Small and Growing Engineering Fields

Greg Wheeler
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Whether you're just entering the engineering field or looking for a different job in the market, understanding which positions currently need employees and how the outlook for those jobs may affect you can give you a competitive edge. Many jobs in the engineering market require skills that translate easily between roles and positions, and your existing skills and education may provide the springboard you need to excel at a job in the many small and growing engineering fields.

The engineering field contains many specializations. Geological engineers and mining specialists help bring precious materials from the ground to the surface for use in many different applications. Experts in this engineering field design mines that use the latest in efficient technologies and methods for exceptional effectiveness that combines safety and cost savings with precision and quick material recovery. Approximately 6,400 workers held positions in this engineering field in 2010, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average growth rate of 10 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Engineer careers also span may different roles. Cartographers and photogrammetrists create maps for political and analytical purposes. Photogrammetrists use aerial photography to create realistic renderings of current terrain. These careers provide necessary information for earth scientists and hobbyists alike. Approximately 13,800 cartographers and photogrammetrists were at work in 2010, and the BLS's job outlook forecast expects a 22 percent growth rate over ten years. This makes it one of the fastest growing engineer careers in America.

The fastest-growing engineering field is also a small and highly specialized role. Only 15,700 people were biomedical engineers in 2010. This engineering field typically requires additional education, but its growth rate of 62 percent ranks it among the fastest growing jobs available in the world today. Biomedical engineers work in hospitals and universities to help develop technologies that allow progression in medical transplants and other medical advances. Many are directly tasked with the creation of synthetic materials and replacement limbs or organs that can help a variety of people regain functionality.

Many engineering jobs have tool and skill requirements that allow workers to transition easily between roles. Specialized fields may require additional education and training, but the right fit for you may well include one of the many small and growing engineering fields. Engineers are necessary for everything from the extraction of raw goods in mining to cartography and mapmaking. Many specialists work on the cutting edge of medical science to bring new technologies to the world that can dramatically improve the health of many people. Each engineering field has its own challenges, and smaller fields may give you opportunities unavailable in more popular or crowded markets.


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