating? These are some of the questions that can help you develop your career plan.

Writing your possible career path in engineering is essential to learn if earning this degree is the right call. Don't skip any steps in the process.

Aim to be as realistic as possible while developing your plan. You want to set attainable goals that you can make come true.

Should You Consider Becoming an Engineer?

Yes, you should consider becoming an engineer. But, only if you believe a career in engineering is right for you. No one can make this choice for you.

You may think that you must become an engineer because your parents want you to. Yet, at the end of the day, you are in charge of your life. Are you ready to put in all the hard work needed to become an engineer?

Will you be happy working in this field? You must be honest with yourself about studying engineering. A career in this field requires a lot of commitment and dedication.

Want more helpful tips on your career path? Check out our blog for more insightful articles.